Tuesday, August 6, 2013

July 3- Seattle Turks

I kind of screwed myself a little bit on this post; nothing major, just a slight bit of oversight in the grand scheme of things. Back in early June my friend and co-worker Clayton Coyne (@Clayton_Coyne) informed that he and his girlfriend would be heading up to Seattle for the Saturday (June 29) game in which the Mariners were hosting the Chicago Cubs. What I didn’t know, until I looked the schedule, is that it was the Mariners’ “Turn Back the Clock Night” at Safeco Field. For those who don’t know what that means, I suggest you take a look at my post from January 23rd to understand its importance to hat collectors. “Turn Back the Clock Night” is when the home team, and most of the time the away team, don old school uniforms from the respective teams’ history on the ball field. Leading up to this game the Mariners had pretty much rolled out all of the combinations years passed, including a rare Seattle Raniers get-up during their game with the Los Angeles Angels the year before. Going into this game I knew that both teams were reviving uniforms from 1909; however, I couldn’t really find anything for the Mariners until a few days before the game.

The Cubs uniforms were definitely made to the exact specifications of the turn-of-the-century team who had won what would be their last World Series the previous year (1908), while the Mariners dug deep and pulled something out from their storied minor league past. These.

I’m not going to get too deep into the Cubs cap as I have plans for that down the road. As for the Mariners, or Seattle Turks as they were known, it was really interesting to find that they only wore this uniform for one season. That year, 1909, happened to be their only year known as the Turks, and it was also the only year in which they won a Class-B Northwest League title under then-player manager Mike Lynch. The team played their games at Yesler Way Park, which was used for baseball from 1907-1912 as the Turks were known by their other team names: Siwashes (1903-1908) and Giants (1910-1918). For most of the league's history, there were no official playoffs following the regular season; in fact, 1915 was the only season in which a playoff was played. Therefore, the team that finished in first place was often the de facto league champion. That season the Turks went 109-58.

Now that we’ve established all of that, back to the story. Due to the fact that the hats were being unveiled during that game I had foolishly assumed that the Saturday in which the game was being played would be the only day in which the hats would be sold. Oops! To make matters worse on the subject, I had gotten a sneak peek at the Cubs cap a few days before the game, along with a few other teams’ “Turn Back the Clock” caps during the #CrewEra13 visit to New Era’s headquarters in Buffalo, New York on June 24th. Basically I bring this up because I really should have known better in thinking that the Turks cap would only be available for one day.

The day before Clayton and his girlfriend left for Seattle I was supposed to meet up with him to give him money to get me one of the caps. Unfortunately, our meeting didn’t happen, but he did let me know that he would buy me the cap just as long as I paid him back immediately, a request I had no problem complying with. On a whim I had also asked him to pick me up the Cubs cap just in case he saw it. Based on this request he had phones ahead to one of his friends working for the team and asked if the Cubs hats would be available. His friend had told him “no” and we all just kind of left it at that.

Since I was working I watched as many little bits and highlights as I could on my break. It’s one thing to see photos of the uniforms, it’s another thing to see them in action. The game got off to a quick start as Cubs’ shortstop gave his tem an early 1-0 lead with a solo blast off of Aaron Harang in the first inning. Justin Smoak countered with a solo shot of his own off of Jeff Samardzija while Dustin Ackley plated Mike Zunino with an RBI single of his own to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead after two. In the sixth inning the Cubs added two more thanks to RBI-singles from Nate Schierholtz and Alfonso Soriano. The Mariners then tied it up in the ninth with an Endy Chavez RBI-single himself to force extra innings. Free baseball would sadly be short-lived as Soriano tagged Oliver Perez for a two-run homer in the top of the 11th which ended up be the winning runs for the Cubs.

The next day I arrived at work without any money in my pocket as I had forgotten to stop by an ATM on the way, o when Clayton arrived to drop off the hat and pick up his money I had to run out to a random non-bank ATM in order to pay for the ware he picked up for me. In this case I had to shell out an extra $3.50 in fees on top of the $35 for the regular price cost of the cap. Therefore, I spent $38.50 for the cap. Things were just starting to go bad.

Before Clayton left to head back home I randomly stumbled across the Lids Web site to check out if there was anything new that they may have added over the last 24 hours. Sure enough, both caps were kicking it in their “TBTC” section. Not only that, the Mariners did in fact sell the Cubs’ caps at the game, thus making Clayton’s friend one of the most uninformed employees on their payroll. In other words, he works for general manager Jack Zduriencik. Kidding of course. But the point I want to make about the Lids Web site is that I could have gotten 25% off of both caps with my Lids card as well as gotten them shipped to the Lids location in the mall I work at for free. So you see, in summation, I blew it. For an extra $17.50 added on to what I paid I could have had both had I been a little more patient about things. But then again, that’s the trouble with hats that will only be used for one game during a season; they go fast. Now… I need to collect all of the other “Turn Back the Clock” caps before it’s too late.

#1909- When marking this up I decided to keep it simple in order to pay tribute to the lost championship season of yesteryear. One thing that I should point out on these caps is that the "S" logo is different than in the picture below. The ones on the modernized caps are identical to the "S" logo of the Seattle Pilots, who I will be writing about in August.

It’s a bit interesting to look around on seasonal stat sheets on BaseballRefernce.com only to find a slew of question marks next to almost every players’ name. Only six players from this team went on to have any kind of a career in the Major Leagues; they include: Emil Frisk, Pug Bennett, Mike Lynch, Lee Magee, Gus Thompson and Burt Whaling. One thing I can point out is that none of them had numbers on the back of their jerseys as that concept wouldn’t be introduced until the 1929 New York Yankees. Of all six only one had a worth-while career in the Majors while one had an interesting fact pop up on his bio sheet.

The random fact that popped up was how Bennett is buried in an “unknown” cemetery in Kirkland, Washington. Kirkland resides on the east side of Lake Washington about 21 minutes east and then north. I find this fact to be a bit eerie for the sake that I would hate to have my body missing when I die. I realize that when I’m dead it’s not going to matter, but still, it’s the principle of the matter.

As for the “stat king,” Lee Magee, born Leopold Christopher Hoernschmeyer, played in the Majors from 1911-191 for seven different ball clubs: St. Louis Cardinals (1911-1914), Brooklyn Tip-Tops (1915), Yankees (1916-1917), St. Louis Browns (1917), Cincinnati Reds (1918), Brooklyn Robins (1919) and Cubs (1919). His best season came in 1914 when he hit .284 with two home runs, 40 RBI and 36 stolen bases, which was good enough for an 11th-place finish for the National League MVP. Johnny Evers of the Boston Braves took home the hardware that season. Aside from that, nothing else of real note. Magee finished his career going .276/12/277 with 186 stolen bases in 1015 games.

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