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The Seattle Mariners are an American professional baseball team based in Seattle, Washington. Enfranchised in 1977, the Mariners are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Safeco Field has been the Mariners' home ballpark since July 1999. From their 1977 inception until June 1999, the club's home park was the Kingdome.
The "Mariners" name originates from the prominence of marine culture in the city of Seattle. They are nicknamed "the M's", a title featured in their primary logo from 1987–1992. The current team colors are Navy Blue, Northwest Green (also known as dark cyan), and Metallic Silver, after having been Royal Blue and Gold from 1977–1992. Their mascot is the Mariner Moose.
The organization did not field a winning team until 1991, and any real success eluded them until 1995 when they won their first division championship and defeated the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series. The game-winning hit in Game 5, in which Edgar Martinez drove home Ken Griffey, Jr. to win the game in the 11th inning, clinched a series win for the Mariners, and has since become an iconic moment in team history.
The Mariners won 116 games in 2001, which set the American League record for most wins in a single season and tied the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the Major League record for most wins in a single season.
Despite several successful seasons, especially between 1995 and 2001, they are one of only two MLB franchises (and the only American League team) never to have gained a berth in a World Series; the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals of the National League are the other team.
Owned by Nintendo of America, the Mariners are one of three Major League Baseball teams under corporate ownership; the other two are the Atlanta Braves and the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Mariners were created as a result of a lawsuit. In 1970, in the aftermath of the Seattle Pilots' purchase and relocation to Milwaukee (as the Milwaukee Brewers) by future Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig, the City of Seattle, King County, and the state of Washington (represented by then-State Attorney General and later U.S. Senator Slade Gorton) sued the American League for breach of contract. Confident that Major League Baseball would return to Seattle within a few years, King County built the multi-purpose Kingdome, which would become home to the NFL's expansion Seattle Seahawks in 1976.
The Mariners played their first game on April 6, 1977, to a sold-out crowd of 57,762 at the Kingdome, losing 7–0 to the California Angels. The first home run in team history was hit on April 10, 1977, by designated hitter Juan Bernhardt. That year, star pitcher Diego Segui, in his last major league season, became the only player to play for both the Pilots and the Mariners. The Mariners finished with a 64–98 record, echoing the record the 1969 Pilots once held. In 1979, Seattle hosted the 50th Major League Baseball All-Star Game. After the 1981 season, the Mariners were sold to California businessman and future U.S. Ambassador to Spain George Argyros.
In 1993, the Mariners donned their current uniforms. During the 1992–93 offseason, the Mariners hired manager Lou Piniella, who had led the Cincinnati Reds to victory in the 1990 World Series. Mariner fans embraced Piniella, and he would helm the team from 1993 through 2002, winning two American League Manager of the Year Awards along the way.
The 2001 Mariners led the major leagues in winning percentage all season long, easily winning the American League West division championship, breaking the 1998 Yankees American League single-season record of 114 wins, and matching the Major League Baseball record for single-season wins of 116 set by the Chicago Cubs in 1906. At the end of the season, Ichiro won the AL MVP, AL Rookie of the Year, and one of three outfield Gold Glove Awards, becoming the first player since the 1975 Boston Red Sox's Fred Lynn to win all three in the same season.
On October 22, 2008 the Mariners announced the hiring of Jack Zduriencik, formerly scouting director of the Milwaukee Brewers, as their general manager. Weeks later, on November 18, the team named Oakland Athletics bench coach Don Wakamatsu as its new field manager. Wakamatsu and Zduriencik hired an entirely new coaching staff for 2009, which included former World Series MVP John Wetteland as bullpen coach. The off-season also saw a litany of roster moves, headlined by a 12-player, 3-team trade that included sending All-Star closer J.J. Putz to the New York Mets and brought 5 players—including prospect Mike Carp and outfielder Endy Chavez from New York and outfielder Franklin Gutierrez from the Cleveland Indians—to Seattle. Many of the moves, like the free agent signing of Mike Sweeney, were made in part with the hope of squelching the clubhouse infighting that plagued the Mariners in 2008. It also saw the return of Seattle favorite Ken Griffey Jr. The 2009–10 offseason was highlighted by the trade for 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee from the Philadelphia Phillies, the signing of third baseman Chone Figgins and the contract extension of star pitcher "King" Felix Hernandez.
On June 2, 2010 Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement after 22 MLB seasons
On August 9, 2010 the Mariners fired field manager Don Wakamatsu along with bench coach Ty Van Burkleo, pitching coach Rick Adair and performance coach Steve Hecht. Daren Brown, the manager of the AAA affiliate Tacoma Rainiers, took over as interim field manager. Roger Hansen, the former Minor League catching coordinator, was promoted to bench coach. Carl Willis, the former Minor League pitching coordinator, was promoted to pitching coach.
The Mariners hired former Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge as their new manager on October 19, 2010.
On November 10, 2010, Dave Niehaus, the Mariners' play-by-play announcer since the team's founding, died of a heart attack at the age of 75.
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