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Dugdale Park: Baseball was a Rainier Valley Tradition

RVHS Photo #96.73.03

This photograph shows Dugdale Baseball Park at Rainier Avenue and McClellan Street, home of the Seattle Indians of the Pacific Coast League. The stadium was built in 1913 and from 1919 to 1932 it was the home of the Seattle Indians. It was named after turn-of-the-century Seattle ball player Dan Dugdale who had the distinction of having two baseball fields named after him. 

The photo was taken on July 6, 1915 from a point on Rainier Avenue, 100 feet north of Lander Street looking south. Notice the wood-plank paving of Rainier Avenue on the right. Most of Rainier Avenue was paved with planks such as these with the timber cut from Rainier Valley's forests. The streetcar tracks on the left that curved into the park, dropped the fans off close to the entrance. The special cars on game days carried signs on the front that read "Baseball Today."

The touring car on the right belonged to the photographer that took the photograph. We have a series of fourteen of these photos, all shot on the same day along Rainier Avenue between Dearborn and Rainier Beach and this same auto appears in several of the photos.

The stadium burned down on July 5, 1932 resulting in the Seattle Indians playing their games at a ball field next to Civic Auditorium where the Seattle Center's Memorial Stadium is today. Emil Sick of the Rainier Brewery bought the team in 1937 and immediately started to build a new stadium on the Dugdale site. He changed the name of the team to the Rainiers and the new stadium became Sicks Stadium.

That year the legendary ball player Fred Hutchinson was just out of Franklin High where he had led the team to the city championship two years in a row and he also made the all-city team those two years. In a game with Ballard, Fred started the game by striking out the first three batters that faced him with nine straight strikes.

 The Detroit Tigers wanted him but didn’t agree with demands from Fred’s dad that he deserved a $5,000 bonus. Fred stayed in Seattle that year and pitched for the Rainiers. He had a record of 25 wins, 7 losses and was named M.V.P. of the Pacific Coast League and Seattle’s “Man of the Year”. At the end of the year the Tigers paid Seattle $50,000 and four players for his rights. 

For a brief period after the Rainier’s reign, Sicks Stadium was home to a farm team for the Los Angeles Angels. Then for one season, Seattle enjoyed major league baseball with the Seattle Pilots of the American League. After that first year the Pilots, amidst a lot of controversy, were moved to Milwaukee. Sicks Stadium was then demolished and an industrial building was built on the site for the Swiss based CX Corporation. Eagle Hardware and Pepsi now occupy the site.  

Days Gone By 

South District Journal 1/27/1999

By Buzz Anderson


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