The Seattle Mariners are in a genuine push to make the baseball playoffs and I figured this is as good a time as any to take a look at the players I believe have shown the brightest for a franchise that has not made the playoff since winning a baseball-record-tying 116 games in 2001.

I’m just going to go around the horn with my selections for an all-time team, starting at first base. John Olerud, who broke into the Major Leagues with the Blue Jays when he was just 2, was an incredible defensive first baseman. He committed 82 errors in 17 seasons, 24 of them in the six seasons he was with the Mariners.

Olerud hit 255 home runs, but probably could have doubled that if he had wanted to hit them. But he didn’t. He settled, with some frustration by others, to being a line drive hitter that collected 500 career doubles and drove in over 100 RBI in three seasons, including his first with the Mariners when he had 102 in 2000. He hit .295 life time, which included batting .363 in 1993 with the Blue Jays that garnered him the American League batting title, the first by a Blue Jay.

Others I considered were Alvin Davis, Tino Martinez and this season’s Ryon Healy.

Second base is difficult for me. The current Mariners have two — Robinson Cano, currently on an 80-game suspension for a drug infraction, and Dee Gordon ‑ along with Julio Cruz and Harold Reynolds.

I have settled on Gordon because he brings so much more to his game than just defense. He is a positive influence and also has the speed not only to steal bases, but to beat out infield hits. But it’s close between all four of them. Reynolds, for example, set the club record and led the AL in 1987 with 60 stolen bases.

Third base has been a sore spot for the Mariners. Plenty of guys have played the position, but only Jim Presley stands out for me from past teams. The current third sacker, Kyle Seager, is the best.

Shortstop is not an easy pick either. I have to go with Alex Rodriguez, who also hit for power and average as well as field the position well. But others have played it well, including Omar Vizquel and Carlos Guillen. The current shortstop – Jean Segura – was just voted to the American League All-Star roster, which I think is more for his .330 batting average than his fielding.

One of the spots in the outfield is easy. Ken Griffey Jr. I have never seen a player play centerfield better than Junior, although his replacement with the Mariners, Mike Cameron, was also pretty good. The difference between the two is Griffey was a natural athlete that could do everything well, including hitting for average and power. Cameron used to frustrate me because he would look at three pitches right down the middle and go sit down in the dugout. It was Cameron, though, who ended a 19-inning standoff with Boston with a home run over the right field fence a Safeco Field in August of 2000. Because of the Bremerton ferry schedule, I spent the night at Safeco because the game ended 12:39 a.m., too late to catch the last boat to Bumertown.

Ichiro has to be in the outfield along with Jay Buhner and Dave Henderson.  I don’t think anybody could doubt Ichiro’s credentials. His arm and speed and his bat speaks volumes. Both Buhner and Henderson were dogged athletes who refused to get beat. Damn the wall, run into it to make the catch seemed to be their motto. And both had power. Buhner hit a home run in old Yankee Stadium that is still going.

Pitching should be easy. Alternate Randy Johnson and Felix Hernandez every other day and hoist the World Series trophy at the end. Randy’s slider thrown from the left side and coming from his six-foot-10 frame had to be horrifying to left-handed batters.

Remember the All-Star game in 1993 at Camden Yards? No? Well John Kruk does, and it’s a nightmare. Johnson threw a 98-miles an hour fastball over Kruk’s head. Kruk stepped out of the batter’s box and feigned like he was having a heart attack.

Kruk stepped back in and weakly waved at two sliders and hurriedly went back to the National League dugout, glad to be still alive.

Mike Moore, Mark Langston and Freddy Garcia would be my other starters. A five man bullpen would consist of Edwin Diaz, Norm Charlton, Mike Jackson, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Arthur Rhodes. Jeff Nelson, Rafael Soriano and Mike School would be in reserve.

Dan Wilson would be my catcher with Mike Zunino and Dave Valle backing him up.

The designated hitter – is there any doubt? – is Edgar Martinez with Nelson Cruz taking a turn or two.

My manager is Lou Piniella, who can be seen now hawking Shag Housing on TV.

So there you have it. These are arguably selections. They are not set in stone. I like them, though, and maybe with this roster the Mariners could have another 116-win season.

It’s hot out there today, folks, and it’s going to be hot for a week. So go get some sun, but not too much.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved…