Sunday, November 24, 2013

#3 Skip Jutze, Catcher

Skip originally made his way to the majors for a brief stop with the Cardinals in 1972. He would bounce up and down with the Astros between the 1973 and 1976 seasons. Prior to the inaugural 1977 season in Seattle, the Mariners would send a minor league pitcher and cash to Houston for Skip to come to Seattle. While Bob Stinson and a few other catchers would be behind the dish, Skip also got his share of time in 1977. At the end of the 1978 spring training Skip was let go by the Mariners and would retire from baseball after making the maiden voyage in Seattle.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

#2 Julio Cruz, 2nd Base

  1. After coming up in the California Angels system, the Mariners took a chance on Julio in the expansion draft after the 1976 season. While playing on loan to the AAA Hawaii Islanders, Julio was Called up and made his debut with Seattle on July 4th during the 1977 season in the Kingdome against the Chicago White Sox. Julio would bat lead off and go 2 for 3 on that first day. One of the first bigger stars in Seattle would become a staple in the Mariners infield until in June of 1983 when Julio was ironically traded to the White Sox for a slightly younger Tony Bernazard who was thought to be a better 2nd baseman. Tony made it through 1983 and was shipped to Cleveland for another 2nd baseman in Jack Perconte along with DH Gorman Thomas. Julio Retired as a player after the 1986 season on the South Side. He has been doing the Spanish play by play for the Mariners since the early 1990's and is still active in the community in the Seattle area.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

#1 Bill Stein, 3rd Base

This is how Topps envisioned the Mariners for their 1977 set

The Mariners would set sail on their maiden voyage in the Kingdome in 1977. The man that would play almost the whole season that year, and most of the first four seasons was Bill Stein. Bill was chosen with the 5th pick in the expansion draft that was Mariners and Blue Jays coming in the league. Bill was the rock at the hot corner in 1977 and 1978 before being moved around and losing most of his playing time in 1979 and 1980. After the 1980 season, Bill left Seattle in free agency to go to the Texas Rangers where he would play through the 1985 season and would retire from baseball as a player. Bill would coach and manage in the minors and independent ball from the 1987 season through the mid 90's before calling it quits.

This is how Bill looked on the 1976 set. Notice the tighter shot and airbrushing to make him a Mariner for '77
pic courtesy of the Baseball Card Cyber Museum

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fly by night, and ready, set sail!!

As you may know through the history of baseball, the Pilots were a one year team. As they were to head north for Seattle to start the 1970 season, the team was secretly sold to a car salesman named Bud Selig and moved to Milwaukee.  While the team was not a big success in Seattle, they weren't give the time to get to be the Northwest's team.

Thankfully for the fans in Seattle, Sen. Slade Gorton would fight MLB to bring a team back in time for the 1977 season. The city and King County would build a multi purpose domed facility for the soon to be Mariners, and the expansion NFL Seahawks. Sadly for the fans of the new team would have to deal with another re run of the 1969 team.

The Pilots would consist of a bunch of has been's, could be's, and never will be's. They would show that with a 64-98 season in Seattle. When the Mariners would come to be, they were in the same boat with the cast of characters in their first season would match the Pilots with a 64-98 record. Sadly, the team would take 14 seasons just to finally make it to a .500 season in 1991. The team would finally make the postseason in 1995, and would make it again in 1997, and 2000. In the 2001 season the Mariners would tie the record for wins in a season with 116, but would fall in the ALCS. Since the 2002 season, it was been a wasteland of success in Seattle baseball.