During a season in which Seattle's American League team is the toast of baseball (page 34), the Internet reminds us of its predecessor, whose home field was named, ominously, Sick's Stadium. That club was the 1969 expansion Seattle Pilots, whose lousy play (64-98), poor attendance (8,318 average) and impatient ownership prompted a move to Milwaukee the next season. For one fan, the Pilots may have flown away, but they're not forgotten. "I'm trying to bring the team back to life," says lifelong Seattle resident Mike Fuller, who in 1997 launched brandx.net/pilots.
Mike's father, Dick, a business agent for a labor union, never got to take eight-year-old Mike to a game that season. So Fuller, who has worked as a writer, editor and deejay and is now a paralegal, created the site as a tribute to the lost baseball love of his childhood. It contains all the box scores and statistics for the club managed by Joe Schultz (bottom), photos of the players (such as righty Marty Pattin, top), video links, radio clips and a download of the catchy Go, Go, You Pilots fight song. In the history link Fuller recounts how Milwaukee businessman Bud Selig bought the bankrupt team in April 1970 and moved it so close to the beginning of the season that there was barely time to stitch BREWERS on the uniforms.
Fuller hopes someday to write a book about the Pilots, who are immortalized in Ball Four, Jim Bouton's humorous and groundbreaking account of his season with the team. Fuller and Bouton are working together through their websites ( Bouton's is jimbouton.com) to drum up enthusiasm for a Pilots-Mariners Old-Timers' Game next season at Safeco Field. "People are interested in footnotes in history," says Fuller. "I think the Pilots definitely qualify."