The Seattle Times’ coverage of the Pilots’ first game, on April 8, 1969, against the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium, was oddly quiet and short. The headline of the sports section read: It’s Up to Mike: Marshall Makes Bid to Stretch Pilots’ 4-3 Victory Into Streak. That meant the Pilots had won their first game ever, and Mike Marshall, the pitcher now famous for his rubber arm qualities as a reliever and his theories about how to train pitchers, was due to start their second game. And, the Times used the Tacoma News Tribune’s Earl Luebker to cover the game because its own Hy Zimmerman had a “mild” heart attack in Anaheim before the game. Luebker didn’t add a great deal that can’t be seen from looking at the game box score (the Pilots’ four-run first inning, highlighted by a two-run Mike Hegan homer, led the way for a Marty Pattin victory over the Angels’ Jim McGlothlin), but he did quote manager Joe Schultz saying his strategy was “Stay close, then go to the bullpen.” And, right fielder Mike Hegan nearly made a “spectacular catch” of a liner by Bobby Knoop, but “crashed into the fence,” letting the ball drop from his glove, and had to leave the game with “a bruised hip and wrist, and a cut lip.”
The Times’ front page of the sports section:
The Pilots’ win gave all four 1969 expansion teams–the Pilots, the Expos, the Padres, and the Royals–wins in their debuts in major league baseball. Read about the Pilots’ first game in Seattle.