How and why Mariners got their team name

SEATTLE — There’s no big mystery as to why “Mariners” was chosen as the nickname for Seattle’s Major League Baseball team when the franchise began in 1977, given Seattle’s nautical ties and location on the waters of Puget Sound. But as for the man who came up with that moniker?

SEATTLE — There’s no big mystery as to why “Mariners” was chosen as the nickname for Seattle’s Major League Baseball team when the franchise began in 1977, given Seattle’s nautical ties and location on the waters of Puget Sound. But as for the man who came up with that moniker? That’s another story.

When the American League awarded an expansion franchise to Seattle, the team owners — a group consisting of actor Danny Kaye and five Seattle-area businessmen — decided to hold a fan contest to name the team.

More than 600 names were submitted from about 15,000 entries, and while numerous fans suggested “Mariners,” the team chose the entry from Roger Szmodis of Bellevue, Wash., because they liked his explanation the best.

“I’ve selected Mariners because of the natural association between the sea and Seattle and her people, who have been challenged and rewarded by it,” wrote Szmodis.

Which all was well and good until the Mariners attempted to contact Szmodis to give him the winning prize: a pair of season tickets, plus an all-expenses-paid trip to see the team play on the road for one series during its…

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Greg Johns

Greg Johns

MLB - Mariners

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