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  • #16
    Welcome to BBF Mikey Jay! Thanks for the detailed Information about The Pilots move to Milwaukee. The Pilots were doomed to fail from the start. Sicks Stadium was a minor league park without the capacity to financially support a major league team.
    There is a book,though hard to find,called "The Seattle Pilots Story" by Carson Van Lindt (Marabou Publishing 1993) that would interest you. You might be able to find it on Also,If you haven't read "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton,It's a must.
    The Pilots one year existance is certainly a fascinating chapter in MLB's history. There are some good websites that cover the history of the team. I followed the Brewers from day 1 too. I saw them a few times in that first year when they came to Washington to play against our Senators. There were drastic roster changes from the 1969 Pilots team.
    Enjoy this site!

    Originally posted by Mikey Jay
    Can't say I have any Pilots memories, but I am a huge Brewers fan and find the beginnings of the franchise fascinating.

    I love reading these stories about the Pilots from the people who experienced them. It's not something you can really ask many people.

    Though, I must say, I do have one gripe... Bud did not "hijack" the team out of town. Dewey Soriano was meeting with Selig in Milwaukee sort of "under the table" after the '69 season, and had a gentleman's agreement for Selig to purchase the team. And while co-owner William Daley appeared to be comitted to keeping the team with Seattle, it was the Soriano brothers who were going to sell their shares of the club regardless.

    The newly elected Mayor Wes Uhlman did not support public funding of a new domed stadium, which was promised by the Sorianos to the Major League owners before Seattle was awarded the team, as the city at the time was in a $5 million deficit. Since the guarantee of this new stadium was a major reason for the league approving a team to be awarded to Seattle as it would improve playing conditions and generate revenue, the fact that the fate of the Pilots was now in the hands of private donors began to wear thin on the American League owners.

    So Fred Danz stepped up and offered the dough to keep the team in town. However, the Bank of California decided to call in on $3.5 million of Danz's $4 million loan to help purchase the team.

    The Bank of California seemed to have been convinced that the loan was too risky, as they didn't believe Seattle could support a Major League team. But the bank was also a creditor for Pacific Northwest Sports, Inc. - the organization that undertook the process of bringing a team to Seattle. Pacific Northwest Sports lost a ton of money on the team in 1969, and possibly could've been the reason to push the Bank of California against the loan.

    The president of Pacific Northwest Sports, Inc.? Dewey Soriano (who succeeded his brother, Max, as president of the organization).

    However, one of the investors in the Danz group, Edwin Carlson, formulated a couple other plans to save the Pilots. Carlson's first proposal was balked at by the AL owners as it called for a public ownership of the team (which would devalue all other privately held major league teams).

    The second proposal was feasible, but by this time the league owners were frustrated and skeptical that anything would ever work. The owners would still vote to accept the proposal 8-4...however, 9 votes were needed for the proposal to pass. By this time, Pacific Northwest Sports was bankrupt. It seemed clear that there was not any immediate plan for the Pilots, and the American League now had the right to approve a move of the organization, as they did not fulfill several of the requirements that had to be satisfied for Seattle to posess ownership of a major league team.

    With the Selig offer still the best on the table, there was no other option left for American League owners but to approve a franchise move to Milwaukee.

    The last final push to save the Pilots came in the courts, both in the King County Supreme Court in the form of a lawsuit brought by the Mayor and the State of Washington to prevent a move out of Seattle, and in the Federal Bankruptcy court with the Pacific Northwest Sports hearing.

    Justice James Mifflin of the Supreme Court appeared to be unfavorable to the idea of keeping the team in town with so many problems, and the testimony of Pilots General Manager Marvin Milkes (who was never a good choice for GM) on the last day of the hearings sealed the deal. Milkes explained how he couldn't afford the salaries of employees of the organization (coaches, scouts, and players), and with no way for the club to pay the team, the players would become Free Agents and Seattle would not be able to even field a team in the 1970 season. Mifflin had no choice but to strike down the lawsuit.

    Meanwhile, the Soriano brothers claimed in Federal Bankruptcy Court that the losses for their company was a result of the bleak outlook for the franchise. And after hearing no counterarguments to their claims, Sidney Volinn, who heard the case, lifted all legal restraints preventing the move from Seattle. Five days later, Volinn signed off on the sale to Selig, and days before the 1970 season was to being, the team packed up and moved to Milwaukee.

    So I would hold the Soriano brothers, Judge Mifflin, and Marvin Milkes accountable for the move before I would ever accuse Bud Selig of "hijacking" a team out of town (a la the Walter O'Malley/Horas Stoneham alliance of the Brooklyn Dodgers/New York Giants move or Bill Bartholomay moving the Braves out of Milwaukee).

    Nevertheless, it is fascinating that this ordeal seems to mark the beginnings of the sport of baseball as a commercial enterprise.


    • #17
      Thanks, JGFan.

      I'll definately be checking out those books. I've been interested in reading "Ball Four" for some time now, just haven't gotten around to it. I've even recently scraped up enough cash to purchase a throwback Seattle Pilots jersey, and considered getting Bouton's number based on the popularity of his book and how it changed public perception of the Major League lifestyle.

      Instead, I went with Tommy Harper's #21, who led the AL in stolen bases in '69 and was the Brewers lone all-star representative their first year in Milwaukee. So, I figure I essentially got the jersey of the first real "team star" of the Brewer franchise, and it has to be my favorite purchase in years (if not ever).

      I wasn't around back then to see all this drama first hand, but I was aware of how drastically different the '70 Milwaukee team was from the '69 Seattle one. If I remember correctly, Milkes sold a whole slew of players after the year in an attempt to compensate for some of the team's losses. Perhaps if he was willing to convince manager Joe Schultz to put up with Lou Pinella and be willing to pay Pinella's contract, the fate of the Pilot franchise would've been much different.

      As I understand it, the Pinella trade really upset many Seattle fans, which in conjunction with the poor playing facilities and financial troubles of the city which kept the Kingdome from being built on schedule, seemed to pretty much doom the team from Day 1.

      But thanks again! I'll definately be checking out those books. And I hope that most of you Pilot fans from back in the day aren't too sour about the move to Milwaukee, and continue to root for the Brewers to this day (they're really starting to become an exciting, young team!). But I can certainly understand how bitter some fans can be once a team moves cities... All I have to do is listen to my dad rant on about the Braves and how much Atlanta doesn't deserve them....
      Last edited by Mikey Jay; 06-22-2006, 06:26 PM.


      • #18
        Tommy Harper was a good choice. There's a good picture of him in a rundown with the Angels Rick Reichardt in another of the threads on this site. The Pilots All-Star was Mike Hegan but he got hurt and was replaced by Don Mincher. The Piniella trade for Steve Whitaker didn't work out(!) but they couldn't have known that Lou would end up as the Rookie of the Year. Jim Bouton has his own website that's alot of fun to look at. I bought a personalized photo of him in a Pilots uniform there. He'll write whatever you want on it for $10.00 and it's cheaper than ebay! You can get a used copy of "Ball Four" on for practically nothing. I think I paid $0.98 cents plus shipping(about $3.50) When you get time,put "seattle Pilots"
        in your search box and check out the unofficial fan website. It has everything,including fan memories.
        I understand how fans feel about their team moving away. I was a die hard Senators fan when they were taken away from us and moved to Texas. h Obviously,your Dad knows too!


        • #20
          Babe Ruth @ Seattle Prep, 1925


          • #21
            Babe In Seattle @ Dugdale Park




            • #22
              I love doing research on Tacoma's baseball history. Three future Hall of Famers played for the 1960 Giants: Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, and Gaylord Perry. Matty Alou was also on that team.


              • #23
                Originally posted by Iron Jaw
                Yeah, the old PCL. Denver Bears, Seattle Angels, Hawaii Islanders, Portland Beavers, Spokane Indians, Vancouver Mounties, Tulsa Oilers, Oklahoma City 89ers, Phoenix Giants, Indianapolis Indians, Arkansas Travelers - am I missing a couple of teams?

                Tucson Toros Class AAA affiliate of the (at the time) Chicago White Sox, starting in 1969.

                Currently they are the Tucson Sidewinders, you know, the PCL champs this year



                • #24
                  Babe ruth in Tacoma

                  Does anyone have info about Babe ruth visiting Tacoma and Seattle for exhibition games in October of 1924?
                  I am interested in the tacoma Tigers in 1924 at Atheletic Field.


                  • #25
                    The Babe in Seattle

                    To the delight of Seattle fans, exhibition games were also played at Dugdale Park. In 1924, Babe Ruth played with local ballplayers in an all-star game sponsored by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. With nine at-bats, he swatted three home runs out of the park.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by Tailwind Tommy; 11-14-2008, 04:27 AM. Reason: Updating photos


                    • #26
                      History Link


                      The citizens at history link have done great work both in sports and in Seattle and King County history in general.


                      • #27
                        Tom Lukanovic
                        I am not able to upload the article, so I will type it in.
                        It Happened Here...
                        Babe Ruth Retired 3 Times in one inning.
                        By Dan Walton
                        Henry K Carlbom of 4415 N 8th St. brought in an old photograph some time back that brought back old memories, but require some reserch even to partially identify and dig up the story surrounding it.
                        The picture basically was of the Tacoma City League All-Star and the occasion was the visit of Babe Ruth and teammate Bob Meusel for an exebition game at the Tacoma Stadium. The date was Saturday, Oct. 18, 1924.
                        The home run king at the time was writing deathless baseball prose for the Cristy W--sh Syndicate and Christy booked the northwest tour for the Bambino and Meusel. The visit here was sponsored by the Edward B Rhodes Post and the Tacoma Ledger. Herald D (Rick) Hayward was chairman for the Legion.
                        Ruth played first base for the Tacoma team and Meusel was in leftfield for the opposing SW Washington Timber League All-Stars.
                        Lukanovic Big Here
                        Babe was given more at bays than the rulebook really allows and the City Leaguers won 5-3, but Tommy Lukanovic, a sturdy right-hander from Aberdeen, was the big hero of the game. Lukanovic fanned the Sultan of Swat with two out and the bases loaded in the sixth inning. Babe didn't like it much either. He never liked to fan.
                        At the end of the seventh the fans were asked if they wanted to see Ruth and Muesel get more times at the plate. They did.
                        In the eighth, Ruth was given three times at the plate and was retired three straight-probably a record. He grounded out and flied to center and right field. The game was then called due to aproaching darkness and the fans swarming on the field as Ruth was set down for the final time.
                        Babe Gets Double
                        Ruth banged three balls over the far barriers in center in the pre-game batting practice, but in the contest got only one hit in eight at-bats. His lone safety was a ringing double to center, scoring a run. Additionally, Babe hit two tremendous flies to Ham Hyatt in right field that would have been homeruns in most major league parks.
                        Bob hit two balls over the barrier in the workout and banged a pitch into the left stands for a homer during the game for his only safety in seven times at the plate.
                        Lukanovic went all the way and was reached for nine hits. Lou Balsano and Coley Anderson led the attack with three hits each.
                        On the Tacoma mound, Ocky Haughland gave up three hits in four innings and Johnny Paddock turned back the Timber Leaguers hitless in the final four frames.
                        Had Competition
                        The game drew an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 which was probably optimistic. Unfortunately for the baseball gate, the Shenandoah arrived in Tacoma the same day and 40,000 were out to see the dirigible tie up.
                        In the morning before the game, Babe and Meusel were taken on a tour of the city. At every store they visited, they were showered with gifts.
                        The party was concluded back at the cages at the Bank of California.
                        Babe took a look at the piles of gold pieces (in those days) and the stacks of currency. "This" he said, " is the only place where we have not been invited to help ourselves."


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