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Sicks Stadium

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Home of the Seattle Pilots, 1969


BUILT: 1938; DEMOLISHED: 1979.

CAPACITY: 18,000 (April 11, 1969); 25,420 (June 1969)

FIRST MLB GAME: April 11, 1969, vs. Chicago White Sox (Pilots 7, White Sox 0)

LAST MLB GAME: October 2, 1969, vs. Oakland Athletics (Athletics 3, Pilots 1)

LARGEST CROWD: 23,657 - August 3, 1969, vs. New York Yankees

SEASON ATTENDANCE: 677,944


Named after Emil Sick, owner of the minor league Seattle Rainiers, Sicks Stadium was built in 1938 at a cost of $350,000. Originally seating 15,000, the park featured a single-deck concrete grandstand with a roof running between first base and third base and wooden bleachers surrounding the outfield. Beyond the leftfield bleachers, one could get a scenic view of Mount Rainier in the distance. There was a press box cut into the grandstand's roof behind home plate with a camera deck beneath it. The stadium had four light towers located on the roof, but the field was rather poorly lit.

With the arrival of the expansion Seattle Pilots for the 1969 season, seats were added along the foul lines, approximately doubling the park's capacity. However, there was almost immediately friction between the Pilots and the city of Seattle, which had promised to bring the park up to major league standards, and expansion work did not begin until January 1969. On Opening Day, only 18,000 seats were ready, 700 of which were finished while fans were waiting to be let into the stadium. But fans outside of the park could watch the game for free through openings in the unfinished left field fence. Water pressure proved to be another problem. If attendance was over about 14,000, the water pressure was virtually nonexistent, and teams would have to return to their hotels to shower. Despite these problems, attendance was fairly strong until August, when the team entered a slump that lasted the rest of the year, but dropped off dramatically afterwards. Low gate receipts and a lack of television revenue caused the team to be put up for sale after the season. When no local buyers could be found, the Pilots were sold and became the Milwaukee Brewers. Litigation was filed over the move, and Seattle was eventually granted a new team, the Mariners, who played in the newly-built Kingdome. Meanwhile, Sicks Stadium was used as a home for Class A teams through the mid-1970s.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Bill Mullins: Becoming Big League: Seattle, the Pilots, and Stadium Politics, University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-295-99252-5
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