Aaron Sele

It was a tough decision for Sele to choose to enroll in Washington State instead of signing with his favorite boyhood team, the Minnesota Twins, out of high school in the 1988 draft. But after he was All-America following his sophomore year, and pitched for Team USA in the summer of 1990, there was no doubt that Sele was still on track for the majors. He signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1991, and by ’93 was named the International League Most Valuable Pitcher, sporting an 8-2 record with a 2.19 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings. That fine half-season also earned him a promotion to the bigs, where he went 7-2 with a 2.74 ERA. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year Award voting, losing out to Tim Salmon.

After a decent 1994 season with the BoSox, Sele came out strong in ’95, and after six games had turned some heads with a 3-1 record and 3.06 ERA. Unfortunately, severe shoulder tendinitis sidelined him for the rest of the year, and he could only come back in ’96 after a rehab stint in the minors. But Sele was rusty, and posted a 7-11 record, while his ERA jumped two runs to 5.32. When the righty posted similar numbers the following year, he was dealt with Bill Haselman to the Texas Rangers in November 1997 for Jim Leyritz and Damon Buford.

Though he posted high ERAs in the Lone Star State, Sele had tremendous run support — in 1998, the Rangers averaged 6.69 runs per game for him, and in 2000, 7.4 runs. The righty parlayed that fortune into a 37-20 record over two years with Texas, totaling more wins over those two seasons than anyone in the majors save Pedro Martinez.

Once granted free agency, Sele came to the verge of signing with the Baltimore Orioles, until team doctors claimed he had failed his physical. The rising Seattle Mariners jumped at the sudden opportunity, and inked him to a two-year, $15 million deal in January 2000. There he was reunited with his old Washington State teammate, John Olerud. Sele helped lead the M’s to the postseason in 2000, their first post-Ken Griffey Jr. year, as he recorded 17 wins, and was named to the All-Star team for the second time in his career.