WIL Directors Boost Player Salary Limits
LEWISTON, Idaho, Jan. 30—Directors of the class A Western International Baseball League Saturday removed the ceiling on veteran players and upped the monthly salary limit per club to $6,000.
The clubs, which formerly were limited to a maximum of 12 veterans for their teams, now can take all the veterans they can squeeze in under the salary limit. The $6000 salary limit is a $600 raise over last year.
Directors agreed to keep the 17-man limit on the squads. The restriction applies after the first month of the season and up to 30 days before the end of the season They also drew up a 1954 schedule which will send Calgary to Tri-City, Edmonton to Salem, Wenatchee to Lewiston and Victoria to Vancouver their openers. The season opens April 29.
A minority of the directors opposed taking off the veteran limit, but those who commented on it afterwards refused use of their names saying: “It was voted on and passed and now we have to try to live with it.”
One explained his objections this way:
“A class A league is supposed is be a building ground for younger players—and in the development and sale of those youngsters lies your biggest chance of profit.”
Those who favored the change said it would tend to improve the quality of ball in the league because teams will not have to use so many rookie players.
The directors said they knew of no other class A league that has removed the veteran limit. Most have veteran limits of from eight to 12.
Under the new rules, a team with a player-manager will have an average of $375 for each player per month. The player-manager’s salary is not included under the limit.
WIL Creates Own Dilemma—More, Veterans, Smaller Salaries
BY JIM TANG
[Victoria Colonist, Sunday, Jan. 31, 1954]
Western International Baseball League officials, meeting in Lewiston yesterday to make final plans for the 1954 season, seem to have dropped a road block right in the middle of the path they had hoped would lead them to financial stability.
Battling increasing costs and decreasing fan interest, the WIL had originally planned, or so some club officials had hoped, to meet this dual threat to existence by slicing operational costs. League officials took one step in the right direction by paring the league salary limit from $6,300 a month to $6,000, then wandered off into the underbrush of illogical reasoning which has so long kept them from finding the road to success.
DOESN’T ADD UP
After voting the reduction in the monthly salary limit, league officials rejected a suggestion to pare the player roster from 17 to 16 and decided to impose no limit on the number of veterans a club can carry.
This, of course, brings up the old problem of bonus payments. Keeping within the salary limit means an average monthly stipend of $353 per player, hard to keep with no limit on veterans and making it almost certain that most clubs will be handing out bonuses for signatures to keep the monthly wage scale within limits.
Spearheading the drive for unlimited veterans were clubs which have been busy lining up veteran players during the winter, apparently with the forehand knowledge that they would be able to keep them all and have no worried about finding limited service players. Among the clubs backing the lifting of veterans were said to have been Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Tri-City and Lewiston.
SPLIT SEASON AGAIN
At the same time, league officials refused to consider any thought of a Shaughnessy playoff and decided to have a second straight split season, although it did not help any of the trailing clubs last season.
Business-manager Reg Patterson, who represented Victoria at the meeting, said yesterday in a telephone conversation that he was “not too happy with the results of the meeting.” Patterson advocated a 16-man played limited with a minimum of limited service players and a monthly salary limit of $5,800.
KEEP OWN GATES
Victoria, however, was in the winning corner once. In a review of the proposal made at the annual league meeting in Victoria last November, the 10 clubs voted 6-1 in favor of the home club keeping all its gate receipts in 1954. Victoria was supported in this issue, meant to stimulate home-town promotion, by Calgary, Edmonton, Tri-City, Lewiston and Wenatchee.
Considerable discussion took place over the schedule, always a knotty problem in that 10 teams spread from Alberta to Oregon have to be appeased. Several “kinks” remained to be ironed out, Patterson stated, but it was known that the Tyees would open at Vancouver on April 29, at home on May 4 against Tri-City, and wind up the season against Spokane on Labor Day. The first half of the split season will end on July 5.
Patterson had little to report about his club other than that he is still busy at his pet project of bringing Dick Greco, slugging outfielder, to Victoria. Greco is owned by Tri-City and Patterson has suggested a deal involving a pitcher.
There was nothing new in the managerial situation with Nanny Fernandez, veteran ex-major league infielder who was with Seattle last season, due to inform the Tyees Tuesday night whether or not he would consider the job of taking over from Cec Garriott. If Fernandez is not interested, it appears as if Don Pries, hustling infielder who has been with the Victoria club for the past three or four seasons, has the inside track.