These are the best players in Seattle Mariners history that people can think of as M’s-that is, they had at least a few of their prime seasons with the team, enough time for a sizable number of the team’s fans to develop strong memories of them. They are: Ken Griffey, Edgar Martinez, Ichiro, Jay Buhner, John Olerud, Adrian Beltre, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer, Felix Hernandez, Omar Vizquel. And, for managers, Lou Piniella (the only M’s manager aside from Lloyd McClendon with an above .500 record) and Dick Williams.
The same list for the Expos/Nationals: Tim Raines, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Vladimir Guerrero, Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez, Dennis Martinez, Steve Rogers (the classic Expos pitcher), Rusty Staub, Ryan Zimmerman. And, for managers, Felipe Alou and Frank Robinson. (You could add players such as Mark Langston and Marquis Grissom to both of these lists, but I had to stop somewhere.)
The Expos/Nationals have had one position player with a season WAR above 8: Gary Carter, once. Meanwhile, M’s position players have reached 8 WAR 8 times: A-Rod 3 times, Griffey 3 times, Ichiro once, and Brett Boone once.
Here is a proposed All-Star team for the Mariners:
catcher: Dan Wilson
third base: Beltre
second base: Boone
first base: Olerud or Alvin Davis
pitcher: Johnson or Hernandez
The same lineup for the Expos:
third base: Ryan Zimmerman
shortstop: Hubie Brooks
second base: Jose Vidro
first base: Andres Galarraga
pitcher: Rogers or Pedro
I am not very familiar with the Expos/Nationals history, but even allowing for a couple mistakes in my selection of their All-Stars, it’s clear that if they played 50 games, the M’s All-Stars would beat the Montreal/D.C. All-Stars more than half the time. I think the biggest question, then, is: why haven’t the Mariners been in a World Series?