Pries To Manage Tyees; Plans Pre-Season Sales Job
BY JIM TANG
[Victoria Colonist, Feb. 18, 1954]
If managerial enthusiasm counts for anything in baseball then Victoria Tyees won their second Western International League pennant yesterday. For they signed Don Pries, 27-year-old infielder who will be in his fourth season with Victoria, to a one-year contract as manager and if there is anyone in organized baseball today with more enthusiasm for his job, he’s never been seen in this league.
Pries was signed by Cleveland Indians after he completed high school and stayed in that organization until Portland Beavers purchased his contract from Oklahoma City three seasons back. He was optioned to Victoria in 1951 and 1952 and purchased from the Coast League club last year.
Pries’ minor league record is a good one, only lack of power keeping him from moving up the baseball ladder. He has played every infield position but close baseball observers agree that first-base is his best spot. And because first-basemen are expected to hit for distance, Pries didn’t move into Triple A baseball.
In three seasons in Victoria, Pries compiled an outstanding record, hitting .322 in his first season, .307 in his second and .329 last season. Altogether, he played in 406 games, scored 283 runs, made 494 hits, stole 52 bases, drew 235 bases on balls, struck out only 152 times in 1,545 official trips to the plate, and batted in 218 runs although he batted in second spot in the batting order most of the time.
But it was his versatility which made Pries so valuable to his club. The record shows he has played 70 games at first base, 142 at second, 180 at third and 18 at shortstop as well as several as catcher and outfielder. Many times he has played two and three in one game and he always came up with his best job at each. He plans to be his club’s first baseman this season.
TO BE EXPECTED
Pries, as those who have seen him play will understand, will stress hustle as a manager. He makes it clear thee will be no place on his club for anyone not willing to put out and promises the Tyees this year will play interesting baseball. And, he feels, that he can do a real job between now and the start of the season in restoring baseball interest in Victoria.
The new manager will return to his San Francisco home Saturday and will be back in Victoria about March 1 to start preaching the baseball gospel. He will spend his time until the opening of training camp here on April 14 doing public relations work and helping general manager Reg Patterson with advertising and program sales.
Pries is the ninth Victoria manager in nine years, and this is despite the fact Ted Norbert had a three-year reign and Cec Garriott lasted two seasons.
Laurel Harney called the signals for a few weeks in 1946 and was replaced by Norbert, who lasted until mid-season of 1949. Earl Bolyard finished out that season and veteran Marty Krug stuck it out through that horrible 1950 experience. Then came Dick Barrett in 1951 but the portly righthander was fired and Bob Sturgeon, who will again be with Edmonton Eskimos this season, finished up. Garriott came on in 1952 for Victoria’s lone pennant and was released after last season.
Just what the Tyees will have this year will have to await, as usual, opening date. But prospects look fair enough and could be quite good, depending, of course, on what the Beavers have to spare for their WIL farm club.
As a start, Pries can depend on himself, holdover pitchers Bob Drilling, Bill Prior, Berlyn Hodges and Earl Dollins, catcher Jim Harford and outfielder Art Seguso, signed a couple of weeks ago as a free agent.
The Tyees also own infielder Lu Branham and pitchers Ben Lorino and Zeb Walker but do not intend to bring any of the three back. They will be sold or traded if a market can not be found.
On the probable list is Steve Mesner, former Detroit Tiger infielder, who, if signed, will doubtless take care of third base and act as coach. Ray Hamrick, former Coast League shortstop, is another possibility but if the Tyees can get Gene Tanselli, purchased conditionally by Portland from Salem, for the job, their shortstop troubles will be over.
Catcher Milt Martin is to get another tryout with Portland but will be back if he doesn’t make it. The Beavers also have ex-collegian John Livesey for a possible receiver and Pries is anxious to sign a former “AA” catcher he knows in San Francisco. In any event, the Tyees have nothing to worry about behind the plate.
Bob Moniz is not likely to be considered for an outfield post but there is a chance Granny Gladstone will be back. Former Tyee Marvin Diercks is out of the army and Dwane Helbig will probably be sent out for another year of seasoning. In addition, the Tyees have a deal all but completed for an established WIL outfielder who used to be a favorite here. Patterson states there is little hope he can get Dick Greco.
Among other Portland possibilities are pitchers Bill Bottler, John Tierney, also just released from the services, and Joe Nicholas, 23-game winner at Salem last season. And then there’s Enthusiam, who is handy anywhere.
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Pries of Alameda Signed To Manage Victoria Club
[Oakland Tribune, Feb. 27, 1953]
Donald F. (Ducky) Pries, 26, a product of Alameda, has been named manager of the Victoria club in the Western International League this season.
Pries, who is known as “Ducky” to his friends for his impersonation of Donald Duck, broke into professional baseball in 1945 with Batavia in the Pony League, where he hit .314.
Subsequently, Pries played for Bakersfield in the California State League in 1946 and hit .301. He batted .327 with Meridian in the Southeastern loop in 1947.
The 6-1, 180-pound Alamedan, who can play all infield positions, was with two clubs in 1948—Oklahoma City of the Texas League and Wilkes-Barre of the Eastern loop. His combined season batting average was .260.
After sitting out the 1949-50 seasons because of injuries, Pries was back in the Western International League where he batted .324 for Victoria.
With the same club in 1952, Pries compiled the best batting and fielding averages of his career. He hit .327 and made but 16 errors in 154 games.
Ducky, who helped Lucky Lagers win the Alameda Winter League championship, makes his home in Alameda with his wife, Richie, and two-year-old son, Donnie.