Seattle Rainiers

The Seattle Rainiers, originally named the Seattle Indians and also known as the Seattle Angels, were a Minor League Baseball team in Seattle, Washington, that played in the Pacific Coast League from 1903 to 1906 and 1919 to 1968. They were initially named for the indigenous Native American population of the Pacific Northwest, and changed their name after being acquired by the Rainier Brewing Company, which was in turn named for nearby Mount Rainier.

Seattle Rainiers
19191976
(19191968, 19721976)
Seattle, Washington
SeattleRainiersLogo.PNGSeattle rainiers caplogo.svg
Team logoCap insignia
Minor league affiliations
Previous classes
  • Class A – short season (1972–1976)
  • Triple-A (1958–1968)
  • Open (1952–1957)
  • Triple-A (1945–1951)
  • Double-A (1919–1945)
LeagueNorthwest League (1907–1918, 1972–1976)
DivisionPCL West (1963–1968), NWL North (1972, 1975–1976), NWL West (1973–1974)
Previous leagues
Pacific Coast League (1903–1906, 1919–1968)
Major league affiliations
Previous teams
Minor league titles
League titles 1924, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1951, 1955, 1966
Team data
Previous names
  • Seattle Rainiers (1938–1964, 1972–1976)
  • Seattle Angels (1965–1968)
    Seattle Indians (1907–1937)
    Seattle Siwashes (1903–1906)
ColorsRed, navy blue, white
     
Previous parks

HistoryEdit

Along with the Los Angeles Angels, Portland Beavers, Oakland Oaks, Sacramento Solons, and San Francisco Seals the Indians were charter members of the Pacific Coast League which was founded in 1903 after the California League and the Pacific Northwest League merged. They were known in the Pacific Northwest League as the Seattle Clamdiggers. Though the team finished second in 1906, the PCL contracted from six teams to four after the season (mainly due to the failures of the Sacramento franchise). For the next 11 seasons, the Indians played in the Northwest League, at the time a Class B league.

The Indians re-entered the PCL in 1919 with Portland (which had dropped out of the league after 1917), bringing the number of teams in the league to eight. The Indians finished in last place that year, but jumped to second in 1920. In 1924, the Indians won their first PCL pennant, clinching the title on the last day of the 202-game season.

For more than a decade after their championship run, the Indians were mired in the second division year after year. In 1932, their home park, 15,000-seat Dugdale Field, burned to the ground. Located at Rainier and McClellan Streets, it had been built in 1913 when the Indians played in the Northwest League. For the next six years, the team played at Civic Stadium, featuring a playing field of hardpan dirt.

Events took a definite turn for the better in 1938 when Emil Sick, owner of Seattle's Rainier Brewing Company, bought the Indians and renamed them the Seattle Rainiers. He began construction of Sick's Stadium, a 15,000-seat facility on the site of old Dugdale Field. Sick invested in the team, and it bore results. The Rainiers finished first in 1939, 1940 and 1941. They lost the postseason series in 1939, but won pennants in 1940 and 1941. In 1942 and 1943, the Rainiers finished in third place, but did win another PCL pennant in 1942.

After a few lean years, the Rainiers won PCL flags in 1951 and 1955, the last pennants won under Sick's ownership. After the 1960 season, the team was sold to the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox in turn sold the Rainiers to the Los Angeles/California Angels in 1965, who renamed the team the Seattle Angels, as they were known during their last four seasons.

The last hurrah for the Rainiers-turned-Angels came in 1966, when the Seattle Angels won the championship of the PCL's new Western Division (the PCL had absorbed former American Association teams in the midwestern and southwestern parts of the United States). In the playoffs, the Angels defeated the Eastern Division champion Tulsa Oilers, for Seattle's last PCL pennant.

The team's last year was 1968, in which they finished in eighth place overall. Seattle had been granted an expansion team in the American League, the ill-fated Seattle Pilots, which began play in 1969. The Pilots would last but one year in Seattle, before a bankruptcy court sold the team to a group headed by Bud Selig and were moved to Milwaukee in 1970.

 
Baseball team, Northwest League, 1902 (SEATTLE 1592)

The Class A RainiersEdit

After the Pilots left, Seattle was without professional baseball for the first time since 1900. Following a two-year void, a Sacramento man named Art Peterson bought a Class A Northwest League franchise for Seattle, named them the Rainiers and signed a deal to play in Sicks' Stadium (where the team inherited the Pilots' old offices). The Rainiers played five seasons in the NWL between 1972 and 1976 with two winning teams.

The team was a co-op operation in 1972, drawing players primarily from the San Francisco and Baltimore minor league systems. Managed by former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ray Washburn, the Rainiers went into a tailspin in August and finished last in the NWL North Division. The Cincinnati Reds picked up Seattle as an affiliate for the next two seasons. The Rainiers came in with two second-place showings as the team groomed future major league pitchers Manny Sarmiento, Mike Armstrong and outfielder Lynn Jones during that time[1], as well as manager Greg Riddoch. Peterson went the independent route for 1975 and 1976, signing his own players. One of those was outfielder Casey Sander, a Seattle native who played one season in 1975 before embarking upon an acting career, eventually landing a regular role in the longtime ABC-TV sitcom Grace Under Fire. The 1976 team had the best showing of the Rainiers' five-season run, finishing second by one game to the Portland Mavericks in the NWL's Northern Division.

On September 1, 1976, Seattle shut out Portland 2-0, with local product George Meyring winning the final professional baseball game in Sicks' Stadium.

In 1977, another American League expansion team was awarded to Seattle, the Seattle Mariners.

Season-by-season recordEdit

Season PDC Division Finish Wins Losses Win% Post-season Manager Attendance
Seattle Rainiers
1920 3rd 102 91 .528 Buzzy Wares 284,950
1921 4th 103 82 .557 Duke Kenworthy 235,096
Seattle Indians
1922 4th 90 107 .457 Judge McCredie, Bert Adams 166,817
1923 4th 99 97 .505 Harry Wolverton, Red Killefer 153,258
1924 1st 109 91 .545 League champions by virtue of best record Red Killefer 232,502
1925 3rd 103 91 .545 Red Killefer 158,847
1926 7th 89 111 .445 Red Killefer 139,505
1927 3rd 98 92 .516 Red Killefer 145,997
1928 8th 64 127 .335 Jim Middleton 96,660
1929 8th 67 135 .332 Ernie Johnson 97,776
1930 6th 92 107 .462 Ernie Johnson 103,341
1931 4th 83 104 .444 Ernie Johnson 147,787
1932 6th 90 95 .486 Ernie Johnsson, George Burns 74,012
1933 8th 65 119 .353 George Burns 79,064
1934 7th 81 102 .443 George Burns, Red Killefer 182,920
1935 BSN 7th 80 93 .462 Dutch Ruether 235,729
1936 4th 93 82 .531 Lost in semi-final series to Portland 0-4 Dutch Ruether 262,240
1937 7th 81 86 .458 Spencer Abbott, Jim Bassler 144,866
Seattle Rainiers
1938 2nd 101 75 .571 Lost in semi-final series to San Francisco 1-4 Jack Lelivelt 309,723
1939 1st 101 73 .580 Lost in semi-final series to Los Angeles 2-4 Jack Lelivelt 355,792
1940 1st 112 66 .629 Defeated Oakland in semi-final series 4-1
Defeated Los Angeles in championship series 4-1
Jack Lelivelt 295,820
1941 1st 104 70 .598 Defeated Hollywood in semi-final series 4-3
Defeated Sacramento in championship series 4-3
Bill Skiff 273,855
1942 1st 96 82 .539 Defeated Sacramento in semi-final series 4-1
Defeated Los Angeles in championship series 4-2
Bill Skiff 250,779
1942 1st 85 70 .548 Defeated Los Angeles in semi-final series 4-0
Lost to San Francisco in championship series 2-4
Bill Skiff 143,447
Division winner League champions

AffiliationsEdit

The Seattle Rainiers were affiliated with the following major league teams:

Year Affiliation(s)
1935; 1946 Boston Braves
1948 Detroit Tigers
1956–60; 1973–74 Cincinnati Reds
1961–64 Boston Red Sox
1965–68
(as Seattle Angels)
Los Angeles/California Angels

Notable Rainiers alumniEdit

Baseball Hall of Fame alumni

Notable alumni

  • Joe Black (1957) 1952 NL rookie of the Year
  • Sam Bohne (originally "Sam Cohen") (1920), Major League Baseball player
  • Jim Bouton (1968) MLB All-Star
  • Lew Burdette (1967) 3 x MLB All-Star; 1957 World Series Most Valuable Player
  • Fred Hutchinson (1938) (1955 and 1959, MGR) MLB All-Star; 1957 MLB Manager of the Year
  • Jim Lonborg (1964) MLB All-Star; 1967 AL Cy Young Award
  • Chuck Tanner (1967, MGR) Manager: 1979 World Series Champion - Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Maury Wills (1957) 7 x MLB All-Star; 1962 NL Most Valuable Player

PlayersEdit

TributeEdit

The Mariners occasionally wear Rainiers uniforms as a "1950s throwback" promotion.

In 1995, the Tacoma Tigers, the Mariners Triple-A affiliate, adopted the Rainiers name and have been using it ever since.

ReferencesEdit

  • O'Neal, Bill. The Pacific Coast League 1903–1988. Eakin Press, Austin TX, 1990. ISBN 0-89015-776-6.
  • Snelling, Dennis. The Pacific Coast League: A Statistical History, 1903–1957 McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 1995. ISBN 0-7864-0045-5.
Preceded by
Minneapolis Millers
Boston Red Sox
AAA affiliate

1961–1964
Succeeded by
Toronto Maple Leafs
  1. ^ Crossley, Drew. "1972-1976 Seattle Rainiers". funwhileitlasted.net. Retrieved 22 February 2019.