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During game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series, the Mariners third baseman Edgar Martinez scored a double hit that helped the Mariners tie up the scores and go on to win the series. The Double is one of the most exciting moments in the history of the franchise, and is credited with helping to keep the team in Seattle by increasing fan interest in the game.
Lead-up to The Seattle Mariners Double
During the 1995 baseball season, the MLB had just returned from the player strike that had resulted in the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. The Mariners were one of the stronger teams in the league but did not really come into themselves until during the playoffs. At one point they were 12 games behind the Los Angeles Angels in the division standings but they assailed that gap in the last six weeks of the regular season, to finish joint top of the division with the Angels.
In the playoff game, they beat the Angels 9-1 where they faced the New York Yankees in the first round. The Yankees won the first two games of the series before the series shifted to Seattle. The Mariners were now in need of a clean sweep in order to win the series. They responded by winning game three and four, both of which were played at their home stadium, and set up a winner takes all game 5.
The game was a big affair in Washington state, with the 57,000-seater Kingdome selling out and over 78% of all households tuning in. The Yankees raced to a 4-2 lead by the bottom of the eighth inning when Ken Griffey scored his fifth homerun of the series to make it 4-3. Doug Strange then scored the game leveling run and force extra innings.
How did the Play Unfold?
In the 11th inning, with the scores still tied at 4-4, the Yankees scored a single to courtesy of a hit from Randy Velardes. The Mariners, now batting in the home half of the eleventh had to score or lose. Griffey was on batting duty for the Mariners against the Yankee’s Jack Mcowell at the plate. Joey Cora began with a bunt single, with Griffey hitting a single towards center field.
Yankees manager Buck Showalter contested the score, arguing that Cora should have been penalized for running off the baselines, but the umpires affirmed the call. Martinez, one of the best hitters on the league, stepped onto the plate for the Mariners and hit a sharp drive towards the left field corner. Griffey shot off at the crack of the bat and scored. Within seconds, the Mariners players and coaching staff mobbed and were heaped in a joyous pile as the realization that they had won the series sunk in.
Aftermath of the Seattle Mariners Double
In the American League Championship Series, the Mariners would fall to the Indians in six games, but the excitement that the game generated helped to reestablish Seattle as a baseball city, with the Mariners cancelling their reported interest in relocation.
In 2007, Edgar Martinez was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. He was eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame starting in 2010, but did not make it then or in his next eight tries. After the induction of Ken Griffey Jr, he started to campaign for Edgar ad then in 2019 Edgar was elected to the Hall of Fame. He is the second Mariner, after Griffey, and the first player who spent the majority of his career as a DH.
How The Double Built Safeco Field/T-Mobile Park
The Mariners desperately needed to replace the Kingdome that had begun detiorating during the 1994 season with pieces of cement falling from the season. The team would have had to play their last 20 games on the road that season because of the collapse, but the 1994 strike saved them from it.
The team put a band-aid on the roof for the 1995 season, but it became clear that the team needed a new stadium built and it was put to a public vote. The vote took place at the end of September before the Mariners run to the their first playoff berth and their eventual defeat of the Yankees. This lead to the Washington State Legislature doing a separate funding package and approving it which ultimately lead to the building of Safeco Field/T-Mobile Park.
The Mariners would remain in the Kingdom until June 27th, 1999. Their final game was a sell-out and then three weeks later, the Mariners debuted in their new field.