Financial Troubles Highlight First Days of Calgary's Club
(Editor’s note: This is one in a series on the prospects of the Western International League, written for the Associated Press by the sportswriters who follow the teams throughout the season).
By RAY QUAY
Calgary Herald Sportswriter
[Wednesday, April 28, 1954]
CALGARY (AP)—The committee-room battles were of more interest than the possible player material for Calgary’s Stampeders of the Western International Baseball league during the past few months.
The men who gained a league franchise for Calgary last year had a rough financial time, dropping a reported $80,000 (including purchase of players and all equipment needed for a first-year operation) and were leery of making another stab at it.
It wasn’t until a special league meeting was called a few weeks back that the officials made up their minds and decided to try again.
Revising some of last year’s plans, the officials appointed local men as business manager and public relations officers and will try twilight ball. The park in Calgary is located near the Bow River and even on a warm summer night it gets chilly shortly after night games get under way. Officials also remembered that in the old days, when flood lights still were a thing to come, Calgary had set a minor league record for attendance.
Stampeders have not yet a full roster of players available, but with the help of the league’s past president, Bob Brown, of Vancouver, B.C., hope to line up a strong team for the lengthy schedule. Former Pacific Coast League slugger Gene Lillard is back at the helm and, even though hedging the 40-mark, will probably take an active team role again this season.
Splitting the catching assignment with Don Bricker last year, Gene intends to revert to his turn on the mound this term, working as a steady reliefer.
Bricker will report early in June. At present he is studying at the University of California. In the meantime, Don Lundberg, received from the Vancouver Capilanos, will probably do the catching.
First Base Spot Set
The Stampeders are set at first base with Jim Wert, purchased from Vancouver last year. Also returning will be second baseman Don Hunter, who clouted 26 home runs
and batted in 90 runs with a .292 average last season. Expected to hold down the shortstop post, filled by Ken Whitehead last season, is Elmer Clow, who spent 1953 with the Yakima Bears.
Third baseman Rocky Tedesco is being converted into an outfielder. Gus Stathes, a .391 hitter, is the only holdover in the pasture, and joins Gale Taylor, sent along by Vancouver.
Stamps are a bit shrt on pitching until expected help from the Cleveland Indian farm system and the San Francisco Seals comes along. Southpaw Bob Schulte, out most of last season with an ailing arm and who trained with Portland, and righthanders Eddie Kapp and Bill Stites are back, as well as other prospects trying out for berths.
Cleveland has optioned catcher Ron King, first baseman Al Smith and third baseman Dennis Luby.
It also has a working agreement with the San Francisco Seals, but has yet to receive any player help from there.