Welcome to Sodo Mojo’s first installment of Throwback Thursday. This is the stage where we get to reminisce on all our favorite Seattle Mariner moments, players, and experiences. There is no better place to start than where it all began; the Kingdome. We don’t care that it is considered one of the ugliest stadiums in the history of baseball. It was our dome, and it was the place that we called home to all our favorite players and memories that made us love these guys.
The Seattle Mariners began their inaugural season in 1977, and the Kingdome was there to welcome them with open arms. Ok, more like welcomed them with a large slab of concrete and fresh Astroturf. It was always great trying to find a parking spot from one of the 1,100 spaces in front of the Kingdome. Entering the field for the first time seemed endless. You would have to walk back and forth; up and down in a corkscrew manner outside the rim of the stadium just to get to your section. Once you got to your seat, you could finally catch your breath and enjoy the view of a partially filled 60,000 seat capacity stadium.
The Kingdome was called home by all of our favorite Mariner greats. Each member of the Mariners Hall of Fame played in the dome during the prime of their careers. Images of Ken Griffey Jr. climbing the outfield wall to rob homeruns, Jay Buhner staining the right field turf with his chew, Dan Wilson throwing out runners, Randy Johnson pointing to the sky after every clutch strike out, all to the tune of Dave Niehaus’ iconic commentary are the moments that still give us goose bumps as we watch the highlight reels over, and over, and over again.
Nothing was more exciting than a packed house of screaming fans cheering on the most memorable Mariner plays in history. The Kingdome was the stage for arguably the greatest Mariner moment; The Double. With the Mariners down by one run and Game 5 of the American League Division Series on the line, Edgar Martinez stepped up to the plate.
Edgar laced a ball down the left field line scoring Joey Cora to tie the game, but the entire crowd was on their feet as Ken Griffey Jr. rounded third base. The image of all the Mariners piling on top of Junior after he scored the decisive run will be permanently imprinted as the greatest Kingdome experience of all time.
It may have been a wonderful stage for beautiful memories, but the Kingdome also had its dangerous moments. The wear and tear of time took its toll on the dome, as it housed both the Mariners and Seattle Seahawks for three decades. Tiles would eventually begin to fall from the ceiling onto the seats below, and the lack of enjoying the summers outdoors in Seattle ended up being just a few of the reasons why the city chose to build a new stadium.
On March 26, 2000, all of Seattle stopped and watched as the Kingdome was finally imploded. Fans may have said goodbye to the home of their favorite Mariner moments, but the bittersweet feeling was immediately replaced with the excitement of what was soon to come. Thank you, Kingdome for being our second home. You were a place where we could escape reality and enter a fully enclosed field of magical moments. We will never forget what you did for our city, and for our Seattle Mariners.
Long Live The Kingdome!