SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners ‘preview’: Looking at the 1990 team before Johnson’s no-hitter

Apr 3, 2020, 3:21 PM
Mariners Randy Johnson...
Randy Johnson threw the first no-hitter in Mariners history in 1990. (Getty)
(Getty)

With baseball season delayed for the foreseeable future, 710 ESPN Seattle will be broadcasting classic Mariners games throughout March and April. Tonight’s game is Randy Johnson’s no-hitter from 1990, the first “no-no” in Mariners history.

Saturday, June 2, 1990

The 23-27 Seattle Mariners to host Sparky Anderson’s 21-29 Detroit Tigers at the Kingdome. First pitch 7:09.

The Mariners came into the season with moderately high hopes coming off a 73-89 injury-plagued 1989. A group headed by Indianapolis-based media mogul Jeff Smulyan had just purchased the team for $76 million and made an offseason splash signing first baseman Pete O’Brien, a prime free agent that winter.

“I would like to thank our new owner Jeff Smulyan for making our efforts in the free agent market possible,” then-GM Woody Woodward told the AP. “This truly is the beginning of a new era in Seattle Mariners baseball.”

The team returned former Rookie of the Year Alvin Davis who hit .305/.424/.496/.920 in 1989 and had inserted future Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez into every day roles. On the pitching side, they boasted a strong rotation – they finished the season third in WAR – that included Erik Hanson, Matt Young, Brian Holman and Randy Johnson. Second-year manager Jim Lefebvre liked what he saw with his young team, at the end of spring training, telling legendary L.A. Times sportswriter Ross Newhan that he believed the team could win 90 in ’90.

As it turned out, they were still a year away from their first .500 or better season.

Lineups!

Mariners

Harold Reynolds, 2B
Henry Cotto, LF
Alvin Davis, 1B
Jeffrey Leonard, DH
Ken Griffey Jr., CF
Edgar Martinez, 3B
Jay Buhner, RF
Scott Bradley, C
Mike Brumley, SS

Randy Johnson, P

Tigers

Tony Phillips, 2B
Alan Trammell, SS
Gary Ward, LF
Cecil Fielder, 1B
Chet Lemon, RF
Mike Heath, C
Tracy Jones, DH
Ed Romero, 3B
Ken Williams, CF

Jeff Robinson, P

Randy Johnson, looking to bounce back from a subpar outing against the Blue Jays where he allowed 5 runs in 5 2/3 innings, will be pitching on an extra day of rest.

This wasn’t the RJ that you probably remember. In the early days, he was wild. And terrifying. But definitely wild. In his second, third and fourth full seasons in the big leagues, he led the AL in walks. Check out these BB/Ks.

1990: 120/194
1991: 152/228
1992: 144/241

For added fun, he led the league in hit batters in ’92 and ’93 with 18 and 16, respectively.

On this night, he would add six to his walk tally, but none to the hit category.

“A man all alone with himself but not all alone here as 24,000 incredibly rabid M’s fans are looking for that final strike that will set Mariners history…

“Strike, it’s over, he’s done it!” – Dave Niehaus

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Shannon Drayer on Twitter.

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Mariners ‘preview’: Looking at the 1990 team before Johnson’s no-hitter