Saturday, 2 August 2008

Opening Day, Thursday, April 30, 1954

              W  L   Pct GB
Spokane ..... 1  0 1.000  —
Lewiston .... 1  0 1.000  —
Tri-City .... 1  0 1.000  —
Salem ....... 1  0 1.000  —
Vancouver ... 1  0 1.000  —
Yakima ...... 0  1  .000  1
Wenatchee ... 0  1  .000  1
Calgary ..... 0  1  .000  1
Edmonton .... 0  1  .000  1
Victoria .... 0  1  .000  1

That New Capilano Look Spells Attack With Punch
Dick Greco Warms Heart of Shivering Fans

[Vancouver Province, April 30, 1954]
For two innings, it was the 1953 baseball opener all over again. It was cold enough to preserve icicles, and the Capilanos were behind 4-0.
But then the 1954 Capilanos came up with something last year’s WIL entry sought in vain all season—an attack.
By the fourth inning, the score was tied 4-4, and before the onslaught was over last night at Cap Stadium, the Vancouver team’s big bats had boomed out 15 base hits, including two triples and three doubles to just plain overpower the Victoria Tyees, 12-7.
In one inning, the Caps scored five times and in two other separate frames they sent three runs across. That isn’t exactly world shaking, but by comparison with last year’s opener, in which the locals got one hit as they were booted about, 8-0 by Lewiston, it was heartwarming for the 2500 fans who braved the chill.
The folks came to see Dick Greco hit, and the huge outfielder, who signed his contract a half hour before game time, didn’t let them down. He was, in fact, the spearhead of the attack—the “big” guy.
He got three-for-three, including a triple, and it was that three-bagger with two on base in the third, that started the Caps on the victory trail. Again in the fourth he batted in the run that tied the score.
All But Two Get Into Act
Dick got some help from a batting lineup that won’t have an “out” man in it, except for the pitcher, if and when Bob Wellman puts on a Vancouver suit. A pair of veterans, Ken Richardson and Nick Pesut, each batted in four runs, and Nick may have to rest for two days after running out a triple.
Marv Williams proved his spring hitting was no fluke as he wrested out a pair of doubles. Jimmy Clark got three hits, in fact, everybody but first-baseman Ellis Daughtery and pitcher Bob Roberts his safely.
Roberts, who relieved starter Bill Franks with nobody out in the third, got credit for the win, but he weakened in the ninth after looking reasonably good for six innings. But it just wasn’t a pitcher’s night. Victoria used two, Bob Drilling and Mike Kanshin, and their earned run averages are currently not too enticing.
Tonight, when the clubs finish the short two-game series, Bill Brenner will be on the mound for the Caps, opposing Hal Flinn, last year with Yakima. Game time is 8:15.
DIAMOND DUST — Brenner and club president Tommy English visited Britannia High School Thursday afternoon to find their candidate for the “first pitch” honors ... He was young Gordie Spencer, who pitched a no-hit game for the Brits the other day ... “Are you guys crazy?” he asked incredulously when the Caps’ braintrust told him what they wanted him to do ...
Hometown Boy Makes Good
Blonde singer Wendy Martin, the Irish Fusiliers band and a color guard from HMCS Discovery added to the first night glitter ... Arnie Hallgren’s home debut was definitely successful ... The young outfielder made one mistake, throwing to the wrong base, but he collected a single, came up with a perfect bunt, made the catch of the night in the left field corner in the ninth with the bases loaded, and picked up two assists with his fine throwing arm ... Marv Williams displayed something he’d kept under wraps in spring training, speed ... He scored from second base on an infield hit on one play ... Some firsts: First child lost, Ronnie Evans; first man to concede the Caps the pennant, Jimmy Tang, Victora Colonist sports editor ... The Caps roster was cut again on Thursday when Lloyd Janney was returned to Seattle ... After tonight’s game, the locals head to Yakima for Saturday and Sunday, then return home Monday for their exhibition game with Seattle Rainiers ... Province stars: Dick Greco, for the way he swung that bat with little or no spring training ... Arnie Hallgren, under the gun as a hometown boy ... and Victoria’s Tom Perez, who had four-for-five and should have been tired chasing those shots hit around him in centre field.
Victoria ....... 310 000 102— 7 11 2
Vancouver ... 003 105 30x—12 15 0
Drilling, Kanshin (6) and Martin; Franks, Roberts (3) and Pesut.

Dick Greco Leads Attack as Capilanos Crush Victoria 12-7 In Baseball Opener
City Club Shows Power at Plate, Gets 15 Hits

[Vancouver News-Herald, April 30, 1954]
The man’s name is Dick Greco. He eats pitchers and burps basehits and it is on his gigantic shoulders that the 1954 Capilanos may ride high, wide and handsome.
All of the ’54 cast passed on review for the first time this season as baseball opened its gates again and the Capilanos won a rather well-decided decision from Victoria, 12-7 at Capilano Stadium.
It was a magnificent opening. If only because the bleak memories still remained from this time last year when the Capilanos looked like they were swinging magazines instead of baseball bats.
The attack echoed through the dales of old Little Mountain in a 15-hit attack on two Victoria pitchers. The defence stood up well as Victoria answered in kind with some rather solid knocks of its own. Jim Clark, Ken Richardson, Marv Williams and Arnie Hallgren were great in the field.
Bill Franks, the starting Caps pitcher, lasted “quick.” He gave up three first-inning runs, another in the second, and when he couldn’t shake control troubles by the third, Bill Brenner yanked him for another day and Bob Roberts became the lucky fellow who grew rich on that heavy Vancouver batting order.
It began in the third when Greco, with K. Chorlton and Marv Williams on base, blasted a line drive triple to the centre field wall. Dick, a recent Vancouver signee, has seen no pitching this spring. He probably didn’t see any last night, but whatever it was the man murdered it.
The Caps tied it in the fourth through the box with Jim Clark on second. And from there, the poor old Tyees just had to sit back and take it on the whiskers.
The big inning was the sixth when Vancouver scored five times on walks to Chorlton and Greco (the latter on purpose) and a two-run single by Ken Richardson. Nick Pesut brought home another two with a triple and Hallgren singled in the fifth.
In all, the Capilanos left very little for criticism. Hustle? They had it in spades.
In the seventh inning with the bases loaded, Richardson hit a little hopper down the third base side about half-way. He beat it out for a hit as Chorlton scrambled in from third, but Richardson got his fourth “rbi” for the night when Williams kept right on coming from second and easily beat Don Pries’ throw.
Tonight the same clubs do it again and Bill Brenner, his knuckle-ball now behaving, will pitch for Vancouver. It will be tall Hal Flinn for the Tyees. Game time is 8:15.

Caps Show Off Plenty o’ Power
Brenner’s IX Beats Vics In Opener

[Vancouver Sun, April 30, 1954]
Vancouver Capilanos opened their Western International Baseball League season Thursday night, displaying more hitting power in nine innings than last year’s Caps provided in practically the entire season.
Bill Brenner’s boys belted Victoria Tyees all over Cap Stadium to the delight of 1977 paid customers, who braved 38-above temperatures to watch Caps whack two Tyee pitchers for 15 hits and a 12-7 victory.
Last year, if you remember, Caps were cooler than an Arctic ice-cube, losing 8-0 to Lewiston Broncs, then managed by William Brenner.
This year, however, Brenner is back in the Little Mountain play-pen as general manager and he’s brought something besides his knuckle ball with him. It spells p-o-w-e-r.
Victoria, under new manager Don Pries, sought to wreck Bill Franks’ pitching debut and ruin Caps in the first inning. They nearly did, shellacking the Redhead for four hits and three runs while Vancouver burped politely in their half.
Tyees added another run in the second, making it 4-0. Then the Capilano power started to introduce itself to Tyee pitcher Bob Drilling
K Chorlton, first man up in the third, singled. Marv Williams doubled and Tyees were in trouble. Big Dick Greco, the man with muscles everywhere, even in his fingernails, lined a triple to left-centre field, scoring Chorlton and Williams. Greco came home on Nick Pesut’s single.
Brenner, meanwhile, had lifted starter Franks, who was having trouble with his control. It was Bob Roberts who tasted victory thanks to that potent Vancouver lineup.
Vancouver tied it 4-4 when Clark scored on Greco’s single through the box. The Tyees, from then on, were hooked but good.
Caps’ big inning was the sixth. They scored five times, on walks to Chorlton and Greco, the latter was intentionally passed, a double by Williams, his second of the night, and a two-run single by Ken Richardson. Catcher Pesut tripled, scoring two more and Arnie Hallgren singled sharply to left field for the fifth.
Caps chased in three more runs in the seventh and Victoria replied briefly in the ninth when Roberts grew careless, allowing three walks and two singles for two runs.
Victoria managed 11 hits but Jimmy Clark, Richardson, Hallgren and Williams were to much defensively. Hallgren made the best play of the night, going deep and to his right in left field to catch Dan Clay’s sinking line drive.
Tonight, at 8:15, it will be Brenner (22-12) opposing Hal Flinn (8-9) with Yakima last season.
LINE DRIVES – Dick Greco, who has had little batting practice this season, fitting into the No. 4 hitting position … Tom Perez, Tyee centre fielder, had four hits, including a line-drive triple as the first man up in the seventh .. Lloyd Jenny is back with Seattle … Bob Wellman would provide more power to the Cap lineup … Marv Wiliams can not only hit but he can run, too …Marv proved this, scoring on Ken Richardson’s infield single.

Tyees Show Power at Plate But Caps Take Opener, 12-7

[Victoria Colonist, April 30, 1954]
VANCOUVER—There was only one thing wrong with the Victoria Tyees here Thursday night as they dropped a 12-7 decision to the Vancouver Capilanos in the Western International League opener. It was the fact they were scheduled against the Vancouver Capilanos.
Playing before about 3,000 fans on a bitterly-cold night, the Tyees came up with a promising display of hitting and indicated strongly they will be hard to get out this season. But the Caps, with the benefit of three extra weeks of spring training, and in warm weather, too, presented a batting order with seven potential .300 hitters to fully justify their claim as pre-season favorites. Bill Brenner’s club is going to be hard to beat and if they get big Bob Wellman, a .350 slugger with Yakima last season, to play first base, they may never be headed.
Tyees got a quick jump with three runs in the first inning and went ahead by 4-0 in the second. They had starting pitcher Bill Franks out of there before he got a man out in the third and they threatened continuously against relief pitcher Bob Roberts. But they couldn’t stop a Vancouver batting order which had Jim Clark leading off, followed in order by K. Chorlton, Marvin Williams, Dick Greco, Ken Richardson, Nick Pesut and Arnie Hallgren. Only first-baseman Ellis Daugherty failed to get a hit and he, it’s said, will soon be replaced by Wellman.
Greco, playing without the benefit of any spring training, was the big man for the Capilanos. The Tyees couldn’t get him out as he clouted a triple and two singles and got two bases on balls, one intentional. He tripled in the Caps’ first two runs and scored their third, singling in the tying run in the fourth inning and drew walks in the sixth and seventh, when the Caps scored five and three runs, respectively.
However, despite the Vancouver show of power, the Tyees were right in the game until the ninth inning and only a spectacular catch by left-fielder Hallgren saved what would have been a serious situation in the ninth. Earlier, the Caps had been saved possible trouble when Mesner was doubled on an outfield fly in the seventh when he mistakenly thought it was the third out.
Trailing 12-5 going into the ninth the Tyees could still have pulled it out had they got a couple of breaks. Pries and Perez singled to start the inning and Mesner was called out on a close play at first base when the Caps got a bit confused as to what to do with his slow bouncer down first base way. Pries scored on the play and the Tyees got the bases loaded when Lake and Joshua fought out bases on balls. Then Clay hit a curving liner to the left field corner which would have scored three runs had not Hallgren come up with a sensational backhanded catch just inches from the fence.
All three Tyees had to hustle like mad to get back to their bags to avoid a double play. But for the catch, it would have been 12-9 with a man on and only one out and with Martin drawing another walk as the next hitter, the Caps would have been in serious trouble.
Perez particularly impressed for the Tyees with four solid hits in five trips, one of them a lengthy triple over centre-fielder Chorlton’s head. Pries, Mesner and Joshua each got two hits and there was every evidence that the Victoria batting order will produce some big rallies this season.
Drilling, still needing more work t get the control he needs, couldn’t hold the hard-hitting Caps, although Pries went a long way with him. Mike Kanshin looked reasonably good in a relief role, some hard luck getting him in trouble in the three-run eighth inning.
For Friday’s game, the Tyees will send Hal Flinn to the mound against Brenner. Bill Prior is scheduled to pitch the first game in the Wenatchee series. From there, Pries’ pitching plans are indefinite although it is likely that Drilling will pitch the home opener against Tri-City on Monday.
- - -
Tyees Note from Apr. 29 Colonist: Left at home are outfielders Jerry Kane and Tom Keough and infielders Jerry Parker and Primo Santini. All have looked good in training and the Tyees hope to place them with another club, believing that all they need at the most would be a season of seasoning.

Weather Called For Blankets, But Booming Capilano Bats Helped Warm Things Up A Bit
[Vancouver News-Herald, April 30, 1954]
As baseball opened its 1954 campaign at Capilano Stadium before 2500 fans, one was appropriately remarked, “This is great. It`s the only time of the year a guy can walk down the street with a girl under one arm and a blanket on the other and nobody asks any questions!”
It was cold, as suggested, but the Capilano bats helped warm up the evening and gave a hint that this us going to be quite a summer of it.
As the Caps prepared for the inaugural in batting practice, one young man, Arnie Hallgren, was obviously feeling the pressure of playing his first pro game in his hometown … The boy felt all right, though when he blasted two of George Nicholas’ batting practice pitches far over the left field wall … Arnie went on later to play quite a ball game getting two outfield assists and making the game’s greatest catch with a one-hander off Dain Clay in the ninth inning.
Minutes before the game started, veteran Ken Richardson, who hadn’t been hitting in spring training, picked up Nick Pesut’s bat, a “Vern Stephens” model and hit two balls on the nose … He decided to use the lumber during the game, got two-for-four and four runs batted in.
The Capilanos are down to 18 players, just one over the limit, now with the return of outfielder Lloyd Jenny to Seattle … Lloyd will be re-optioned by the Rainiers, maybe to Wenatchee … Baz Nagle, the Vancouver pitcher who was released Wednesday, will likely catch on with Victoria after a meeting with manager Don Pries today.
The bobby soxers were well represented in the grandstand and the object of their attention was Hallgren and Danny Holden … The latter didn’t play.
Of the first-nighters, Marv Williams was one of the most impressive, living up to his spring notices and displaying a type of base-running speed which previously had been strictly reserved for K. Chorlton.
The pre-game ceremonies were brief … Wendy Martin sang the National Anthem, the Irish Fusiliers played it and the Navy formed the color guard … Bill Franks then walked the first man to face him, Ron Jackson, and the other firsts for the night went to Tom Perez, first hit, Jackson, first run, Eddie Lake, first run batted in, Jim Clark, first extra-base hit and Nick Pesut, first to hit the sacrifice fly … Bobby Roberts became the season’s first winning pitcher and Bob Drilling, and old Capilano cousin, the first loser … Other cities, you see, were on standard time.

From The Sun Tower
[Vancouver Sun, April 30, 1954]
Prior to last night’s ball game at Cap Stadium, William Brenner sank his gums into a microphone to express the sentiments of a man who has been away from Vancouver for three years. He last managed the Capilanos in 1950, subsequently spending three seasons guiding clubs in Yakima and Lewiston.
“Gad!” he said, “but I’m glad to be back in Vancouver.”
Mr. Brenner did not eat those words later, being a gourmet who prefers hot-dogs for his repast. But, in the early innings, the Caps must have tempted him to alter his viewpoint.
Before prevailing 12-7 over Victoria Tyees, the Caps rudely jolted Mr. Brenner and 1977 paying fanatics by allowing the Tyees to dash ahead, 4-0. Victim of the Victoria merrymaking was Bill Franks, a righthander who consequently became the first pitcher of the 1954 Western International League season to mix judicious amounts of soap and water in the showers. When the second inning was done, so was Franks.
As it developed, the Tyees played well enough, getting seven runs and 11 hits, a respectable night’s labor. They made one mistake, however. They allowed the Caps to bat in the home half of the sixth inning.
For Victoria the result was catastrophic, not to mention disastrous, calamitous, obscene ... Caps rattled the gizzard of Tyee pitcher Mike Kanshin in the sixth, accumulating four hits and five runs, and a 9-4 lead that was never threatened.
Watching Vancouver batsmen Marvin Williams, Ken Richardson, Nick Pesut and Arnie Hallgren ride baseballs to faraway places in the rally, a guy couldn’t help feeling that here, surely, is a batting order to atone for some of the fandangos that have masqueraded in Capilano uniforms in recent seasons.
Greco Useful Citizen
Altogether, the Caps collected 15 base hits. Three of them were delivered by Richard Anthony Greco, a useful 227-pound knot of muscles.
Mr. Greco hit two singles and a triple, got two walks, scored two runs and drove home three of his playmates. Makes one wonder how he’ll look on his good nights.
Dick Greco has had some very good nights, both in the WIL and elsewhere. Playing for Tacoma in 1950, he hit 36 homers and drove in 154 runs. In 1951, serving Montgomery in the South Atlantic League, he homered 33 times for a league record, and in ’52 Richard was voted the Sally’s most valuable player. He’ll do.
There is one way, of course, for WIL pitchers to ensure against destruction by Greco, but it is unlikely they will resort to it. Murder is illegal.
Wendy Handsome Thrush
In addition to the season’s first triple, Greco drove in the first Vancouver run. Other “firsts” included:
First hit—The singing of Miss Wendy Martin, a handsome thrush whose voice contained more pitch than was displayed by the Victoria side. She sang “O Canada,” managing to keep pace with the accompanying Irish Fusiliers, which tried manfully to beat her to the finish.
First base hit—a single by Tom Perez, Victoria’s centre fielder.
First walk—to Ronnie Jackson, Victoria’s second baseman.
First winning pitcher—Bob Roberts, Vancouver right-hander.
First sacrifice fly—by Nick Pesut, bulky Vancouver backstop.
First stirring catch—by Arnie Hallgren, Vancouver left-fielder. Hallgren raced into the left field corner in the ninth inning, snagging a line drive lashed by Victoria’s Dain Clay. Robbery like that in civilian life would net a man a 10-year sentence.
First post-game statement—By Don Pries, Victoria manager. “Oh, well, said Mr. Pries, “you can’t win ‘em all.”
Moran Colorful Dresser
The first chorus of boos was reserved for the umpires, Einar Sorenson and Ambrose Joseph Moran. Both looked sad in their vestments, although Mr. Moran jazzed his up with a pair of diamond socks of shrieking hue. “Sox” Moran he is known as.
Concerning umpires, the first beef was addressed by Mr. Brenner to Mr. Moran, the base arbitrator. Brenner thus lost the first debate of the year, on a close call at second base, after implying that Moran had made the first umpire’s error.
But, as always on this day of “firsts,” you must return to the Vancouver Caps. They were the first club to get back in a steamy dressing room and start talking about winning the WIL championship.
One thing is certain, though. They were the first, but they won’t be the last.

SALEM, Ore., April 29—Salem opened the Western International League here Thursday night before a slim crowd on a cold night, but with a red-hot rally in the ninth in for a 7-6 win over Edmonton.
Salem chased home three runs in the closing innings to please the hardy crowd of 1,352. Shortstop Mel Krause, trying to make up for two costly errors earlier, began it with a single. Manager Harvey Storey him with a double. Storey scored a few minutes later on an infield bouncer, and catcher Floyd Ogden batted in the winning run with a long single.
Edmonton never trailed until the last inning. The visitors got the opening run in the second inning when Dan Prentice singled and manager Bob Sturgeon scored him a few plays later with another single.
Krause's errors led to three more Edmonton runs in the third, and Andy Skurski and Dwaine Kining each drove runs home with hits in the fifth to give Edmonton a 6-2 lead.
Salem managed runs in the fifth and seventh to set the stage for the closing rally.
Edmonton .... 013 020 000—6 8 1
Salem ......... 002 010 103—7 15 3
Conant, Widner (9) and Self; Hemphill, Domenichelli (5), Johnson (9) and Ogden.

SPOKANE, April 29—John Anderson pitched Spokane, defending champions of the Western International Baseball League, to a 14-3 opening night victory over the Yakima Bears Thursday.
A slim crowd of 1,243 fans turned out in 36 degree weather to root for the Indians.
Yakima ..... 001 000 020— 3 7 2
Spokane ... 061 005 10x—14 14 0
Carmichael, Wulf (2), Elmore (7) and Summers, Ling (7); Anderson and Dean.

LEWISTON, Idaho, April 29 — The Lewiston Broncs were outhit two to one by the Wenatchee Chiefs Thursday night, but walked their way to victory in their Western International League baseball opener.
The Broncs were trailing 4-2 as they came up to bat in the sixth inning, but they tapped three pitchers for one base hit and seven walks in that frame, good for four runs.
Wenatchee .... 010 030 100—5 10 1
Lewiston ....... 110 004 10x—7 5 1
Oubre, Kline (6), Thompson (6) and Kalemrose; Marshall, Kime (9) and Cameron.

KENNEWICK, April 29 — Tri-City hammered three Calgary pitchers for 16 hits and a 13-3 win Thursday night as the two teams opened their Western International League baseball season before thoroughly chilled crowd of 1,961 hardy fans.
Tri-City led the game in the first inning as it reached Calgary's starter for five runs on six hits. Eddie Kapp pitched only one-third of an inning, striking out one man, before he was replaced by Gene Lillard, the manager.
Lillard, a former Pacific Coast League catcher, gave up six hits and six runs before he yaked himself in the third in favor of Bill Stites. Tri-City got two more runs off four hits before Stites gained control of the situation and shut off the scoring faucet.
Jack Warren and Len Tran did the heaviest stick work for the winners. Warren got three doubles in five trips; Tran three hits, including one double, in four trips; Al Smith got two for four for the losers.
Don Robertson spaced out eight hits as the Calgarians were held to three runs.
Calgary .... 010 000 110— 3 8 1
Tri-City .... 553 000 00x—13 16 1
Kapp, Lillard (1), Stites (3) and Lundberg; Robertson and Warren.

Edmonton Loses Trio of Players
EDMONTON, Alta., Apr. 29—General Manager John Ducey of the Edmonton Eskimos of the Western International League announced Thursday the loss of three players.
Catcher Dick Morgan, who trained with St. Paul of the American Association, will be out for a year with stretched right shoulder cartilages and tendons.
First baseman Elias Osorio, expecetd to be a slugger, has refused to report to the Eskimos.
Pitcher Lloyd Hittle, a leftie, reported he is quitting baseball.

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