Since Clay Huntington, who died Wednesday at age 89, was so instrumental in getting Triple-A baseball back to Tacoma in 1960, I thought it only fitting to remember him in the minor-league report.
Huntington was a Tacoma institution, a fixture at Mariner games, and something of a legend in both sports and broadcasting. Since 1991, he has owned KLAY radio station in Lakewood, but his broadcasting career goes back some 60 years. John McGrath did a nice obituary in the News-Tribune today.
The article tells how, in 1960, Huntington headed the efforts to build Cheney Stadium, which led to the Phoenix Giants of the Pacific Coast League re-locating in Tacoma. That same year, Huntington founded the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame. Just last week at Safeco Field, there was a ceremony honoring the newest inductees: Edgar Martinez, John Olerud and former newspaper columnist Emmett Watson.
The Tacoma Rainiers issued this statement:
The Tacoma Rainiers mourn the passing of one of the men who brought Triple-A baseball to Tacoma. You did not have to know Clay Huntington well to know how lucky you were to have him around. He was one of the most gracious and genuine men that the Tacoma baseball family has ever known. As one of our founders, it’s a sad day for the franchise but a great time to reflect and celebrate Clay and his accomplishments.
The Rainiers will be paying their respects in a tribute game to Clay Thursday evening (7:05pm.) The flag at Cheney Stadium will be flown at half mast, Clay’s initials will be etched into the infield dirt behind second base, and a video tribute will be followed by a moment of silence.
On a personal note, I talked to Clay many times at Safeco Field over the years, and he always had a smile and a kind word. A more gracious man I’ve never known. He will be greatly missed.