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Sunday, August 22, 2010
Seattle Mariners Uniform and Team History
Please click on the evolution of the Mariners uniform poster above for a close-up version of the poster. The descriptions below give you some insight and background about the uniforms and/or eras depicted in the poster.
After a brief stint of Major League baseball in Seattle with the Pilots in 1969, (at the end of the season they would move to Milwaukee to become the Brewers), Seattle was again awarded a new team for the 1977 season. The Mariners joined the American League West division as an expansion team and finished its inaugural season in sixth place out of seven teams, with a 64-98 record.
The Mariners first road uniform was a light blue double-knit style that most major league teams succumbed to during the 70’s and early 80’s. It was a pullover style, made of stretchy, synthetic material. The pants were called “Sans-a-Belt”’s because the elasticized waistline eliminated the need for a belt. The trim around the collar, sleeves and belt were all gold, white and dark blue.
This home uniform for the Mariners first season featured a trident that formed the “M” in Mariners across the chest, while the uniform was a double-knit style that most major league teams succumbed to during the 70’s and early 80’s. It was a pullover style, made of stretchy, synthetic material. The pants were called “Sans-a-Belt”’s because the elasticized waistline eliminated the need for a belt.
The Mariners began playing their first season in the Kingdome, which was known as a hitter’s ballpark. They would call the Kingdome home until 1999, when the Mariners moved across the street to Safeco Field, which featured a retractable roof. In this first season they were led at the plate by right fielder Leroy Stanton who hit .275 and led the team with 27 home runs, while tying for the team lead with 90 RBI. They would finish the season with a 64-98 record.
The letters that make up “Seattle” across the front of this road jersey have changed slightly since their inaugural season. The patch on the left sleeve is a star with a new “M” trident logo in it.
The Mariners struggles continued as they finished in last place in the American League West division this season, going 59-103. A bright spot for Seattle was the batting of first baseman Bruce Bochte who led the team with a .300 average, while hitting 13 homers and driving in 78 RBI.
This road uniform has several changes from the last one we have shown on the poster. Although the “Seattle” across the chest has not changed, the numbers below it have, with a different style. Also the piping around the sleeves has changed to gold and dark blue stripes running from the collar down the sleeve. Around the collar there is now just dark blue as opposed to gold, white and blue. Stripes have been added down the pant leg, matching the stripes on the sleeves. Also, you’ll note that the “Sans-a-Belt” has removed white from its colors and the buttons, or “snaps” are off to the side as opposed to being in the center.
Although Seattle finished in sixth place with a record of 74-88, the team has its first star emerge in first baseman Alvin Davis. He led the team with 27 home runs and 116 RBI, while hitting .284. Davis became the Mariners first American League rookie of the year.
This home uniform shows all the changes from the 1984 uniform with the exception of the stripes on the sleeve and pant leg, as they are now blue, gold and blue.
The team once again finishes in sixth place with a 74-88 season, although several players were standouts for the Mariners. Alvin Davis continued to have a hot bat hitting .287 with 18 homers and 78 RBI. Outfielder Phil Bradley had a .300 batting average while belting 26 home runs and driving in 88. Pitcher Mike Moore went 17 and 10 for the season, leading the Seattle pitching staff.
Thankfully the pullover jerseys are gone! The Mariners made the switch to button down tops in ’97 and with it came new script for both the writing and the numbers on the front. The trident is gone and block letters that are blue with gold outlining make up the “Mariners” on the chest. Simple blue piping goes around the collar and down the buttons. Also a real belt has been added to the pants, where a thin blue stripe lines the pant leg.
With a record of 73-89, this season would mark the first year for a rookie centerfielder that would thrill not only Mariners fans but all of baseball. Ken Griffey Jr. made an immediate impact at the Kingdome, hitting a home run in his first home at bat on the first pitch. The following season would mark the first time a father and son would be teammates, as Ken Griffey Sr. joins the Mariners to play along side his son.
The Mariners have made yet another change to their uniform as we see on this home jersey. The “MARINERS” script across the chest has changed, while the color Northwest green has been added as a border. Above the “M” is a nautical compass rose, with a baseball in the center. The patch on the left sleeve is also the compass logo with “Seattle Mariners” written in a circle around the outside of the patch.
This season would see the Mariners pitching staff led the American League in strikeouts with 1083, while pitcher Randy Johnson dominated batters, striking out a major league leading 308 hitters. Even under new manager Lou Piniella, the team finishes in 4th place in the A.L. West with an 82 and 80 record.
This jersey is what is referred to nowadays as a “3rd jersey”. A 3rd jersey is a concept that became commonplace by the mid 90’s. Most 3rd jerseys are worn occasionally at home as well as on the road, giving a team a third option as to what uniform to wear. And of course, the addition of a third jersey adds to the options fans can buy, thereby increasing apparel revenues and ultimately benefiting the team. More recently, teams have begun adding 4th and even 5th jerseys to their roster of uniform possibilities.
The jersey style has remained the same as the previous seasons, with the color being teal. The lettering across the chest is white with blue outlines. The patch on the right sleeve is the Mariners team patch, while the commemorative patch on the right sleeve is in honor of the 125th year of professional baseball. The patch has the Major League Baseball logo and “125th Anniversary” on it, and celebrates the Cincinnati Red Stockings 1869 team that was the first openly professional team and went 65-0 in a nationwide barnstorming season.
In this, the year of professional baseball’s 125th Anniversary, there would be no World Series for the first time in 90 years, when a player lockout in August 1994 put an end to the season. The Mariners were sitting in 3rd place in the AL West with a 49-63 record, only 2 games back of the Texas Rangers. Oh what might have been… What a shame.
Seattle has gone for the no sleeve, or vest look that several teams used in the late 50’s and early 60’s and were now adopting once again. Notice the “S” logo on the collar of the undershirt, which began in the 90’s.
Despite finishing in 3rd place in the AL West with a 76-85 record, several Mariner players have banner seasons. Ken Griffey Jr. belts an American League leading 56 home runs, while shortstop Alex Rodriguez hits 42 homers and snags 46 bases. These two led the team to the AL lead in home runs with 234.
This gray road uniform is similar to the team’s jerseys from previous years, with a few subtle differences. This is a sleeved jersey as opposed to vest style seen in the 1998 uniform we show on the poster. Also the nautical compass has moved from the chest to a patch on the left sleeve.
Once again the Mariners failed to make the post season, finishing with a 79-83 record, after tasting it in both ’95 and ’97. This season would be the last one for Ken Griffey Jr. in a Mariners uniform. He would lead the American League in home runs once again with 48 and then become a free agent in the off-season. After 10 seasons in Seattle, Griffey went back to his hometown of Cincinnati, to play for the Reds, the team he watched his father play for while he was growing up.
In July of this season the team would move across the street to their new home Safeco Field, a gorgeous new ballpark that features the old style feel on the exterior, while having the modern comfort of a retractable roof to keep out the Seattle rain. When closed, the roof sits above the field and seats like an umbrella, letting fresh air breeze in from the sides, as well as giving fans a view of Seattle’s downtown.
Once again we show a 3rd jersey for this year. The teal is gone and a darker blue has taken its place. The “nautical compass rose” has made a reappearance on the chest as the “S” logo that appeared on the players caps for several seasons.
With a record of 91-71, Seattle found themselves back in the post season, behind their rookie of the year, Japanese closer Kazuhiro Sasaki. They swept the White Sox in three straight games and went on to face the dreaded Yankees. The Mariners would take two games from the Yankees, but would lose the series 4-2 to the eventual World Series champions.
This road gray uniform has two patches on either sleeve. The patch on the right sleeve commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the American League. All AL teams wore this patch during the season. On the left sleeve is the All-Star patch in honor of the team hosting the All-Star game.
Seattle hosted the All-Star game for the second time, (the first was in 1979). In a touching on field ceremony, commissioner Bud Selig presents lifetime achievement awards to Cal Ripken Jr. and Kirby Puckett, who would retire at season’s end. Ripken goes out on top hitting a home run and winning the All-Star game MVP award.
The Mariners add yet another outstanding Japanese rookie this season in outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. He makes an immediate impact on the team and by seasons end is awarded the Rookie of the Year award as well as the AL MVP award. The Mariners win an amazing 116 games in the regular season, only losing 46, to tie the major league record with the 1906 Chicago Cubs who won 116 in a 152 game season. The Mariners broke the Yankees 1998 record of 114 regular season wins. The Mariners play the Cleveland Indians in the Divisional Series and take the full five games to end the tribe’s season. In the AL Championship, the Mariners face their bitter rival New York Yankees. The experience of the Yanks pays off yet again as they take the pennant in 5 games.
Text not yet written but the Mariners put up a great 88-74 and finished 2nd in the AL West, 6 games behind the Angels.
Celebrate the Mariners' uniform history by owning a piece of history:
If you love the Seattle Mariners and the history of the Mariners franchise, you might really love to own an original piece of artwork celebrating the team's historic uniforms as seen in the poster at the top of this blog - you can actually own one of those original pieces of art! There are only 13 pieces of original art available for sale, and when these 13 are sold, that's it, they're all sold out.
These original watercolor paintings would make a great gift (birthday gift, anniversary gift, retirement gift, Christmas gift, etc.) for someone you love or even a great gift for yourself (one of these framed pieces would look fantastic in your home or office). Each piece can be bought one of three ways:
1. As unframed art that you could have framed or mounted yourself (the one on the left)
2. Framed in our "Classic" framed version (the middle version)
3. Framed in our "Deluxe" framed version (the version on the right)
If you would like more information about this great artwork including the three ways you could purchase each piece, please visit our Seattle Mariners YouTube video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDVUE7qA4_E or go directly to the artwork website www.heritagesportsart.com/Seattle-Mariners-c157/ where you can see and purchase the artwork.
And if someone you know loves the history of sports uniforms (but maybe another team) and loves great art, please let them know that we have over 1500 pieces of great original artwork for sale at www.heritagesportsart.com (all NFL teams, all MLB teams, all NHL teams, all CFL teams, select NCAA football teams) or check out each team's video at the Heritage Sports Art YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/user/ssillcox
And please search my blog archive http://heritagejerseys.blogspot.com/ for other blogs on the history of the Mariners.
This text was written by Scott Sillcox and was last updated August 22, 2010. I have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information, but I am human and can make mistakes. If you believe I have made a mistake, please let me know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org !