Mr. Merchant inducted into NBC Hall of Fame

Along the way, Harold Pyatte has played with and coached several athletes who have gone on to successful major-league careers.

Many of them retired long ago, but Pyatte keeps plugging away. Today he is 62, meaning some 45 summers have passed since he first donned a uniform to play semi-professional baseball in the area.

That kind of longevity does not go unnoticed, and on Aug. 6 the Everett man was inducted into the National Baseball Congress Hall of Fame in Wichita, Kan. The event coincided with the NBC World Series at Lawrence Dumont Stadium.

“This is really quite an honor,” Pyatte said. “When I start looking at the list of other inductees over the years, and all the major leaguers that have been inducted, it will probably hit home about how awesome this thing is.”

Pyatte graduated from Marysville High School in 1961, and by then was already playing semi-pro ball, having been picked up by a team called the Marysville Chiefs when he was 16. He would later play one season at Western Washington University, but then moved to Everett and eventually began a career as a longshoreman.

He also returned to semi-pro ball by joining the Everett Orioles, where he played with future major leaguers like Jim Lonborg and Wally Bunker. Pyatte continued to play until 1991, when he retired at age 47.

By then the team was called the Everett Merchants and Pyatte was the manager, just as he is today and just as he has been for the past 33 years. His tenure includes the 1988 season when the Merchants won the NBC World Series, an accomplishment Pyatte said was “pretty much the pinnacle of success.”

Though few people can remember an Everett team without Pyatte on the roster, he said that day is probably not too far away.

“Every year I think it will be my last year, and basically it’s not too different this year,” Pyatte said. “I’m looking to bring some younger people into the program, and I’d like to be able to step back and maybe just be the general manager and leave the on-field coaching to the younger guys. That’s my goal.

“But I want to keep the team alive. I’ve poured my heart and soul into this team for a long, long time.”

Several players with local ties have spent their summers with the Merchants. Shorewood High graduates Jeff Schomaker and Howard Sanders were part of the team’s 2005 lineup.

With five former players in the major leagues, plus a sixth that is a major-league coach, Pyatte said one of the greatest rewards “has been to coach a program and have the kids come through, and then see them actually make it.”

Pyatte said over the years, “there have been a lot of wins and a lot of losses, but the overall program has been a real success as far as I’m concerned.”

Article courtesy of Everett Herald