(Redirected from Sicks Stadium)
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)
- Gary Bell (CG-W) vs. Joe Horlen (L); HR: Don Mincher
- First Hit: Tommy Harper
- First Double: Bill Melton
- First Triple: Melton (April 13th, 1969)
- First HR: Mincher (off Horlen)
- First Run: Harper
- First RBI: Rich Rollins
LAST MLB GAME: October 2, 1969, vs. Oakland Athletics (Athletics 3, Pilots 1)
- Steve Barber (L) vs. Jim Roland (CG-W); HR: Steve Whitaker
LARGEST CROWD: 23,657 - August 3, 1969, vs. New York Yankees
SEASON ATTENDANCE: 677,944
Sick's Stadium in Seattle, WA, was built in 1938 at a cost of $350,000 on the site of the former Dugdale Park, which had burned down in 1932. 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.
The ballpark's name has always included an apostrophe ... somewhere. It was originally named Sick's Stadium for Seattle Rainiers owner Emil Sick. Surviving photos show that for at least some of its time, its main signage read SICK'S SEATTLE STADIUM. After Emil's 1964 death, it was renamed Sicks' Stadium to reflect the ownership of his heirs. The next year, they sold the ballpark to the city to make room for a freeway that did not develop as planned, and the stadium was not torn down until 1979. Along the way, it hosted several lower-level minor league teams and the only season of Seattle Pilots baseball.
With the arrival of the expansion 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 issues, attendance was fairly strong until August, when the team entered a slump that lasted the rest of the year. Low gate receipts and a lack of television revenue sent the team into bankruptcy court. Milwaukee businessman Allan "Bud" Selig bought the operation out of bankruptcy and moved it to Wisconsin to become 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.
- 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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