Given Michael Pineda’s success with the Mariners, a look at the Top 10 rookies in Seattle pro sports history.
10 Jim Zorn, Seahawks, 1976: A free agent out of Cal Poly Pomona, who came to the Seahawks after a cup of coffee with the Dallas Cowboys, Zorn did not put great numbers as a rookie, throwing 12 touchdown passes against 27 interceptions. But he generated so much exitement over the expansion Seahawks that he became a local celebrity almost from the moment he stepped on the field.
9 Jack Sikma, Sonics, 1977-78: Sikma played in all 82 games for the Sonics, averaging 10.7 points and 8.0 rebounds, and was instrumental in Seattle reaching the NBA Finals opposite the Washington Bullets. He made the All-Rookie first team for his efforts.
8 Kazuhiro Sasaki, Mariners, 2000: Set a franchise record by notching 37 saves (total ranked third in the American League) as the Mariners reached the postseason for the first time since 1997. Sasaki received the American League Rookie of the Year award by scoring 104 votes, easily out-distancing Terrence Long of Oakland, who had 83.
7 Sue Bird, 2002: A two-time All-American at the University of Connecticut, which she led to the 2002 NCAA title, Bird finished as runner-up to Tamika Catchings in the WNBA Rookie of the Year voting after averaging 14.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 6.0 assists in 32 games. Along with Catchings, became the first two players named All-WNBA first team as rookies.
6 Xavier McDaniel, Sonics, 1985-86: Selected by Seattle in the first round of 1985 NBA Draft (fourth overall choice), McDaniel averaged 17.1 points and 8.0 rebounds in his first year out of Wichita State. He not only made the All-Rookie first team, he finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting to New York’s Patrick Ewing (Karl Malone finished third).
5 Mark Langston, Mariners, 1984: He would have won the AL Rookie of the Year award had it not been for teammate Alvin Davis’ big season (29 home runs). Langston went 17-10 (most by a Seattle rookie) with a 3.40 ERA and led the American League with 204 strikeouts. Had he not also led the league in walks (118), he might have been ROY.
4 Curt Warner, Seahawks, 1983: Selected by the Seahawks out of Penn State, Warner posted the best season by a rookie running back in franchise history, rushing for 1,449 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl and was selected first-team All-AFC by Pro Football Weekly and United Press International.
3 Alvin Davis, Mariners, 1984: Davis started the season at Triple-A Salt Lake City, but got called up early in April and went on to bang 29 home runs. He edged teammate Mark Langston for the Rookie of the Year award and went on to post eight productive seasons with the Mariners, hitting 160 career home runs.
2 Kevin Durant, Sonics, 2007-08: The rookie from Texas averaged 20.3 points — 7.6 points more than any other first-year player in the league — and 4.4 rebounds in his only year in Seattle (Sonics departed for Oklahoma City after the season). In winning the ROY, Durant became the only player in franchise history to capture that award.
1 Ichiro, Mariners, 2001: Not only won the American League Rookie of the Year award, but won the Most Valuable Player trophy as well after hitting .351 with 242 hits, the most in the Major Leagues since Bill Terry had 254 in 1930. He made the All-Star team, won a Silver Slugger award and a Rawlings Gold Glove.
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