Sick’s Stadium, a landmark in Seattle’s baseball history, may not be as renowned as other major league ballparks, but it holds a unique and significant place in the annals of baseball. This stadium, with its brief but memorable stint in Major League Baseball, symbolizes a pivotal moment in Seattle’s sports history.
Stadium Facts about Sick’s Stadium
- Location: Seattle, Washington
- Opened On: June 15, 1938
- Closed On: 1976
- Home Team: Seattle Rainiers (Pacific Coast League), Seattle Pilots (American League, 1969), Seattle Mariners (brief period in 1977)
- Stadium Nicknames: N/A
- Dimensions: Left Field – 330 feet, Center Field – 425 feet, Right Field – 330 feet
- Capacity: Originally 11,000; expanded to 25,000 in 1969
- Attendance Record: Not available
- Surface: Grass
- Architect: Emil Sick
- Owner: Emil Sick
Sick’s Stadium was initially built as the home for the Seattle Rainiers, a minor league baseball team. The stadium witnessed significant changes in the landscape of Seattle baseball, most notably in 1969 when it briefly served as the home for the Seattle Pilots, an expansion team in Major League Baseball. The Pilots’ stay was short-lived, as financial struggles led to their relocation and transformation into the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970.
The stadium continued to be used for minor league games and other events until its eventual demolition in 1976, marking the end of an era in Seattle’s rich baseball history.
Design and Features
Sick’s Stadium was characteristic of the ballparks of its time, with a simple and functional design. Its initial capacity was modest, reflecting its minor league origins. The stadium had a traditional feel, with a single-tiered grandstand and an open outfield that gave fans an unobstructed view of the game.
One of the unique aspects of Sick’s Stadium was its intimate atmosphere, which brought fans close to the on-field action. This intimacy made it a beloved venue among baseball enthusiasts, despite its limited amenities and size.
In preparation for the Seattle Pilots’ inaugural season in 1969, Sick’s Stadium underwent significant renovations. These renovations included expanding the seating capacity and upgrading the facilities to meet Major League standards. However, the upgrades were rushed and ultimately insufficient, contributing to the Pilots’ financial struggles and relocation.
The limitations of Sick’s Stadium as a Major League venue were apparent, leading to discussions about the need for a new, modern ballpark in Seattle, which eventually culminated in the construction of the Kingdome.
The facilities at Sick’s Stadium were basic but adequate for its time. Concession stands offered classic ballpark snacks and refreshments, and the seating, though not as comfortable as modern stadiums, provided fans with a close-up experience of the game.
The stadium’s location in a residential neighborhood made it accessible to local fans, but it also presented challenges in terms of parking and transportation, especially when it hosted Major League games.
Memorable Moments at Sick’s Stadium
- Seattle Pilots’ Debut Season: The 1969 season marked the arrival of Major League Baseball in Seattle.
- Hosting Legendary Players: Despite its brief MLB tenure, Sick’s Stadium saw the likes of Tommy Harper and Lou Piniella.
- Minor League Glory: Hosting the Seattle Rainiers, a successful minor league team with deep roots in the city.
- Final Game: The last game played by the Pilots in Sick’s Stadium, marking the end of Seattle’s first foray into Major League Baseball.
Interesting Baseball History at Sick’s Stadium
- Transition to the Kingdome: Sick’s Stadium’s inadequacies helped pave the way for the construction of the Kingdome, a more modern facility for Seattle’s future MLB endeavors.
- Impact on Seattle’s Baseball Culture: The stadium played a key role in nurturing the city’s love for baseball.
- Historic Minor League Venue: A significant site in the Pacific Coast League, showcasing the talent and passion of minor league baseball.
In addition to baseball, Sick’s Stadium was used for various other events, reflecting its status as a versatile community venue. It hosted concerts, political rallies, and other community gatherings, making it an integral part of Seattle’s cultural and entertainment scene. The stadium’s role in these diverse events highlighted its importance beyond baseball, serving as a hub for community activities and entertainment in Seattle.