During the suit against baseball arising from the Pilots' move to Milwaukee, much was made of the poor condition of Sick's Stadium. However, for many years it was considered one of the best parks in baseball.
Circa 1938. [63k]
The previous owners of the Seattle Indians owed so much money that the league was on the verge of revoking their franchise and taking over the team. The horrible condition of the Indians' home field was also a concern to the league. Since 1913, the Indians had played at Dugdale Parkand all-wood stadium at the corner of Rainier Avenue South and McLellan Street. But Dugdale Park burned to the ground on the Fourth of July 1932 a blaze touched off either by a stray firework or by arson, depending on what you believe.
The only available home for the team was Civic Field, a ballpark with no grass and wooden light posts larger than telephone polesin play. The Indians were only supposed to stay at Civic Field temporarily, but because of the owners' finances, their residence lasted nearly five years.
Sick was amenable to building a new stadium for his new team, the only question was where to put it. The site finally chosen was the former site of Dugdale Park! Roscoe "Torchy" Torrance was a local go-getter who convinced Sick to let him help with the effort. In his autobiography, Torchy!, he remembers that the construction didn't go as smoothly as it could have.
Emil Sick (center). [44k]
Emil Sick brought in a contractor from Canada to build the stadium. He knew nothing about baseball, but we told him we wanted two-thirds grandstand and one-third bleachers. We ended up with half and half which really cut into our potential revenue.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer was much more kind, noting that, "Seattle joins Los Angeles and San Francisco as being the only Pacific Coast League cities with modern, steel-and-concrete baseball structures. And although the Angels and Seals play in million-dollar stadiums, neither one can match Sick's Stadium for comfort and hominess."
The 1939 Rainiers pose in the Sick's Stadium outfield. [33k]
In additon to hosting the Rainiers, Angels and Pilots, Sick's Stadium was the site of concerts and even high school sports. Despite protests, it was torn down in February 1979 to make room for an electronics plant.
The three shots from the glory days of Sick's Stadium are courtesy of the Post-Intelligencer Collection and the PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection from Seattle's Museum of History and Industry.
Visit the site of Sick's Stadium to see what it looks like today.
The Pilots pose in front of the Sick's Stadium grandstand.
The interior of the stadium, circa 1940s.