Mariners and Cubs to Turn Back The Clock on Saturday

The 1909 Seattle Turks

The 1909 Seattle Turks

The Mariners will be celebrating Turn Back the Clock Day this Saturday, June 29 at 4:15 p.m. vs. the Chicago Cubs. At this game, fans will be able to enjoy vintage touches from the early 20th century throughout the ballpark including a live organist, a barbershop quartet and more! In addition, the first 20,000 fans will receive a poster presented by Seattle Magazine featuring Kyle Seager, Jesús Montero, Franklin Gutierrez, Michael Saunders and Brendan Ryan.

But what was Seattle baseball like in the early 1900s? Well for instance, Seattle did not have its own Major League team. Professional baseball first came to Seattle on May 24, 1890 — less than a year after the Great Seattle Fire—when the “Seattles” beat the “Spokanes” 11-8. It took a number of years for professional baseball to return in 1898 thanks to the efforts of Daniel E. Dugdale — a former Major League catcher who found his fortune through the Klondike Gold Rush. Dugdale established many Seattle teams during this period, including the Klondikers, Rainmakers, Clamdiggers, Chinooks, Siwashes, Giants and — the team featured during Saturday’s game—the Turks. These teams were a part of the Pacific Northwest League and the Class B Northwestern League.

This poster will be given out to the first 20,000 fans on Saturday.

This poster will be given out to the first 20,000 fans on Saturday.

Between 1907 and 1913 Dugdale’s teams played at the Yesler Way Park, which Dugdale constructed. Located on Yesler Way between 12th and 14th Avenues, the field was wood-framed and home run balls frequently crashed into the windows of nearby apartments.

The Turks were Seattle’s team in the Northwestern League in 1909, and whose uniforms our present-day Mariners will be sporting on Saturday (pictured). The Turks won the Northwestern League pennant with a record of 109-58 that year. The Northwestern League consisted of six teams in 1909, including the Tacoma Tigers, Spokane Indians, Grays Harbor Grays, Portland Colts, Vancouver Beavers, and of course, the Seattle Turks.

Teams during this period changed names frequently, and after the 1909 season, the Turks became the Seattle Giants (the name was generated by a fan contest). The Giants won the Northwestern League pennant in 1912 with a record of 99-66. Paired with the 1909 Turks win, baseball began to gain popularity in the city of Seattle. The 1912 Giants featured players who would later play in the Major Leagues such as pitcher Bill James, catcher Bert Whaling, outfielder Lester Mann, and infielder Fred McMullin. Seven years later McMullin became known as one of the eight men out for his part in the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

The 1909 Northwestern League Champions

The 1909 Northwestern League Champions

The Cubs will also be participating in the Turn Back the Clock festivities, wearing uniforms from the early 20th century. In 1909 the Cubs finished second in the National League behind Pittsburgh. They had a 104-49 record and four players from that year would later become members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. These members are pitcher “Three Finger” Mordecai Brown (who was 27-9 with a 1.31 ERA in 1909), and legendary double play combination shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers and first baseman Frank Chance (the famous Tinker to Evers to Chance).

What else was going on in Seattle during this time period though? The Klondike Gold Rush was causing a boom in the city and many companies were being founded, such as Nordstrom in 1901 and the American Messenger Company (later UPS) in 1907. Seattle hosted its first World’s Fair in 1909, called the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. It drew in thousands of people and even a visit from the newly elected President, William Howard Taft.

So join the Mariners on Saturday at Safeco Field to help continue the tradition of baseball in Seattle while at the same time celebrating its past.

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- Caitlin Doxsie, Mariners PR Intern

11 Comments

Check out the slide show. Thanks Caitlin for putting this together!.

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This is a great piece. I’m putting together a unit study on baseball history for older elementary age boys and would live to know where you got the pictures and memorabilia you used here.

love the retro jerseys! Can’t wait for the game!

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Great job on the slide show Caitlin! I’m up in Kamloops BC and played many games in Seattle at Graves Field at UW back in the day. So the city has special place in my heart. I’m watching the game and wishing I could be at Safeco today!!

Why did they call them the Turks?

That is a good question that there are not a lot of answers to. This article talks about this exact question and is pretty interesting. http://www.uni-watch.com/2013/06/30/cubs-and-turks-throw-back-to-1909/

Kara, don’t you think girls would be interested in this as well? Open your mind, please. I’m a girly-girl and I like local history too! What do the girls get to study? Barbie?

At least consider researching women’s baseball as well. “A League of Their Own”, perhaps?

And to author Caitlin: GREAT article!

P.S. I would love to be at this game.

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