June 15, 2000: Mike Cameron powers Mariners as Robert Ramsay wins first game

This article was written by Steve Friedman

CameronMikeOn June 15, 2000, the Seattle Mariners played the first of a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins, in Minneapolis at the Metrodome. They entered the game having won four of six games on their road trip and were a half-game behind first-place Oakland in the competitive American League West Division.

For the Mariners, this was a year of transition and would lead to the historical 2001 season when they won 116 games, tying the major-league record for most wins in a season. It was their first full season in Safeco Field, their new ballpark that had replaced the Kingdome. This was also their first season without Ken Griffey Jr., who had been traded to the Cincinnati Reds.1 They had built a strong team: John Olerud was signed as a free agent to become their everyday first baseman, and the Mariners also signed closer Kazahiro Sasaki, the career saves leader in Japan.2 Their everyday shortstop was Álex Rodríguez, who was in his free-agent year and destined to leave the team at the end of the season to sign at the time the largest professional contract.3 There was no doubt that the Mariners had a potent offensive lineup.

Center fielder Mike Cameron played a key role in this game. He had been acquired from the Reds in the Griffey trade and was in the difficult position of replacing a franchise icon. He had solidified his entry as Griffey’s replacement on April 7 by robbing Derek Jeter of an a home run.4 The catch excited the crowd, the team, and manager Lou Piniella. “You know who that reminded me of,” Piniella said of Cameron’s catch. “What a great play out in center field. He just took that ball three feet or so over the wall and timed it perfectly. He’s an athlete.”5

Paul Abbott was the starting pitcher for the Mariners, facing Twins rookie Mark Redman. Abbott had major-league experience but had spent four full years in Triple A until the Mariners called him up in mid-1998. He pitched his first full major-league season in 1999 and became a regular in the rotation in 2000. Redman was off to a good start in 2000 and finished the year sixth in the AL Rookie of the Year Award voting. On June 15 both starting pitchers struggled in the first inning. 

The Mariners started the game with three consecutive singles by left fielder Rickey Henderson, Cameron, and Rodríguez. Edgar Martínez earned an RBI after a fielder’s choice and Olerud ended the inning by hitting into a double play. The Twins countered with a leadoff double by Denny Hocking and a single by Christian Guzmán. A sacrifice fly by Matt Lawton and a double play ended the first inning for the Twins, but they had tied the score at 1-1. 

In the second inning, the Mariners attacked Redman. The bottom of the lineup loaded the bases with walks to Jay Buhner and catcher Joe Oliver and a single by second baseman Mark McLemore. With one out, Rickey Henderson delivered a single to left, scoring Buhner. Cameron followed with a grand slam to left-center, increasing the Mariners advantage to 6-1. The Mariners loaded the bases again, but failed to score this time. 

After yielding the first-inning run, Seattle pitcher Abbott cruised through the next three innings. But he limped off the field after the fourth inning with cramps in his right hamstring.6 “You can’t pitch with cramps in your leg,” Abbott said after the game.7

Left-hander Robert Ramsay replaced him, working scoreless fifth and sixth innings, then yielding two runs in the seventh before being replaced by Frankie Rodríguez. Although the Twins crept to within three runs late in the game, the Mariners eventually powered their way to a 12-5 victory and Ramsay earned his only major-league win. “It’s not the typical first win you want to get,” said Ramsay, who became the first Mariners reliever to win a game in nearly a month. “You want to earn it a little more, maybe start the game and go six or seven innings.”8

In their victory, the potent Mariners lineup banged out 18 hits and received seven walks from Twins pitchers, including five from starter Redman. They left 12 runners on base. The hitting hero was Mike Cameron, who had three singles to go with his second-inning grand slam. “I couldn’t ask for a better day,” Cameron said. “When you’re going well, you have to enjoy it, because there are so many things that can be your downfall in this game. A game like today you have to love.”9 The hot-hitting Cameron had reached base 14 times in his last 18 plate appearances, on 10 hits and four walks. “I’m getting ahead in the count, and I’m not missing many pitches,” he said.10 

Another productive Mariner was Rickey Henderson, who had three singles and a walk, scored three runs, and stole a base. He had scored 18 runs in his 21 games since joining Seattle.11 “Rickey’s been quietly swinging the bat this trip,” said manager Piniella.12

Ramsay was thrilled to pick up the win. He couldn’t wait to call his folks in Camas, Washington, a city along the Columbia River south of the Seattle metropolitan area. Abbott, despite the cramps, was confident he would be able to make his next start. “If I had kept going, it would have gotten a lot worse,” he said. “The starter’s job is to take the strain and load off the bullpen. But when you come out in the fourth inning, it puts a lot of pressure on them.”13

After the game, the Mariners remained in a virtual tie with the Athletics and battled them all season long for the American League West Division lead. The A’s pulled ahead of the Mariners during the last week of the season to win the division, leaving the Mariners as the wild card.



This article was fact-checked by Bruce Slutsky and copy-edited by Len Levin.



In addition to the sources cited in the notes, the author relied on information from,, and Baseball Almanac.



1 Dave Sheinin, “Mariners Trade Griffey to Reds,” Washington Post, February 11, 2000: D1.

2 Bob Finnigan, “Mariners—M’s sign Japanese Reliever Sasaki to Two-Year Contract,” Seattle Times, December 18, 1999.

3 Harry Schulman and John Shea, “$252 MILLION MAN / Rodriguez Signs with Rangers; Contract Doubles Previous Richest,” San Francisco Chronicle, SF Gate, December 12, 2000.

4 Associated Press, “A-Rod Hits 150th Career Homer,” April 7, 2000,


6 Larry Stone, “Cameron Crushes Twins—Outfielder Hits Grand Slam in Easy Road Win,” Seattle Times, June 16, 2000.

7 Stone.

8 Stone.

9 Stone.

10 Stone.

11 Ross Newhan, “Henderson Might Be Steal for Mariners,” Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2000: D6.

12 Stone.

13 Stone.

Additional Stats

Seattle Mariners 12
Minnesota Twins 5

Minneapolis, MN


Box Score + PBP:

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