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December 24, 2013 at 1:00 PM
Retro cartoon: Building a winning baseball team in Santa’s workshop
Digging through the archives for a Christmas editorial cartoon, we found this undated single frame from Seattle Times cartoonist Sam Groff, who worked at the newspaper in the 1940s. It certainly has the look of a “Dick Tracy,” “Dagwood or “Blondie” strip. Despite being drawn in a different era — check out the dated use of the word “gay” by the cat — the satire drawn by Groff about the Seattle Rainiers seems relevant to Seattle’s pro baseball team today.
Jo-Jo White played with the Rainiers from 1939-42 and managed the club from 1946 through 1949. He was a local celebrity of his time and helped lead the team to pennant victories in the early ’40s as a player. Earl Sheely was the general manager of the Rainiers starting in 1946. The mid ’40s were lean years for the club and this cartoon was likely drawn soon after both men joined. The club wouldn’t win another pennant until 1951.
Of course, the Seattle Mariners are in their own lean times today: imagine Lloyd McClendon and Jack Zduriencik in the Santa Claus suits and yourselves, M’s fans, as the young kids waiting to see what Santa brought. Although, the magic of Christmas might wear off if Santa Claus keeps bringing the same old toys.
What are your wishing for on Christmas and New Year’s, if not a Mariners World Series championship? We’ve been asking our readers over the past weeks to send in the headlines they’d like to see in the new year. We’re publishing the best ones in print and online on Jan. 1.