Template:MiLB infobox The Tacoma Rainiers are a minor league baseball team that plays in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. A team located in Tacoma, Washington has been in the PCL every year since 1960, for the longest current active streak of membership in the league. The Rainiers are based only 32 minutes south of Seattle, the shortest distance between a Triple-A team and its major-league parent.
Tacoma's first team in the PCL was the Tacoma Tigers, who joined the league in 1904, having moved from Sacramento after the 1903 season. The 1904 Tigers won Tacoma's first PCL pennant, finishing first in both halves of the split season schedule, seven games (annualized) over the runner-up Los Angeles Angels. The 1905 Tigers won the first-half championship, then played so poorly in the second-half they moved back to Sacramento, finishing out the season as the Sacramento Solons, and losing the postseason series to the Angels. The PCL would not return to Tacoma for another 55 years; however, another Tacoma Tigers franchise operated in the Western International League from the 1930s until 1951.
The current franchise was founded in 1960 when the Phoenix Giants, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, moved to Tacoma and became the Tacoma Giants. In 1965, the Giants decided to move the team back to Phoenix, but fortunately the Chicago Cubs decided to move their affiliate, the Salt Lake Bees, to Tacoma exactly the same year and renamed the team the Tacoma Cubs. For the next 19 years, the team mirrored the name of its parent major league club, being known through the years as the Tacoma Giants (1960–1965), Tacoma Cubs (1966–1971), Tacoma Twins (1972–1977), and Tacoma Yankees (1978). Subsequently, the team was known as the Tacoma Tugs (1979) and, once more, the Tacoma Tigers (1980–1994).
The team became associated with the nearby Seattle Mariners in 1995, whose Triple-A team for the previous ten seasons had been the Calgary Cannons. Tacoma adopted the Rainiers name in part as a tribute to the Seattle Rainiers minor league teams that played in Seattle from 1938 to 1964 in the PCL, and again from 1972 to 1976. The Tacoma Rainiers play their home games at Cheney Stadium, which hosted the baseball portion of the 1990 Goodwill Games. The Mariners' Safeco Field is about 30 miles (48 km) to the north.
Oakland Athletics power hitters Mark McGwire, José Canseco, and Jason Giambi played for the Tacoma Tigers on their way to baseball stardom. Alex Rodriguez also played for the team in their first year as the Rainiers in 1995, before becoming a superstar, as did baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal.
- The Rainiers went into playoffs with its home ballpark, Cheney Stadium, under construction. Displaced from its home field, Rainiers were forced to look for other venues to play its playoff home games. The first round of playoff game against Sacramento Rivercats saw the Rainiers winning 2 straight on the road, then coming "home" to the ball park of its parent club, the Seattle Mariners, at Safeco Field. The Rainiers then dropped 2 straight games at Safeco Field, before winning Game 5 to advance to the PCL Championship Series against the Memphis Redbirds.
Due to Safeco Field not being available for the Championship Series and no other ball park in the Pacific Northwest meeting PCL requirements, the Rainiers were forced to play all games in the PCL Championship Series on the road. For Games 1 and 2 (the Rainiers' "Home" games) the team batted second against the "visiting" Memphis Redbirds, although Autozone Park in Memphis, TN was the Redbird's home park. This fact was constantly brought up during the radio announcements during Games 1 and 2. Having a hostile crowd even in its home games, the Rainiers nonetheless swept the Redbirds in 3 games to win 2010 PCL Championship.
- O'Neal, Bill. The Pacific Coast League 1903-1988. Eakin Press, Austin TX, 1990. ISBN 0-89015-776-6.
- Snelling, Dennis. The Pacific Coast League: A Statistical History, 1903-1957 McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC, 1995. ISBN 0-7864-0045-5
- Tacoma Rainiers
|Commons has media related to Tacoma Rainiers.|
- The Official Tacoma Rainiers website
- No Rhubarb! - Rainiers fan blog
- Interview about Rainiers' first season as Mariners affiliate
Seattle Mariners franchise
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