Baseball history comes to life at Edmonds Bookstore

May 15, 2012

The Seattle Rainiers were a minor-league baseball team created by a local and free-spending brewery owner, one that proved more popular than a host of big-league clubs.

The Rainiers made a star out of Fred Hutchinson and a batboy out of Hall of Famer Ron Santo. They hired another Hall of Famer, Rogers Hornsby, as manager. They pursued and turned down the legendary Babe Ruth for the same job.

Most of all, they allowed Seattle to dream, to feel a great sense of importance, to enjoy summers in a way it never had before.

In “Pitchers of Beer: The Story of the Seattle Rainiers,” local author Dan Raley offers up a rich slice of Seattle’s sporting past as important as any. The book is part period piece and part civic road map, one that follows Seattle through the Great Depression, World War II, the jet age and a world’s fair through the eyes of a beloved team that lasted for 27 years, the same amount of outs in a regulation baseball game.

Tales of mischief are mixed with unforgettable personalities.

On Saturday, May 26, at noon, Raley will do a book signing and reading at the Edmonds Bookshop, 111 5th Ave. S, Edmonds.

Previously an award-winning Seattle Post-Intelligencer sportswriter for nearly three decades, Raley was a news editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for two years before he recently returned home and rejoined MSN.com in Bellevue as a homepage editor.

Pitchers of Beer has been critically acclaimed nationwide and featured on National Public Radio, the Seattle Mariners pregame show and sports talk shows as far away as Israel.

The Los Angeles Daily News described Pitchers as “a very impressive effort for a city that you’d never think could sustain such a history of a game played between rain delays. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella as you read this. You could get washed away in nostalgia.”

Baseball America sized up the book this way: “Raley brings these characters back to life with deft storytelling and very readable text. The result is a rich team history that will rekindle long-forgotten memories for old Rainiers enthusiasts.”

Locally, Sportspressnw.com was most effusive in its reaction to Pitchers: “In baseballese, Raley not only jacked his story of the Seattle Rainiers out of the park, it’s a four-run, tape-measure, walk-off shot. Rarely does a book fuse history, humor and storytelling as well as this one.”

Pitchers of Beer was a five-year collaboration between Raley and local businessman and sports artifacts collector David Eskenazi.

The latter supplied more than four dozen Rainiers photos from his personal collection that are used in the book, as well as programs, letters, team memos, poems and radio station fan mail.

Pitchers also provides an all-time roster of the 500-plus players who pulled on a Rainiers uniform.

 

 

 

 

Local author Dan Raley has a solid hit in his history of the Seattle Rainiers baseball team. Hear a reading or get a book signed by the author Saturday, May 26 at noon at the Edmonds Bookstore.
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