When the Seattle Mariners announced manager Eric Wedge’s entire coaching staff was coming back in 2012, it broke a long stretch of finding fault with – and firing – someone every year.
The last time an entire staff returned for another season in Seattle? Lou Piniella’s crew after the 116-win 2001 season.
Since then, win or lose, the Mariners have made changes annually, often scape-goating one coach or another – often a hitting coach. Of the seven managers since Piniella, five were fired and one – Mike Hargrove – quit mid-season.
After Bob Melvin’s 2003 Mariners won 93 games, barely missing the post-season, batting coach LaMarr Johnson was fired. A year later, Melvin has his entire staff were canned.
In ’07, when the team won ’88 games, it took two managers – Hartgrove and John McLaren – to get that job done, so the changes was mostly mid-year. The Mariners next winning season wasn’t until ’09, when Don Wakamatsu and his new staff surprised with 85 wins.
After the season ended, third base coach Bruce Hines wasn’t asked back.
The only continuity in Seattle since Piniella’s days was that, every year, someone took the fall. Wedge and his staff didn’t win in 2011, but they’ll all return to try again in 2012.