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Archive for July, 2009

After much pleading on our part, the Seattle Mariners have agreed to have a pre-game ceremony honoring the Seattle Pilots for their importance in Seattle baseball history and their ongoing place in the hearts of baseball fans everywhere. There was a catch, though. Because of these uncertain economic times, the Mariners are unable to pay for travel and accommodations for the players. So, it has fallen on us, the producers of the Pilots documentary, to find a way to get the players out here for their justly deserved recognition. After much thought, we have decided to put on a Seattle Pilots convention/reunion during the afternoon before the game and it looks like it will be a lot of fun!

Here are the details:postersm

What: Seattle Pilots Convention/Reunion

When: Saturday, August 29th, 12pm – 3pm

Where: The Hilton Bellevue

Why: 40th Anniversary!

Who: So far the following players have agreed to attend – Jim Bouton, Tommy Davis, John Donaldson, Larry Haney, Billy Williams and Gordy Lund. We expect several more to sign on before the event. Also, former Pilots Broadcaster and long-time voice of the Portland Trailblazers Bill Schonley will emcee. Art Thiel, senior sports columnist for the Seattle-PI will be speaking about the history of Seattle baseball and top memorabilia collector Charles Kapner will be on hand with a display of rare Pilots collectibles. We’ll announce more guests as we confirm them.

The Hilton Bellevue

The Hilton Bellevue

Cost: $20 per person at the door. All entry fees will go toward paying transportation and lodging costs for the players. Also, autograph tickets will be available for $5 each and can be redeemed for autographs from any of the players with proceeds going to the players.

There will be guest speakers, panel discussions and Q&A sessions. Also, we will shooting video of people’s recollections and stories about the Pilots – you might end up in the Documentary! It will be a great chance to meet some of the original Pilots and talk a little baseball!

Opening Day Introduction

Opening Day Introduction

After the convention, the players will head down to Safeco Field for the ceremony which will take place before the game between the Mariners and, appropriately enough, the Kansas City Royals. The ceremony will begin at approximately 6:55pm.

So spread the word! If you’re a Pilots fan, you will not want to miss this event. If you have any questions, let us know, either by email or in the comments section. Also, sponsorship opportunities are available, email us for more information!

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In a coup for music, baseball and film lovers alike, Scott McCaughey has agreed to write, perform and produce the original music for The Seattle Pilots: Short Flight Into History.  scottmccaughy550bScott has been variously described as an icon, a legend and deceased (the last of which is greatly exaggerated). An incredibly prolific musician, Scott is a founder of the highly influential Young Fresh Fellows, the critically beloved Minus 5, and The Baseball Project as well as side man extraordinaire for Rock and Roll Hall of Famers R.E.M. since 1994 – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. His dedication to Short Flight speaks volumes about both his rabid love of baseball and his gluttony for punishment.  Obviously, we are thrilled to have him on board.

Be sure to check out Scott’s latest albums “Killingsworth” by The Minus 5 and “I Think This Is” RR9IP7geby Young Fresh Fellows. Both are available through the iTunes Music Store and YepRoc Records. They are both outstanding pieces of music and you won’t be disappointed.

To hear “Go, You Pilots, Go!” by Scott McCaughey, click here: Go, You Pilots Go!

submitted by Brad Powers

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Part 1 of the trailer for our upcoming Pilots Documentary. This segments explains how the team was put together, the conditions at Sick’s Stadium and Joe Schultz’s management style.

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This is part two of the trailer for the documentary which deals with the world events of 1969, how the Pilots were sold to Milwaukee and the enduring legacy of the team.

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The city of Seattle has a rich baseball tradition dating back to the start of the 20th century. Seattle teams were mainstays of the independent Pacific Coast League for decades. They drew enthusiastic fans who loved the game and dreamed that one day major league baseball would come to their town. After years of waiting, they finally got their wish in the spring of 1969. The Seattle Pilots, one of two American League expansion teams that year (the Kansas City Royals were the other) took the field to play Major League Baseball in the Emerald City. Although this motley collection of past-their-prime veterans and untested rookies didn’t play particularly well that year and lost 98 games, fans justifiably thought that the 1969 season was just the first in what would be a long and storied major league journey for the Pilots.

Seattle Pilots Team Photo

Seattle Pilots Team Photo

But they were in for a big surprise.

During spring training of 1970, as the Pilots players were preparing for their second season, Max and Dewey Soriano, the team’s beleaguered owners, sold out to Alan H. “Bud” Selig who moved the team to Milwaukee. The Pilots became the Brewers – a franchise that is still going strong today.

angels

Game Ticket

What happened? Why were the 1969 Seattle Pilots the only team in the modern baseball era to play only one year in a city? Opinions vary and recollections are hazy, but one thing is for sure: the Pilots may have only existed for one season, but they have not been forgotten. And now, on the occasion of the team’s 40th anniversary, the documentary The Seattle Pilots: Short Flight Into History will attempt to uncover the reasons why the team left Seattle and why this one-year team retains a place in the hearts of baseball fans four decades after they played their final game. Featuring interviews with ex-players, administrative staff, broadcasters and historians, this film will be a celebration of the team, its players and the fans who refuse to forget.

One ex-player who has already been interviewed for the film is Jim Bouton.

Jim Bouton, Relief Pitcher

Jim Bouton, Relief Pitcher

Bouton was a one-time pitching phenom with the New York Yankees in the early 60’s who was trying to revive his career as a knuckle-balling reliever for the Pilots. After the season, he published a controversial memoir of the 1969 season called Ball Four. The book was an immediate sensation and remains popular today. When compiling his Essential Baseball Library for ESPN, writer Rob Neyer said of Ball Four:

The funniest non-fiction baseball book, and there’s not really any competition. No self-respecting baseball fan should go through life without reading Ball Four at least three times.

Bouton’s book immortalized the Pilots by depicting them as brash, raw, fun-loving and, above all, human. They were men who loved the game they played and fought hard to hang on to their fragile baseball careers.

Just like the year 1969, the Pilots’ story is about dreams achieved and dreams shattered. 1969 saw man first walk on the moon, but also intensifying fighting in Viet Nam. The Woodstock festival was a huge success and a

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

cultural touchstone, while The Manson Family murders horrified the nation. Against this backdrop, the Pilots story played out – from the high of a brand new team playing Major League Baseball in Seattle, to the low point of losing the team to Milwaukee.

This documentary will be a long-overdue investigation and celebration of the

Opening Day Introduction

Opening Day Introduction

Pilots. It will be a way for baseball fans to truly understand what happened to Seattle’s one-year team and also meet the men who were part of that team and enjoy their recollections of a unique season in baseball history.

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