Groz on 2001 Mariners: On Sept. 10, M’s were still doing what they did best
2001: A Baseball Odyssey – a weekly look back at the record-setting 2001 Mariners and the players who made them who they were.
It was a warm, late summer night in Anaheim, and the 2001 Seattle Mariners were doing what they did best: winning.
On a rare night when rookie sensation Ichiro and the legendary Edgar Martinez were struggling, a bunch of their teammates stepped up. Third baseman David Bell had two doubles and three RBIs, Mark McLemore, playing shortstop this night, was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Outfielder Stan Javier pushed his average to .290 as he went 2 for 4. In fact, all of the Mariners starters save Edgar and Ichiro had hits.
Not that much offense was required. Freddy Garcia was dealing, and he improved to 16-5 on the season with perhaps his best effort of the year. The Angels were helpless as Garcia went eight innings, allowing just three hits while striking out eight and not walking anyone. With the performance he lowered his ERA to 2.98.
At the end of the night the Mariners had a dominant 5-1 victory. The win improved the overall record to 104-40, meaning a 13-5 finish would give them the all-time win total. They had also pushed their lead over second-place Oakland to 17 games with 18 to play which meant they could look forward to clinching a piece of their third AL West crown the following night as the series in Anaheim continued.
In short, all was going great for the Mariners. Even longtime fan favorite Jay Buhner had rejoined the club after missing most of this year, which would be his final season. The team was loose, happy and rolling. Nothing it seemed could stop them as they bedded down for the night at the team hotel in Anaheim. The day was Sept. 10, 2001.
More 2001 Mariners memories from Groz
• Hometown hero John Olerud’s big year
• Solid and steady David Bell
• Mike Cameron pulls off the impossible
• Kazuhiro Sasaki, Mariners’ man of mystery
• The infamous Cleveland comeback
• When Ichiro became Ichiro
• The curious case of Al Martin
• Freddy García replaces the ace he was traded for
• Kaz Sasaki and Seattle’s incredible bullpen
• Seattle hosts an All-Star Game for the ages
• 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