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May 1, 2009 at 5:43 PM

Mariners turning back the clock Saturday

The Mariners will make a vivid acknowledgement Saturday night that Seattle’s baseball history runs a lot deeper than just their own franchise.
When the Mariners take the field at Safeco Field against the Oakland A’s Saturday at 6:10 p.m., they will be adorned in uniforms replicating those worn in 1939 by the Seattle Rainiers — a year when the team won the first of three straight Pacific Coast League titles in only its second year of existence.
The A’s, meanwhile, will wear uniforms replicating those of the Oakland Oaks of that season, one of the Rainiers’ PCL rivals.
The first 20,000 fans through the gates Saturday will receive a ’39 Rainiers’ cap.
It’s at least the seventh Turn Back the Clock night for the Mariners, said Kevin Martinez, the team’s vice president for marketing.
Martinez said the Mariners are always looking for ways to spice up the home schedule and the idea for this game began to form last season as he talked with Seattle baseball historian Dave Eskenzai, who noted this would be the 70th anniversary of the Rainiers’ historic season. The A’s, he said, quickly agreed to also participate.
The uniforms are polyester and not the old-style flannel, unlike the first Turn Back the Clock day the Mariners held in 1993, also a Rainiers-Oaks affair at the Kingdome. The players on both sides Saturday night, however, have all agreed to wear their socks high, as was the custom of the day.
The Mariners will also do what they can to replicate a 1939-style baseball environment. There will mostly be organ music — no modern tunes will be played and any recorded musis will be of that era — and regular stadium announcer Tom Hutyler will have the night off. His replacement will mimic the more staid announcing style of the day. He also said the video board will be used sparingly.
“We’re just trying to evoke the period,” Martinez said.
Alas, that won’t extend to prices for tickets or hot dogs or beer.
Martinez, however, thinks players and fans will get into the spirit of the night.,
He recalled how during that initial Turn Back the Clock Night in 1993, A’s outfielder Rickey Henderson and Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. shared a glove during the game — as players commonly did in older eras.
“Griffey would come in from center field and drop his glove in left and Rickey would pick it up and then toss it in center field,” Martinez said. “It was the coolest thing.”

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