Mariners Turn Back the Clock to 1955 Seattle Rainiers

Saturday afternoon, the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels Turn-Back-the-Clock to the 1950s. Both teams will be decked out in the retro uniforms of two old Pacific Coast League powerhouses, the Seattle Rainiers and the Los Angeles Angels from 1955. There’s a very interesting story in the May Mariners Magazine about that championship team and on SportsPress Northwest.

As part of the celebration, the Mariners reached back into the archives to invite one of the oldest surviving members of the Rainiers to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Eddie Carnett, who is 95-years old, was an outfielder, first baseman and a pitcher. And he was also a player/manager for six seasons in the minor leagues.

Known as Lefty, Carnett had a 19-year professional baseball career from 1935-1955. He played for 20 teams, including three cups of coffee in the Major Leagues with the Boston Braves (1941), Chicago White Sox (1944) and Cleveland Indians (1945). He was released by the Indians in April 1946, and went back to playing and managing in the minors for another 10 years.

Like so many of his generation, Carnett’s career was interrupted by World War II. He appeared in two games with the Boston Braves in 1941 before enlisting in the U.S. Navy, but he didn’t leave baseball behind. Carnett was a member of the Great Lakes Naval baseball team, often referred to as the “17th Major League team.” From 1942-1945, the Great Lakes Naval team featured 68 major leaguers, 18 major league All-Stars and five future Baseball Hall of Famers. His manager was Bob Feller, Cleveland Indians Hall of Famer.

During his three MLB seasons, Carnett played in 158 games. He posted a 3.40 ERA with four strikeouts and three walks in six pitching appearances. He didn’t have a decision. As a hitter, he had a career .268 batting average. According to the website Examiner.com, Carnett was “an excellent mentor, teaching Warren Spahn his pick-off move and tutoring Bob Feller on how to throw a slider.”

During his long minor league career, Carnett played for teams with some of the greatest names in all of baseball including the Wichita Spudders, Paris Red Peppers, Borger Gassers and Gainsville Owls. He also played for the more commonly named Milwaukee Brewers (AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in the American Association), the Newark Bears, Tulsa Oilers, Albuquerque Dukes, Abilene Blue Sox and a dozen others.

Eddie Carnett (right) and a teammate during his PCL Angels playing days.

Carnett had three stints with the Seattle Rainiers, 1942-43 and 1946. In 1938, the first year of the Rainiers franchise, Carnett was with the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels, who won the pennant that year. He pitched against the ace of the Rainiers staff, a young Fred Hutchinson, who went on to a stellar Major League playing and managing career. The Rainiers finished second to the Angels that season.

Carnett now lives with his wife Marilee in Ringling, OK.

- RH

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