Pitchers and catchers have been warming up since late February in warmer climes and the cry of "Play ball" is as sure as spring. In my continuing series of sports team names and specifically those for baseball teams, in this post I visit Seattle which has been the host city to a number of baseball teams.
The original Pacific Coast League minor league club in Seattle was initially called the Indians, as a reference to the Native American legacy of the area. That team was renamed the Seattle Rainiers. Though it obviously references Mount Rainier, it actually was named for the Rainier Brewing Company.
The Rainiers operated through 1968. At that time, the major leagues expanded and a new Rainiers ball club was formed and played from 1972–1976.
The Seattle Pilots AL expansion team in 1969 was named for the many marine activities in the Puget Sound area. The name references not airline pilots, but ship pilots who guide large ships into port. The Pilots' caps featured the "scrambled eggs" golden-leaf symbol of a ship's captain.
The team ran into financially troubled waters and and became the first major league club since the 1901 Milwaukee Brewers to switch cities after one year.
The Pilots moved to Milwaukee and became the new Milwaukee Brewers.
|Ken Griffey Jr. Mariners #24 Hall of Fame shirt - via Amazon|
The current Seattle baseball team is the Mariners who came about during another AL expansion in 1977. As with the Pilots, the name is a nod to fishing and other marine activities.
In a nod to the past, the Rainiers name has been used by the Seattle Mariners' Triple-A affiliate in nearby Tacoma since 1995.