When looking at the Mariners all time home run leaders, there’s a clear trend with players among the top five. Within that group, four played together at one point. That period was the last sustained success Seattle has seen in the win-loss column. It didn’t bring them any championships, but it included a couple of memories that’d surely last a lifetime.
We’ll discuss Seattle’s top-five home run hitters in franchise history below, followed by listing out the remainder of the top 20.
Mariners All Time Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Ken Griffey Jr.: 417 Home Runs
Similar to other team-specific home run kings, Ken Griffey Jr. has the Mariners record on lock. Chances are it’ll be that way for a looong time, too. I mean, the only active Mariner within the top 20 right now is Mitch Haniger, which you can see below. And he’s hanging out around the century mark in career dingers.
In past posts, we’ve touched on the dominant stretch Griffey put together between 1996 and 2000. He hit 40-plus homers in each campaign, and slugged more than 48 four consecutive times. But if it wasn’t for an injury-shortened 1995 when he accumulated just 17 dingers in 72 games, this streak likely would’ve been much longer.
Before that year, Griffey had already posted two other performances of 40-plus homers in 1993 and 1994. Yes, he got there before the Strike hit, thanks to a huge first half. So, over the span of eight seasons from 1993 to 2000, The Kid hit 40-plus homers seven times. That last occurrence happened in Cincinnati, so we’ll strip that one out for the following exercise.
An average year for Griffey from 1993-99 included a .297/.387/.613 line with 44 homers, 115 RBI and 107 runs scored. Oh, and 27 doubles and 15 steals, just for good measure. Even with his shortened ’95 campaign. Many of these performances are featured atop the Mariners’ single-season home run leaderboard, which isn’t a shock to anybody.
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Edgar Martinez: 309 Home Runs
Finishing a distant second on Seattle’s career home run leaderboard, Edgar Martinez joins Griffey as the only other Hall of Famer in the top 20 (for now, at least). The legendary designated hitter spent all 18 years of his career with the Mariners. It included seven All-Star Game selections, five Silver Slugger Awards, and two Batting Titles.
Martinez debuted as a 24-year-old in 1987, but didn’t put together a full season’s worth of plate appearances until 1990. He also didn’t post his first campaign with 20-plus homers until 1995. That’s when he slugged 29 dingers with 113 RBI and a .356/.479/.628 triple slash. He led the league in batting average, runs scored (121), and doubles (52), among other things, on his way to finishing third in AL MVP voting.
This actually began a seven-year stretch where Martinez finished with a batting average of at least .300 and 20-plus homers. His cumulative line during this span of 4,477 plate appearances? It was .329/.446/.574. Martinez’s most powerful performance was in 2000. He slugged a career-high 37 home runs with a league-leading 145 RBI. It was the only time he hit more than 30 dingers in a season, but it was one of six times he surpassed the 100-RBI plateau.
Jay Buhner: 307 Home Runs
Outside of 32 games played for the New York Yankees, Jay Buhner spent the rest of his MLB career with the Mariners. That’s one of the main reasons why he’s found his way toward the top of this list. The outfielder’s first full big-league season (when using plate appearances as the barometer) came in 1991 with Seattle. He came into that campaign with 29 homers and 105 RBI in 733 career plate appearances from 1987-90. Buhner nearly doubled both those numbers by slugging 27 taters with 77 RBI through 471 plate appearances in 1991.
That was the start of a seven-year streak with 20-plus homers. The final three years of this run were a little extra special. Each of those campaigns ended with 40-plus dingers. It also included his only All-Star Game selection, three top-20 finishes in AL MVP voting, and his only Gold Glove award.
Buhner paired those 40-homer performances with at least 100 RBI each time. He was a solid player throughout the majority of his career, but it’s always fun to see how much these huge performances accounted for in a player’s overall numbers. In this case, 40% of Buhner’s career homers and about 39% of his career RBI came during those three seasons from 1995 to 1997.
Kyle Seager: 242 Home Runs
Kyle Seager was one of those steady contributors throughout the duration of his career with the Mariners. Taking out his rookie season (53 games in 2011) and the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, the third baseman played in fewer than 154 games once. That happened in 2019 when he appeared in 106. Even during 2020 when the regular season was only 60 games long, he appeared in all 60.
Now that’s durable. With those opportunities, he racked up the counting stats consistently, saving his best work for last. Seager enjoyed nine seasons with 20-plus homers, including eight in a row from 2012 through 2019. His best performance when using OPS as the barometer came in 2016. His .859 OPS was a career-high mark, as was his batting average (.278), on-base percentage (.359), and slugging percentage (.499). He finished 12th in AL MVP voting, and until 2021, the 30 homers and 99 RBI he collected were also single-season bests.
In his farewell tour (that nobody knew about until after the season was complete), Seager slugged 35 homers with 101 RBI in 670 plate appearances.
Alex Rodriguez: 189 Home Runs
Although the Mariners don’t have any championships to show for it, the top-five of the franchise’ career home run leaderboard shows how good those teams in the mid and late 1990s really were. Alex Rodriguez is the fourth player from that era to appear on this list.
A-Rod’s final three seasons in Seattle before heading to Texas via free agency were special. He hit at least 40 homers with 100-plus RBI in each campaign. It started a little extra special in 1998 when he became the third member of the 40-40 club. To date, he’s still the only infielder to accomplish this feat.
His best year as a Mariner came in his first full season with the club, though. It was 1996, which was his age-20 season. Rodriguez posted a 1.045 OPS (his highest with Seattle). That came off the strength of a .358/.414/.631 line with 36 home runs and 123 RBI. He led the league in batting average, total bases (379), doubles (54), and runs scored (141). That all happened while racking up 215 hits. This was the first of three times he’d surpass the 200-hit plateau in his career, and that number ended up as his high-water mark for a single season.
Interestingly enough, A-Rod’s homer production in 1996 was quite even across the board. He hit 17 in the first half, followed by 19 in the second half. The shortstop also hit 18 dingers at home and another 18 on the road.
Mariners All Time Home Run Leaders: The Rest
Here’s what the rest of the top-20 home run hitters in Mariners history looks like:
- Nelson Cruz: 163 home runs
- Alvin Davis: 160
- Raúl Ibañez: 156
- Bret Boone: 143
- Jim Presley: 115
- Robinson Canó: 107
- Ken Phelps: 105
- Richie Sexson: 105
- Adrián Beltré: 103
- Ichiro Suzuki: 99
- Mitch Haniger: 100 (…and counting)
- Mike Zunino: 95
- Dan Wilson: 88
- Tino Martinez: 88
- Mike Cameron: 87
If you’re looking for hitters who fall outside the top 20, check it out on FanGraphs.