The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks face off over in New Jersey tonight. I am rooting for Seattle, but overall I haven't developed much interest in the game either way.
50 years ago Seattle didn't have any professional teams, well they probably did but not at the Major level. The Supersonics came in 1967. Then Seattle got BASEBALL. The Seattle Pilots arrived in 1969. The travails of that first team were famously chronicled by Jim Bouton in hsi book Ball Four.
1969 Topps #17 Mike Marshall
The first card issued of a Seattle Pilot was the above of relief pitcher Mike Marshall. It is card #17, there are 26 Pilots cards in 1969 Topps, The most notable players are Tommy Davis, Mike Hegan and the Lou Piniella RC (shared with Marv Staehler)
Mike Marshall didn't have much success with the Pilots (3-10, 5.13 ERA). He did eventually find his way to the Dodgers where he became a relief pitching phenomenon. During the 1974 Season he pitched in an impressive 106 games and 208 innings IN RELIEF. The numbers led to a Cy Young award for the then 31 year old righthander. The Dodgers won the NL Pennant that season but lost to the A's in the World Series. Marshall pitched in all 5 games of the 74 Series. For his career Marshall led the league in Saves 3 times, Games 4, and Games finished 5.
Marshall was originally signed by the Phillies in 1960. He spent 5 minor league seasons in the Phils organization, but only one as a pitcher. Originally Marshall was a shortstop. He hit 32 Home Runs over those 5 years, topping out at 14 for single-A Magic Valley in 1963. Marshall batted .274 in the minors but his average dipped severely at AA and above, likely leading to the position change.
The time Mike Marshal spent with the Phillies is mentioned on the flip of his 1969 card
1969 Topps #17 Mike Marshall(b-side)
For further info on the cards of the 1969 Pilots check out this great summary post at the 1969 Topps Blog
1969 Topps Blog