Abel Replaces Brown At WIL Ball Helm
Part-Time Job Now
By CLANCY LORANGER
[Vancouver Province, Nov. 10, 1953]
VICTORIA—Bob Brown will have more time to devote to his south Granville front lawn, starting Jan. 1, 1954.
Bob, who turned in his “Vancouver’s Mr. Baseball” title just last year for the presidency of the Western International League, was the main item of business during an almost 12-hour session of the class A league that decided very little here Monday.
In a move that was designed for economy (it will save the league around $4000 in salary), the Vancouver veteran was voted out as league president and became “honorary president.”
His successor is a man who’s not in the least bit new to the job: Bob Abel of Tacoma. Abel, president of the setup in 1941-42, and from 1946 through 1952, served as league secretary under Brown last summer. He’ll be a “part-time” president.
The Brown-Abel switch occupied most of the Monday meeting, which also:
1. Reaffirmed the Spalding ball as the league baseball.
2. Set the league’s season opener one week later, April 29, and fixed the windup for Sept. 6.
That was the extent of the delegates’ work. That means they have a busy day ahead of them today, with the split season, the player and salary limit, and innumerable other items to be decided.
Main item, otherwise, at Monday’s meeting was provided by Wenatchee, who didn’t send a representative to the meeting. They’ve been given until Nov. 24 to give the league a decision on next year’s operation.
It they decide not to go ahead, it will be somewhat embarrassing, because Yakima, expected to fold, apparently won’t. Fred Mercy, jr., while not anxious to operate the Yakima franchise himself, told the meeting that he figured the city would be back, with one owner or another. This, of course, could leave the league with an unwieldy nine teams.
DIAMOND DUST – Bob Brown will represent the league at the National Association meeting in Atlanta, Nov. 30-Dec. 4. After that, he says he’s “not sure” what he’ll do to keep busy ... But incoming prexy Abel says he “definitely” plans to take advantage of Brown’s experience, and will “count on him” for advice, and more concrete jobs ... Representing the Spalding people was Earl Whitehill, long-time left-handed pitching ace with Detroit and the 1933 pennant-winning Washington Senators ... There were no representatives from Tacoma or Eugene, rumored potential entries ... Victoria’s Reg Patterson ordered 10 TCA reservations out of here for today, and delegates were generally determined to get things cleaned up early.
Coast’s Connie Mack, Bob Brown Bows Out
BY DOUG PEDEN
[Victoria Colonist, November 10, 1953]
Robert P. Brown, the “Connie Mack” of baseball in the Pacific Northwest, will bow out as president of the Western International League at the end of his first one-year term in office.
Although the delegates at the WIL’s annual meeting in the Empress Hotel were expected to take measures to ease the league’s financial burden, their decision to return Bob Abel, on a part-time basis, to the office he held for many years, seemed rather sudden.
For the first time in 53 years, the 77-year-old Brown finds himself facing the prospect of not having an active part in the game he knows so well. The meeting, showing high regard for the veteran’s ability, named him honorary president for the coming season.
Brown is beloved second only to Clark Griffith of the Washington Senators, a man he closely resembles in lengthy of service in organized baseball.
He made his debut as an infielder and catcher in 1900, playing with Joe Tinker at Helena, Montana, in the Montana State League [sic]. Both players were sold to Portland of the Northwestern League at the end of the season, Brown as a centerfielder.
Tinker later moved up to the Chicago Cubs to become the shortstop of the immortal Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double-play combination. Brown eventually stepped into an executive position as manager of Aberdeen, Washington, through 1905-08.
After sending one year as manager, vice-president and player with Spokane, he bought the Vancouver Beavers in 1910 and remained the big man in Vancouver baseball until given the WIL presidency in 1953.
Brown, who played his first year at right halfback for the Notre Dame football team in 1895, terminated his baseball playing career in 1922 and later promoted a highly successful amateur league in Vancouver until he entered a club in the WIL in 1938.
He sold the club to Emil Sick in 1945 but continued to operate the club until taking over the league reins from Abel.
The Tacoma lawyer, in a statement Monday night, said he “deeply regretted the fact that the league found it necessary to make such a decision in the front office,” and said he “would have preferred to remain in his present capacity with Mr. Brown as president.”
Many other people also will be sorry to see Bob Brown step out of an active position.