Seattle Pilots Team History
The front man for the franchise ownership, Pacific Northwest Sports, Inc. (PNSI), was Dewey Soriano, a former Rainiers pitcher and general manager and former president of the PCL. In an ominous sign of things to come, Soriano had to ask William R. Daley, who had owned the Indians at the time they flirted with Seattle, to underwrite much of the purchase price. In return, Soriano sold Daley 47 percent of the stock, the largest stake in the club. He became chairman of the board while Soriano served as president.
However, a couple of factors were beyond the Pilots’ control. They were originally not set to start play until 1971 along with the Kansas City Royals. However, the date was moved up to 1969 under pressure from Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri. Professional baseball had been played in Kansas City in one form or another from 1883 until the A’s left for Oakland after the 1967 season, and Symington would not accept the prospect of Kansas City having to wait three years for baseball to return. The American League would not allow only one new team to enter the league, as the resulting odd number of teams would unbalance the schedule. That meant Kansas City and Seattle had to be admitted together.
By the end of the season, the Pilots were gasping. However, Daley refused to put up more financing. It was obvious that they would not survive long enough to move into their new park without new ownership. It was also obvious that such a move would have to happen quickly, as Sicks’ Stadium was inadequate even for temporary use.
During the offseason, Soriano made contact with car salesman and former Milwaukee Braves minority owner Bud Selig, who was leading the effort to bring major league baseball back to Milwaukee. They met in secret for over a month towards the end of the season, and during Game 1 of the World Series, Soriano agreed to sell the Pilots to Selig for $10.8 million. Selig would then move the team to Milwaukee.
However, the remaining owners of the Pilots turned it down in the face of pressure from Washington State’s two senators, Warren Magnuson and Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, as well as state attorney general Slade Gorton. Local theater chain owner Fred Danz came forward in October 1969 with a $10 million deal, but it fizzled when the Bank of California called in a $4 million loan it had made to Soriano and Daley to finance the purchase of the franchise. In January 1970, Westin Hotels head Eddie Carlson put together a nonprofit group to buy the team. However, the owners rejected the idea almost out of hand since it would have devalued the other clubs’ worth. A slightly modified deal came one vote short of approval.
The American professional baseball team now known as the Milwaukee Brewers spent their first season, 1969, as the Seattle Pilots in Seattle, Washington. The Pilots played home games at Sick’s Stadium and were a member of the West Division of Major League Baseball’s American League. On April 1, 1970, they moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Seattle – Milwaukee
2000 – Present Major League Baseball
1998 – 1999 National League
1969 – 1997 American League
Pilots – The “Pilots” name originates from the owner’s part-time job as a harbor pilot and the city’s association with the airplane industry.
1970 – Present Milwaukee Brewers
1969 Seattle Pilots
World Series 0
2001 – Present Miller Park
1970 – 2000 Milwaukee County Stadium
1969 Sick’s Stadium
2005 – Present Mark Attanasio
1970 – 2005 Bud Selig
1992 – 2005 Wendy Selig-Prieb (acting owner)
1969 – 1970 William Daley
4 Paul Molitor
19 Robin Yount
34 Rollie Fingers
42 Jackie Robinson
44 Hank Aaron
– Bud Selig
1973 – Present Bernie Brewer
*Blue is this team’s history