Saturday, 9 August 2008

Saturday, June 12, 1954

                W  L  Pct GB
Vancouver .... 28 16 .636 —
Yakima ....... 25 21 .543 4
Edmonton ..... 20 17 .541 4½
Wenatchee .... 25 22 .532 4½
Spokane ...... 23 22 .511 5½
Lewiston ..... 22 22 .500 8
Victoria ..... 20 23 .465 7½
Tri-City ..... 20 26 .435 9
Salem ........ 20 27 .426 9½
Calgary ...... 16 23 .410 9½

VANCOUVER [Clancy Loranger, Province, June 14]—Manager Bill Brenner had some not so cheery news for his WIL opposition today: there’ll be two, established, veteran pitchers added to the Vancouver roster this week.
Bud Beasley, the colorful left-hander, joins the club Tuesday, and Sandy Robertson, the local boy who’s been working out for a couple of weeks, will see his first action Wednesday.
Addition of this pair, both of whom have had considerable success with the Caps in the past, won’t exactly gladden hearts everywhere around the circuit, for the locals have managed to stay atop the league standings all season with a pitching staff that’s lacked depth.
The Caps didn’t particularly look as if they needed help against the pesky Wenatchee Chiefs, who came to town in second place, 2 ½ games back, and left 4 ½ games behind.
Brenner himself gave his crew their third decision in the four-game series Saturday night, allowing just five hits as the locals won, 3-1.
Bill, who now boasts a 7-4 record, didn’t give up a hit until the seventh, when the Chiefs broke through for three singles and their lone run.
It was just as well that Brenner was sharp, for although Vancouver picked up 14 hits off ex-Coast Leaguer Ted Shandor, they had trouble bringing the runners home.
DIAMOND DUST—The Caps are home for three more days, with Victoria’s band of old-timers providing the opposition in single games tonight and Tuesday and two games Wednesday … The tough Tyees have added ex-Coaster Neil Sheridan to their already veteran-loaded lineup since their last visit … Bob Roberts will open against the Tyees tonight [Monday] … Beasley and Robertson didn’t play here the last two seasons because of the veterans rule … Last time the comical Beasley, who’s always in perfect shape, wore a Cap suit (1951) he had a 5-0 record and led the league with an earned run average of 1.96.
[Marv Williams and Bob Wellman led the Vancouver attack with three hits apiece; Wellman had a pair of doubles. Arnie Hallgren’s double was the only other extra-base hit of the one hour, 40 minute game]
Wenatchee ....... 000 000 100—1  5 0
Vancouver ........ 000 002 01x—3 14 0
Shandor and Jenney; Brenner and Duretto.

VICTORIA, [Jim Tang, Colonist, June 13—Victoria Tyees marked time in the WIL pennant race yesterday as they divided a split doubleheader with Yakima Bears to split the four-game series.
Tyees made an early lead last into the afternoon as they squeaked through to an 8-7 victory but they couldn’t get enough runs for their pitchers under the lights and took a 12-8 thumping after they had fought back to tie it at 8-8 in the eighth inning.
As usual, it was the pitching which held the Victoria club back. Hal Flinn managed to go nine innings in the first game although he gave up at least one hit in every inning and 14 for the game. It was his fifth win in nine decisions but his record was squared in the second game when, as the third of three pitchers, he was pelted for four runs in the ninth.
The Bears got 17 in this game for a total of 31 for the two games and 56 for the series. Victoria hitters did right well, too, with 30 hits yesterday, but they found it too tough to sweep against the handicap of weak pitching.
As usual, home runs figured heavily in opposition scoring. Flinn was tagged for two, both by pitchers, in the first game and the four runs they scored almost pulled it out for the Bears.
The Bears got four more home runs in the series finale and the seven runs they produced were the difference. Victoria pitchers have now given up 54 home runs in the last 43 games the Tyees have played. 48 of them in the last 22 games, which has prompted a press-box wag to start a movement to have the club renamed the “Gophers.”
The Tyees won the first one mainly because of two fine fielding catches by rightfielder Tom Perez and some home-run clouting of their own.
Perez accounted for two runs in the third inning with his seventh home run of the season and Neil Sheridan, definitely out of his slump, drove in two teammates ahead of him with his third circuit clout in the fifth inning to give the Tyees a 5-0 lead.
Perez saved Flinn from at least three runs in the Yakima fifth as he leaped high against the fence to haul down a long drive by Herman Lewis with the bags loaded and two out. Then in the ninth, with Flinn tottering and the Bears with the tying run on second, Perez grabbed a foul fly from the bat of Charlie Mead after a long gallop.
An error by Joe Joshua, somewhat mesmerized by a hard smash, set up four Yakima runs in the sixth during which pitcher Ray Machado hit a three-run homer.
Relief pitcher Dick Schaening hit a bases-empty home run in the eighth and the Bears almost pulled it out in the ninth.
Joe Nicholas started—at last—for the Tyees in the last game but was rusty from inactivity and pitched only two innings, in which he gave up five runs. Two of them came on a home run by Len Noren.
Bob Drilling took over and got by unscathed for two innings, but Lon Summers hit a home run in the fifth and manager Lou Stringer got one in the sixth. A triple scored the Bears’ eighth run in the seventh.
The Tyees kept plugging away and finally tied it with two runs in the sixth and another pair in the eighth, but the Bears unloaded for a double, triple and home run after two were out in the ninth to break it up.
Joshua didn’t help his club’s chances in this one when he got tossed out for a few too many words with umpire Steiner in the third inning. The Tyees had to use Berlyn Hodges at Joshua’s position and at cleanup in the batting order and the young southpaw hit into a double play and struck out twice in three trips.
Feature of the day for the Tyees was the hitting of Sheridan. The big outfielder followed his first-game home run with two doubles and two singes to give him nine hits for the last three games of the series and boost his average over the .300 mark and his runs-batted-in total to 21.
The Tyees now go to Vancouver for four games in three days, including a doubleheader Wednesday, then return home for four more games with the league leaders. Off the standing of the two clubs at the present time, nothing less than six victories will give the Islanders any chance for the first-half title.
First Game
Yakima ........ 000 004 012—7 14 2
Victoria ....... 002 032 10x—8 13 2
Machado, Schaening (6), Carter (8) and Albini; Flinn and Lundberg.
Second Game
Yakima ........ 320 011 103—12 17 1
Victoria ....... 013 002 020— 8 17 1
Young, Carter, Rios (9) and Summers; Nicholas, Drilling (3), Flinn (9) and Martin.

LEWISTON, June 12 — A long double by Nick Cannuli after two men were out in the ninth brought in the winning run Saturday as Lewiston edged Tri-City 7-6 in their
Western International League baseball contest.
Cannuli's double scored Glen Tuckett, who had singled, from first base.
The Broncs had piled up a comfortable 6-1 lead by the end of the sixth inning, Al Heist and Bob Williams both hitting bases-empty home runs for two counters.
But Tri-City, whose only score till then had been Jack Warren's homer in the fourth inning, came to life in the seventh to score another counter, and tied it in the eighth with four runs on four base hits and an error.
The Broncs got 12 hits off four Tri-City pitchers, and the Braves tapped three Lewiston hurlers for 11 hits. Reliefer Jack Martin who came on to put out the Tri-City fire in the eighth, was the winner, and Dale Thomason, who took over in the ninth for Tri-City, the loser.
A steady rain that fell through the game until the eighth inning failed to daunt the 1,260 fans who watched.
Tri-City ........ 000 100 140—6 11 0
Lewiston ...... 000 312 001—7 12 4
Robertson, Dobernic (8), Lemieux (8), Thomason (9) and Warren; Yaylian, Kime (7), Martin (8) and Cameron.

SPOKANE, June 12 — Spokane's John Anderson pitched his ninth win of the year in ten starts Saturday night as the Indians downed Salem 5-3 to even the score at 1-1 in their four-game Western International League baseball series.
A three-run spurt in the seventh inning, after Salem, had tied the score 2-all, decided the game. Singles by Red Robbins and Wil Hafey, after Eddie Murphy had walked, brought in two runs and sent Salem. Starting pitcher Gene Johnson to the showers.
Salem ......... 000 100 101—3 6 4
Spokane ..... 200 000 30x—5 8 1
Johnson, Domenicelli (7) and Ogden; Anderson and Dean.

CALGARY, June 12 — Nine homers in a seven-inning game featured a Western International Baseball League doubleheader here Saturday night between Edmonton and Calgary.
Calgary won the seven-inning opener 14-12 and the Eskimos rallied to outscore the Stamps 20-7 in the second when another three round trippers were scored.
First Game
Edmonton ..... 171 200 1—12 14 0
Calgary ........ 210 245 x—14 16 3
McNulty, LeBrun (5), Manier (5) and Prentice; Levinson, Whyte (2), Owens (4), Stites (5), Tompkins (7) and Luby.
Second Game
Edmonton ...... 225 190 001—20 19 1
Calgary ......... 000 140 002— 7  7 6
Worth and Prentice; Kapp, Owens (3), Levinson (5) and Luby.

WIL Likely To Continue as Ten-Team Loop
But Problems Not All Yet All Threshed Out
[Victoria Colonist, Sunday, June 13, 1954]
As far as could be ascertained at an early hour this morning, Western International Baseball League directors were still threshing out the various problems which have threatened the existence of the class “A” league.
Club directors started the emergency meeting in the morning, adjourned briefly at noon and again in the evening for food and were still in session at 1 a.m. Sunday morning.
First reports, unsubstantiated but believed correct, were that the league would attempt to continue on a 10-team basis. Edmonton and Calgary had linked together to fight any move at an ouster and it was almost certain that if the Prairie clubs insisted on their right to continue in the league that other clubs would either have to let them stay or declare the league disbanded.
It had been reported before the meeting that an effort would be made to oust the two Alberta franchises and both Salem and Lewiston representatives had announced that it was their intention to press the matter at the meeting. Both clubs said it was impossible for them to continue if they had to face the expense of travelling to Alberta.
Roy Hotchkiss, owner of the Spokane team, announced Friday night that he would any attempt by Calgary and Edmonton to stay in the league but late developments indicated that additional trouble had cropped up for directors.
While the evening meeting was still in session, Hotchkiss issued a statement that said his club would cease playing after today’s games unless he received a reasonable offer for the park and his club.
A civic group approached Hotchkiss with an offer of $150,000 for the franchise and the Spokane park. It included officials of the Playfair Race Track and offered $90,000 for the park in cash and the balance of $60,000 if a stock sale to the public was successful. If it failed Playfair would retain title to the land.
Hotchkiss rejected the offer, saying the land on which the park was located was worth $150,000 and that the stands, buildings and equipment were worth another $200,000.
He reiterated that unless some sort of an arrangement is worked out within the next 24 hours, the Indians will cease to operate.
Meanwhile, a late report said that Calgary and Edmonton had apparently won their fight to remain in the league and that the Lewiston club had agreed to make their first Prairie trip this week.
Gordon McFarlane and John Ducey, business managers of the Calgary and Edmonton clubs respectively, argued that inasmuch as their clubs had played the biggest part of their schedule on the road to date it was only fair to expect other clubs to fulfil their commitments.
There could be no reasonable arguments against this and it seemed that the move to have the 60-40 gate split restored would have to be shelved due to the fact that some clubs have played far more games at home than others and there is no way an equitable distribution of receipts could be made.
And that’s about it. As far as could be gathered the WIL will continue to operate with Calgary and Edmonton but still has the Spokane situation to thrash out. An outside possibility is that Spokane and Salem might drop out and leave the WIL, an eight-team league.
It is believed that the meeting will continue today until all problems are settled.

WIL Fate Hinges On Spokane Decision
Directors Continue Meeting

Herald Sports Editor
[June 13, 1954]

SPOKANE—Fate of the Western International League hinges upon the actions of one man today — Roy Hotchkiss, owner of the Spokane Indians.
League directors meeting here have reached tentative agreement on other major issues. However, in. the case of Spokane the situation after three four-hour sessions remained as snarled as ever. The meeting was continuous today.
Basically, the problem is this: Hotchkiss owns both the club and Spokane’s ball park, Ferris Field, the Indians’ home base. He contends he has lost so much money that he will be unable to pay the players’ salaries which come due Monday. He has indicated a willingness to sell the field, team and equipment to a local group.
Previously he never had indicated what price he would ask.
Saturday a spokesman for a local group offered to buy the entire layout for $150,000. The offer was rejected.
And directors leaving the meeting last night said that Hotchkiss and the local group were “miles apart” on an agreement.
The local group figures the values at $90,000 for Ferris Field, $25,000 for ball players and the remainder for equipment such as three cars, uniforms, etc.
In the afternoon sessions directors decided to adjourn until 7:30 to give Hotchkiss time to work out some arrangement. Shortly after the meeting reconvened Hotchkiss, who suffers from a heart condition, became ill and left. He later was seen at the Spokane-Salem game but the directors were unable to contact him.
DIRECTORS continued to meet to see what could be done. If Hotchkiss continues to refuse to forfeiture of his franchise is a possibility. The league legally could take this action if he fails to pay his players.
However, if such drastic action is taken it would leave the league in a position of having to field nine teams. Even if this were permitted by the national association of professional baseball leagues it would cause scheduling complications which would be too expensive for the league.
A nine-team league would mean that one team would be idle at all times.
However, sources close to the Spokane situation have indicated that such a move would not be necessary if the franchise was forfeited. These sources point out that there are three other possible sites where Spokane could play to complete the season if Hotchkiss refused to rent or lease Ferris Field.
IN THE OTHER big issue facing the directors, what to do about Calgary and Edmonton, was solved at least for this season. John Ducey, general manager of the Edmonton Eskimoes, proposed to pay a portion of the travel expense for three of the U.S. clubs. The clubs are Tri-City, Lewiston and Salem. All have said they would be unable to make the Cariboo Trail trip because of the expense.
Although the matter was not officially acted upon directors from the teams involved said they found the proposal acceptable.
There was some objection on the part of Victoria and Yakima, both of which have made trips
to the Prairie Cities and they felt they should receive some compensation for their trips. However, the offer holds only for the three that have not gone there yet.
In the early morning session of the Western International league director’s meeting, Tri-City Athletic Association President Harold Matheson and Vancouver Capilano vice-president Tom English got into a verbal hassle over Vancouver’s spending.
The argument was touched off when Matheson commented that a team such as Tri-City could not compete in the same league with one which pays salaries and bonuses such as Vancouver has been doing this year.
English got [on] his feet and conceded it was true that Vancouver had been subsidized by a local brewery and had lost $180,000 in recent years.
English said everything that they had tried had failed to turn out crowds. This year, he said, they were determined to go all-out and produce the best team possible to sec if that would be more successful in increasing the gate.
He said it was unlikely that the brewery would pour any more money into the club if it did not succeed this year.
Matheson then said it would seem that Tri-City is in too big a league or Vancouver is in one too small. Matheson pointed out that part of our troubles were the result of the effort to “keep up with the Joneses.”

Finances Trouble Tri-City
SPOKANE, June 12—The Tri-City Braves’ critical financial condition was emphasized to the Tri–City Athletic Association directors here when General Manager Eddie Taylor reported the club needs an average attendance of 1300 – 1400 fans per game for the remaining 34 home dates this season.
Up until now the Braves have averaged 903 per game, or approximately 20,000 fans so far this season. In a report during the recess at the League Directors meeting here, Taylor pointed out that Tri-City drew approximately 80,000 in 1952.
It is on this attendance that he based his estimate. Tri-City Association board member Howard Beste pointed out the situation may not be as dark as it seems. Beste noted last year Tri-City had a drawing for an automobile early in the season and that something similar is planned for later this year. However, Beste, Tri-City Association President Harold Matheson and board member Clarence Hayes of Connell obviously were aware of the seriousness of the situation.
The crucial time for Tri–City will come in the weeks before July 15. Between now and then Tri-City has but six playing days at home. From those six home dates the club must draw enough to meet the June 15 payroll plus the travel expenses to Edmonton, estimated to be $2,000. The player payroll is $3,100.
The group discussed several promotions although no concrete proposals were approved. Special nights were considered, advance sales of tickets and, last but not too favorable, a fund raising drive. The outcome of the discussion, however, still awaited decisions to be made at the evening session of the league meeting.
It seemed likely that the board will call a rally meeting of stockholders within a week to lay the situation before them.
Stockholders probably will be asked to aid in any promotion that the board may agree upon.

Sports Notes

[Tri-City Herald, June 13, 1954]
Today we let the baseball brass hassle — It’s time to talk of players and things.
Under that classification of things, it is now revealed that those sponge rubber devices slim-chested women use to up their bust measurement size have entered organized baseball.
To put it bluntly, Len Tran is wearing a “falsie.”
True, he isn’t wearing the thing in the same relative position as members of the opposite sex but he has use for it just the same. It all comes about because of the split tendon in his right hand. As mentioned before Len has tried several devices — tape, bathroom sponges wearing a glove — but nothing has worked to ease the pain when his bat hits the ball with a solid whack.
So somewhere, he didn’t say where, Len acquired one of the devices and gave it a whirl.
“It works pretty good,” Len said the other day as he wrapped it around the bat handle and showed how the rubber protected the injured hand. Frankly, the device is so shaped that its contour fits perfectly.
“Yeah, but won’t it be a little embarrassing if you throw your bat again and the thing flies out to the pitcher’s mound?,” I asked.
“Heck, that’s already happened,” Len said. “Over at Yakima. It didn’t fly out to the mound. Just dropped on home plate.”
“What happened then?” I asked. But before Len could reply, Edo Vanni threw in:
“Forty-eight Yakima women in the stands began to check themselves to see if they were all there.”
Jess Makes An Error
Ordinarily, these sports pages seldom make much of a to-do over a player’s errors, unless they directly affect the outcome of the game. We use the Ned Sparks’ philosophy that “everyone makes mistakes. That's why they put rubber mats around spittoons.”
But when Jess Dobernic, Tri-City relief pitcher makes an error, it’s big news.
Jess made one the other day against Wenatchee. It was a plain outright old error error — the type that no scorekeeper can give or take a little just to keep a record clean. Fact is Jess heaved the ball all the way down the third base line, a run came in and a batter went all the way to second.
It was Jess’s first error this year. I recalled, and the Official Baseball Guide bore me out, that Jess hadn't made an error last year. This gave him two years running without an error and out of curiosity I checked up to see just when the old boy had last made one and ran out of Official Guides before I found out.
It’s Been A Long, Long Time
Just for the record, Jess played in 50 games, made five putouts, 13 assists, one double play last season.
In 1952 he played in five games for Denver in the Western League where he had no fielding chances and is not listed in the percentages and 36 games for Springfield and Toronto in the International league where he made seven assists and no errors.
In 1951 he was with Los Angeles, played in 43 games made 10 assists and no errors. In 1950, he was with Sacramento and Los Angeles and made six putouts, 21 assists, one double play and no errors.
In 1949, he played for Sacramento, Chicago and Cincinnati. At Sacramento, he was in 13 games, made one putout, four assists and one double play, and no errors.
With the major leaguers that year, he was in 18 games, and made two putouts and three assists and still no errors.
But He Remembers The Last One
That's when the Official Guides ran out so I finally put the question directly to Jess. When in heck did you make your last error?
Jess thought a minute, and said. “Gee, it’s been a long long time. Let’s see. Ah-a now I remember. Boy! How could I forget. It was with Chicago in 1948.
“I forget who we were playing that day but there was a man on first and one out. I turned around the shortstop and second baseman and asked, ‘Who’s covering?’
“Both brought their hands across like this—” Jess went on dragging his hand across the letters on his shirtfront “signaling ‘I’'m covering’.”
“Roy Smalley was on second. I remember that. Anyhow, I went ahead and pitched and the batter hit the ball right back at me. I whirled around and started to throw. Nobody was there.
“So I tried to stop in the middle of the throw and the ball went out of my hand and dribbled along the ground.”
Grimm Was Angry
Jess said after the game Chicago manager Charley Grimm, now pilot of Milwaukee, came up and said, “Why didn't you throw the ball?”
“What did you want me to do? Throw it out into centerfield?” Jess said he replied.
“You woudn’t have been any worse off.” Grimm snorted.
“With thatm” Jess said. “I threw my glove right in the air and walked off. There was no tellin’ about that guy.”
Early Days On Sandlots
Jess, by the way, is a player who loves the game itself and when he tells of past performances, his stories seldom involve days in the “big show.”
His favorite place was Rayne, La., in the Evangeline league where he broke in in 1937. That was the place where an outfielder once took a long fly back in the swamp, was bitten by a cottonmouth and died.
Or Jess likes to tell about his days in true “sandlot” baseball at his former home in Mt. Olive, Ill., which should be an object lesson to modern youngsters who often feel recreation departments and parents should build their playing fields for them.
Jess’s sandlot days came in the middle of the depression when milk sold for a nickel a quart, and the animals themselves plus the drying effects of the sun provided an abundance of free bases.
They Carried A Rail A Mile
“We wanted to build a ball field.” Jess said. “So we went out to some farmer and asked if we could use some of his land.”
“ ‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘build it anyplace’ The poor guy had a farm but didn't have any money for seed.
“So,” Jess went on, “a gang of us got one of those regular steel railroad rails and carried that thing on our backs from town out to the farm. It was about a mile.”
“Then we used the rail to drag the land and build the field. Heck, we had pretty good crowds out there — sometimes a thousand. We didn't charge — just took donations.
“And when the town team played the church team, that the best three-game series I ever saw. The church won. Two brothers played — one on one side and one on the other.
“The guy on the losing team had to push his brother all over town in a wheelbarrow to pay off a bet.”

The Sports Herald

[Vancouver News-Herald, June 12, 1954]
We’ve Been Happy In The Service
This is our farewell to sport. After 13 years in the dressing rooms, we leave the small of Arnica to graze in a different pasture.
The departure is not made without regret. However, progress is a think not to be sneered at and when the boss picks your name out of a hat and says. “you’re moving ahead, m’lad,” you move Pronto.
We have this one last opportunity now to dig into the memory and recall the associations which are fondest to us…
A Breach That Had To Be Filled
Such is a memory of an August day in Victoria in 1947 when we were on tour with the Vancouver Capilanos. My boss wanted a story about how it felt to be a batting practise pitcher. We put on a uniform and began to dodge line drives for our very life. The boss got his story, but we stayed to fill out this anecdote.
Because the night was cold, we remained on the bench, in uniform for the regular game. Toward the end of it, an umpire, Hughie Day, climaxed a terrible evening of fumbling by calling yet another decision against the Capilanos.
Carl Gunnarson, a pitcher and one of baseball’s best barbers,” gave it to Day something about after that one and the umpire approached the bench to get even.
“Tell me who did that,” he growled, “or I’ll kick you out.”
When one voice owned up, Day was satisfied and ordered the culprit to an early shower. The Capilanos were saved from complete expulsion, and , as a matter of fact, we were getting cold anyway.
WILFan note: Matthews went to work on the city desk but didn’t stay there long. He was sports editor of the News-Herald again within a year.

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