Mariner Log / Seattle 6, Kansas City 2 -- M's Pay Tribute To Ex- Negro Leagues Players

The Mariners honored former Negro League and Seattle Steelhead players last night in their "Tribute to the Negro Leagues Night."

The club brought in nine former players from across the country.

They were: Steelhead Sherwood Brewer; Baltimore Giant Joe Black; Oakland Lark Lionel Wilson, the three-time mayor of Oakland; Birmingham Baron Artie Wilson; Homestead Gray Wilmer Fields; Detroit Star Bobby Robinson, now 92; Memphis Red Sox Clinton Jones; Pittsburgh Crawford William Pope and Kansas City Monarch Sammy Haynes.

The night also featured eight former players who now live in Seattle: Monarchs Norris Phillips, James Allen and Earl "Woody" Woodson; St. Louis Blue Sanford Barnes; Brooklyn Cuban Giant Jim Benton; Detroit Star Sonny McClendon; Fort Lauderdale Gray Sox William Ponder and Philadelphia Star Charlie White.

Phillips remembers his greatest thrill, he believes it was in 1941.

"The one I will always cherish was at (Washington's) Griffith Stadium and I came in to relieve Satchel Paige," Phillips said. "I struck out Josh Gibson. I got him swinging at a high fastball between the letters and the belt.

"We all stayed at the same hotel and we talked about it when we all got back."

Brewer had a chance to see players, both black and white, for most of the century.

He said, "the best hitter I ever saw was Ted Williams, followed by Josh Gibson. The best ballplayer I ever saw was Willie Mays, followed by (CF) Oscar Charleston. Pete Reiser, if he hadn't got hurt so much, he would have been right up there."


The Mariners' team orthopedic surgeon, Larry Pedegana, remembers his father Merle Pedegana's stories about facing the legendary Paige.

Merle was a semipro ballplayer in Boise, Idaho, and his team played Paige's barnstorming team in the 1940s.

"Satchel had this high-leg-kick delivery and when he leaned back his (pitching) hand would be about two inches off the ground," Larry said. "He'd tell me that when his hand was at that point, that's when you had to start your swing."

He said his father, who attended last night's game, and his teammates had only "some loud fouls" off Paige.

Home attendance. Last night: 39,157. Home season total: 1,197,407. Avg. for 60 games: 19,957. Avg. last season: 25,095.

Dome watch.

Daily look at whether a Mariner retractable-roof stadium in Seattle would be open or closed. Criteria are same as in Toronto for the SkyDome - 60 degrees at game's start and no rain forecast.

Temp. Sky Roof.

Last night: 75 clear open.

Season to date: 54 open, 6 closed.