With Seattle having no NBA team, this is a slow time in sports. The Mariners, Sounders and NASCAR are getting ready to start their seasons and we are a few weeks away from March Madness. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the good and bad moments in Seattle sports. Since I was born in the 70's that is as far back as I am going.
Building the Kingdome: Building a covered stadium in Seattle was first proposed to Seattle officials back in 1959. It took three times going before the voters before they would pass a stadium bond in 1968. It still took another eight years before the Kingdome would open. The reason this made my list is because without the Kingdome, Seattle never would have had the Seahawks or Mariners.
1978 Husky's Rose Bowl Victory: I was only seven years old when this game was played. It created a family rivalry with my dad being from Michigan and pulling for the Wolverines and me cheering on the Dawgs. I did not realize at the time what barriers Husky QB Warren Moon was breaking being African-American. I never thought race was an issue, it was something I just took for granted. To me anyone could play at any position and the only thing that mattered was how good they played, not the color of their skin. Warren Moon went undrafted and play professional football in Canada for five years before the Houston Oilers signed him to play in the NFL. Even with is short NFL career he was the first African-American QB to be enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Sonics Winning the 1979 NBA Championship: This was the first Seattle championship since the 1917 Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup. Seattle was finally able to say they are a professional sports town. My dad wanted to preserve this moment and the only way to do that was to use a cassette and tape recorder and record the game off the radio. There was no VCR's, DVR's or on demand. I still have the cassette but I'm just not sure if I have anything to play it on. Being so young I thought it was easy to win championships and that the Seahawks and Mariners would be next. Some 33-years later I am still waiting for another men's professional championship in Seattle.
Seafair Hydroplane Racing: This was the only sport I ever saw my mom watch. In the 70's my parents would have TV's lined up next to each other to catch all the different camera angels of the races. Who can forget some of the boats that raced on Lake Washigton like the Miss Pay n Pak, Miss Bud, Atlas Van Lines and Miss Thriftway. Along with the top drivers Bill Muncey, Chip Hanauer and Dave Villwock. Living in Renton I could hear the hydroplanes racing across the water from my back deck. Seafair is one of the longest running sports event in Seattle history. You can visit the Hydroplane museum in Kent for more hydroplane history:
Marineres Become a Legit Team: When Ken Griffey Jr. arrived on the seen in 1989 he became Seattle's first national phenom. People became fans of the Mariners because of Ken Griffey Jr. He was the reason they were getting more play on ESPN's Sportscenter. In 1993 the Mariners' signed their first real big name manager in Lou Pinella and within two years they would make the playoffs for first time in franchise history. They had to win a one game playoff against the California Angels just to make it into the playoffs. Then they faced the dreaded New York Yankees in a best of five series. There is not a more famous call in Mariners' history then Edgar's double that drove in Griffey to win the game and the series. They lost to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS but what a run they had. I attached the link to Dave Niehaus' famous call, it still gives me chills to hear it.
Superbowl Seahawks: It took 29-years before the Seahawks would produce a team good enough to go all the way to the Superbowl. What I remember most from that regular season was being at their last home game. It was the game against the Colts on Christmas Eve and I was there with my daughter, niece and her husband. If the Seahawks won they would have a first week bye and home field advantage through out the playoffs. The first Seahawks' Coach Jack Patera was on hand to raise the 12th man flag. When he was announced I teared up because it brought back memories I had of watching the games with my dad. I wish he could have been there to enjoy that moment. I knew that team was something special and nothing was going to stop them from making it to the Superbowl. We all know how that game ended. Here is hoping it will not take another 29-years to make it back to the Superbowl.
Sonics Leave Seattle: I am still heart broken over this and a little bitter that the City of Seattle did not fight to keep the Sonics here. Back in 1996 when Ken Behring tried to move the Seahawks to Anaheim, King County filed a lawsuit stopping the move since there was still two years left on their lease in the Kingdome. The only thing Ken Behring could do was sell the team. It is hard to see how good the old Sonics are doing in Oklahoma City. With all the talk of a new arena being built and possibly getting another NBA team, it just won't be the same old Sonics.
Sounders Enter the MLS: When the Sounders entered the MLS I thought they would have maybe 10-15 thousand fans per game. Was I wrong, The Sounders entered the MLS in 2009 and have led the league in attendance every season. I thought their first season might be a fluke but their season ticket base just continues to grow. When you put a good product on the field and know how to market it, the fans will come. The Sounders are the franchise other MLS teams want to become.
Is there a Seattle sports moment I might have forgot? Then share it under comments.