Groz Remembers 2001 Mariners: Carlos Guillén takes over at SS after ARod leaves
2001: A Baseball Odyssey – a weekly look back at the record-setting 2001 Mariners and the players who made them who they were.
After the team’s emotional clinching of the division on Sept. 18, the Mariners went into a funk, losing four of their next six games. They came out of it, though, thanks in no small part to the man who replaced Alex Rodriguez.
The Mariners had incredibly good fortune in replacing the three superstars from the late 1990s that had they lost. First, Randy Johnson’s departure was eased by the success of young Freddy Garcia, who was acquired in the deal that sent Johnson to Houston. Ken Griffey Jr. was missed, but not so much thanks to Mike Cameron. And although people tend to think Alex Rodriguez was replaced by Ichiro (and as a star he was), his replacement in the field also came from the Johnson deal, and that was Carlos Guillén.
Guillén got some at-bats at third base and second base during the first few years after he joined the Mariners, and he had a terrific moment in the 2000 playoffs, delivering a walk-off, series-winning drag bunt single against the White Sox.
In 2001, the 25-year-old Guillén got his chance to be a regular, replacing Rodriguez after the 1999 American League MVP left in free agency for the Rangers.
The Mariners’ bats were back in business in a 13-2 win Sept. 25 in Texas, and Guillen had himself a day, going 3 for 5 with a homer and a triple as the M’s kept the quest for 116 wins alive (click here for the box score). Guillén had a solid season in ’01 and several more until the Mariners made an unwise trade with Detroit, where Guillén made three All-Star teams.
There was always something special to him about his time with the Mariners, though, and after leaving the Tigers as a free agent, he signed a minor league deal with Seattle in February 2012. He was hoping for one last year with the team, but after a month he called it quits on a fine 14-year career.
More 2001 Mariners memories from Groz
• Seattle’s special moment after baseball’s post-9/11 return
• On Sept. 10, M’s were still doing what they did best
• 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