How the Seattle Pilots helped baseball come to Toronto

How the Seattle Pilots helped baseball come to Toronto

Who would have thought that the Toronto Blue Jays being granted a franchise had roots in Seattle and Milwaukee?

The story begins with the Seattle Pilots. “Seattle who?”, you ask? The Pilots were granted an AL franchise in 1968 with plans to begin play in 1971.

Due to various circumstances, including the creation of the Kansas City Royals, that date was moved to 1969. With only one year to prepare and only one minor league stadium to play in, the club was doomed from beginning. The Kingdom, the eventual home of the pilots, was approved but still to be built.

With only a year of preparation time, they began play in 1969. Their first year record was 64-98. The ownership was not rich by MLB standards. The season was a financial disaster and Milwaukee wanted a team. The Pilots and a Milwaukee group, led by then-car dealer and former Milwaukee Braves owner Bud Selig, struck a deal that was challenged in court.

The move and creation of the Brewers was not approved until six days before Opening Day in 1970. The Brew Crew played the first half of the season in the old Pilots uniforms with new crests, and the Brewers team colors today are a modified version of those colors.

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