SEATTLE -- Just one night before the 10th anniversary celebration of the 2001 Mariners club that won a record-tying 116 games, "supersub" Mark McLemore sat in the home dugout and was asked of his favorite memory of that special season.
His answer was simple.
"Winning," said McLemore, now an analyst for the Texas Rangers. "That group won more games in baseball than anybody. That means a lot. We didn't win a World Series, but we had fun trying to win."
And win they did. Nearly every member of the 2001 squad that won more than any team in history -- the 1906 Cubs are the only other team that won 116 games in one season -- will be on hand for Saturday's pregame ceremony on the field.
McLemore threw out the first pitch for Friday's game against the Rangers, as the first 20,000 fans were given a bobblehead of McLemore and Mike Cameron hoisting the American flag, a salute to team's postgame celebration on the field after it had clinched a playoff berth just a few days after the tragic events of 9/11.
The 46-year-old McLemore says that carrying the flag around Safeco Field was one of the best memories of his life, in or out of baseball.
"At that time, it wasn't us celebrating with ourselves or with our fans, it was all of us celebrating with the world, very tastefully and respectfully," he said. "It was a very special moment for me, not as a ballplayer, but as an American."
Lou Piniella, Edgar Martinez, Bret Boone and the majority of the 2001 team will be honored prior Saturday's first pitch. Who is McLemore most excited to see?
"Everybody," he said quickly. "That's one of the things that made our team so special. We didn't have quit and everybody got along with everybody. Everybody spent time with everybody. It was just a lot of fun."