Thursday, 24 July 2008

WIL May Shrink in '54

WIL Expects To Operate Next Year
YAKIMA, Wash., Sunday, Sept. 27, 1953 — The 10-team class A Western International Baseball League may be pared to only eight teams in 1954 but is definitely expecting to operate.
Such was the optimistic opinion expressed late Saturday by Robert P. Brown, WIL president, in the face of growing rumors that the league is bordering on financial chaos resulting from a sharp attendance decline during the 1953 season.
The annual winter meeting, termed as a settlement meeting by Brown, was conducted here behind closed doors. Brown acted as official spokesman for the 10 club representatives who were in session throughout the afternoon and to a late hour Saturday night. The meeting continued Sunday.
Brown admitted there were doubtful clubs for 1954 but would not disclose which owners were reluctant or how many.
However, at least two clubs have publicly stated they were ready to withdraw. Roy Hotchkiss, Spokane president, and Frederick Mercy Jr., Yakima president, have announced intentions to close out their baseball holdings.
In addition, Wenatchee and Calgary have previously expressed concern over large financial losses suffered in 1953.

WIL League Future Lies With Board
YAKIMA, Sept. 27 — A final decision on the future of the Class A Western International Baseball League will be made at a directors' meeting at Victoria, B.C., Nov. 9, officials of the ten-team loop said Sunday.
The directors, after a day-long session here Saturday spent wrestling with financial problems resulting from falling attendance in 1953, predicted the circuit definitely will operate in 1954.
However, they postponed a decision as to whether it will be an eight or a 10-team league until the November meeting.
A spokesman said "nobody surrendered their franchise" at the meeting here.
Frederick Mercy Jr., owner of the Yakima Bears, and Roy Hotchkiss, president of the Spokane Indians, have talked of disposing of their holdings.
Mercy told a reporter after Saturday's meeting he definitely plans to give up his franchise but will takeno action until November. The Yakima Republic said a group from Eugene, Ore., has expressed interest in acquiring the Bears but reported a local movement was developing to keep them here.
Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary were reported ready to operate in 1954.
Victoria is said to be the league's most financially hard pressed team but president Reggie Patterson, said: "We'll operate. We always have."
The directors also discussed Edmonton's request for a Shaughnessy playoff, and talked of shortening the season by two weeks.

WIL Loses Two Teams
[Victoria Colonist, Sept. 29, 1953]
Possibility of the Western International League operating as an eight-team circuit in 1954 was seen as Wenatchee and Yakima announced their withdrawl from the loop during a closed-door meeting at Yakima Saturday and Sunday.
Despite the league’s financial difficulties through the 1953 season, the remaining eight clubs—including the Victoria Tyees—expressed their intention of continuing operations as team delegates met with president Bob Brown in an effort to iron out various difficulties.
Delegates also decided to hold their annual meeting in Victoria on November 9 when applications for franchises received from Tacoma, Washington and Eugene, Oregon will be considered.
Among suggestions advanced as a means of easing financial strain on the clubs were those of lowering the classification of the WIL, thus reducing salary limits, and cutting the present player limit of 18 to 16 men per team.
Victoria business manager Reg Patterson, on his return from Yakima, declined to discuss the Tyees’ plan for 1954. He said, however, that the club hoped to clear all its local debts this winter through the advance sales of box seats and sales of tickets for Christmas gifts.
Patterson also said that admission to Victoria games was expected to be slightly lower next season.

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