While in Seattle to see the Microsoft Visitor Center, Boeing, Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and a few other attractions, we also visiteded Safeco Field to watch my Anaheim Angels take on the Settle Mariners. We had a great time and the Seattle Mariners employees and fans were great hosts. As a side note, I was very happy to visit the stadium as it represented my 18th ballpark and it was the last one I hadn’t seen west of the Mississippi. Getting closer to my goal of visiting all 30 parks! Anyway, below is a little information about Safeco Field and the Seattle Mariners. On a side note, our trip was in May of 2016 and it was called Safeco Field. Since then the stadium has been changed names to T-Mobile Park. However, for the sake of this post, I am going to continue calling it Safeco Field since that was the name when we visited.
Safeco Field is located in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, near the western terminus of Interstate 90, is a retractable roof baseball stadium, and has a seating capacity for 47,943 fans. During the 1990s, the suitability of the Mariners’ original stadium, the Kingdome, as an MLB facility came under doubt, and the team’s ownership group threatened to relocate the team.
Eventually funding was found and after 5 years of planning and construction, the new Safeco Ballpark opened for business on July 15, 1999. A note of history, a capacity crowd of 47,000 attends the Inaugural Game against the San Diego Padres. 2 days later, during the third game at Safeco Field, third baseman Russ Davis hit the first home run at the new ballpark, a solo shot to left field. Later in the same game, outfielder Raul Ibanez came up big with the first grand slam at Safeco Field.
The park is very beautiful and I really enjoyed walking around and seeing all there was to be seen. One of the things that impressed me the most was their Hall of Fame. Apparently it was created in 1997 to honor the players, staff, and other individuals that greatly contributed to the history of the Mariners franchise. There were a bunch of plaques and memorabilia. It was incredible. I didn’t recognize everybody, but there were quite a few such as Randy Johnson, Dan Wilson, Ken Griffey Jr, Lou Piniella, and Jamie Moyer.
On April 6, 1970, Major League Baseball returned to Seattle when the Mariners played the California Angels before a Kingdome crowd of 57,762. The Mariners went on to lose the game, 7-0 and finished the inaugural season with a 64-98 record. In 1979 the Mariners hosted its first MLB All-Star game and cheered for its lone All-Star, first baseman Bruce Bochte. The National League won the contest 7-6 in front of 58,905 Kingdome fans. The club finished the year 67-95.
Years later, In 1988, young Ken Griffey Jr. impressed new manager Jim Lefebvre during Spring Training, making the Opening Day roster and launching a new era in Mariners baseball. Griffey made his mark on the club immediately, hitting his first ML home run on the first pitch he saw at the Kingdome. The Big Unit, Randy Johnson, also arrived, going 7-9 with a 4.40 ERA. Seattle was 73-89 on the year.
The next year Randy Johnson recorded the club’s first no-hitter on June 2, defeating the Detroit Tigers with a six-walk, 136-pitch outing. Family history was next on the list as Ken Griffey Jr. and Ken Griffey Sr. became the first father and son to play together on the same team. A few years later the fiery Lou Pinella became their new skipper and guided the team to 82 wins. Then in 1995 the Seattle Mariners earned their first American League West title, defeating my Angels 🙁 in a one-game playoff. In the end, Lou Piniella was named Manager of the Year and Randy Johnson took home the Cy Young Award.
The years between 2000-2009 had a lot of ups and downs, but the two big highlights were the emergence of Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez (or King Felix as they call him). In 2001 Ichiro missed by one vote of being a unanimous Rookie of the Year selection but made up for that by being named as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Lou Piniella was voted the AL Manager of the Year. In 2006 Felix was the only teenager in the Major Leagues when the season began, however, he led the team in home ERA (3.47) and finished out the season sixth in the AL in strikeouts with 176.
I wanted to end this by saying, up to this point, besides Angel Stadium, I had always thought that Kauffman Stadium was the most inviting. I think I may have to rethink this as they were great and even gave us a cute little certificate for being first-time visitors to the stadium. Very classy organization. Would love to see more games there in the future. I am sharing some information below, but here is a link to their website if you want more info on the Mariners or Safeco Field.
Safeco Field Visitor Information
1250 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
Ballpark tours are offered January-October and are open to the public. Get a “Behind the Seams” look at the ballpark and learn about the facility and team history. Private tours are also available for special occasions such as proposals, birthdays, re-enlistments, photography sessions, corporate outings, etc. For more information, visit Mariners.com/Tours or call (206) 346-4241.
- Tours are approximately one hour in duration.
- Tours depart from the Mariners Team Store located on the First Avenue South side of T-Mobile Park.
- Tours are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
- Please arrive no less than 15 minutes prior to departure time.
- Adult: $12
- Senior/Military: $11
- Child (Age 4+): $10
- Child (Age 3-): Free
From the North
- Exit 165A – James St
- Exit 164 – Dearborn St, 4th Ave S/Edgar Martinez Dr. S and Airport Way S
- Exit at S. Atlantic St.
- T-Mobile Park is located on 1st Ave S at Atlantic St./Edgar Martinez Drive S.
From the South
- Exit 163 – West Seattle Freeway/Columbian Way
- Follow signs to Spokane St/T-Mobile Park via 6th Ave S Northbound or 1st Ave S
- Exit 164B – Edgar Martinez Dr. S
- Exit 164A – Dearborn St
From the East
- Exit to 4th Ave S to park North or East of T-Mobile Park
- Exit to Edgar Martinez Dr S to park South or West of T-Mobile Park
Mariners Garage – Located at 301-337 Edgar Martinez Dr S, Seattle, WA 98134
- Right next door to the ballpark, just across Edgar Martinez Drive to the south.
- Price range: $20-$60
- Good for traveling to and from all directions, and via I-5, SR 99, First Avenue.
- Purchase online by selecting from dates below
- Garage opens at 7 a.m. on game days.
- Height limit: 7′ 0″
- Covered parking and parking attendants to assist with any questions you may have.
- Easy access to the Suite Level and Terrace Club via the sky bridge.
- Accessible parking can be purchased in advance by calling 206-346-4001 at the earliest possible time.
- Charter bus parking is available by reservation only by calling 206-346-4001 at least 10 business days in advance of the game. Parking is available on the day of the game provided that space exists.
- Day of game parking for cars, when available, is $20-$50.
- Motorcycle parking is available at a discounted drive-up rate of $10-$20 per motorcycle (pre-purchase unavailable). Each motorcycle must have a pass, with a maximum of two motorcycles per stall.
- Bicycle parking available both inside and outside the Mariners Garage.
T-Mobile Park was designed to meet all structural and service requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Seattle Mariners take pride in continually improving stadium accessibility. It is their goal to make sure all guests can enjoy Mariners baseball in a safe and comfortable environment. Guests with disabilities may make requests for reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or for auxiliary aids and services, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For information on ADA services, visit Mariners.com/ADA. The Mariners ADA Team can be reached at MarinersADATeam@Mariners.com or (206) 346-4224 during business hours.
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