BY SPNW Staff 07:04PM 07/14/2015

Mariners’ fab four: Griffey, Edgar, Ichiro, Felix

Mariners fans voted, and they declared Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez as the four greatest players in franchise history.

Ken Griffey Jr. made the “Franchise Four,” announced by Major League Baseball Tuesday.  / DR Collection

The “Franchise Four,” aka “The Mount Rushmore Four,” a campaign by Major League Baseball to select the top four players in the history of each of its 30 franchises, concluded Tuesday night prior to the All-Star Game in Cincinnati with Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez topping a non-controversial vote by Mariners fans.

Except — Randy Johnson, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in a matter of weeks, didn’t make the list even though he is the most dominant pitcher in franchise history and its first Cy Young Award winner.

Griffey’s selection was a no-brainer. He made made 10 All-Star teams during his tenure (1989-99) in Seattle and won the American League MVP award in 1997 unanimously with a career-high 56 home runs, 147 RBIs and 125 runs scored. More than any other player, Griffey is responsible for keeping the Mariners from moving out of Seattle.

Martinez played his entire 18-year career with the Mariners, making seven All-Star teams, winning five Silver Slugger awards and two batting titles. Now Seattle’s hitting coach, he delivered “The Double,” the walk-off, two-run hit that lifted the Mariners past the Yankees in the 1995 AL Division Series. When he retired following the 2004 season, the Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award was named in his honor.

Ichiro played 10-plus seasons with the Mariners, winning two batting crowns (2001, 2004) and leading the AL in hits seven times, including his MLB record-breaking 262 in 2004. He made 10 All-Star teams and won the 2001 Rookie of the Year and MVP awards.

Hernandez, who made his MLB debut in August 2005, is the only current Mariner on the list. The 2010 AL Cy Young award winner, Hernandez owns the only perfect game in franchise history and is a six-time All-Star. He is 11-5 with a 2.84 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 112 strikeouts in 18 starts (117.3 innings) this season.

Johnson won the 1995 Cy Young award while pitching for Seattle, and was traded to the Houston Astros July 31, 1998, after franchise concerns that his surgically repaired back would compromise the 35-year-old’s career. But Johnson, who won 130 games in a Seattle uniform, went on to win four more Cy Youngs and a co-World Series MVP award with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He ended his career with 303 wins and is now widely considered the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time.

 


YourThoughts

  • dingle

    How does Randy Johnson not make this list? Preposterous. And an outrage.

    How soon we forget. It’s not Johnson’s fault that the Mariners sent him packing in the absolute zenith (and a lengthy one at that) of his career.

    • rosetta_stoned

      You seem to forget how Johnson tanked the first half of that 1998 season while whining his way out of town.

    • art thiel

      Randy wanted and deserved the big money, and he knew that with Griffey and A-Rod, it wasn’t going to happen in Seattle.

  • jafabian

    I would have had Randy on the list over Edgar however Edgar played at an All-Star level for the club longer than Randy did so I can see why he was chosen. Randy played at an All-Star level and then advanced to a HOF level before he left. As much as people rave about The Double seeing him warming up in the bullpen to go against the Yankees in extra innings sent chills throughout Seattle. Wish there was room for Moyer on this list.

    • dingle

      I loved watching Moyer pitch and loved that he made the absolute most of his limited physical abilities. He was a smart pitcher who had some very good years in Seattle, and he played in the majors until he was damn-near 50. But there’s no way he’s in the conversation,

      • Effzee

        Yeah, Moyer’s not even in the discussion. His longevity is admirable, but he’s not a “Great” by any stretch of the imagination.

        • art thiel

          Moyer is definitely in a second tier behind those guys.

    • Bayview Herb

      A-rod had something in common with Randy. They both couldn’t share the limelight. Randy was traded only when a very generous offer was received from the Mariners and rejected. That way they at least got some value for him. They both showed a disloyalty for the tam which is why neither are on the popular list voted by fans who felt rejected by these two stars.

      • Effzee

        They could have and should have never let him go. The relationship should have and could have never gotten to where it did. And HOF’ers do not typically settle for “Generous” offers.

        • Bayview Herb

          I wuz there at the time.ere you?

        • art thiel

          3 superstars at once were too many for any medium-market team that hadn’t moved into the new stadium.

      • dingle

        Randy Johnson was a world-class red-ass and more than a little prickly. But he was also one of the top five pitchers of his generation and the Mariners, in typical fashion, didn’t want to pay what he was worth.

        It’s no mystery why this organization hasn’t won a pennant in its 40-odd years of existence. Cheap, cheap, cheap. And stupid, too. Which is a bad combination.

        • art thiel

          Mariners made good offers to all three stars of the mid-90s. But all got better offers elsewhere from different teams. The market speaks.

      • art thiel

        Loyalty ended in the mid-70s when free agency commenced. Randy and A-Rod did little different than any other players in the same situation.

        • Bayview Herb

          Probably not, but from the fan perspective, both represented the franchise in value. Apparently the voters felt abandoned, whether an objective position might have differed.

    • art thiel

      Every time I think of Randy coming in in G5 ALDS, the hair on my neck stands up.

    • Ken McLain

      No way Edgar should be off the list – But I would have left Ichiro off

  • Effzee

    I’d take Randy over Felix any day of the week. The Unit delivered in almost every clutch situation he was ever put in. Sadly, we will probably never know how Felix responds under pressure. Not in a Mariner’s uniform anyway.

    • art thiel

      I’d have to agree, although Randy’s early years and his last half-season were shaky. But he helped get them to the playoffs. Not Felix.

  • Bayview Herb

    You are too young to remember the greatest left hand pitcher of all time. In his prime, which unfortunately didn’t last very long due to injuries. Sandy Koufax, with his 4 no hitters, unhitable curve, blazing fastball and near the end the Ephesus pitch.

    • Long-Time Mariners Fan

      As a Midwesterner and dedicated Twins fan in Nineteen-and-Sixty-Five, I certainly remember Mr. Koufax losing his first and then winning his next two starts and earning the Series MVP. That’s three starts in the World Series, folks, both victories being complete games. It was a different game and they’re both different pitchers, but when I saw the remark about “greatest left-handed pitcher of all time,” I immediately thought, “What about Koufax?”

      • art thiel

        Koufax was even more dominant in his time than Randy was in his. Just didn’t last as long.

    • art thiel

      Don’t think Sandy played in Seattle, and as much as I enjoyed him, career length is a big measure. Randy had it, which was remarkable for a guy 6-foot-10.

      • Bayview Herb

        I believe the quote I was referring to was, “Randy was the best left hand pitch to ever play the game.” The Mariners were not mentioned in the piece. Koufax was magic to watch. 4 no hitters and he mostly finished all his games, even with pitching every four days. 18 strikeouts in a game was routine for him. His lack of longevity, it was felt was due to the 4 game rotation and that starters were expected to pitch 9 innings. It wasn’t an accident that he was introduced on the field during the all star game.

        • art thiel

          Got it.