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Rainiers 1955 Mariners Magazine

Rainiers 1955 Mariners Magazine

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Published by MarinersPRJeff

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Published by: MarinersPRJeff on May 23, 2012
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MARINERS MAGAZINE
27
oered him a multi-year contract, orhad he been amendable to a series o one-year deals. He wasn’t.Knowing that, Hutchinson’s child-hood riend and teammate, DeweySoriano, who had become the Rainiers’general manager, coaxed Hutchinsonto return to his roots and reinvigoratepublic passion in a ranchise that hadteetered onbankruptcy.Hutchinson’sbreakout yearresulted in his beingnamed Minor LeaguePitcher o the Year by
The Sporting News
. It also promptedone o the signifcant trades in Seattlesports history, when the Tigers paid$50,000 or Hutchinson and sent theRainiers a nucleus o players whowould help Seattle win three consecu-tive Pacifc Coast League pennants(1939-41).Seventeen years later, the euphoriao those memorable summers haddissipated. Hutchinson, meanwhile,had pitched in the Majors or 10 years,ought in World War II, and managedthe Detroit club or three. He wouldhave remained there had the TigersThe Seattle Rainiers, the city’sprincipal baseball inatuation or morethan a quarter o a century (1938-64),twice called upon native son FredHutchinson to come to the aid o theranchise in times o dire need.The frst occurred in 1938 when a19-year-old Hutchinson, barely outo Franklin High, won 25 games andhelped save a club that a year earlier
The 1955 Seattle Rainiers, guided by manager Fred Hutchinson, captured Pacifc Coast Leaguechampionship.
By Steve Rudman
Glory Year 
Top to bottom:
The 1955 PCL champion Rainiers in theirdugout at Sicks’ Stadium. Manager Fred Hutchinson, arlet, middle row.New Rainiers manager Fred Hutchinson (ront let), whohad starred with the club in 1938, addresses the Rainierson the rst day o spring training in 1955.A ticket stub rom the Seattle Rainiers’ 1955 home openerApril 19 at Sicks’ Stadium.The Rainiers moved into Sicks’ Stadium, located in theRainier Valley, in 1938 and played in the acility until itsdemolition in 1979.
(continued on page 28)
 
 
28
MARINERS MAGAZINE
become beset by apathy.In many ways, what Hutchinsonaccomplished with the 1955 Rainiersis more remarkable than his dazzlingdisplay in 1938.Hutchinson frst had to gut Seattle’s1954 roster (the club had staggeredin fth) and rebuild it virtually romscratch. With Soriano’s assistance,Hutchinson ocused on acquiringas many ormer Major Leaguersas possible – players, defned byHutchinson, “who understood how togive me nine good innings every day.”Former MLB notables imported byHutchinson and Soriano included 1BBill Glynn (Indians); RHP Lou Kretlow(Orioles); RHP Elmer Singleton(Cubs); RHP Larry Jansen, who in1951 had been the winning pitcher orthe Giants when Bobby Thomson hitthe “Shot Heard Round the World;”RHP Ewell Blackwell (Reds), who in1947 had nearly duplicated JohnnyVander Meer’s back-to-back no-no’s;and INF Vern Stephens (Browns, RedSox), an eight-time MLB All-Star.To these, Hutchinson added thelikes o OF Bobby Balcena, the frstnative o the Philippines to play proes-sionally in the United States. Blendinghis imports with such holdoversas catcher Ray Orteig, Hutchinsoncobbled together a roster that included42 players and 22 pitchers, 64 Rainiersin all. He even used local ast pitchsotball phenom Bobby Fesler in threegames.The ’55 Rainiers had no superstars,no 20-game winners and no .300hitters. But Hutchinson helped turn hisroster, many o them late-season acqui-sitions, into an outstanding team.Although Singleton led the sta with a 19-win eort that includeda no-hitter (July 24), the key to theRainiers season became Hutchinson’smid-season acquisition o Kretlow,who went 14-3 in the second hal.
Clockwise from top left:
Bobby Balcena, the rst nativeo the Philippines to play proessionally in the U.S., crosseshome plate ater hitting a home run at Sicks’ Stadium.Balcena is congratulated by Ray Orteig (10) and VernStephens.Rainiers owner Emil Sick (let) presents general managerDewey Soriano with
The Sporting News
“Minor LeagueExecutive o the Year” award or the 1955 season.Lou Kretlow, who had pitched or nine years in the Majors, joined the Rainiers midway through the 1955 season andposted a 14-3 second-hal record.With Seattle manager Fred Hutchinson (ar let) watching,Angels slugger Steve Bilko is presented with the TonyLazzeri Trophy, awarded annually to the PCL’s home runchampion.The Rainiers congratulate rst baseman Bill Glynn, or-merly o the Cleveland Indians, on his return to the dugoutater a home run.
(continued from page 27)(continued on page 30)

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