Blast from the Past
This week HistoryLink offers up some sports history for all you fans who are sidelined because of the COVID-19 quarantine. Remember when the Mariners and Seahawks had to play all their home games indoors? That all began to change 20 years ago this week, on March 26, 2000, when the Kingdome was demolished less than a quarter century after its opening. In its place, two sports arenas have risen: Safeco Field (now T-Mobile Park) and Qwest Field (now CenturyLink Field).
Plans for a domed stadium in Seattle were first hatched in 1960, but voters balked at funding it until 1968, when hopes were high for Seattle’s first Major League baseball team, the Pilots. Unfortunately, after playing one season in an aging and inadequate Sicks' Stadium, the Pilots flew the coop to Milwaukee, where they became the Brewers.
Discontent grew between citizens and public officials—mostly over building costs and planned locations for a new stadium—which delayed construction even further. The Kingdome finally opened on March 27, 1976, and at the time not many people would have guessed that they also would witness its fall within their lifetimes.
Sports of All Sorts
This week marks a variety of other sports firsts, the most notable of which was Washington's first major-league championship. On March 26, 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans hockey team won the Stanley Cup by defeating the Montreal Les Canadiens Habitants three games to one. The teams met again in the Stanley Cup finals two years later, but the championship contest was cancelled after five games—the last being held on March 29, 1919—due to that era's flu pandemic.
Four years ago this week, on March 27, 2016, the Washington Huskies became the first team in state history to reach the NCAA women's basketball Final Four. And on April 1, 2017, the Gonzaga men's team played (and won) its first Final Four game, only to be edged out by North Carolina in the championship game two days later.
We at HistoryLink are heartbroken over the death of Peter Jackson, who died March 21 after a brave and lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Peter, a former editorial-page editor for the Everett Herald and a contributor to Crosscut.com, was also a HistoryLink board member, and we always enjoyed our conversations with him about Washington state history. Always inquisitive, his passion for knowledge knew no bounds.
In his own writings, Peter was a tireless champion for the environment and for human rights, causes that he shared with his parents, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Helen Hardin Jackson. No matter what the topic, everything Peter wrote had a certain grace and wit that was his own. We will truly miss his words, his perspective, his positive outlook, and his generous soul.