Summer reading: golden olden days of PNW baseball

Baseball infielder John Monroe

John Monroe, Portland Beavers infielder, 1931-1933. Mr. Monroe also played for a number of other teams including the New York Giants and Philadelphia Phillies. (CCL riz94107)

Ahh, baseball. The game that keeps chess from looking slow, with players who scratch where the sun doesn’t shine and announcers who think “obscure statistic” is an oxymoron. But, still, it’s summertime, boys and girls–and what better time to bone up on our baseball lore. Enter Rain Check: Baseball in the Pacific Northwest, an engaging tribute to 120 years of PNW baseball.

Teams came and went with giddy abandon in the early days. Portland was home to the minor league Webfooters, Browns, Giants, Colts (twice), Pippins, Buckaroos, Mavericks, Rockies, and Beavers (three times). And Seattle cheered for the Clamdiggers, Siwashes, Turks, Giants, Drydockers, Purple Sox, Indians (twice), Rainiers (twice), and Angels before hitting the big leagues, first (and ever-so-briefly) with the Pilots in 1969, and then with the Mariners in 1977.

Rain Check drags a bit when it focuses on owners, general managers and business decisions, but shines when it focuses on the players and the game. Who could not root for the Everett Seagulls? They won the Northwest Washington League title in 1924, beating the Mt. Vernon Milkmaids (seriously) in the playoffs. Then they went on to stun the baseball world on October 20th, with a 15-3 romp over the barnstorming Brooklyn Dodgers—who had finished second in the National League that year, 1 1/2 games behind the New York Giants.

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