Seattle Could Fly Before It Could Swim
The Seattle Mariners were created in 1977 and were placed in the AL West division and have remained there ever since. However, did you know that there was a team prior to the Mariners that played Major League Baseball in Seattle? Did you know that they only played there one season (1969) and then relocated to Milwaukee and became the Brewers? Yes, before there were the Mariners and the Brewers, there were the Seattle Pilots!
From the start, everyone knew the Pilots were going to be bad. In 1971, both the Pilots and Kansas City Royals were set to enter the AL. However, the Pilots were pushed ahead and were rushed into the six-team AL West by the start of the 1969 season. Also, Seattle had to pay the Pacific Coast League, a Minor League in the west, one million dollars to compensate for the loss of one of the best teams in PCL history. So right off the bat, you have a team hastily put together and a loss of money. Whoopdy-doo. The team was owned by Pacific Northwest Sports, Inc. and Seattle’s new manager, Joe Schultz, was a coach on the NL pennant-winning Cardinals in 1968. The Pilots played in Sick’s Stadium in Seattle and to no one’s surprise, the 1969 Seattle Pilots played like they were sick. Nice job naming the stadium.
Actually, the season started off pretty well for the Pilots, winning their first game of the season and their home opener three days later. They played roughly .500 ball up until the All Star break and were once only six games back of first place. However, the rest of the season did not go too well for the Pacific Northwesterners, as they ended up finishing with the second-worse record in the AL at 64-98, 33 games in back of the AL West-winning Twins. However, the team did have two All Stars, Don Mincher and Mike Hegan.
After a mixture of bankruptcy and just a bad season, the Pilots were sold to Bud Selig. The deal became official during Game One of the 1969 World Series, when Seattle was sold to Bud for $10.8 million dollars. They went on to become the Milwaukee Brewers. Seattle fans may have wept for the next several years, but the Mariners soon came to Pike Place Market, giving Seattle another team to cheer for in the MLB.
I feel pretty bad for Seattle baseball fans in 1969, only getting a team for a single year. However, the team went on to be very successful, so it’s bittersweet. Anyway, thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back in a few days for more of “all the buzz on what wuzz.”