Monday, 11 August 2008

Saturday, July 10, 1954

               W L  Pct  GB
Tri-City ..... 5 0 1.000 —
Victoria ..... 2 0 1.000 1½
Lewiston ..... 3 1  .750 1½
Yakima ....... 2 1  .667 2
Salem ........ 1 2  .333 3
Vancouver .... 0 2  .000 3½
Edmonton ..... 1 4  .200 4
Wenatchee .... 0 4  .000 4½

KENNEWICK [Tri-City Herald, July 11]—Rube Johnson, Tri-Cities No. 2 catcher, literally blasted the Braves to a double victory over the Edmonton Eskimos Saturday night with three home runs.
The 5-4 and 6-4 victories stretched the Braves winning streak to six games and gave them a 5-0 record to top the league in second half standings.
Today at 7 p.m. they will be seeking their sixth win of the second half when they play the Eskimos again.
Jack Hemphill won the second game for Tri-City but the ex-Salem pitcher's debut here was over-shadowed by the clouts of mighty Rube.
Altogether Johnson drove in 7 of Tri-Cities' 11 runs, two of the RBI's came in the first game when a pinch hit homer in the bottom of the seventh scored Dick Watson ahead of him to give Tri-City the win.
In the second game Rube got his second homer in the first inning with Len Tran aboard.
Edmonton scored single runs in the 1st, 4th and 5th innings, to tie the score at that point. But in the bottom of the 6th with Edo Vanni and Tran on base, Johnson homered again.
Even in the 4th inning when Johnson filed out to right field the ball lacked very few feet of clearing the wall.
Hemphill went the distance for the Braves, He scattered nine hits and walked but two. He struck out six. The loser for the game was Charles LeBrun.
In the seven-inning opener, Tri-City came from behind to win in the bottom half of the last inning.
Little Dick Watson, 19-year-old shortstop, got the hit that sparked the four-run rally. Johnson got the blow that won it.
With one away, Jack Warren and Bob Moniz walked. John Conant, Edmonton's ace pitcher who had eaten Lewiston Friday night, came in to relieve starter Dick Kimball.
Dale Bloom went in to run for Warren. Conant got McGuire to ground out and Bloom and Moniz advanced on the play. Then Watson, coming through in the clutch, singled both runners home and set up the play for Rube's dramatic smash.
After swinging at one and missing, Rube fouled one off.
But on the next pitch there was a loud splat!—and the game was over! The ball disappeared in the darkness more than 390 feet from home plate.
By the time Rube rounded third, the entire bench of elated Braves piled out to greet him — even carrying manager Vanni, who had been booted out of the game in the sixth inning after an argument with Ump Lowell Fulk.
The loss was charged to Conant. It was Robertson's 12th win against 3 losses.
Kimball gave up but three hits, all in the first inning when Tri-City scored its first run with Jack Warren doubling Arty Wilson home.
Edmonton brought three of its runs in through sacrifice flies.
First Game
Edmonton ...... 010 011 1—4 7 1
Tri-City ......... 100 000 4—5 6 0
Kimball, Conant (7) and Prentice, Partee (7); Robertson and Warren.
Second Game
Edmonton ...... 010 110 001—4 9 0
Tri-City ......... 300 003 00x—6 7 2
LeBrun and Prentice; Hemphill and Johnson.

WENATCHEE, July 11 — The Lewiston Broncs jumped on Keith Bowman for three runs In the first inning and added four more off him in the fourth to post an 8-4 Western
International League victory over Wenatchee Saturday night.
It was the Chiefs' fourth straight loss of the second half split season.
Al Heist led off the game for the Broncs with a double. That hit plus single by Gabby Williams and Clint Cameron and two walks accounted for three runs.
Four more came in in the fourth on a walk and error and four straight singles, all off Bowman. Charlie Oubre then replaced him.
Ross McCormack returned to the Chiefs' lineup after a brief stay with Oakland of the Pacific Coast League. He doubled and hit two singles in his first three trips to the plate, driving in a run each time.
Lewiston ........ 300 400 010—8 11 0
Wenatchee .... 101 020 000—4 9 1
Marshall and Garay; Bowman, Oubre (4) and Helmuth.

YAKIMA, July 11—Yakima bunched its hits and walks Saturday night to defeat Salem, 7-3, in a Western International League baseball series opener.
The Yakimans started early with two runs each in the second and third innings and never were headed. They added three in the eighth to salt the tilt after Salem had made it 4-2 with single runs in the seventh and eighth frames.
The first Salem run came on a double by Harry Warner and a single by Mel Krause. Bob Kellogg and Connie Perez walked in the next Inning, then Kellogg scored on a fielder's choice by Harry Warner.
Salem added a run in the ninth on singles by Mel Krause, Dennis Luby and Carl Bellotti but couldn't keep the spark of resistance burning.
Dick Young was credited with the win although he was derricked in the eighth. Bill Franks was the loser.
Salem ....... 000 000 111—3 9 0
Yakima ..... 022 000 03x—7 8 0
Franks and Ogden, D. Luby (8); Young, Lovrich (8) and Summers.

Victoria at Vancouver (2), rained out.

Edo Confident He’ll Win Election
Has Filed For State Office
[Tri-City Herald, July 11, 1954]
If the Democrats sweep Seattle in the fall elections, the Washington House of Representatives may be in for a lively time.
The Tri-City Braves playing manager, Edo Vanni, best known for his rhubarbs with the ump, is running for office.
The Associated Press reported last week Vanni had filed for the office of state representative from the 36th district in Seattle. He is a Democrat.
It will be Vanni’s second header into politics. Six years ago, while playing with Spokane, Vanni ran for the same office and was defeated.
“But I got 1,000 votes,” Vanni said.
This year, the ballplayer expects to have more success in his bid to be a politician. He pointed out he has three large Catholic institutions in his district and they are particularly wrought up because the present representative opposed a measure which would permit Catholic school students to ride public school buses.
“I got others behind me, too,” Vanni said. “Why in that first election, I was just a young guy but this time I know something about it.”
“Man, do we have fun in those elections. We cruise around in a sound truck and really, give the Republicans heck.”
Does Vanni think he has a chance?
“Why, I am practically in,” he said.

Sports Notes
[Tri-City Herald, July 11, 1954]
We might as well face it kids, the Western International league has become such a suspicion-riddled organization that this lack of faith in fellow man has even filtered down to the player level.
It's kind of hard to get the accurate details but in the recent Edmonton-Tri-City series at Edmonton an appalling number of accusations were flung about.
I can't guarantee the truth of this story since I wasn't there and most of the information came — second-hand and from indirect none-too-truthful sources but starting at the beginning, here is roughly what happened.
When the Braves traveled north for the Edmonton series, they stopped near a place called Banff to look over a contingent of friendly bears mooching food alongside the road.
Well, they stayed a bit too long, and before they got on their way again, a passle of rare old Albertan wood termites got inside the bats.
They really only got to two before the damage was discovered. The little critters drilled a hole plumb from the butt end of playing manager Edo Vanni's bat down a foot or so toward the handle.
And on Dick Watson's bat, they just up and chawed the end clean off until now the boy has to go to the plate with a stubby-looking war club which has the appearance of being more of a fugitive from a defunct-bowling alley than the type of thing a pro ball, player would use.
* * *
They Tried To Fix If Up

Well, Tri-City being somewhat of a poverty-stricken club I figured Watson would just have to go ahead and use his stubby but then someone figured it would be unseemly if the playing manager had to appear before a crowd of wealthy Edmontonians with a defaced and damaged bat.
So, in order to kind of fix up appearances, they took some stray cork and stuffed it in the hole, then smoothed off the end so it looked almost as good as new.
Somehow or another, the job was done a little nap-hazard and the first time Vanni came to the plate at Edmonton, Eskimo pitcher John Conant objected to pitching to any player who would come to the plate With such an evil-looking patch-work bat.
Some say he even used the word “loaded” but that isn't likely since that particular practice went out years ago when home-builders started using spring reels in windows instead of two-pound sashweights.
In any case, the ump concluded that such a defaced and sorry-looking baseball bat should not be used and ordered Vanni to cast it aside and bring a more respectable piece of lumber to the plate.
Well, all this was downright humiliating to playing manager Vanni — having the poor financial condition of the ball club revealed before 4,000 smug Edmonton oil well owners. So he in turn leveled some accusations at Conant designed to embarrass and humiliate the pitcher right in front of his hometown fans.
* * *
Accusations Fly

Among other things, Vanni implied Honest John was so entrusting, he wouldn't loan a teamate an old razor blade but instead carried them around in his hip pocket where
they did considerable damage to expesnive baseballs.
You never heard of the beat of it.
He accused Conant of creating a health hazard by expectorating — some contend he said “spitting” — on the ball.
And it is unreliably reported that words such as “emory paper” and “pine tar” and “filed belt buckles” were also flung around.
The upshot of it was, the ump continued to rule that baseball was a nice game and players must put on a good appearance before the public and no one could use a defaced bat.
So the club was heaved aside and Vanni selected one a random from the racks. On Conant's first pitch, he rapped the ball out to right field for a base hit.
The blow brought Edmonton manager Bob Sturgeon hopping out and he told Conant from now on let Vanni use his old broken down bat. We don't want any more of that.
As I say, I don't guarantee the truth of that story. It came mostly from nallplayers who are not individuals one could call a reliable source.
* * *
Pug Johnson Works Out

The big left-hander throwing batting practice for the Braves last week was Leroy (Pug) Johnson, valley athlete from Sunnyside. But Tri-City had no designs on signing him.
Pug belongs to the Yankee chain through a system of deals and the primary reason for his pitching Friday was to give Deacon Jones, the Yankee scout in the region, a chance to look at him.
Last season Pug pitched a bit for Edmonton and was then sent down to Modesto. They wanted to do the same thing again this season but he objected to the low salary offred and wouldn't report. Now, Jones is consulting the Yankee front office and they may make a deal whereby Pug will play in the Pioneer League.
* * *
They Don't Like Old Men

Deacon Jones is but one of the scouts visiting Sanders field now. They all have one thing in common — the WIL, they contend, is a scandal to organized baseball,
The scouts chief beef is the age of most of the players.
“When I played ball,” one said, “a 40-year-old player was a freak. Now that's all you see in this league.”
Jones said the Yankee system isn't even taking reports on the WIL.
Another predicts, with some confidence, that the whole works will blow up within a week.
The scouts are partly right on the “old man” issue. But remember, they consider a minor league baseball team as merely nothing more than a training camp where they can develop players. Somehow the idea that residents of a community outside the major league areas might want to see baseball rather than read about it or bear it over the radio seems to escape them.

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