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Seattle Pilots Fan Still Waiting for Autograph Promised Him in 1969

Vows team will return after38 year absence

popcorn box

The autographed popcorn box that has sat on the nightstand of Seattle Pilots superfan Martin Corson for 38 years. He hopes that one day it will be accompanied by a baseball autographed by a Pilots player -- indications of the the desperation and delusion that define Corson's exceedingly pathetic existence.

SEATTLE, WA (JockStraps Wire Service) — Martin Corson was 14 years old in 1969 when he visited Sick’s Stadium in Seattle to watch major league baseball with his dad. The Seattle Pilots were one of two new American League teams to enter the majors (the other was the Kansas City Royals) as part of baseball’s expansion. However, interest in the team wasn’t particularly high, and attendance suffered. The team moved the very next season and became the Milwaukee Brewers, where they’ve remained since 1970.

But like many Dodgers fans who still dream of the day their heroes will return to Brooklyn, the now 51 year old Corson holds vigil for his beloved Pilots to return to the Emerald City. He is often seen outside the electronics plant where Sick’s Stadium once stood, aimlessly wandering around. On occasion he’ll ask plant workers “is this where the ball player’s park?“

It was explained to Corson on several occasions that Seattle has had a major league team for thirty years; they’re called the Mariners. “I’m well aware of those guys,” Corson said. “But it’s not the same thing. When you attach yourself to one team, you can’t simply replace it with another.” It mystifies some Seattle area fans how a team that lasted just one season could possibly mean so much to one person.

Corson’s father, Paul is 78 years old. The curmudgeonly former fisherman was particularly blunt about his son’s hopes. “Marty’s off his rocker if he thinks the Pilots are coming back here,” said the senior Corson.. “For Christ’s sake, this town can’t support two baseball teams. The Pilots were pathetic anyway, I doubt any of those guys are still in playing shape.”

When asked how many Pilots games he attended, the younger Corson told Jockstraps, two. So why the fanatical devotion and the almost fatal attraction? Paul Corson says it’s because backup second baseman Gus Gil told his son he’d sign a ball for him. “Marty didn’t have a pen,” the King County retiree said. “So Gil told him to wait and he’d run into the dugout and grab one, but he never came back out to sign. Marty waited for an hour and then after the game by the player’s entrance. Nothing.”

You’d think something like that would sour a young fan forever, but Martin Corson truly believes that Gil will still sign when the Pilots return to Seattle. Major League Baseball confirmed that there are “no plans in the next 200 years or so to put a second team in Seattle.” MLB also couldn’t verify the whereabouts of the Venezuela-born Gil, but did acknowledge he is still alive.

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