There aren’t many 40-year-old franchises that can claim as much star power as the Mariners. It’s puzzling that it didn’t translate into more team success. Specifically, when looking back at the golden era of Mariners baseball, it’s ultimately a story of underachievement.
That’s a dazzling array of names in our Mariners’ all-time top 10, isn’t it?
There aren’t many 40-year-old franchises that could claim such star power — two enshrined Hall of Famers (Ken Griffey Jr. and Randy Johnson), one should-be Hall of Famer (Edgar Martinez), one surefire future Hall of Famer (Ichiro), one Hall of Fame talent with a scarlet letter (Alex Rodriguez), and one possible Hall of Famer (Felix Hernandez).
In fact, the more you ponder that list, the more puzzling (maddening?) it becomes that it didn’t translate into more-tangible team success. Specifically, when looking back at what qualifies as the golden era of Mariners baseball — the seven-season span from 1995 to 2001 that accounted for the only four playoff appearances in club history — it’s ultimately a story of underachievement.
Perhaps that’s why Mariner nostalgia is guaranteed to rankle the rank-and-file fans who think it’s used as a diversion technique to obscure the glaring scarcity of achievement. The Mariners and Washington Nationals remain the only two MLB franchises to have never reached the World Series — but the Nationals are headed for their fourth playoff appearance since 2012, while the Mariners face a steep uphill road to attain their first since 2001.
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That’s not to say those weren’t thrilling times, and that they don’t deserve to be commemorated. Let’s face it, the Mariners don’t have much else to cling to. But it might be a bit more relevant if all those superstars had delivered at least a pennant.
The fact that they didn’t remains one of the great mysteries, and…