IU Baseball Team in Seattle
During the 1922 baseball season, Indiana Universities baseball team spent nearly three months traveling and playing eleven games against three different baseball teams in Japan. The Port of Seattle was the last destination inside the United States for the team before they left the country. The baseball team left Bloomington, Indiana on March 28th taking a train to Chicago and then west towards the Port of Seattle to get on a ship and go across the sea to Japan. When the IU baseball team stopped here, they were greeted and bid farewell by members of the University of Washington. The Port of Seattle was the most significant stop on the IU baseball team's trip before they got to Japan.
Backstory and Context
The Port of Seattle was created on September 5, 1911. It was created after Seattle started to become a trading hub due to its location between transcontinental railroads as well as being a prime location for transoceanic shipping routes. It was such a good location that competing railroad companies built a chaotic sprawl of railroad lines, docks, and warehouses along the shoreline of the harbor of Elliott Bay, creating conditions horrible for the city to try and build anything in the area, as long as looking bad on the city's scenery. After many years of legal fights, the Port District Act was passed making the Port of Seattle the first public port formed under legislation.
During World War I, it was the second busiest port in the country. In the following years, the Port of Seattle helped to found Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and helped revolutionize containerized cargo. Currently the Port is a recognized leader in environmental restoration, sustainable aviation, and shipping practices.
The IU baseball team ended up making it to Seattle late on March 31st and stayed in a hotel before boarding a boat in the afternoon the following day and leaving for Yokohama. A few members of the baseball team met with friends that lived in the area, or met with fraternity brothers from the University of Washington chapters. The day of them leaving, the team spent most of their time with the University of Washington's baseball team. Eating breakfast with the team and getting a tour of downtown Seattle. While they were boarding the boat, the entire University of Washington's baseball team waved them farewell, a university quartet sang farewell songs, and the university jazz orchestra played them farewell.
Today, if the baseball team were to travel to play in Japan instead of leaving by boat through Seattle they could fly through many possibilities of either, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, or Toronto and it still only would take roughly 17 hours on average.
“Port of Seattle.” Home. Accessed March 14, 2020. https://www.portseattle.org/.
“Ruckelshaus' Diary of Japan Trip” [March-May 1922], Leonard C. Ruckelshaus papers, Collection C519, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington. April 17, 2020
Edmonson, Edna. The Arrow of Pi Beta Phi. United States: Pi Beta Phi Fraternity, 1923.