Once again, let’s take a trip back to the 1990s to look at the latest of the Seattle Mariners to be featured for Throwback Thursday, Tino Martinez.
I have a love/hate relationship with Tino Martinez. Being born in 1988, I missed/was too young for the start of his career. He was drafted by the Mariners in 88, and made his debut in 1990, playing a bit more in 1991, before becoming a regular in 1992.
His first three years as the starting first baseman were nothing special. With an average slash line of .261/.327/.453 paired with just 18 homers and 62 RBI per season, there was a lot to be desired during a time period where there was plenty of power in baseball, especially from first base.
1995 though… 1995 was a completely different season. Not just for Tino Martinez, but for the Seattle Mariners as well.
Coming off some rough years… arguably 18 straight, all since their inception, 1995 looked to be different. The team had Dan Wilson, Ken Griffey Jr. Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, baby Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Jeff Nelson, and Norm Charlton. The team had a lot of great players.
Then there was Tino Martinez. He would easily and by far play the best season of his young career, as a 27-year-old, the age where most players reach their prime. Like another throwback Thursday player in Carlos Guillen, the best season by the youngster would also be his last on the team.
During 1995, the Seattle Mariners first baseman would put together a season that no one expected.
Not only would he make his first All-Star game, but he would show that he definitely belonged in the conversation of being an All-Star year in and year out. .293/.369/.551, 31 homers, 111 RBI, 35 doubles.
He would also be a key cog in the lineup, a large part of the reason the Mariners would make it to the postseason first time in franchise history.
Unfortunately, the Seattle Mariners of old didn’t really like to pay people, and that would be the end of his time with the Mariners. At least all he did with the Yankees was average. He posted this line over the next six years:
.279/.348/488, 154 games, 87 runs, 30 doubles, 29 HR, 115 RBI, 15 SB.
How nice would it have been to have that?
Oh well, we got a great year out of Tino Martinez, and he helped to create a Mariners fan for life in route to getting them to their first-ever playoff birth.