Monday, 4 August 2008

Monday, May 3, 1954

               W  L  Pct. GB
Salem ........ 5  0 1.000  —
Lewiston ..... 3  2  .600  2
Spokane ...... 3  2  .600  2
Wenatchee .... 3  2  .600  2
Yakima ....... 3  3  .500  2½
Vancouver .... 2  3  .400  3
Edmonton ..... 2  3  .400  3
Victoria ..... 2  3  .400  3
Tri-City ..... 2  4  .333  3½
Calgary ...... 1  4  .200  4

Eighth-Inning Smash by Joshua Gives Tyees 7-5 Win in Opener
[Victoria Colonist, May 4, 1954]
Vancouver Capilanos certainly didn’t do it on purpose but when they decided they didn’t need Joe Joshua this season, they gave the Victoria Tyees quite a boost.
The Tyees won their first game of the young WIL season last Friday, 2-1, and it was the colored outfielder’s home run blast off manager Bill Brenner, the man who decided where he was to play this season, which provided the all important first run.
Last night at Royal Athletic Park, playing before 1,800 fans in their home opener, the Tyees won their second victory in five games. And it was Joshua’s second home run, a tremendous line-drive clout over the centre field fence with Steve Mesner on base, which provided the winning runs in a 7-5 triumph over the Tri-City Braves.
With the weatherman co-operating by coming up with milder temperatures, the turnout was on the disappointing side but the Tyees proved to the fans on hand that they have a ball club which can explode for runs at any time and which may make up for a pitching deficiency with solid hitting.
Last night the Tyees were in trouble every inning and pitcher Bob Drilling just managed to hold out as he gave up 14 hits and put three men on with bases on balls. But Drilling, backed by some fine defensive play when it counted the most, was tough enough in the clutch to leave 12 men stranded and gain his first win.
Meanwhile, the Tyees picked up their runs in sudden blasts, scoring six of them after two were out. In the second inning, they took a 2-1 lead when Dain Clay singled in a run after two were out and Milt Martin followed with a rousing double which just failed to clear the fence in right centre field.
Tyees made it 4-2 in the third inning when Steve Mesner got the second of three singles after two had gone out and Eddie Lake followed with the first home run of the season at Athletic Park. Lake’s blow was a king one which cleared the fence in left field just at the foul pole and brought protests from Tri-City manager Edo Vanni.
Then after the Braves had gone ahead 5-4 with a single run in the fourth and two in the fifth, the Tyees erupted for three runs and the decision in the eighth [sic]. Manager Don Pries flew out to open the inning but Tom Perez followed with a smashing triple to the left field wall. Mesner poked one through the middle to tie it up and after Lake took a called third strike, Joshua got ahold of a low pitch and whales it right across Pembroke Street.
A little on the shaky side defensively in the early innings, the Tyees steadied down and backed up their explosive hitting with some fine play in the field. In the eighth inning, both Perez and Dain Clay made good catches in the outfield with two men on and Clay ended the game with a fine running catch of a slicing liner by pinch-hitter Ernie Hockaday with a runner on the bags.
Pre-game ceremonies were brief—and accompanied by the usual trouble with the public address system. Club president Arthur Cox, speaking form the press box when the field microphone refused to work, introduced league president Bob Abel, who gave an optimistic little talk. Master-of-ceremonies Ted Reynolds introduced the players and a battery from last season’s Little League champions, pitcher Jackie Gaston and catcher Tom Birkenhead of North Kiwanis preceeded to strike out Pries. The Victoria manager, incidentallly, never quite recovered and was the only Tyee to go hitless.
Second game of the series will be played tonight. Hal Flinn, the gangling righthander who stopped Vancouver cold with a neat five-hitter Friday, will try for his second win for the Tyees. Vanni wasn’t certain of his starting choice but opined it would likely be Don Robertson, a 14-9 performer with the Braves last season.
- - -
VICTORIA [Tri-City Herald, May 4] The Tri-City Braves, losers of three league games in a row now, play the Victoria Tyees in the second game of the three-game series at Victoria tonight with lefty Ted Savarese as playing manager Edo Vanni's likely choice for a starter.
The Braves dropped the opener with Victoria 7-5 Monday night when the Tyees scored the tying run on Tom Perez's triple followed by Steven Mesner's single.
A homer by Joe Joshua followed and iced the game.
Dale Thomason who started the game, got Dane Klay [sic] out to end the inning but the damage had been done. In the eighth and ninth, Tri-City had runners on base but in both innings, Klay saved the game for pitcher Bob Drilling by snagging Tri-City blows off the right-field wall.
Larry Richardson, batted and struck out for Thomason in the eighth and Jess Dobernic pitched the bottom half. The veteran Jess, who almost blew one in relief in his first appearance this season, set the Tyee batters down one, two, three which raised hopes for Tri-City fans that he would save more games in relief this season.
Left on bases and the lack of extra-base hits cost Tri-City. One double by Len Tran, the Braves only extra-base hit of the game, drove in the two fifth inning runs, Len had a hot night at the plate getting four hits in five times up Terry Carroll hit four for five—all singles—and scored once.
The Braves outhit the Tyees 14-11 but besides Joshua's homer, Victoria racked up another when Eddie Lake hit one with one aboard in the third.
The worrisome double play combination clicked twice in two attempts in the game Monday night — once in the second inning and again in the sixth willi both plays going from Ray Tran to Terry Carroll to Vic Buccola. One other double play went from Boh Moniz to Buccola when a runner was caught off base after a fly ball.
The Braves committed two errors but neither figured in the scoring.
Tri-City ..... 101 120 000—5 14 2
Victoria ..... 022 000 30x—7 11 1
Thomason, Dobernic (8) and Johnson; Drilling and Martin.

WENATCHEE, May 3—The Wenatchee Chiefs bunched three of their seven hits in the sixth inning Monday night to get two runs and a 2-0 decision over the Yakima Bears in Western International League play.
Yakima .......... 000 000 000—0 9 1
Wenatchee .... 000 002 00x—2 7 1
Schaening, Carmichael (7) and Summers; Thompson and Jenney.

VANCOUVER [Clancy Loranger, Province, May 4]—If ever a Coast League ball club gets into a tight spot where it has to beat Seattle, it could do worse than send out a rush call for Vancouver Capilano Bob Roberts.
The chunky righthander just seems to beat the Suds for a pastime. Last ear he went out against Bill Sweeney’s crew and stopped ‘em, 3-2, on three hits.
Monday he took a second run at the club that’s now managed by Jerry Priddy. All he did was shut out the Coast Leaguers on five singles as his mates went to work on a couple of ex-Caps, Pete Hernandez and Lonnie Myers, for six big runs and a 6-0 victory.
The 2349 paid customers who came out to see some “open classiciation” clouting from those such as Al Zarilla, Leo Thomas, Artie Wilson and Clary Maddern stayed on to cheer Roberts, who didn’t allow more than one hit until the ninth.
That was the closest the visitors came to scoring when, with the aid of an error, they filled the bases with two out. But Roberts got Ray Orteig, another Seattle big gun, on a fielder’s choice to end the ball game.
For four innings, it was a 0-0 ball game, the Caps finally breaking through in the fifth for the first run on Nick Pesut’s single, an intentional walk to Ellis Daugherty, and Roberts’ single.
Yes, Roberts had it at the plate, too. His single in the sixth climaxed a large inning that produced five runs and sewed up the ball game. A dropped pop fly by Nanny Fernandez at third base helped a lot on that uprising.
Priddy, who came close to being a relief pitcher with Detroit last year, and who’s registered with the Coast League bosses as eligible to pitch, worked the last inning and got the side out in order.
DIAMOND DUST – General Manager Bill Brenner of the Caps was closeted with his Seattle counterpart, Dewey Soriano, for some time fate the game, but they couldn’t come to an agreement on player help … The Caps want Bob Wellman, but Seattle wants the key to the bank for him … The same goes for pitcher Pete Hernandez … Dewey and Co. are having the same trouble at Seattle that Soriano had here last year: no hitting … “Don’t know what it is about me and hitters,” said Dewey. “Guess I must have been throwing that good curve.” … The Rainiers, whose home attendance is up over last year despite their woes, are also beset with injuries.
Harvey Storey, last year’s Cap boss, arrived in time to catch the last few innings and scout the Caps … his Salem team, which meets the Caps tonight at 8:15, comes to town with five wins and no losses … Storey will throw Jack Hemphill tonight, with Bill Brenner opposing him … Brenner is trying something Wednesday—an afternoon game … It goes at 2:30, with a game at 8:15 … Tri-City Braves come to town Thursday to finish out the week … Bob Brown is back from Calgary where, he says, the field is in such horrible condition they probably would not be able to play on it until June, anyway … Seems they flooded the field this winter and used it as a skating rink, no less, and the ice is still on it.
Seattle ......... 000 000 000—0 5 1
Vancouver .... 000 015 00x—6 7 2
Hernandez, Myers (6), Priddy (8) and Erautt; Roberts and Pesut, Duretto (6).

Only games scheduled

Tacoma May Get Franchise

By Canadian Press
[May 3, 1954]
The sprawling Western International League, faced with the problem of disposing of an “orphan” franchise, was told today it must find an answer in the next four days or reschedule and operate as a nine-team circuit.
President Robert B. Abel, who ordered surrender of the Calgary franchise last week, said unless a new owner is found by May 6 the “Calgary team will be disbanded on May 7 the league will have nine teams.”
Groups at Tacoma, Wash., which fielded a WIL team until three years ago, and Eugene, Ore., were reported interested in the franchise. The Pierce County Baseball Association scheduled a meeting at Tacoma today to discuss the possibility of rejoining the league.
It is understood that Calgary officials will demand an early league meeting so the whole situation can be discussed. Stampeders have a lot of money invested in players and naturally want to find out where they stand.
A meeting of Calgary baseball men likely will have held in the neat future to discuss the many problems arising out of the league’s action.
The possibility that Calgary might have to drop out of the 10-team league was first indicated more than a month ago when [manager Gene] Lillard reported from the California camp that no finances had been forthcoming to conduct the camp.

WIL Leaders Will Discuss Calgary Drop
VICTORIA, May 3 — The board of directors of the Western International Baseball League will meet in Spokane Saturday to discuss the dropping out of the Calgary Stampeders.
WIL President Robert Abel said here Monday night he called the session, to discuss just how to meet the situation created by Calgary dropping its franchise.
He said Calgary will continue playing until Sunday. The Saturday meeting must come to a decision on what follows.
There were several solutions to be considered. One would be to make Calgary a "road team," which would play no home games and where there is a regularly-scheduled game for Calgary it would be played at the home of the team that would have played there.
A nine - team league might be tried for the first half of the schedule, Abel said.
The 16 or 17 players on the Calgary team would become the responsibility of the league if the franchise is dropped. Abel said he hoped to sell the players to Tacoma.
Abel said he knew some of the Calgary players were option players but could not say who held the options. Calgary has no hookup with a major league team.
Abel left for home after the Victoria-Tri-City game here.

Tacoma May Return To Baseball Loop
TACOMA, Wash., May 3 — Efforts to arrange a meeting here to explore possibilities of Tacoma re-entering Western International League baseball were delayed Moaday pending word from Ben Cheney.
Cheney, Tacoma lumberman and owner of Cheney Field, is considered a key figure in the negotiations. He is on vacation in Mexico. Clay Huntingdon, president of the Pierce County Baseball Association, is trying to locate him.
Robert B. Abel, president of the WIL, said that Tacoma interests would be given a "reasonable" time to make a decision.

Possibility Lethbridge Will Take Over Vacant WIBL Franchise
[Lethbridge Herald, May 4, 1954]
The Herald learned today in an interview with Western International League baseball officials that the loop would welcome a Lethbridge entry with open arms.
At present the league has taken over the Calgary Stampeders' franchise and is trying to find a home for it in Alberta preferably to help eliminate the long jaunt to Edmonton without any stopovers.
Lethbridge would be by no means the smallest city in the wide-spread pro loop. Lewiston, one of the front runners every season, has a population of only 15,000 and relies chiefly on district points for support. They get good support, too, as they are always near the top in attendance marks at the end of the season.
No bond would have to be posted with the league in good faith but if accepted Lethbridge would then take over the defunct Calgary franchise, including the players.
The Exhibition Grounds grandstand, which has housed semi-pro two-day ball tournaments for the past few summers would be the perfect home field for the club. With a permanent seating capacity of 5,000 and room for more temporary stands it ranks with most stadiums in the league, if not the west.
WIBL officials estimate that a club would have to average 2,000 a game to break even, but for Lethbridge, a hotbed for good baseball, that wouldn't be difficult with a terrific district population to draw on.
Calgary lost an estimated $45,000 in their first year of operation last year but mainly because of poor weather and poor organization within the club. The bandbox theyy used for a stadium discouraged fans when high pop fly balls turned into home runs.
Lethbridge definitely has a weather record much superior to that of the Stampede City and with excellent paved highways to the east, west and south could make good use of the district population.
The WIBL is presently trying to interest Tacoma in the Calgary franchise but that wouldn't eliminate the terrifically long hop from Vancouver to Spokane to Edmonton, the only Alberta team in the loop now.
Southern Alberta baseball fans have proven in the past that they would certainly support good baseball. A record crowd of some 6,000 fans took in the first annual International Baseball Tournament sponsored by the local Rotary Club here a few years ago and since then have averaged close to 4,500 or more in subsequent tourneys.
Upon receiving the above information league officials were very much impressed and stressed should a group in Lethbridge be interested there is an excellent chance they would receive first consideration. All teams have pledged to pitch in and help in regards to strengthening the team which is just a little short of player material now.
Anyone interested in following this strong possibility up should wire president of the league Bob Abel at the Spokane Hotel stating their intentions at to the available franchise.

Sports Notes
[Tri-City Herald, May 4, 1954]
Robertson Is The Lucky Man
You can mark it down to luck if you like. But when it comes to luck, the boy who takes top honors in the Tri-Cities is Braves' pitcher Don Robertson.
What a deal. Deacon Clough works himself to a frazzle pitching eight good innings of baseball. Jack Warren blasts out a homer. Des Charouhas is hit by a pitched ball in a somewhat undignified part of his anatomy, and Robertson, who pitched a measly 1 2-3 innings, walks off with the win.
When that game-winning run was "driven" across the plate, it marked the most undramatlc climax to a dramatic game in Sanders field history. There were no cheers, ohs or hoorays.
While Des lay on the ground rubbing his sore sealer, the fans, players and officials jumped up and walked out of the park with a well-it's-over air about the whole thing.
Des Has A Complaint
In the dressing room, Des, who began to see the humor of the situation, was a little at loss to explain how Edmonton pitcher Ray McNulty managed to hit him where he did when there were broader beams on the Tri-City roster.
"Look at Rube Johnson there, and Bob McGuire," Charouhas said naming a couple that could have provided McNulty with a larger target.
And naturally, that old baseball cartoon was recalled which depicts a manager telling a not-so-bright pinchhitter:
"Jones this is what I've been saving you for. The score is tied, the bases are loaded, there are two away, and it's the bottom of the last inning. Now go in there and get hit by a pitch."
Abel Wanted $70,000 Guarantee
Bus Lacey, president of the defunct Calgary Stampeders, threw in the towel in a hurry when league president Bob Abel demanded that Calgary put up $10,000 or forfeit its franchise.
In his telegram to Abel, Lacey thundered Abel's demands were "unreasonable and arbitrary" but there seemed to be a note of eagerness about getting out of the league.
Throughout the telegram, though, Lacey reflected the situation at Calgary which should go down in history as the sorriest excuse for a baseball town in North America.
"Your unreasonable demands on the Calgary club of additional guarantee of $10,000 by May 3 is refused as no other club in the league is asked to make this deposit," the telegram said. Yeah, and no other club in the league failed to send its players salaries and meal money.
"At the Yakima meeting of the league, clubs stated they would help Calgary in player personnel. Two clubs out of nine have offered players." the telegram went on. (Tri-City may be one of the clubs.) It offered some players and probably would have sent more but none wanted to play for a club that doesn't even give a hang whether players get paid.
Lacey's telegram went on to say they were experiencing cold weather plus four inches of ice and snow which would have forced the postponement of the opener anyway and "no adjustment of any kind has been offered by the league in this "catastrophe."
The telegram didn't recommend any "adjustment" but perhaps the league was expected to hire a band of snow-shovelers to remove the ice from Buffalo stadium.
The telegram said the league guarantee will take care of the player's salaries through May 1 and "If the league realizes any money from the sale of players, that money to be turned in to President Trautman's office to meet any Calgary Incidental bills."
* * *
City Long Indifferent
The sad truth is the whole Calgary situation has long angered all the members of the league. All winter long, league members, general managers, and even the top office had tried to find out what was going on at Calgary.
Mail, telegrams, and even telephone calls didn't even receive the courtesy of an answer.
The city itself was so indifferent to the club, that the newspapers there seldom reported anything about the Stamp's activities and the best place to find out what was going on at Calgary was to read the Edmonton Journal.
Worst of all was the city's treatment of Gene Llllard, the Calgary playing manager. He took the job with high hopes only to find that as a ball club, he alone represented everything that went into its makeup. Fact is, as long at the league carries the franchise, maybe we should refer to the team as the Lillards and blot the name of the Canadian prairie city off the record.
That city's misleading assertions and ill failure to even attempt delivering, has cost the league heavily, put its city Edmonton in an embarrassing and precarious situation, and has given its manager the run around.
The WIL is better off by being rid of it.

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