The Cracken's top three MLB memories
#2 – 'The Double' – October 8, 1995
Heading into the 1995 Major League Baseball season, the Seattle Mariners were shrouded in rumors that the team may be relocated or sold, but that all changed when Edgar Martinez hit 'the Double'.
It seemed like a cliché sports movie plot: win, or the team moves away. Baseball in Seattle needed a resurgence. Interest in the team was at a low following the 1994-95 strike that shortened the 1995 season, and even in years prior the Mariners had trouble filling the Kingdome in Seattle, but one swing ended up changing the way people in Seattle saw baseball.
'Refuse to lose' became the mantra for the Mariners season, a very fitting phrase to define the team that battled its way out of countless dead ends to bring life to baseball in Seattle once more.
The Mariners mounted a shocking late-season push, and defeated the California Angels, 9-1, in a one-game playoff to reach the post season for the first time in franchise history.
Suddenly everyone was tuning in as the M's suited up against the New York Yankees for the best of five American League Division Series. Even after dropping the first two games at Yankee Stadium, the Kingdome was packed as the Mariner's refused to lose, and pushed for back-to-back wins in the late innings of Games 3 and 4 to force a series-deciding fifth game.
Down 4-2 in the eighth inning and only five outs away from elimination, Ken Griffey Jr. hit a solo home run off David Cone to cut the Yankees lead down to one run. The Mariners then loaded up the bases with two out, and Cone walked in the tying run to set the stage for extra innings.
In the top of the 11th inning, Randy Velarde hit an RBI single to left field, scoring Pat Kelly to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead, casting a dark shadow over the Kingdome as the Evil Empire threatened to not just end the season, but potentially the franchise itself.
With runners on first and second, Randy Johnson struck out Jim Leyritz and Paul O'Neill to push the game to the bottom of the 11th.
Due up for the Mariners: Joey Cora, Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez.
Cora opened the inning with an empty bases bunt single, the kind that required a slide into first, the kind that makes your heart jump in your chest, and the kind that kept the Mariners' dream alive.
Griffey then stepped up to the plate, and connected with a line drive into the outfield, reaching first base and sending Cora to third with no one out as Martinez began his walk to the plate.
I can only imagine what must have been going through the head of Martinez as he stepped into the batters box to the ground-shaking chant of "MVP" and took his stance, knowing that it could very well come down to him, for better or worse.
He took a first pitch strike, and then it happened. Martinez smacked a line drive down the line into left field, a sure double, and all eyes shifted to Griffey.
Cora had no problem reaching home to tie the game, but that wasn't enough to ease the tension, and when Griffey made the turn at second, I think everyone knew he was going for home. As an entire city held its breath, Griffey beat the throw to the plate. Game over. Mariners win.
I'll never forget the beaming smile on Griffey's face as the team dog-piled onto him at home plate, it still gives me goose bumps to think about.
The hit, now known to many as 'the Double,' spawned a new generation of Mariners fans, as interest in the team skyrocketed despite its loss to the Cleveland Indians in the ensuing American League Championship. The story of that single swing was enough to sell the spirit of baseball back to the people of Seattle.
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