Fifteen years ago, the 1995 Seattle Mariners went on a miraculous, late-season run that stunned the baseball world and Seattleites alike, earning the M’s their first-ever American League West Division title—and saving baseball in the Emerald City.
Most of the attention went to the incredible array of talent on that ’95 Mariners team: surefire Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez, as well as Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner.
Often overlooked was the fact that the starting third baseman was a Husky: Mike Blowers, who played two years at the University of Washington (1985-86).
Blowers attended Bethel High School in Spanaway and spent two years at Tacoma Community College before coming to the UW. For the Huskies, he was a Pac-10 Triple Crown winner (leading the league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in).
Drafted out of the UW in 1986 by the Montreal Expos, Blowers spent six seasons with the Mariners (1992-95, 1997, 1999) and also played for the Dodgers, Yankees and A’s.
For Blowers, 45, now a Mariners broadcaster, being a part of the most famous team in Mariners history still makes him shake his head.
“It was just great,” recalls Blowers, who as a kid attended M’s games in the Kingdome. “Having an opportunity to play in front of my family and friends was terrific. But to be part of that team was incredible.”
Blowers had the best season of his 11-year major-league career in ’95. He set career highs in almost every statistical category, including 23 home runs and 96 RBI. He also tied a major-league record with three grand slams in August.
But early in the ’95 season, the M’s struggled as speculation grew that the team would move to Tampa if a new stadium wasn’t built to replace the Kingdome.
“There was so much going on off the field, and I had a special interest in it,” Blowers says. “I was very concerned, but there was very little I could do about it except go out and play my best.”
Blowers leapt off the bench when Martinez delivered the most famous hit in M’s history, a double that drove in Griffey with the winning run against the Yankees in the ’95 AL Division Series.
“It was so exciting,” Blowers recalls. “I couldn’t sleep after that.”