Stone: ‘An unstable roller-coaster’: 50 years later, Pilots remain Seattle’s fun fascination

From Larry Stone at the Seattle Times on June 21, 2019:

The Seattle Pilots lasted just a single, solitary season — a blink of an eye in the 150-year history of major-league baseball, a blur on the sports ledger of this region, a mere footnote in athletic annals.

And yet they made such an indelible mark in that turbulent year of 1969, were so zany and quirky, that they are remembered vividly, and ever so fondly, 50 years later. They built a dream, all right, and it still resonates to this day.

Just ask Steve Whitaker, who also toiled for the Yankees and Giants in his career but gets far more attention, to this day, for the 69 games he played in the Pilots outfield. The Seattle players — 34 of whom are still alive of the 53 who stepped on the field, most now in their 70s and some having hit their 80s — learned long ago that once a Pilot, always a Pilot.

“It’s a story that should, and will, live on forever,’’ Whitaker said in a phone interview. “People are very interested in the whole history.”

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Originally published: June 24, 2019. Last Updated: June 24, 2019.