Baseball history has always been exciting to me. As a kid with a long bus ride every day (30-45 minutes each way), I had a lot of time to read. Plus, it was something I liked doing. So I would read all the baseball books I could find. It’s not as prevalent now, but I still enjoy learning about baseball history and even going back to remember things that happened with the Mariners.
The one that came to me over the weekend was a curiosity about the best single-season offensive performance by a Mariners player. Would it be from Ken Griffey Jr? Edgar? Could Bret Boone in 2001 dethrone them all? Or is it everyone’s most disliked Mariners player, Alex Rodriguez?
Alex Rodriguez had the greatest Mariners single-season offensive performance back in 2000.
Look, if you wanna go off of key moments, or what they meant at a certain time, then I’m sure you have a great argument. Personally, The Double and Edgar’s grand slam are always going to mean the most to me, and be an amazing mix of high profile and high leverage moments. Oh, and check back later this week, because I’m gonna have more on that with something important that you may not remember.
I’m going with A-rod’s 2000 season as the greatest for the Mariners. For those who don’t remember, here is what he put together that year.
- .316/.420/.606, 134 R, 34 2B, 41 HR, 132 RBI, 15 SB, 100 BB
The crazy thing about it was that it was also his best defensive season EVER. For a minor disclaimer, I am using Baseball Reference for WAR stats and comparisons. I know some use Fangraphs, but I have personally always enjoyed Baseball Reference more, so it’s what I go with.
He had a 2.4 dWAR that season. He didn’t win a Gold Glove. He didn’t win the MVP. Yet, he had a 10.4 WAR that year, which is actually T-38th best season for a batter all-time. When you take out the players ahead of him with multiple seasons at 10.5 or higher… Babe Ruth (7), Willie Mays (5), Ty Cobb (3), Rogers Hornsby (3), Barry Bonds (3), Mike Trout (2), Mickey Mantle (2), Ted Williams (2), and Carl Yastrzemski (2)… He is actually just the 18th batter to have a season that good.
Should A-Rod have won the MVP that year, or even the Gold Glove? Omar Vizquel won in 2000, which was 8th in a row. His 9th would come the next year, followed by a three-year break before winning 10 & 11. Here’s the thing. Omar only had a 0.8 dWAR that year. For those curious, Fangraphs didn’t like him that year either.
As for the MVP, he was actually third, with both Jason Giambi (7.8 WAR) and Frank Thomas (6.0 WAR) ahead of him. So should he have won? You know, that depends on how you feel about pitchers because Pedro Martinez actually had an 11.7 WAR! If you think A-Rod’s numbers were good…
1.74 WAR, 0.737 WHIP, 291 ERA+, 2.17 FIP, 284 Ks.
You either give it to A-Rod or you give it to Pedro. Either way, it definitely should’ve gone to Giambi or Thomas. I do think I would’ve given him the Gold Glove though.
A big reason that a lot of Mariners fans have either forgotten about A-Rod’s season or wiped it from their memory banks, was that 2000 was A-Rod’s last season with the Mariners. It leads to an insane what-if possibility if the Mariners decided to pay him, and how it could’ve changed their outcome for the rest of the decade, whether it would’ve been good or bad.
There were some impressive moments that season from him. He had two separate games with 7 RBI, three multi-homer games, an 0-0 game with 5 BB’s, and was hitting .341/.437/.630 through August 23rd. If he would’ve kept that up for the remainder of the year, we wouldn’t be talking about it as just the best Mariners season, but it would’ve lept way up the list of best hitting seasons ever.
Whether or not you are a fan of A-Rod, it’s always worth going back and taking a look at some of the more impressive seasons in Mariners history. There are plenty of worthy candidates, and A-Rod definitely belongs in the argument for the #1 spot on the list.