Groz Remembers ’01 Mariners: Seattle hosts an All-Star Game for the ages

Jun 30, 2021, 12:29 PM | Updated: 12:37 pm
Mariners Cal Ripken Freddy Garcia...
Freddy Garcia got the All-Star Game win while Cal Ripken was MVP. (Getty - Otto Greule/Allsport)
(Getty - Otto Greule/Allsport)

2001: A Baseball Odyssey – a weekly look back at the record-setting 2001 Mariners and the players who got them there.

The last game before the 2001 All-Star Game for the Seattle Mariners was an interleague clash with the Dodgers, whom the Mariners squashed 9-2 to hit the break with a 63-24 record and a 19-game lead in the American League West. And of course in this one in a million season, the All-Star Game was in… Seattle!

Mariners’ Rodríguez, Kelenic, Hancock to play in MLB Futures Game

Eight Mariners and manager Lou Piniella were named to the AL squad, and there were also five former and future Mariners playing in the midsummer classic, as well. Naturally it was a perfect day and nothing could spoil it.

It was Cal Ripken’s day, of course, as he made his last All-Star appearance (he had announced that he would retire at the end of the 2001 season).

Even Mariners fans who despised Alex Rodriguez had to cheer when A-Rod, who won the fans’ vote at shortstop, beckoned for Ripken to move over from third base to play the position he spent the majority of his career at one more time. And one of the longest ovations in Safeco Field history awaited Cal when he stepped to the plate to face Chan Ho Park with the theme from the movie “The Natural” playing. Cal then belted the first pitch he saw into the visitor’s bullpen for a home run.

Ripken, who won the game’s MVP award, wasn’t the only legend getting the All-Star spotlight one last time. Fans got to say goodbye to Tony Gwynn, too.

Even when things went wrong, they somehow worked out. In the sixth inning with the National League up, Mike Stanton was pitching to Vladimir Guerrero, who took his usual violent swing and shattered his bat. A huge chunk of his bat rocketed towards the third base coaching box, sending the 74-year-old Tommy Lasorda – the legendary former Dodgers manager was making a special appearance as the NL’s third base coach – flat on his back.

The crowd gasped, but Lasorda popped up unhurt and unfazed.

As for Mariners highlights, there were plenty.

In his first All-Star at-bat, rookie sensation Ichiro led off the game for the AL against former Mariners ace Randy Johnson – No. 51 vs. No. 51 – and beat “The Big Unit” to the bag at first for an infield hit. Ichiro showed off his speed even more by stealing second later in the inning.

Three Seattle teammates joined Ichiro in the AL starting lineup: first baseman John Olerud, second baseman Bret Boone, and designated hitter Edgar Martinez. Later in the game, center fielder Mike Cameron came off the bench and made the highlight reel with a hustle double.

As for pitching, M’s ace Freddy Garcia got the win, reliever Jeff Nelson got a hold, closer Kazuhiro Sasaki recorded the save in the AL’s 4-1 victory (box score here), and there you had it. On July 10, 2001, everything seemed perfect in the Seattle baseball world. That’s because it was.

Watch the entire 2001 MLB All-Star Game from Seattle here.

Follow The Groz on Twitter.

More 2001 Mariners memories from Groz

• The bounceback year of M’s Hall of Famer Dan Wilson
• Mark McLemore, the all-important 10th man
Edgar Martinez cements his legacy with his last great season
• Aaron Sele, the pitcher who ‘fell from the sky’
• Bret Boone gave Seattle a huge, surprising boost
• Paul Abbott, the forgotten hero of the historic ’01 M’s
• Introduction: Celebrating the 2001 Mariners, 20 years later

See you next season

Chevrolet Silverado

Seattle Mariners

Mariners Shed Long Jr....
Shannon Drayer

Mariners make 6 roster moves ahead of 40-man roster crunch

The Mariners announced six player moves Friday afternoon, creating three 40-man roster spots ahead of an expected offseason roster crunch.
2 days ago
Mike Salk

Mariners’ Mitch Haniger, Jerry Dipoto sound more like they’re on same page

Comments Thursday by Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto about Mitch Haniger on 710 ESPN Seattle paint a better picture about a possible extension than before.
2 days ago
Mariners Semien Crawford...
Brent Stecker

Jerry Dipoto addresses how Mariners may find a fit in SS free-agency class

The Mariners have their shortstop, so why would they be interested in one of the big name free agent shortstops? Jerry Dipoto sheds some light.
3 days ago
Mariners Mitch Haniger, Jarred Kelenic...
Brandon Gustafson

Is the future of the Mariners’ outfield as set as we thought?

The outfield is where the Mariners appeared to have the brightest future entering 2021, but the way the season played out changed some things.
7 days ago
Mariners Dodgers Chris Taylor...
Brent Stecker

The potential Mariners free agency targets to watch in MLB playoffs

A number of players set to enter free agency who could be interesting to the Mariners are still playing in the postseason. We break them down.
9 days ago
Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Brent Stecker

Heaps: Mitch Haniger’s Mariners article is worth getting fired up about

Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle's Jake and Stacy shares why Mitch Haniger's message from his column in The Players' Tribune makes him excited about the Mariners.
10 days ago
Groz Remembers ’01 Mariners: Seattle hosts an All-Star Game for the ages