Tyees Expect to Sign Shortstop Eddie Lake
[Victoria Colonist, March 23, 1954]
Until Jimmy Clark came along to provide the best in defensive play, Victoria Tyees never had a real standout at the important shortstop position. But they may come up with both defense and offense this season.
General-manager Reg Patterson announced last night that the club is currently negotiating with Eddie Lake, former shortstop of the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers, and it is almost certain that the veteran will agree to do his 1954 playing with the Tyees.
Lake and the Tyees were only a few dollars apart on contract terms last night and Lake is to give the club a definite answer tonight. Patterson feels the deal is all but closed and with it, the Tyees will have ended any infield worries.
If Lake joins the club, the Tyees should have one of the best infields in the Western International League. Steve Mesner, another ex-major league veteran, is ticketed for third base and Ron Jackson, the promising youngster from Charleston of the Sally League, is being counted on for second base. Manager Don Pries expects to play regularly at first base.
And while it would appear difficult to dislodge any of the above four, the Tyees expect Jose Guerrero, a young and speedy Mexican who comes highly recommended by Bob and Dick Drilling, who saw him in action in the Mexican Coastal League this past winter, to make a great bid. And there are also several other infield candidates lined up by Pries who could upset, pleasantly, things at training camp, which opens here April 14.
Although Lake has played mostly at shortstop, he has seen considerable action in recent years at second base and Pries, who is a personal friend, states that the veteran is also good enough as a pitcher to help the club on the mound on occasion.
Lake’s best season in the major leagues was in 1945, when he shortstopped for the Boston Red Sox and batted .279 in 133 games Traded to Detroit at the end of that season, he was a regular infielder for the Tigers in 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1949. He played 155 games at shortstop in 1946 and 158 in 1947. In 1948, he got into 64 games, 45 as a second baseman, and in 1949, saw action in 94 games as a shortstop and second baseman and pinch runner and hitter.
Lake only got into 20 big league games in 1950 but played 158 games, 84 at second base and 73 at shortstop, for the San Francisco Seals of the Coast League.
Lake then moved to Oakland, where he has served as utility infielder for the past two seasons. He drew his release during the winter.
Although he has never hit for a high average, Lake’s record shows definite indications of power and Pries says he ought to hit a lot of balls out of Royal Athletic Park. Lake hit 31 big league home runs and 70 doubles in 1945, 1946 and 1947 and in his season at San Francisco, connected for 17 doubles and 27 home runs.
There was no other definite player new from the Tyees over the week end but the club appears set except for pitching. There are no outfield worries and there is assurance that the catching will be in adequate hands. Patterson and club-president Arthur Cox have canceled their proposed trip to the Portland training camp but the Tyees have first refusal on players who fail to stick with the Beavers and should receive considerable help before training camp starts.