This is not an endorsement of arson | The History of the Seattle Mariners, a Dorktown special


(soft music) – [Jon] The story of the Seattle Mariners is extraordinarily weird and it takes a very long time to tell, so let’s not waste any time. This story begins the only
way it ever could’ve begun: with 140 acts of arson. Robert Bruce Driscoll,
seen here in handcuffs after he was finally caught in 1935, was a transient who had
struggled to find work in the wake of the Great Depression. This era engendered hatred of the rich and capitalism in general in many people, including Driscoll. In the New Deal 1930s, while those in power were
busy trying to cobble together a kinder, gentler type of capitalism, Driscoll took a more direct
approach: setting stuff on fire. One official described him as, “The most dangerous pyromaniac “ever known on the Pacific coast.” Over the course of several years, he destroyed at least $18
million worth of property in today’s money,
indiscriminately setting fire to factories, lumber mills, churches, and a baseball stadium. Dugdale Field was a small
but adequate ballpark that served as home to the
minor league Seattle Indians. Late at night on July 4th, 1932, Driscoll gathered some game
programs that were lying around, used ’em to set the grandstands on fire, retreated to a nearby hill, and watched the whole thing burn down. When it did, the team
was forced to relocate to Civic Stadium. The thing to know about Civic Stadium is that it couldn’t
really be called a field because the term ‘field’ implies grass, which Civic Stadium didn’t quite have. The playing area was almost entirely dirt. It was described as a mudhole, everyone hated it, attendance cratered, and the Indians were in
serious financial trouble. The person who kept the team
in Seattle was Emil Sick, a local beer magnate who
bought the team in 1937 and renamed it the Seattle Rainiers. Among the promises he delivered on was the construction
of a brand new ballpark built right on top of the
burned-down Dugdale Field. It was described as one of
the finest on the continent. In other words, it was a sick stadium. It was named Sick Stadium. We move forward now to the
1960s, when Major League Baseball is playing musical chairs
with American cities. It’s the perfect time for Seattle to try and lure a major sports team. And thanks in part to our arsonist friend, Sick’s Stadium is there
to serve as the bait. The Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Braves, and Kansas City Athletics
all express interest, but plans to expand the ballpark to Major League capacity fall through and discussions stall out. The Kansas City A’s end up
moving to Oakland instead, which makes a very
important person very upset. Missouri Senator Stuart Symington is furious over losing the A’s and demands that the American League put a team back in KC as soon as possible. In 1960, he lost the Democratic
presidential primary to JFK. And it’s been alleged that Kennedy was all set to pick
Symington as his running mate until Lyndon Johnson, again, allegedly, blackmailed his way into the position. Whatever the case, Symington ultimately
receives a consolation prize in the founding of the Kansas City Royals after Symington threatened
to pursue legislation that would jeopardize
Major League Baseball’s precious antitrust exemption, which essentially allowed
it to operate as a monopoly. This could’ve cost MLB tons of money, so they caved in and the Royals were born. Now, the Royals were scheduled
to begin play in 1971. Since the American League
wanted to expand in pairs, they awarded a second
expansion franchise to Seattle, with the estimation that
three years and change was enough time to renovate Sick’s Stadium into a Major League park. But Symington raised hell. He didn’t wanna wait three years
for the Kansas City Royals. He wanted them now. Desperate to escape his wrath, AL owners met in the middle of the night and bumped up the Royals’
opening day by two years, and the same applied
for Seattle’s new team. In the strangest way, it had all happened. A serial arsonist
necessitated the construction of a new stadium that, decades later, served as the bargaining chip necessary for Seattle to land a
Major League Baseball team. In 1969, the Seattle Pilots were born. (soft electronic music) Pilots are gone. (soft saxophone music) – [Alex] So, after their maiden voyage in the Pacific Northwest, the Pilots took off and
headed east to Milwaukee to become the Brewers,
which is completely asinine and nearly unprecedented in the four major American
professional sports leagues, but not completely unprecedented. And in fact, ironically enough, the lone other instance of an MLB team up and leaving their original
city after a single year also involved an organization known as the Milwaukee Brewers. They were MLB’s worst team,
struggled to draw fans, and incurred massive debt, so they were sold for 40-grand and moved to St. Louis for a while before eventually settling
in as the Baltimore Orioles. Over in pro football, the Chargers spent their debut
season in Los Angeles in 1960 and simply couldn’t generate
enough fan interest, as the LA Coliseum was
generally about 90% empty for their games. When San Diego swooped in and offered a temporary
place to play for free, the Chargers packed their bags and headed two hours
south to forever make moot the issue of no one in
LA caring about them. Meanwhile, the Dallas
Texans won a championship in just their third year
of existence in 1962, but hated sharing a market
with the Cowboys so much that they still bailed immediately
after that to Kansas City and renamed the Chiefs. The closest anyone came in the NBA was when the team now known
as the Washington Wizards kicked off their first
couple years in Chicago before relocating to Baltimore and adopting the Bullets moniker, while the Rockets only made
it four years in San Diego before shoddy attendance
resulted in a sale that had ’em Houston-bound in 1971, which, given their astronomical name, I could’ve called from day one. The Tri-Cities Blackhawks
did move to Milwaukee after two years in the NBA, but they’d been around
for a few years prior in a league known as the NBL. And in the NHL, after just two seasons, the Kansas City Scouts
were hemorrhaging money, which led to their sale
and move to Colorado before ultimately becoming
the New Jersey Devils. So, the Seattle Pilots
becoming the Milwaukee Brewers joined just the Chargers
and … Milwaukee Brewers as truly changing markets
after their initial season. They were the last ones to do it. And now, more than a half-century removed, it’s hard to imagine they
won’t remain that way forever. – [Jon] The reason they left really wasn’t that complicated. As a minor league park,
Sick’s Stadium was fine. If they’d had enough time to prepare, they probably could’ve built it into a serviceable Major League stadium. They did not have enough time, and Sick’s Stadium was
an absolute hellhole. (uneasy electronic music) Thanks to Senator Symington’s
impatience and a rough winter, the renovation project derailed. They’d managed to slap
together some bleachers, but builders were still scrambling to put ’em together on Opening Day. Fans were lined up waiting to get in and once they finished
building a row of bleachers, they’d let a few more of ’em through. The visitors press box had an
obstructed view of left field and whenever a ball was hit there, announcers had to turn around and watch the game through a mirror. There was nowhere for
photographers to set up, so they had to take all their photos while sitting way up
on the grandstand roof, which probably explains
why there are so few photos of Seattle Pilots home games. But what really did ’em
in was the plumbing, which worked pretty well when it accommodated around 10,000 people. Over the years, whenever
it drew sellout crowds of around 14,000, it typically had a little
trouble with overflow. But at its new 25,000-seat
maximum capacity, the stadium became a biohazard. The whole place completely
lost water pressure. Players had to go home or
head back to their hotel rooms just to take a shower. Concessions workers
couldn’t wash their hands. Toilets wouldn’t flush. And since the toilets wouldn’t flush, they had to lug in portable toilets. The Pilots’ former PR
director, Bill Sears, once recalled a story. The morning after a night game, a team employee walks past some portajohns and he hears pounding. He unlocks the door and
out runs a terrified man. Stadium workers had locked the doors, not realizing he had passed out inside. He’d been trapped there all night. (unsettling electronic music) Sick’s Stadium was torn
down just a decade later. And the place where it once stood is now occupied by a Lowe’s. Out front, near the loading area, there’s an unceremonious
little monument to the Pilots: a standup of a batter propped up next to the original
location of home plate holding eternal watch over
a flock of lumber carts. It’s so obviously in everybody’s way. It’s gotta be a matter of time
before some fed-up employee rips it out and throws it in storage. But for the moment, it’s here
and it’s all that remains of the one and only season
of the Seattle Pilots, one of the worst ideas in the history of Major League Baseball. Let’s take one last moment to appreciate that this stadium is
literally named Sick’s Stadium and then close the door
on this chapter forever. As quickly as the Seattle
Pilots came, they were gone. However… (pulsating electronic music) Anticipating the arrival of the Pilots, the city had, in the late-’60s, already allocated funding
for a brand new stadium. Seattle was so determined
to land a baseball team and an NFL team that they
broke ground on the site before the city was promised either one. The Kingdome was a cavernous
all-purpose indoor arena with about three times as many seats as Sick’s Stadium ever had. It wasn’t blind faith, though. A lawsuit first threatened in 1970 as a means of keeping baseball in Seattle had spent all decade looming
over the American League. It finally went to court in 1976. And for the second time in 10 years, the league responded to a lawsuit with a resounding, “Fine, whatever,” and granted Seattle a
brand new baseball team. To name the team, they
turned to the public and asked for submissions. The winning entry, Mariners, was submitted by a Bellevue man named Roger Szmodis. The team announced that in recognition, Szmodis would be awarded season tickets. But they couldn’t find him. They went to his apartment. They left him messages. After several weeks, nothing. Roger Szmodis had vanished. So far, we’ve been unable
to dig up any evidence that he was ever found. But thanks to him, we have
a word for whatever it is the last 43 years have been. This team was delivered
to us through arson, political strong-arming, poopy toilets, a lawsuit, and a missing person. Every team has its highs
and lows, frustration, heartbreak, greatness, and confusion. But no other team is like this one. The Seattle Mariners
are eminently lovable, profoundly human, and
stunningly, outrageously weird. You may not buy this yet, but
believe us when we say it: There is no more fascinating team across the entire history
of American sports. (pulsating electronic music) – [Alex] Those Mariners began play in 1977 and I love their first year so much. Here, we see their game-by-game timeline. In game number five, they
fell to a losing record and never again made it back to .500. And thanks to a late-season slide, they finished their first
campaign with a 64-98 record. But my favorite part about it is how often they just laid
down for their opponent. On nine different occasions,
they lost by double-digit runs when no one else in MLB
that year outside Atlanta absorbed even half as many bludgeonings. Five of those nine Seattle
disasters came in August too, meaning they accomplished
within a single calendar month what 24 of the other 25 teams didn’t throughout the entire season,
a season that set the tone for their first decade of existence, which, by the way,
featured 40 such whoopings. They lost at least 95 games in
six of their first 10 seasons and were on pace for a seventh were it not for a
strike-shortened 1981 season. Altogether, they lost
924 games in that period, over 60 more than anyone else. A look at run differential
is an even scarier sight. Powered by five
dead-last-in-MLB finishes in their first 10 seasons, they allowed nearly 1,400 more runs than they scored in that time, which is over 70% worse
than the second-worst team. Needless to say, they never even sniffed the top of the AL West to gain
entry into the postseason. This green bar indicates the record of the division winner that season; in other words, the number of wins the Mariners would have
needed to reach the playoffs. Excluding the strike campaign, they finished an average of 26.7 games out of playoff position each time the curtain closed on a season. Year after year, their September games were about as meaningful
as the human appendix. Even worse, whereas plenty of teams at least have some star power
or reasons for excitement, the first era of Mariner
baseball lacked in all that. In none of those 10 seasons did the Mariners have a starting pitcher with an ERA under 3.00. They didn’t have a player reach
even 30 homers in a season until year nine, when
Gorman Thomas hit 32. The very best players that had come through their organization were pretty anonymous names that would’ve been merely
run-of-the-mill players on virtually any other team. Their top pitchers were guys like Floyd Bannister and Jim Beattie. Their best bats during this
time were perhaps Bruce Bochte and, even though he
didn’t even peak for them until later on, Alvin Davis. If you’re familiar with them, you know they weren’t exactly
folks that put asses in seats. If you’re not familiar with them, well, they weren’t exactly
folks that put asses in seats. So, why in the world would
anyone watch this team? (soft electronic music) – [Jon] If you choose to appreciate sports simply in terms of winning and losing, there is nothing for you here. If it’s meaningful drama
you want, you’re outta luck. Even if all you’re after is
a narrative arc of any kind, I’m sorry, we’re sold out. All the early Mariners have to offer is a scattering of bizarre stories, most of which involve some
form or another of fraud. – [Alex] Toward the tail
end of the 1980 season, Mariners pitcher Rick Honeycutt had a once-promising season
spiraling away from him. Through 10 starts that year, he was one of the league’s best pitchers, had an ERA under 2.50. But then, by late-September,
he was reeling. His ERA had ballooned to nearly 5.00 across starts 11 through 29, leading up to a ballgame in Kansas City. In the third inning of that one, Royals leftfielder Willie
Wilson tripled off him and, while standing on third base, noticed some happenings on the mound that smelled fishier than a stroll through Pike Place Market. Wilson urged the umpire
to check out both the ball and Honeycutt’s hand. Sure enough, in an effort to
combat his recent struggles, he was discovered to have
taped a dang thumbtack against his finger to cut the baseball. That’s gotta be one of the stupidest, most obvious ways to cheat,
just even in a vacuum. But Honeycutt made it
worse, so much worse. Honeycutt somehow just
totally forgot about the presence of said
thumbtack, rubbed his face, and in the process lacerated his forehead, almost poking his eye out and leading to a 10-game suspension. Naturally, once his
playing days were done, Honeycutt would eventually go on to have a lengthy second
career as a pitching coach. – [Jon] The next Mariners season, the strike-shortened 1981, is one of the dumbest seasons imaginable. At first, they’re managed by Maury Wills, who has parlayed an excellent
career as a shortstop into one of the most
disastrous managerial careers in the history of baseball. Maury Wills was baseball’s equivalent of the modern-day venture
capital startup guy. Despite never having
managed a baseball game, he wrote a book claiming
that he and he alone was going to disrupt baseball and guaranteed that he
would turn a last-place team into a World Series
champion in just four years. Well, you can see how that went. Among all those who have
managed at least 50 games, he has one of the worst
winning percentages we’ve seen since World War II. And among those who began their careers in the ’80s and ’90s,
he’s the worst by miles. In terms of strategy, managing a baseball team
is far less complicated than coaching a football
or basketball team. So, what does it mean
then to be a bad manager? Leave the demonstration to Maury Wills, who found every conceivable
way to be bad at his job. For one, he was always full of it. When Rick Honeycutt was
thrown outta that game after the thumbtack incident, Wills said he didn’t
understand why he was ejected because the explanation was confusing. There was no way that was
a confusing conversation. It goes something like, “Your
pitcher taped a thumbtack “to his finger and you’re
not allowed to do that.” But Wills never seemed
to own up to anything. Everything was always
someone else’s fault, usually his players. They couldn’t stand him and they were only kinda
joking when they suggested that they should start
losing games on purpose to get him fired sooner. Wills was this odd combination of authoritarian and checked-out. The authoritarian side of him would wake up his players
in the middle of the night to make sure they were in
bed and chase after kids who caught home runs
during batting practice. The checked-out side of him would talk about starting players who had been traded away a month ago and head for the airport in the middle of a Spring Training game. As skipper, Wills made
so many tactical errors that it would take another 10
minutes to go through ’em all. But one stands alone as the
most thunderously stupid idea of his managerial career. (soft music) Prior to a home game against
the Oakland A’s on April 25th, Wills pulls aside the team’s groundskeeper and tells him to illegally
paint the batter’s boxes longer than the rule book specifies. It now sticks an extra
foot toward the field. The alleged benefit is
that one of Wills’ hitters, Tom Paciorek, will get a little extra room to step forward as he swings. The drawback is that
during a baseball game, there is a person whose job it is to stand right here
and stare at the field. He’s known as an umpire
and he’s been standing here for three hours a day
for many, many years. If anything looks different, he will immediately recognize it. So, in Wills’ desperate effort to keep the Mariners from
getting caught for something, he 100% guarantees they will
get caught for something else. When they do and he’s suspended, he says he’s shocked and dumbfounded. Yeah, man, me too. I thought that was gonna work for sure. And he’s fired a few weeks later, ending one of the funniest
managerial stints ever. “He’s dumb,” says Brad Gulden, the Mariners journeyman
catcher, who, by the way, is traded to the Yankees
shortly thereafter. Gulden ended up in
Seattle in the first place because the Yankees traded him there for a player to be named later, which is a fairly common
practice in baseball. It turns out the player to be
named later is Brad Gulden, who returns to the Yankees and becomes the second
player in baseball history to be traded for himself. – [Alex] Also in that ’81 season, more fun stuff in a Mariners-Royals game. In the sixth inning of
their May 27th affair, KC centerfielder Amos Otis
hit this little dribbler up the third-base line. Then, Seattle third baseman and part-time stand-up comic Lenny Randle did something you don’t see every day, something completely awesome. This. That’s right. He got down on all fours and began furiously huffing and puffing and blowing at the ball in
an effort to send it foul, and it worked! Well, sort of. His Three Little Pigs routine did indeed manipulate
the ball over the chalk. And initially, it was ruled a foul ball, with the home plate umpire unable to think of any specific rule against blowing the ball. But for the second year in a
row, Royals manager Jim Frey was unamused by more Mariner
ball-altering shenanigans, voicing his displeasure to
home plate umpire Larry McCoy. Unfortunately, McCoy
then changed his mind, refusing to just be cool and
appreciate Randle’s goof, instead awarding first base to Otis. This is something I’ve
definitely thought about as it pertains to golf. If a putt stops just short,
settling on the lip of the hole, I wanna see golfers get
down and blow it in. Randle, for the record, claims innocence, that he was merely yelling
at the ball to go foul. – [Jon] Oh, and a quick
note on Lenny Randle, who was a pretty weak hitter in his Major League Baseball career. After retiring in 1982, he
resurfaced in Italy a year later, hit .502, and became the
god of Italian baseball. But 1981 isn’t through
with the Mariners yet. Just a few days after Randle’s heroics, we see Seattle
rightfielder Jeff Burroughs being tagged out at home
by the Rangers’ Larry Cox. Cox is wearing the Rangers logo. Burroughs is also
wearing the Rangers logo. Two teams with the same hats. It’s probably the only time
this has ever happened, and I think it’s great. Always makes me cringe a little whenever I see two baseball teams playing against each other, because they would accomplish so much more if they were all on the same team and they worked together
to achieve their goals. But sadly, the reality is
a little bit more mundane. The Mariners’ caps, helmets, and jerseys were stolen from the Rangers’ stadium. They did at least have
their practice jerseys, but they had to borrow some of
the Rangers’ batting helmets to wear to the plate. They also through a
third team into the mix by hitting up the stadium gift shop and grabbing Milwaukee Brewers
caps to wear in the field, choosing them because
they closely resembled the Mariners’ color scheme. This, of course, is because the Brewers stole the color scheme from
Seattle in the first place when they packed up and left town. Anyway, freed from the oppression of being the Seattle Mariners
for one night, they win 5-3. In the standings, 1981 was yet another genuinely meaningless
season of Seattle baseball, but it was a big year
for a couple of Mariners. Reliever Larry Andersen had
languished in the minors for an entire decade before pitching well and finally securing a
permanent roster spot. In the next season, he
finally got his very own Major League Baseball card Whoops, they spelled his name wrong. 1981 was also the year
manager Rene Lachemann took the reins from Maury Wills. And although the Mariners
finished well below .500, he earned the respect of his players and was kept on as the
permanent manager for 1982. This, of course, earned him
his very own baseball card. Whoops, they spelled his name wrong too. Now, both of these cards were from the Donruss
Card Company’s 1982 set. I looked through this entire 830-card set and I didn’t find misspellings of players on any other
team, only Mariners. This was no coincidence. Even to those in the baseball business, these guys were strangers, but not to us. Under Lachemann, the
Mariners’ sixth season was their best yet. They’d managed to take a winning record all the way into August, which they’d never before
come anywhere close to doing. But who cares? There were greater matters at hand. Because, for Rene Lachemann, this was the summer of Mr. Jello. (quirky music) News of the incident
hits papers nationwide on July 4th, 1982, exactly
50 years to the day after Robert Bruce
Driscoll’s act of destruction set this endless chain
of events into motion. The night prior, Lachemann returns to his
hotel suite in Chicago. It’s a luxury suite,
complete with two bathrooms and quite well-furnished. But when Lachemann enters, he finds that everything has disappeared. The paintings are gone from the walls. The furniture is missing. He reaches to turn on a light. Nothing. The bulb has been removed. Lachemann stumbles in
darkness to the bedroom and feels for his bed. It isn’t there. The walls are empty here as well. How is this possible? Perhaps the bathroom light works. (suspenseful electronic music) All his furniture is
piled up in the bathroom. He turns to look at the toilet. The toilet is full of Jell-O. Lachemann races to the other bathroom. The other toilet is also full of Jell-O. He finds that the wall
telephone is still there. He attempts to call his
fellow coaches and players. He can hear them, but
they cannot hear him. The mouthpiece has been
removed from the phone. No one can hear his screams. Lachemann sleeps on the floor that night. The next day, he dedicates himself to bringing the perpetrator to justice, offering a reward of hundreds of dollars for information leading to the culprit. This week, the Mariners will
go seven games above .500, which the Mariners have never done and will never do again until 1991. But who cares about that? There is toilet mystery afoot. At first, Lachemann suspects
ex-Mariner Tom Paciorek, who now plays for the nearby White Sox and lives in the area. When Paciorek supplies a convincing alibi, the trail goes cold. The remainder of the season, Lachemann is haunted by
anonymous room service orders for plates full of Jell-O that
are delivered to his suite. Who would do this to the team’s manager? Surely not a player, who has every incentive
not to get on his bad side. And yet, when the chief
collaborator reveals himself at season’s end, it turns out to be someone who had everything to lose. (soft electronic music) Larry Andersen, one of baseball history’s all-time greatest pranksters, had talked his way into
getting Lachemann’s room key and orchestrated the entire thing. After finally clawing
his way into the bigs, Andersen is having an
awful 1982 on the mound. At the time of the
incident his ERA is 5.91, absolutely bad enough to get him sent back down to the minors. And if that happens at age 29, his career is just about done. Why in the world would he give Lachemann any more reason to ship him out? Well, listen, you’ve gotta
occupy yourself with something, and that something cannot be baseball, because baseball is really boring. – [Alex] Let’s move forward
a few years to 1985. Going into July 9th,
the Mariners were 41-40, entering the second-half of the season with a winning record, an extremely rare feet for this ball club. They hosted Toronto that day in what was the 622nd
game they’d ever played in a season’s back half. But it was just the 26th
that they entered above .500, the previous 25 coming in that ’82 season. And as we’ll see, they clearly had no idea how to conduct themselves in
such unfamiliar territory. They got a rally going in the third inning with Phil Bradley in scoring position and less than two out for
cleanup hitter Gorman Thomas, who banged this hit to right. Jesse Barfield fielded it and fired a beautiful throw
home in time to get Bradley, but this one resulted
in a massive collision with Blue Jays catcher Buck Martinez, who shattered his leg
and dislocated his ankle. Thomas, a good pal of Martinez’s from their three years as
teammates in Milwaukee, tried to take advantage
of that incapacitation by advancing to third base. Martinez still noticed and was able to get a throw off to third, but it sailed into left field, where George Bell scooped it
up and launched a throw home, where Thomas was attempting to complete the 360-foot jaunt around the base path. And who was on the receiving
end of that throw home? Why, it’s the catcher, who’s still writhing around on the ground, completely and literally broken. No matter; he’s got a job to do. Martinez hauls in the throw and applies the tag to his buddy, who mercifully took his foot off the gas to avoid another collision. Thus, MLB’s first ever
9-2-7-2 double play was born. The Mariners had done
the seemingly impossible. They figured out a way
to get multiple players thrown out at home by
multiple different outfielders on the same play. Astonishing stuff from the M’s,
who would go on to lose 9-4, in the process kicking off
a new multiyear drought of not entering any second-half
game with a winning record. – [Jon] A 1985 survey asked
Seattle-area residents to name their favorite Mariner. The vast majority responded
that they didn’t know any. Every Mariners retrospective has to find something from
this era to talk about, as much as we wish we could
begin the story in the ’90s. Usually, the greatest
achievement we can come up with is Gaylord Perry’s 300th win in 1982. Even then, Perry was a journeyman who just happened to be a
Mariner the day he did it. Oh, but lest you doubt
he was a real Mariner, he’d be ejected and suspended
a couple months later for doctoring the ball with Vaseline. Alongside Alvin Davis, the most recognizable
player of the early years is probably Harold Reynolds,
a two-time All-Star who was one of the best defensive
second basemen of his era. He was also known for being
thrown out on the bases, which he can’t really
be blamed for entirely. The Mariners utilized
Reynolds, a very fast guy, as a very, very, very fast guy. In 1988, the consequence was
the most counterproductive stolen base campaign of the last 90 years. Here is every player
who’s ever been caught at least 25 times in a season, plotted as a percentage of
their stolen base attempts. In the 1910s, players went for
steals with reckless abandon before everyone seemingly
realized at the same time that it was a really bad idea. About 50 years later,
stealing came back into vogue before everyone realized this again. Exhibit A was 1988 Harold Reynolds, who was caught 29 times against
just 35 successful steals. In fact, Reynolds’ top
YouTube search result from his playing career is a
clip of him being thrown out. It’s one of the most memorable clips in Bo Jackson’s endless highlight reel. From the warning track, he
ignores the cutoff man entirely and fires an impossibly
perfect strike into home. After the game, Reynolds was reportedly sitting in front of a VCR,
watching it over and over again, trying to figure out how
the hell it happened. This is how it was for
the Mariners back then. They just kind of experienced the baseball other teams were playing. They weren’t anyone’s rival. They weren’t even a national laughingstock in the way some other teams were. They simply did not register. As it concerns the Mariners,
the only real important story was beginning on the other side
of the country in The Bronx. The year is most likely 1983. The Yankees manager is Billy Martin. Over the course of his managerial career, Martin got into a bar fight
with one of his own players on multiple occasions. He busted a reporter’s face open because he wouldn’t show him his notes. He fought a stranger at a hotel bar after he insulted what
the man did for a living, which was entirely inappropriate. There’s absolutely nothing funny about being a marshmallow salesman. You go from town to town, probably have a suitcase with
a bunch of marshmallows in it. Point being, Billy martin was perhaps the most difficult person in
the modern history of baseball. On this particular day, as the story goes, a lot of the players’ kids are
running around the clubhouse, but two kids are singled
out in particular. Martin sends one of the team assistants to tell their father,
the star first baseman, that his kids need to be quiet. The player naturally
takes it as an insult. So does his oldest son, who would be about 13
years old at this time. This kid will hold a grudge
against the New York Yankees for decades to come. You know his name. (pulsating electronic music)

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