Sunday, September 18, 2016

Spokane Indians at the Mall - We were at the wrong mall!

When I first started this series about cards taken (I thought) in Spokane's NorthTown Mall, I noted that the Spokane uniforms looked more like Royals uniforms than those of the parent club the Padres. Reader Adam made a comment on that post explaining the cool reason why they looked like KC uniforms. Then he dropped a bigger bombshell:

" Actually, Spokane was the San Diego Padres short-season A affiliate at this time. Spokane lost AAA baseball after the 1982 season, when they were affiliated with the California Angels. The franchise returned in 1983 with the Padres organization, and then was bought by George Brett and his brothers in 1985, who changed the team's uniform style and colors from the Padres' brown and yellow to a style and colors similar to that of the Kansas City Royals, with whom Brett played.
Also, since the set was sponsored by University City (check the back of the card), another prominent mall in town at the time, I'm inclined to think that the photos were taken there rather than at Northtown. I couldn't imagine that U-City would have its name on the back of the cards but then have the photos be taken at a competing mall."

Not the NorthTown Mall? The recent article that brought the cards their recent notoriety said they were taken in the NorthTown Mall, based on their interview of someone who was working for the team at the time. But what if his memory was faulty? It was 30 years ago. Adam is right, all the cards had a logo for University City on the back - I did not realize it was a mall, just that it was "easy for you".
 However, every store I had been looking up seemed to be in NorthTown Mall. Turns out they were all in U-City too. Perhaps that is why both malls have had their struggles - in fact U-City was demolished in 2015, fifty years after it opened. Maybe Spokane didn't need two different malls with apparently identical stores.

Check out this 1982 University City mall directory, from flickr user ky24941:
Harvey's, JC Penney, Candy 'n Carmelcorn, Rosauer's, Hickory Farms, Regis Hair Stylists, Dodson's, Mandell's, DJ's Sound City. All had U-City locations. I think it is safe to say that Adam is right and these photos were taken at University City and not Northtown.

In fact, it turns out there is even a 1986 set taken in the mall, and it is just called "Spokane University City". However it appears to be very rare. STB Sports, the site where I got the other three sets for under $10 each, lists it at $130.

I am going to leave a comment on the site - I doubt they'll address it, but at least maybe someone will see it. Thanks Adam!


  1. Rather interesting that two malls would have the exact same stores in it.. Peterborough has three malls, though one is still functional as a mall.. Even when the three had stores, there may have been one or two stores that were in both..

  2. I never did make it to the UC Mall when I was in Spokane, probably due to the fact that I think it had shut down by the time I moved there in 2008.