This week your Seattle Mariners seized a feel-good opportunity by announcing the inclusion-to-be of Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson in the club’s Hall of Fame. The word arrived about a week ahead of next week’s annual pre-spring-training event for press members, when team execs tell about all the hopes and dreams for the coming season.
Frequent battery-mates Johnson and Wilson are scheduled to join just four others — Alvin Davis, Dave Niehaus, Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner — in the M’s hall during a July 28 attraction at Safeco Field.
The announcement was attended with the inevitable quest to gauge which other M’s should be admitted to the exclusive club. Seattle Times sports editors unscientifically solicited public opinion Thursday (Jan. 19), finding that, were eligibility rules not a factor, Ken Griffey Jr. would be the overwhelming fan-fave to be inducted — not surprising for various reasons.
Some of us with nothing better to do this week than watch snow turn to freezing rain may have sat back and imagined a suitable addition to a hall of fame of the only American League ballclub never to make it to a World Series (and not likely to be there this season, either). It could be the Dubious Achievement Wing of the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame.
Charter inductees would be easy to find. Among positions players, who could possibly beat out Lenny Randle, who, in 1981, tried to blow foul a slow roller coming toward him along the third-base line? Fitting for the M’s of that era (and several others), Randle was unsuccessful with the attempt.
Pitchers? How 'bout Jeff Weaver in 2007? The M’s had signed him for upwards of $8 million. After six starts, he was winless with an earned-run average of 14.32 — in just 22 innings, yet. He then was placed on the disabled list, later finishing the season respectably by M’s standards with a record of 7-13 and a 6.20 ERA.
The competition intensifies when it comes to dubious managerial considerations. Many would automatically have to give the nod to Maury Wills from that Lenny Randle Miracle Year of 1981 (team record: 44-65 because — mercifully for the M’s — a players’ strike bifurcated the season). ‘Twas April 25 of that year when Wills had the Kingdome ground crew lengthen the batters’ box, apparently to give an advantage to M’s “hitters.” The shenanigan was not lost on an observant Oakland A’s manager Billy Martin, who, needless to say, squealed on Wills. The latter was suspended for two games and fined 500 bucks.
I might instead, for pure entertainment value, give the dubious-manager advantage to Chuck Cottier. On June 2, 1985 the short-timer skipper took exception with an ump’s ruling at Yankee Stadium. The mentor uprooted first base, “chucked” it into right field, then went back to his dugout and hurled an array of equipment onto the playing surface before, of course, being ejected. It was a veritable Lou Piniella highlight reel, punctuated later by the fact that the M’s actually won the game 7-6.
Anyway, if you can beat any of the above, lemme know.