Jim (the author of "Ball Four") has just passed away, as many of you know by now. Did you know that he once pitched knuckleball for the Seattle Pilots?
No, not the Mariners. The Seattle Pilots. The first Seattle MLB team. They moved to Milwaukee in 1970 after their first season and became the Brewers.
I was 11 years old when the Pilots were formed as an expansion team in 1969, with a few others, possibly Kansas City, Montreal and the California Angels. I listened to most of the Pilots games on the radio. Even went to see them live with my family at the old Sick's Stadium (what a name!) in Seattle. They lost 8-6 to Boston, I believe. I remember being driven thru downtown Seattle on a hot July evening while listening to "Working Man's Blues" by Merle Haggard on the car radio. Good times.
I still have my copy of the Seattle Pilots' yearbook, which I had ordered for by mail during that summer. I'm sure it must be worth something now amongst baseball collectors.
I think the Seattle Pilots finished last in the league, in just about every category. They did, however, have Tommy Harper, the MLB base-stealing champion. I was heartbroken when they announced their move to Milwaukee in 1970. But I recovered. I never became a true Mariners fan, though.