Saturday, 9 August 2008

Thursday, June 10, 1954

                W  L  Pct GB
Vancouver .... 25 16 .610 —
Wenatchee .... 25 19 .568 1½
Edmonton ..... 19 16 .543 3
Yakima ....... 23 20 .538 3
Spokane ...... 22 21 .512 4
Lewiston ..... 20 22 .476 5½
Victoria ..... 19 21 .475 5½
Tri-City ..... 20 24 .454 6½
Salem ........ 19 26 .422 8
Calgary ...... 15 22 .405 8

VANCOUVER [Clancy Loranger, Province, June 11]—Vancouver Capilanos, who were hitting .317 as a team as of last weekend, were out at Cap Stadium at 10:30 this morning taking batting practice.
Manager Bill Brenner ordered the workout Thursday night after the Caps had gathered a grand total of seven hits in dropping a 5-1 decision to Wenatchee Chiefs. Those seven blows brought the alleged powerhouse Capilanos’ total hits in the last three games to 18, for an average, which you mathematical geniuses will recognize immediately, of six hits per game.
Mind you, the fact that the Caps’ ammunition looked like it has been soaked in the Capilano River for a spell shouldn’t take anything away from the Wenatchee team. Long George Kelly has a ball team of youngsters, mostly supplied by Oakland of the Coast League, who really hustle. His boys run out every base hit—in fact, they try to stretch every single into a double—and the opposition has to be on its toes at all times.
This type of baseball has earned the Chiefs 13 wins in their last 16 starts, and off last night’s performance, they’ve deserved ‘em. They simply outplayed the Caps on every count, including the business of long ball hitting, which is supposed to be the Caps’ long suit.
There were two home runs last night, and the Chiefs got both of them. Tommy Munoz got one in the fourth to give the visitors a 3-0 lead, and after the Caps had pushed across their lone run off capable Billy Joe Waters in the sixth, Joe Unfried served it up for Wenatchee with another two-run homer in the eighth.
The victory moved the second-place Chiefs to within a game and a half of the league-leading locals, who’ll have to get at least an even split in tonight’s doubleheader to stay out in front. Tonight’s action starts at 7 p.m., and the series winds up with a single game Saturday. Bill Franks and George (The Fighter) Nicholas will pitch for Vancouver tonight.
PROVINCE STARS—Unfried and Munoz for the winners, and Marv Williams for the Caps. Marv collected two of Vancouver’s seven hits, and was the key man in a fine double play started by Ken Richardson.
Wenatchee ....... 100 200 020—5 11 1
Vancouver ........ 000 001 000—1  7 1
Waters and Jenney; Roberts, Lovrich (8) and Pesut.

VICTORIA, [Colonist, June 11]—Tom Perez was sort of a surprise acquisition when he showed up at the training camp of the Victoria Tyees last April without warning but he’s been sort of the surprise managers dream about.
Perez, the club standout right from the start, entered last night’s game against Yakima Bears with a .371 batting average. He singled in a run in the third inning, then won it when he hit a two-out home run with Dain Clay on the bags.
It was Perez’ sixth home run of the season and it was a terrific wallop off a change-up pitch which cleared the fence in deep left field, about 365 feet from home plate.
The clout brought a happy ending for the good-sized crowd of fans who showed up for ‘Merchants Night’ and it ended a Victoria losing streak of four games, longest of the season.
Sharing honors with Perez were Mike Kanshin, who did a neat bit of relief pitching in the ninth to stifle a Yakima rally with only one run scored, and scrappy Ron Jackson, who batted in pinch-runner Bill Prior with the tying run only a few minutes before Perez broke it up.
Tyees opened the scoring with thee runs in the third, Perez driving in one and Joe Joshua two with a blooper double down the right-field foul line.
Southpaw Berlyn Hodges held the Bears hitless for four innings buy started to tire in the sixth and the Bears pecked away for single runs in the sixth and seventh, and then pulled even more when Len Oren hit a home run in the eighth.
It was the 47th home run off Victoria pitching in 40 games and the 41st in the last 19 games.
Hodges, who made most of his trouble with seven bases on balls, walked Charlie Mead to open the Yakima ninth. After missing a bunt attempt, pitcher John Carmichael singled past third-baseman Steve Mesner, moving in for an expected second bunt try.
That put runners on second and first with one out and Herman Lewis, after bunting foul twice, lined a double off the fence in right-field, scoring Mead with the go-ahead run and sending Carmichael to third.
Kanshin came in to strike out Mike Catron for the first out. Carmichael became the second when a squeeze play failed with Ernie Sites at the plate. Sites walked but Kanshin got the dangerous Noren on a foul ball.
Mesner opened the Victoria ninth with a single and moved up on a sacrifice by Kanshin. Jackson rapped a hard ground smash into left field and Prior, running for Mesner, gambled on Mead’s arm. The throw was weak but Jackson was cut down at second trying to move up. But Clay kept the rally alive with a single and Perez picked an inside change-up for the runs that won.
Another winner last night was Bill Templeton, who carried off the first prize of a television set.
Second game of the series is billed tonight with the third and fourth Saturday afternoon and evening.
Yakima ......... 000 001 111—4  8 1
Victoria ........ 003 000 003—6 11 0
Carmichael and Summers; Hodges, Kanshin (9) and Martin.

EDMONTON, June 10 — The Calgary Stampedcrs and the Edmonton Eskimos split a Western International Baseball League doubleheader here Thursday night to also even up a four-game series. The Stampeders took the first game 6-1, the Eskimos the second 2-1.
The first game was broken up in the fifth inning when Calgary second baseman Don Hunter hit a three-run homer over the left field wall. Earlier, in the second, playing manager Gene Lillard homered with cone aboard.
First Game
Calgary .......... 010 140 0—6 7 3
Edmonton ....... 001 000 0—1 8 2
Tompkins and Lillard; Widner, Manier (6) and Self.
Second Game
Calgary .......... 000 000 001—1 2 0
Edmonton ....... 000 002 00x—2 8 2
Stites, Kapp (8) and Luby; Kimball and Prentice.


Clubs May Seek Abel Ouster
[Vancouver Province, June 11, 1954]
What amounts to a vote of non-confidence in Robert B. Abel as league president is expected to be presented to league directors at the weekend meeting of Western International League at Spokane.
It’s no secret that the directors are not amused, to put it mildly, with the recent action of Abel, whom they voted in as replacement for Bob Brown as league prexy last winter in Victoria.
Abel will be asked to explain his reasons for sending out the controversial telegram Wednesday in which he called for dissolution of the league, despite the fact that he had no authority to do so.
He’ll also be asked to explain why SOME of the teams in the league hadn’t been informed that MOST of the other clubs hadn’t turned in their percentage of the gate to league headquarters.
Otherwise, Abel hasn’t exactly pleased league officials with the manner in which he has handled league problems, particularly the Calgary situation. The feeling is that Abel should have visited Calgary early in their woes, and taken a first stand on the situation there. Calgary should have been told early, in short, to put up or get out, and thus many of the troubles which now plague the league might have been avoided.
If Abel goes, logical successor is Bob Brown, long-time Vancouver general manager whom Abel has called upon this year every time the league has been in any kind of trouble.
Bob’s most recent job was at Calgary, where he helped get the Stampeders a ball club—at practically no cost.
Meanwhile, two clubs, Salem and Lewiston, went on record Thursday that Calgary and Edmonton should be dropped from the league. Their feeling is that the trip to the prairies is too costly.
Elimination of Edmonton, one of the league’s strongest franchises, isn’t expected to get too much support at the league meeting. But one of Salem’s proposals—the return to the 60-40 split instead of the current system of everybody keeping their home gates—likely will be generally accepted.
President Tommy English of the Capilanos feels that that is the main trouble with the league, and says he will recommend that to the league meeting, which starts Saturday.

Canadian WIL Clubs; Prexy Fight Revealed
VICTORIA, June 10 — Charges and countercharges within the Western International Baseball League came to light here Thursday.
They involved league President Robert B. Abel and the Calgary and Victoria clubs. Abel’s charges were answered here by Victoria Tyee President Arthur Cox.
A telegram signed by “Robert B. Abel” and sent June 9 said “Calgary and Victoria knowingly fail to report to league and pay league percentages collected by them.
“Victoria admits it withheld over $600 which belongs to the league. Such withholding goes beyond the category of an open account indebtedness.
“Other teams acknowledge serious financial condition. Before situation becomes hopeless I accept my responsibility under the by-laws of the league and declare the league as a whole facing insolvency and direct that it cease to operate as of June 15, 1954.”
The telegram said action was subject to a Spokane meeting where directors can “approve, disapprove or reorganize the league in any manner they see fit in accordance with the by-laws of the league.”
In a reply Cox said the Victoria team withheld paying the league percentages collected by them because “we have taken a road trip to Calgary and Edmonton at an expense of approximately $2,500 and we are given to understand that some other teams in the league have indicated that they are not going to take this trip owing to the expense.
"Unless all teams are willing to adhere to the schedule then our club feels that we are entitled to have a refund of a portion of the cost of the prairie trip.
“I am at a loss to understand why the statement and decision was made by President Abel at this time when a league meeting of all club delegates is to be held in Spokane on Saturday.”

Salem Says Alberta Leaves WIL or We Leave
SALEM, June 10 — The president of the Salem Senators said Thursday his team would quit the Western International League unless the league drops Calgary and Edmonton and makes certain other changes.
President Bruce Williams said he and directors George Paulus and Walt Zosel would present their demands at the league meeting in Spokane Saturday.
Williams said these are:
1. Adoption of a rule to restrict the number of players with long experience. Payrolls are running too high because of the number of such players on each team, he said.
2. Elimination of Edmonton and Calgary. He estimated the cost of a week’s trip to play those teams at $2,500.
3. Elimination of the rule that allows the home team to keep all the gate receipts. He advocates a 60-40 split with the home team taking the larger portion.
4. Reclassification of the league from class A to either B or C.
With a restriction on the number of veteran players this would cut down on payroll costs and bring about development of young players, he said.
Williams said most of the teams in the league have costly players of experience. He said the Salem team is made up almost entirely of optionees from the Coast League and rookies. As a result Salem is outclassed and is far down in league standings, vet cannot afford to boost payroll costs.
“We cannot possibly exist beyond this month under the present set-up,” he said.

Uproar Promised Over Boycott Threat
4 Teams May Refuse To Make Cariboo Trip

[Tri-City Herald, June 11, 1954]
A king-sized uproar over the elimination or boycott of Edmonton and Calgary is promised Saturday when the Western International league directors meet in Spokane.
Cries for the elimination of the two teams have been raised for weeks but recently a move afoot has been started among U. S. teams to “go on sitdown strike” rather than make the expensive trip to the prairie cities.
Four teams — Tri-City, Lewiston, Spokane, and Salem — may support the “boycott.”
The move got the formal approval of the Lewiston board of directors Thursday when it voted to instruct its president, James B. McMonigle to vote that the Broncs refuse to travel to the prairie cities for its series there next week.
However, Lewiston’s front office had sounded out other league members before that.
The boycott threat also brought out a hot exchange of telegrams between Victoria and league president Bob Abel over the failure of Victoria to pay its league assessments.
The Tyee management, while conceding it withheld $600 due the league, said, “We have made the trip to Calgary and Edmonton at an expense of approximately $2,500 and we are given to understand that some of the other teams in the league are not going to take the trip owing to the expense.
“Unless all teams adhere to the schedule, then our club feels it is entitled to a refund of a portion of the cost of the prairie trip.”
At Salem, president Bruce Williams and the directors there, said “We can not possibly exist under the present setup.”
Salem not only called for the elimination of the two Canadian entries but also, told the Associated Press it wanted restrictions on the number of veterans, a return to the 60-40 split on gate receipts, and a re-classification of the league from A to B or C.
Tri-City, too, will back moves to eliminate the two Canadian prairie cities and the top brass may support a move to disband the league and reorganize another without the other two Canadian teams — Vancouver and Victoria — as well.
It is not known whether Tri-City would support the proposed boycott but it is one of the clubs approached on the deal.
The upcoming trip to Edmonton and Calgary has seriously threatened Tri-City's financial structure. The trip, estimated to cost the club $2,000 comes after the Braves have but one series at home and pay-roll coming due.
It is not known what legal entanglements the teams may get involved in if they carry out the boycott. Presumably all scheduled games would be forfeited to the Canadian teams.
Salem’s proposal for a re-classification of the league probably will receive a cold shoulder at least for the rest of this season. Stepping down from Class A to B means all players under contract to WIL clubs would immediately be declared free agents by George Trautman, president of the National Association of Professional baseball leagues.
This would hit Tri-City especially hard since it owns its entire team and some of the younger players are estimated to be worth figures in the thousands.
Others, such as Spokane, Lewiston, Salem, Victoria — operating largely with handout ballplayers — would not be financially hurt to a great degree.
General manager Eddie Taylor of Tri-City has written the National Association for clarification of this point in the event the league does vote to step down.
Specifically, he wants to know how much time, if any, Tri-City would have to dispose of its players before the releases went into effect.
Taylor hasn’t heard from Trautman’s office yet but doesn’t expect any change in league classification. “I just look for the worst,” he said.

Sports Notes
[Tri-City Herald, June 11, 1954]
Whatever decision the league directors make at the Spokane meeting Saturday, they might as well face it — the blow-up has come.
It’s been hanging fire for two years now. Anyone close to the situation could sense it.
The Western International league — as a sprawling 10-team circuit won’t work.
It may be at the Saturday meeting the directors will vote to continue “as is” with 10 teams and performance bonds put up by those who seem shaky. It not only may be, but you can bet even money that it will be.
But if they decide to continue with 10 teams, they are merely postponing the inevitable. If the shaky teams don’t fold now, they will later on in the season, and if not then, at the end of the year.
So why not accept the bare facts and do something about keeping as much of the game alive as possible?
Lots Of Cash Invested
There is a tremendous amount of money invested in individual teams in the league. Tri-City alone has nearly $150,000 tied up in it. True, a lot of it, most of it, in fact, is in such assets that the “death of the league” won’t be a total loss. But besides the money there is the intangible factor of “baseball for baseball’s sake.”
There are those who have put in a lot of free time and effort to keep baseball here and to field as good a team as possible. They’ve done a good job and with any kind of decent weather, the team itself would receive the fan support it deserves.
Other teams in the league — notably Wenatchee, Salem, Yakima — have done the same thing and they have done it without plunging the entire league into a sea of red ink.
The Boys Who Made It A Farce
But on the other side of the coin, we have a few who have made a farce out of the situation and a couple that have leaned in the same direction. And why not list ‘em?
Vancouver — The boys that peddle beer want a winner at all costs. And apparently they have lots of money. But what they forget is baseball can’t exist without competition and cities like the ones above don’t have breweries.
Victoria — Partly as the result of the Vancouver situation, this club has pulled something which should humiliate them right out of the league. Here's what happened.
Sometime ago a released Pacific Coast League player called Tri-City and offered his services. He wanted a $750 bonus to sign and a salary of $700 a month. Tri-City turned him down simply because they couldn’t afford it. Two days later he signed with Victoria — maybe not for quite those figures but you can bet it was pretty close.
Yet Victoria, although paying out money like that, hasn’t enough to pay its league assessment which was one of the factors cited when loop president sent out his “insolvency telegram.”
Calgary — This club has been a joke since its entry into the WIL. As near as anyone can tell, the only thing that keeps it going is Edmonton’s money. Recently, Calgary sportswritcrs devoted considerable space to belly-aching because manager Gene Lilliard [sic] didn’t pull a pitcher as soon as they thought he should.
Those boys should check up. The last word we got down here was that Lilliard still hasn’t been paid.
These are the ones who have gone overboard. The “leaners” are Lewiston and to a lesser degree Edmonton. You just have to go down the roster of recently-signed players to see where Lewiston stands. Guy Fletcher, Al Yaylian, now Eddie Bockman, all ex-Coast Leaguers who draw pretty good pay.
So What Can Be Done
So what can be done about it?
Last winter when the league was meeting, debating and figuring, I suggested in this column that two six-team circuits should be formed — one containing the Canadian teams and one the U. S. entries. Then at the end of the regular playing season, a playoff could be conducted to determine the league champ.
That suggestion still holds with this modification. Let the present league disband. Then let another be formed containing the six U. S. teams. Then if the four Canadian teams want a league of their own, let ‘em get a couple other entries and form one and we will have the playoff. If not, let them go jump in the MacKenzie River.
Edmonton, we feel sorry for. It at least made an honest effort and lived up to its promises. But general manager John Ducey, knowing the travel costs to the U. S., must be well aware of the travel costs for U. S. teams traveling there. Certainly Ducey can't expect all U. S. teams to fold just to keep baseball at Edmonton for another season or two.
As for the other three, the reasons listed above are enough that the six U.S. teams should wash their hands of them.
Other Rules Needed
Even with a six-team “U. S. only” league, several more rules are needed. First of all we should have a return to the 60-40 split at the gate. Then, when weather or cellar-dwelling kills the attendance at one town, the others can keep the unlucky one alive until the wheel turns in the other direction.
Secondly, the loops should set up adequate salary limits and the limit should include such items as bonuses and higher classification pay. Then, I think you will see an end to this business of some veteran ballplayers bleeding teams to death.
Enforcement Problem Can Be Met
How are you going to enforce it? In the case of all but one of the U.S. teams, the management knows it is only cutting its throat with too much spending. We can expect the greatest number to obey the limit merely because it’s the sensible thing to do. And for the other or others, when a ballplayer offers his services here, for say, $700, and is turned down, then shows up somewhere else and is signed, you can pretty well guess he isn’t playing for $300.
A system of channelling not only salaries and bonuses paid but also salaries and bonuses offered and refused could be quite revealing. These could come due once a month.
Adequate and enforced salary limits would make veteran limits unnecessary, because as Tri-City has experienced, you will have to carry some limited service and rookie players because of the money factor.
There isn’t space to list all the advantages of having such a loop but among them you will, find closer fan familiarity with players from both the home team and the opposition, more rivalry, reduced travel costs, a closer pennant race throughout the season.
There is still a lot unanswered. Maybe Salem won’t be able to go at all — 10-team, 8-team, 6-team, or 4-team.
And no one knows what in heck goes on at Spokane. But whatever happens, those U.S. cities should pull out of the present set-up.

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