The M's finished near the bottom in almost all statistical categories, which isn't much of a surprise for a 3rd year expansion team. Most concerning to ownership was the fact that they finished 13th (out of 14) in attendance. The M's couldn't even draw a million to the Kingdome and that was a huge concern to a city that lost it's previous expansion team (Pilots). Folks in Seattle seemed to take more of a shinning to the 3rd year expansion football Seahawks than they did to the M's. Other cultural distractions might have been more important as well. To quote Jim Bouton of Ball 4 fame, "you can't fault a city that has better attendance at it's opera houses than it's ballpark". The M's got a great offensive year from DH Willie Horton (.279-29-106). The 36 year old Tiger castoff flourished in the DH role in Seattle. 28 year old Bruce Bochte (.316-16-100) solidified his spot as the M's first true star player. The pitching once again was the culprit. Mike Parrot (14-12, 3.77) was the only starter with a winning record and an ERA below 4.00. Young lefties, Rick Honeycutt (11-12, 4.04) and Floyd Bannister (10-15, 4.05) showed improvement and promise. The bullpen, other than 23 year old Shane Rawley (5-9, 3.84, 11 sv) was a complete disaster. The hightlight of Seattle's summer came on July 17, 1979 when the Kingdome played host to the All-Star game. Dave Parker, of Pittsburgh, made two incredible shotgun throws from right field to nail runners and keep the game tied, until the NL eventually pulled it out.
Editor’s Notes: This by far was the hardest team set to work on. Many outlier players with very few photo options to choose from. Tony, Jim and I did a lot of research and still came up short on a lot of these. I had to do a lot of cut/paste and airbrushing on Rich Hinton, Wayne Twitchell, Randy Stein and Jim Lewis’ cards. Bobby V’s card is a middle of the road colorization. Roy Branch, Charlie Beamon and Joe Decker have photos from their minor league cards. Rafael Vasquez’ photo comes from his 1980 rookie panel card. I’m hoping in the next week or two we will turn up some better photos for the update set. I ordered a Mariners game program in hopes that it has some good shots. Seattle did not have a yearbook that year, so that wasn’t a option.