Baseball was America's national pastime before Spokane was even a city. As the railroads moved across the west, Midwestern baseball promoter John Sloane Barnes moved to Spokane in 1890 to help establish the Pacific Northwest League, comprised of baseball clubs in Portland, Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. 1,662 fans showed up for Spokane's first professional game, and while Spokane lost, it went on to win the championship that first year in 1890.
The Spokane team had several names in its early years, including the Bunchgrassers, Blue Stockings, Smoke-Eaters, and the Hawks, but the name we know them by today is the Spokane Indians, which was chosen in 1903 during a Spokesman Review sponsored contest. The Indians have played in several parks, starting with Twickenham Park, Natatorium Park, Recreation Park, and Ferris Field. Initially called Fairgrounds Recreational Park, Avista Stadium was built in 1958 to accommodate a tour from the LA Dodgers. It can hold nine thousand fans and has won field of the year sixteen of the last eighteen years, a national Minor League Baseball honor.
Today, the Spokane Indians play in the Northwest League with the Everett AquaSox, Tri-City Dust Devils, Vancouver Canadians, Boise Hawks, Eugene Emeralds, Hillsboro Hops, and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. The team averages five thousand fans per game and in 2014 they broke their own attendance record with a total of 193,865 fans going through their gates.
OTTO the Mascot represents the team at home games, named after team vice president Otto Klein. The team has other mascots, Doris the Spokanasaurus, OTTO's female counterpart, and Recycleman, a superhero who saves Avista Stadium through reducing, reusing, and of course recycling.