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A hopefully on-going history of Tacoma, the Rainiers and the PCL in general. Mostly cribbed from Wikipedia, Baseball Reference, and various official sites.

After two seasons, the Tacoma Tigers/Wanderers of the Pacific Coast League were no more. A local saloonkeeper named George Shreeder purchased the Everett Smokestackers of the Class B Northwestern League and moved them to Tacoma. This incarnation of the Tigers would bounce around in the low minors for the next five decades.

It began well, as it should have. The former Smokestackers were the defending NWL champion, and the newborn Tigers won the 1906 pennant. It could have been better though. In 1906, a young, hard-throwing Californian tried out for the team. He pitched – and lost – an exhibition game to the Aberdeen Black Cats. This young man ended up in the Idaho State League until the AL Washington Senators called him up in 1907. His name was Walter Johnson. After picking up the best nickname in baseball history (The Big Train), he would finish with 417 wins, 110 shutouts and be a part of the inagural class of the baseball Hall of Fame.

The Northwestern League would last until 1917, until wartime shortages would weaken the league. Tacoma and Spokane would fold just a month into the 1918 season. The league would return as the Northwest International League for 1919 and 1920. This incarnation was a four-team league consisting of the Tacoma Tigers, Seattle Drydockers, Vancouver Beavers and Victoria Tyees. Again, Tacoma folded mid-season, and the remainder of the league followed just a few days later. Another stillborn league followed in 1922, with the four team Western International League. Oddly enough Tacoma was the “International” of this unit, as the other three teams were all based in Canadian teams. The league lasted only one season, and professional baseball would be gone from Tacoma for the next 15 years.

In 1937, the Western International League was reborn; stretching from Vancouver, BC to Lewiston, Idaho. The reborn Tigers won pennants in '37, '39 and '1940. The Western International League would shut down from 1943 – 1945 due to wartime manpower losses, but return at full strength in 1946. Tacoma was a mainstay of this league until 1951. The WIL would eventually morph into the Northwest League, a low Class A league still going strong. Tacoma though, would have to wait.


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