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In 1937, when local beer baron Emil Sick stepped in, the Seattle Indians were a struggling minor-league baseball team teetering on collapse. Moved to mix baseball and beer by his good friend and fellow brewer, New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, Sick built a new stadium and turned the team into a civic treasure. The Rainiers (newly named after the beer) set attendance records and won Pacific Coast League titles in 1939, â40, â41, â51, and â55.Â
The story of the Rainiers spans the end of the Great Depression, World War II, the rise of the airline industry, and the incursion of Major League Baseball into the West Coast (which ultimately spelled doom for the club). It features well-known personalities such as Babe Ruth, who made an unsuccessful bid to manage the team; Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, who did manage the Rainiers; and Ron Santo, a batboy who went on to a storied career with the Chicago Cubs. Mixing traditional baseball lore with tales of mischief, Pitchers of Beer relates the twenty-seven-year history of the Rainiers, a history that captures the timeless appeal of baseball, along with the local moments and minutiae that bring the game home to each and every one of us. Pitchers of Beer showcases fifty-two photographs of players and memorabilia from noted Northwest baseball collector David Eskenazi.