The Mariners had been dealing with the biggest active postseason drought in all four of America’s major sports, not just baseball.
Because of how dire this string of losses had been, all of Seattle’s MLB opponents had also won a playoff series since the Mariners’ success in 2001, with the exception of the Cincinnati Reds.
When the 2001 season came to a close, it would have been tough to predict that the Mariners wouldn’t return to the postseason until 2022. Seattle finished the season with a record of 116-46, which tied the MLB record for most wins in a season and beat the mark set by the American League.
But now, the drought is gone after a late-season blip raised concerns about a repetition of last year’s anguish when the M’s finished two games back in the wild-card race.
Before beating the Texas Rangers on both Wednesday and Thursday, Seattle had dropped eight of their previous 11 games. This victory, together with the Baltimore Orioles’ consecutive losses, reduced Seattle’s deficit to one game going into Friday.
Either a loss by the Orioles to the New York Yankees or a win by the Mariners over the Oakland Athletics would have done the trick. After the Orioles briefly saved their season, the Mariners finished the job in the most fairytale-like way possible.
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE.
THE MARINERS END THEIR POSTSEASON DROUGHT WITH A WALK-OFF HOME RUN. pic.twitter.com/qcDM5JG1xx
— MLB (@MLB) October 1, 2022
Cal Raleigh hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs to win the game 2-1 and take a 21-year burden off the Seattle fans’ shoulders.
However, there are still a number of deplorable streaks for the Mariners to break. The St. Louis Browns, who went from 1903 to 1943 without making the playoffs, held the record for the most seasons in a row without making the playoffs.
Cal Raleigh is the 1st player in MLB history to hit a pinch-hit, walk-off home run to clinch a playoff spot for his team.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 1, 2022
With 2017 being their 45th season, they continue to hold the distinction of being the only major league team without a World Series appearance. Due to Houston’s dominance in the AL West, Seattle will still have to wait longer to win its first division since 2001.
That is the worst streak in the AL, but three NL teams—the Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, and Colorado Rockies—will have division droughts of more than 29 years this season.