Thursday, 7 August 2008

Saturday, May 29, 1954

               W  L  Pct GB
Vancouver ... 22 11 .667 —
Yakima ...... 17 13 .567 3½
Edmonton .... 15 12 .556 4
Victoria .... 17 15 .532 4½
Wenatchee ... 15 15 .500 5½
Tri-City .... 15 17 .469 6½
Lewiston .... 14 17 .452 7
Spokane ..... 14 17 .452 7
Salem ....... 14 18 .438 7½
Calgary ..... 10 18 .357 9½

VANCOUVER [Sun, May 31]—Vancouver’s league-leading Caps will be away from home for the next ten days during which they hope to put nothing but more daylight between themselves and the rest of the Western International Baseball League pack.
Caps increased their lead to three-and-a-half games over second-place Yakima Bears, winning both ends of a doubleheader from Calgary Stampeders 6-2 and 6-0 before more than 5100 fans Saturday.
It was a lively afternoon as George Nicholas picked up his sixth win and general manager Bill Brown and catcher Bob Duretto were tossed out of the game by umpire Mike Runyan.
Brenner was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing too strenuously when Runyan called Duretto out at the plate. Bob followed the boss to the showers when the umpire claimed he was throwing dirt on him. Duretto, however, claims he was merely brushing the dirt off his pants.
Caps and Nicholas won the game in the fourth inning after two were out. Third man up, Kenny Richardson, walked. Bob Wellman exploded a triple and Arnie Hallgren followed with a double for two runs. Duretto walked, then Nicholas singled through the middle for the winning run.
Brenner gave Caps a clean-sweep of the four-game series, pitching a neat seven-hitter at night. It was Bill’s fifth win of the season and lowered his league-leading earned run average to 1.39.
Once again, it was the fourth inning that paid off for Vancouver. Marv Williams opened with a double to right, Dick Greco walked and Richardson singled through the box for one run. Wellman and Hallgren followed with singles and when the smoke cleared, Caps had four runs.
Vancouver’s last two runs came in the seventh, when Hallgren smashed a high drive to right field. Calgary’s Chuck Lundgren lost the ball in the lights and Arnie wound up on third. Brenner exploded a one-bounce triple off the centre-field wall for one, then Jimmy Clark hit a sacrifice fly for the final run.
Hallgren saved the boss’ shutout in the second inning when Lundgren, who had singled, tried to score on Bill Stites’ single to left. However, that rifle-right arm of Arnie’s easily beat Lundgren to the plate.
First Game
Calgary ........ 000 020 000—2 7 1
Vancouver ... 000 320 01x—6 9 1
Schulte and Lillard; Nicholas and Duretto, Pesut (5).
Second Game
Calgary ........ 000 000 000—0 7 0
Vancouver ... 000 400 20x—6 8 0
Stites, Levinson (8) and Luby; Brenner and Pesut.

VICTORIA [Jim Tang, Colonist, May 30]—Victoria Tyees ended their 11-game home stand at Royal Athletic Park last night with their fifth victory when a two-out blooper double from the bat of Dain Clay in the eighth inning scored the tying and winning runs in a 3-2 conquest of the Edmonton Eskimos.
Victory gave the Tyees a split in the four-game series in which they faced what is probably the best pitching staff in the WIL. The Victoria club won a 14-inning thriller Thursday, 4-3, lost Friday, 9-6, and again yesterday afternoon, 6-1.
The club takes to the air Monday morning for a 10-day road trip which opens in Calgary Monday night. They play the Stamps in single games Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, move up to Edmonton for single games Friday and Sunday, and a double header Saturday, and then bus to Spokane to meet the Indians Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tyees couldn’t get to Ray McNulty in the afternoon game yesterday. They scored in the first inning on a walk, fielder’s choice and a single by Tom Perez. But they could never get more than one man on base in any inning after that as McNulty scattered five hits over as many innings for an easy win.
Bill Prior turned in a creditable effort in a losing cause and but for some faulty support the result might have been different. Errors gave the Esks the tying and go-ahead runs and they clinched it with two home runs, which scored three runs, in the seventh inning.
The four-base smashes, by third baseman Don Gigli and McNulty, were the 21st and 22nd off Victoria pitching in 10 games.
Defensive feature of this game was a great play at second base by Steve Mesner, who went behind the bag for what appeared to be a certain hit and scooped it to Eddie Lake, who turned it into a double play to help hold second-inning run-making to one tally.
Southpaw Berlyn Hodges got his second starting assignment in the night game and came up with a sterling effort before being taken out for a pinch-hitter in the Victoria seventh.
Hodges, matching pitch for pitch with the hard-throwing Ken Kimball, held the Eskimos scoreless for five innings to protect [the] one-run lead his mates gave him in the first inning. But an easy fly to right field was lost in the lights for a double in the sixth and a bases on balls and a second double gave Edmonton two runs.
Tyees threatened in the seventh and managed Don Pries gambled by taking Hodges, who had struck out eight, out of the game for pinch-hitter Don Lundberg with one out and two runners on. The rally ended without a run but the Tyees came right back in the eighth.
With one out, Joe Joshua, hitting clean-up in a revised batting order, drew a base on balls. Pries sent him to second with a scratch single and both runners moved up, as Neil Sheridan grounded out. Then Clay, who had been hitless in his last 18 trips, looped a low fly just out first-baseman Augie Amorena’s reach which was fair by inches and Pries and Joshua scored without any trouble.
The win, his first, went to Mike Kanshin, who faced only seven Esks in two innings of hitless pitching. It was the 10th one-run victory in 17 wins for the Tyees.
Feature of this game was the ball-and-strike calling of plate-umpire Loring, who seemed to want to get out of the cold and did his level best to get it over in a hurry. Loring called six third strikes, four in a row, on the Tyees and at least four of them were almost unbelievably bad. The Esks had some complaints, too.
First Game
Edmonton ...... 010 100 310—6 11 2
Victoria ......... 100 000 000—1  5 4
McNulty and Prentice; Prior and Lundberg.
Second Game
Edmonton ...... 000 002 000—2 6 2
Victoria ......... 100 000 02x—3 6 0
Kimball and Self; B. Hodges, Kanshin (8) and Martin.

YAKIMA, May 29—Yakima defeated Spokane, 5-4, in a 10-inning Western International League baseball game Saturday night.
Spokane started ahead with one run in the second inning on an error, a fielder's choice and a single by Bob Donkersley. It yieldled the lead when Yakima came up to score twice on two walks, a single by Lon Summers and Dick Briskey’s double.
Spokane ........ 010 002 100 0—4 10 3
Yakima .......... 030 000 020 1—5  9 1
Romero and Dean; Rios, Machado (7), Carter (9) and Summers.

WENATCHEE, May 29—A ninth-inning run that broke a tie just fashioned by Lewiston gave Wenatchee an 8-7 Western International League baseball win tonight.
Lewiston ........ 031 100 002—7 10 2
Wenatchee .... 000 232 001—8 14 2
Marshall, Kime (6) and Garay; Bowman and Jenney.

Salem at Tri-City at Salem, rained out.

Braves Turnstiles Count 8,000 Less Than 1953
[Tri-City Herald, May 29, 1954]
RAIN AND COLD, the 1954 curse of the Western International league, forced the cancellation of the scheduled Tri-City-Salem game at Salem Saturday night.
And if the weather doesn't clear or improve here by Monday, it may cause another lag in Tri-City’s poor attendance.
The Braves are scheduled to return to Sanders field for a Monday doubleheader with Lewiston beginning at 3 p.m. Today Tri-City and Salem will play a twin-bill at Salem.
The rain and cold at Salem is but one small example of the weather situation that has caused lagging attendance and threats to two teams in the league.
LEWISTON recently took inventory, found the Broncs were 23 per cent behind last season’s attendance total, and said the club had to raise $13,000 or drop out. The money, plus some more, was made up through advance ticket sales.
Spokane is the latest team with trouble. It has surrendered its franchise to the league, citing money losses brought on by cold weather and poor attendance.
Although Tri-City general manager Eddie Taylor said Saturday the Braves are in no financial hot water, attendance this season is almost 8,000 below last year’s figure at this date. So far this season, the Braves have drawn 14,834 at home. Last year going into the Memorial Day game, they had drawn 22,911.
UP TO NOW this year, Tri-City has played 17 games at home. Last year the Braves had played 18 at home.
Almost all of the decrease this year can be attributed to the weather. The club itself is better all around and more of a contender and against tougher opposition this season.
A large share of the drop may be accounted for in the opener differences. In 1953, the Braves drew 3,400 against 1,900 on the cold April 29 opener this year.
The Tri-City area has had some good weather this year but it all came when the Braves were on the road.
THE BRAVES’ management feels that given good weather, the club will draw heavily during the upcoming series with Lewiston.
Although the attendance drop has not affected the Tri-City club’s ability to pay its bills, it frequently has meant the club was unable to buy a player who might have strenghened the club.
“After a series, I take money down to the bank,” Taylor said Saturday. “Then comes pay-day and we have nothing left. Sometimes it’s discouraging.”

Businessmen Move To Keep Indians
Spokane May Buy WIL Club

SPOKANE, May 29—A last-ditch stand to keep professional baseball in Spokane was underway Saturday as local businessmen moved to make the orphaned Indians a community-owned organization.
The action started almost immediately after Roy Hotchkiss, president and owner of the club, announced that he had turned the Spokane franchise back to the Class A Western International League, and was “getting out of baseball.”
The Spokane club set a minor league attendance record in 1947 with 287,000 when the league was a Class B circuit. It’s been going down steadily and was only 60,873 last year. The weather has been cool this season and there have been few crowds over 1,000 here.
Hotchkiss, a dairy farmer, suffered a heart attack earlier this year and was confined to the hospital for several weeks. He said he was giving up for his health
and also because of poor support and a lack of interest in the team by the city’s 175,000 residents.
Charles Carroll, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said he would do what he could to keep the team operating. The chamber has appointed a “baseball committee.”
The Philadelphia Phillies of the National League have a working agreement with Spokane and own virtually all the Indians players.
Joe Reardon, head of the Phillies farm system, said it might be possible for the Phils to operate the club the rest of the season. But there was nothing definite.
Robert Abel, president of the WIL, said the league could “carry” Spokane until June 7 when the Indians are due back home to open a three-game series with Victoria.
He left for Salem, Ore. Saturday to discuss the situation with Bruce Williams, the league vice president, and said he hopes to have some answers the first of the week.
Manager Don Osborn said the Indians, now on the road, have enough money to last through Sunday.
Hotchkiss has estimated he lost $100,000 in the five years he has had baseball here.
The Indians lost their 16th game of the season Friday night 9-1 at Yakima.

Sanchez, Moen Leave Club As Tyees Cut
[Victoria Colonist, May 30, 1954]
Victoria Tyees got down to the WIL player limit of 17 yesterday by releasing outfielder-catcher Armando Sanchez and returning lefthander Bob Moen to the Seattle Rainiers, who had sent him to Victoria on option.
That left the Tyees with catchers Milt Martin and Don Lundberg, infielders Don Pries, Steve Mesner, Eddie Lake, Tom Perez and Ron Jackson, outfielders Neil Sheridan, Dain Clay and Joe Joshua, and pitchers Hal Flinn, Bill Prior, Bill Bottler, Joe Nicholas, Mike Kanshin and Berlyn Hodges.
Nicholas was still unreported last night but he is expected to be here in time to go with the club to Calgary Monday morning.

Sports Notes

[Tri-City Herald, May 30, 1954]
One of the common questions asked around the Tri-Cities nowadays is what has got into the Tri-City Braves? The team was in the cellar, and looked for all the world as if it were going to stay there, finally started winning a few.
There are a number of things that have helped them rack up some in the win column lately — better pitching, stronger infield, and with Bob McGuire available for full-time duty, a stronger outfield. And there are such intangible factors such as spirit, hustle, and a sudden desire to win.
But if you ask the players what has happened, they will tell you “our plays, especially the hit-and-run, seem to be working now.”
Unlike football, or basketball for that matter, there aren’t too many planned plays in baseball but of them all, the hit-and-run is the best to see when it works.
However, in talking with others, and judging from the reaction of the fans, there seems to be some vague ideas on just what the hit-and-run is supposed to accomplish.
Most seem to feel that when you have a runner on first, he takes off for second and the batter hits anything. If the batter gets a hit, then the runner can make it all the way to third. If the batter fails to hit, the runner stands a chance of stealing and if the batter grounds out, the chance of a double-play is cut considerably.
That much is true as far as it goes but that isn’t the entire story.
Runner Should Aid Batter
Tri-City's playing manager, Edo Vanni, puts it this way.
“I was taught,” he said, “that the greatest thing a base runner can do is help his batter boost his average. The base-runner’s chief job is to pull the defensive player’s out of position. Then that gives the batter a chance to hit through the hole.”
Vanni points out that it won't work with every batter.
“You just about have lo have a guy that knows where he wants to hit them up there,” he said. “Guys like Vic Buccola can do it. Say, if Terry Carroll is on first and starts down to second. Then the second baseman moves over to cover the bag, Vic can usually put one through that hole.”
And They Work The Play
In the recent games with Salem, we had some good examples of how it is supposed to work.
On one occasion, Bob McGuire was on third and Sam Kanelos was on first. There were two away at the time so Sam broke for second. The shortstop moved toward the bag to cover and Des Charouhas busted one through the hole the shortstop left behind.
On the play, McGuire scored easily enough and went all the way to third, which is something that seldom happens when a runner singles to left field.
When the play clicked, some of the fans seemed to feel the Braves were lucky — reasoning perhaps, that if the stortstop had stayed where he belonged, he could have fielded that ball.
Charouhas’ hit wasn’t any more luck than a home run is luck or a holc-in-one is luck. It was just a skillful play that clicked. Sam’s job was to get one of those defensive players to move and he did. Des’s job was to hit it where he wasn’t and he did.
What If He Missed
Suppose though, in a similar situation, Des had swung and missed. Then the defensive still has a major problem on its hands.
McGuire could hold and Sam could try for a straight steal of second. Since Sam had a good jump on the ball, the chances were he would have made it easily. That would put two runners in scoring position. It isn’t quite as good as getting a hit — but almost.
Or he could go in toward second, hold up as frequently happens and try to scamper back to first. This will lead to him being caught in a rundown with the runner scoring from third, or making the defense play for home.
The Defense Watches Its Timing
That sounds simple enough for the defense until you figure that unless the timing is right, that runner will be in safely. Then to top it off, everytime a ball is thrown or caught in the WIL, there is a 5 per cent margin of error.
Naturally, the defensive players aren’t going to permit the hitters and runners to make suckers out of them and they use several tricks to stop the maneuver. One of the best is the pitchout and twice in the same game, Salem worked that successfully, to retire Tri-City runners.
Bui that’s what makes the hit-and-run the most interesting. It is all a matter of teamwork and timing and the one that is caught off-balance is the one who will lose.
In recent games, the Braves have been able to trip up the opposition with such plays more often than they have failed. And that is why they have been winning some games.
Edo’s Playing Is Almost Over
Vanni and general manager Eddie Taylor settled the excess of outfielders problem by putting Edo on the temporarily disabled list Saturday.
That way he won’t count against the limit.
It means, in effect, that Edo’s playing days are pretty well over but the guy has no regrets.
“Every once in a while I read where some old player is trying to come back into baseball. Nuts!” Edo said.
“Look at me. I get hurt and it takes forever to heal. These young guys like Carroll — I can't compete with them. If I could I would but I can’t.
“That kid has pushed me right out of that leftfield spot. That’s okay, though. Back a few years ago I pushed a good ballplayer out of his spot and about 18 years from now, someone is going to push Terry out — if he plays that long and I hope the heck he does.”

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