The Seattle Mariners announced January of this year that they would be inducting 2 new members to the Mariners Hall of Fame. They were an integral part of the greatest era of Seattle Mariners baseball.
Those 2 are the battery of Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson.
These 2 Mariner legends join 4 more in the Mariners Hall of Fame: Alvin Davis, Dave Niehaus, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez.
Let’s take a look back at some of *My* favorite Mariner moments from Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson.
It was June 2, 1990. The Detroit Tigers came to Seattle for a series they would never forget. They probably had no idea they were going to be part of history.
Randy Johnson was on the mound that night which was scary enough for opposing players.
The Big Unit hadn’t quite found his control yet and had everybody a little nervous at the plate.
The result was obvious, with the Mariners winning the game 2-0 and registering 4 hits in the game. The Tigers were held hitless by Johnson, who was the first ever Mariner pitcher to record a no hitter.
He all 9 innings, walking 6 and striking out 8 Tigers on his way to the history books.
What a relief
The famed season of 1995 still provides us with enough electricity to make our hair stand on end. It is easily the best year in Mariners history and everybody involved contributed.
None may have contributed more than the Big Unit, though. Besides his career year, Johnson came up clutch in a surprising role in Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series against the Yankees.
The Mariners has home field advantage, but the system allowed the series to start with 2 games in New York. 2 games the Mariners wish they had back.
Johnson pitched a masterful game 3 in the series to start the Mariners off on a 3 game tear. The series finished with Randy Johnson pitching.
Game 5 saw a back and forth battle between the Mariners and Yankees in the Kingdome. Doing everything they could, Lou Pinella and Buck Showalter threw their aces out in relief appearances to give their team the upper hand.
Roger “Black Jack” McDowell came in for the Yankees while Johnson came in to set up the greatest moment in Seattle Mariners history.
The Big Unit pitched the 9th, 10th and 11th innings in relief, allowing 1 run and striking out 6.
He gave the Mariners the upper hand, and they took advantage by providing the most memorable play in Mariner history.
Twice as nice
Dan Wilson was a catcher. Let’s get that straight, right off the bat. He did not possess great speed, but he did show random displays of power and a prowess behind the plate.
I preface this with the speed comment, because Wilson did something not many catchers in history can boast – he hit 2 inside the park home runs. Both were against the Detroit Tigers.
The first one came September 10, 1997. Wilson would hit an inside the park home run off Tigers starter Justin Thompson. The Mariners went on to a hard fought 10-0 victory.
The second one was the more impactful one.
It was only the first inning, but the Mariners jumped on Tigers starter Frank Castillo. David Degui, Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez were all on base when Dan The Man stepped to the plate.
Wilson hit an inside the park Grand Slam, the first in Mariners history.
What a man
Dan Wilson had a solid career, but did not stand out. He was a journeyman and a true veteran…not a superstar with a highlight reel of his career.
He was one of the more solid catchers at the time and showed it, especially in 1995.
Wilson ranks 1st in Mariners history in games played and home runs by a catcher with 1,237 and 88. He threw out 314 runners in his career.
His impact was as a fan favorite. He was a heart throb to the ladies and a role model to kids who wanted to sit behind the plate. When he walked to the plate and “What A Man” played, the crowd went wild – not just the ladies, either.
Wilson was clutch when it was needed most and was an integral part of the best years in Mariner history.
While you can easily pinpoint a few key Mariner moments that you could attribute to Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson, there is a statistic I will most remember this duo by.
While the 1995 season was by far the most memorable, with Wilson running to the mound after Johnson closed it out in the 11th inning, it was the career number that blows my mind and makes me remember these 2 legends.
That number represents the winning percentage when the battery of Randy Johnson on the mound and Dan Wilson behind the plate.
While there have been dominant teams in history, nobody could touch this duo at the time.
Congratulations Big Unit, Dan The Man. You will forever be remembered, loved and revered for your contributions to this baseball team, to this city.
You gave people hope when there was little left to be hopeful of. You brought respect to a city that had not garnered it in Major League Baseball. You brought glory and pride to a team, a city and to thousands of people.