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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. Check out the entire series here.

With the demise of the Western International League in 1951, Tacoma was without professional baseball again. The WIL had transformed itself into the Pacific Northwest League, which is still a low Class-A league with teams from Vancouver BC to Boise. Tacoma though, was not invited. It would be until 1960, when the Pacific Coast League - Triple-A, the highest level of minor league ball - would bring baseball back to Tacoma. The South Sound's return to baseball would be fall out from the biggest change to hit the major leagues since Jackie Robinson: California baseball.

In 1957, Walter O'Malley, owner of the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers, convinced that the city of New York would not build him the replacement for Ebbets Field he believed he needed, moved his team to Los Angeles. He convinced Horace Stoneham, owner of the rival New York Giants, to join him on the west coast. The Giants and Dodgers, National League rivals since 1883, had taken National League baseball from New York, and stifled any dream the Pacific Coast League had of major league status.

And the PCL certainly did dream big. By the late 1920's, with teams in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle, the PCL was large and wealthy enough to offer baseball just shy of major league status. Stars like Joe DiMaggio (San Francisco Seals), Ted Williams (San Diego Padres) and Tony Lazzeri (Salt Lake City Bees) got their start in the Coast League. Thanks to mild west coast weather, the PCL season was longer, allowing players and owners alike to earn more money. There was a gap in the quality of baseball between the majors and the PCL, but it was not very big.

In 1952, the league was granted Open status. Meaning it was not the major leagues, but no longer was it minor league either. Open status severely limited the ability of the majors to poach players from the PCL, and it was widely viewed as the first step toward major league status. It certainly made sense, especially for the league's glamor teams, the San Francisco Seals, the Hollywood Stars, and the Los Angeles Angels. The Stars, which in actually was the old Tacoma Tiger franchise from the 1904 and 1905 seasons, was certainly major league caliber. The team advertised itself as "Hollywood Stars owned by Hollywood's stars", and with an ownership group that included Gene Autry and William Frawley, the Stars were certainly that. They were also smart enough to begin televising games as early as 1940 and name Jayne Mansfield "Miss Hollywood Star".

But with the Dodgers and Giants arrival, the PCL was forced to move the Seals, Angels and Stars. In 1957, the Angels moved to Spokane to become the Indians. The Stars headed to Salt Lake City and became the reborn Bees. The Seals would end up in the desert, and life as the Phoenix Giants. Without the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets, the PCL dream of the major leagues was shattered. Attendance fell of precipitously, due both to now-unfair comparisons to the majors, and the expansion of television. The Seals, after two seasons in Phoenix, were looking to move. Enter Ben Cheney and the City of Destiny


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