Thursday, 7 August 2008

Tuesday, May 25, 1954

                W  L  Pct  GB
Vancouver .... 17 10 .630  —
Edmonton ..... 12  9 .571  2
Victoria ..... 15 13 .536  2½
Lewiston ..... 14 13 .519  3
Yakima ....... 13 13 .500  3½
Spokane ...... 13 14 .481  4
Salem ........ 13 15 .464  4½
Wenatchee .... 12 14 .462  4½
Tri-City ..... 12 16 .429  5½
Calgary ...... 10 14 .417  5½

VANCOUVER [Clancy Loranger, Province, May 26]—The WIL this year would appear to be a hitters’ league, with 30-run games, and scores like 16-14 not uncommon. But every once in awhile the pitchers live up to the theory that they’re still the most important members of a ball club.
Tuesday was one of those nights, with Edmonton Eskimos’ John Conant proving that the Capilanos’ mighty hitters were mortals after all, and the Caps’ George Nicholas keeping pace.
Conant, who won 24 games for these same Esks last year, proved he hadn’t forgotten a thing as he limited the locals to four hits, two of them doubles. John just didn’t give anybody anything good to hit as he was in and out and up and down.
Vancouver finally did get to him in the ninth inning for two runs, but that was too little and it was too late, and Edmonton took the opener, 3-2.
Nicholas gave one of his best performances of the season, too, and as a result there wasn’t a run scored until the eighth inning. Then a single by Don Gigli, a double by San Francisco optionee Augie Amorena, and a perfect bunt by shortstop Whitey Thomson were good for two runs.
Edmonton made is 3-0 in the top of the ninth on Vern Campbell’s single, a sacrifice, and the third hit of the night by outfielder John McKeown, a Pittsburgh protégé. That run proved the winner as the Caps finally broke loose in the last frame.
After Marv Williams had walked, Dick Greco singled sharply to centre. A wild pitch moved both runners up, and Bob Wellman drove them both home with a double to left. But with two out, Arnie Hallgren flied out to end the game.
The two teams had a game scheduled this afternoon, and Ray McNulty is down to oppose Bob Roberts in tonight’s game at 8:15.
PROVINCE STARS – John Conant, still one of the league’s top pitchers … Shortstop Whitey Thomson, who seemed to be everywhere, and George Nicholas, for a valiant try.
Edmonton .... 000 000 021—3 7 1
Vancouver ... 000 000 002—2 4 0
Conant and Prentice; Nicholas and Duretto.

VICTORIA [Colonist, May 26]--Victoria Tyees got past Calgary Stampeders at Royal Athletic Park last night, 12-7, to win the three-game WIL series—but not before they ran into some more of the home-run troubles which have been plaguing them of late.
Victoria pitchers gave up only six home runs in the club’s first 21 games this season. In the next seven games, they yielded 18 and three of them last night made it awfully tough for Bob Drilling. In fact, had the Victoria righthander not received the benefit of five Calgary errors, he might have suffered his fourth defeat instead of his fifth win.
Calgary’s three out-of-the-park hits accounted for the Stamps first six runs and gave the Prairie club a 6-5 lead after six-and-a-half innings of play. However, the Stamps’ fourth error gave the Tyees five unearned runs in the Victoria seventh and a fifth error gave them two more tainted tallies in the eighth.
On the other hand, two Victoria boots gave the Stamps four unearned runs as the Tyees continued to have trouble making up hitting what they have been giving away in pitching and defense.
Up to now, they have barely made it with 15 wins in28 games, in which they scored 183 runs and conceded 191. But is has been getting togher. In their last five games the Tyees have scored 50 runs—never less than seven or more than 12 in any game—yet managed to lose three.
The reason, of course, has been that ‘gopher’ pitch. Vancouver Capilanoes hit 10 out of the park winning three of four, while the Stamps hit eight in three games.
Monday afternoon, three Calgary home runs accounted for six runs as the Stamps took the series opener, 9-7, before the season’s largest crowd—about 2,400. It was the first time this season that the Tyees had lost more than two in a row but they got back on the right track Monday night to squeeze out a 12-10 victory. The two home runs the Stamps got in this one were back to back in the second inning and there was no one on base either time.
Last night’s three made it 18 for the opposition after seven games of the current home stand. By contrast, the Tyees have managed only three and one of them, Neil Sheridan’s first, last night, was inside the park.
Tyees get tonight off as the footballers move into Royal Athletic Park. Thursday night, they open a four-game series with the second-place Edmonton Eskimos, who are a definite threat again this season.
Calgary .... 000 203 110— 7  8 5
Victoria .... 200 300 52x—12 13 2
Stites and Luby; Drilling and Martin.

SPOKANE, May 25 — Charlie Oubre pitched a one-hitter to shut out the Spokane Indians for the first time this year as Wenatchee blanked the Indians 6-0 in their Western International League game Tuesday night.
Eddie Murphy got the only hit for Spokane, a sharp grounder between short and second in the sixth inning.
Two double plays helped Oubre keep out of trouble as he walked six while striking out eight. No Indian got past second base.
Wenatchee ...... 301 100 100—4 7 0
Spokane .......... 000 000 000—0 1 3
Oubre and Jenney; Romero, Giovannoni (9) and Dean.

KENNEWICK [Tri-City Herald, May 26]—There is at Sanders Field, a ball park in the Kennewick highlands,a peculiar smell — fresh air.
The Tri-City Braves which have rested in the Western International League celler for weeks but who have been kicking up an awful rumpus for a cellar dweller lately, downed Salem, 5-2, Tuesday night and got at least a nose sticking out of the cellar door.
Tonight, the Braves will try once again to get a larger part of their collective anatomy into the higher atmosphere.
Teams in the WIL are so closely bunched that with the right series of wins and opposition losses, Tri-City could bounce quite high in the next few days.
In the game Tuesday night, Don Robertson hung up win No. 5 for the season by scattering 12 hits and giving up but two runs. Alhough Tri-City made three errors, none figured in the scoring total.
Robertson had men on base every inning but one—yet only in the fifth when Salem spoiled his shutout was he in serious trouble. The big righthander had the bases loaded when Salem batters hit three singles. Then a double by Harry Warner scored two.
Tri-City scored two in the first and three in the fourth for its five runs. The first two runs came when Terry Carroll walked, Vic Buccola singled and after some weird base-running, Carroll was safe on third and Buccola pulled up at second. Jack Warren was safe on an error which scored Carroll.
Then playing manager Edo Vanni, who was substituting for Bob Moniz, hit what should have been a single. Buccola scored, but when Vanni's fly ball dropped in front of the Salem rightfielder, he pegged to second to get Warren.
Besides Robertson's pitching, and the peculiar base-running, a minor ruckus was touched off by Salem pitcher Gene Roenspie but no one is sure just what happened.
The incident came in the fourth inning when Roenspie was taken out of the game for pitcher Larry Borst.
Instead of heading for his own dugout. Roenspie went toward Terry Carroll, who was running at third. Words were exchanged and Carroll took off his glasses to do battle.
However, calmer heads ruled and both benches emptied to separate the two players.
Carroll, himself, was a little puzzled by being involved in the rhubarb but as near as the Tri-City players could figure out, the row stemmed primarily from a "rock" pulled by a Salem infielder a short time before.
The inning led off with Dick Watson and Don Robertson each getting singles. Carroll then singled scoring Watson and Vic Buccola walked to load the bases.
Len Tran hit a long fly ball to Gene Tanselli in centerfield. He pegged to second to try and catch Carroll who was at the time some 40-feet off the bag. However, the infielder taking the relay throw was intent on getting Robertson heading for the plate and missed the easy chance for a double play.
Robertson scored easily.
Jack Warren followed with a double scoring Carroll and that was when Roenspie was taken out.
Salem ....... 000 020 000—2 12 1
Lewiston ... 200 300 00x—5 11 3
Roenspie, Borst (4), Rayle (8) and Ogden; Robertson and Warren.

LEWISTON, Idaho, May 25 — Lewiston edged Yakima 4-3 Tuesday night in the first game of a three-game Western International League baseball series, despite the home run hitting of Yakima's Lonnie Summers and Danny Rios.
Their bases-empty homers came in the fifth and ninth innings after the Bears pushed over an unearned run in the third.
An unearned run in the seventh inning gave the Broncs the margin of victory.
Yakima ....... 001 010 001—3 6 1
Lewiston ..... 001 010 20x—4 8 2
Rios and Summers; Marshall and Cameron.

Tyees Release Three; Get Nicholas
[Victoria Colonist, May 26, 1954]
Victoria Tyees added two players Monday and last night they subtracted three to reduce their playing roster to 18 players.
Joining the club Monday, about five minutes before the game with Calgary Stampeders, were outfielder Neil Sheridan, veteran ex-Coast League outfielder. Due to report—in fact, already overdue—is Joe Nicholas, the side-arming righthander, who compiled a 23-7 record last season with Salem. Nicholas, property of the Portland Beavers, is on 24-hour recall.
Released last night were outfielder-first baseman Art Seguso, rookie infielder Pepper Wesley and rookie southpaw Dan Smith.
Sheridan broke into the Tyee line-up immediately as the club’s new centerfielder and hit a triple his first time up. In the three games he has played, the big fellow has hit a home run, a triple, two doubles and a single in 14 trips, batted in six runs and scored eight.
Nicholas, who appeared in 34 games last season and completed 18 of 26 starting assignments while pitching 238 innings, will swing into regular starting rotation as soon as he reports and should be a big help in steadying the Tyees’ rather liberal mound staff.
Seguso got into 19 games, all at first base except for pinch-hitting chores, and made 11 hits in 55 trips fro a .200 average. He batted in nine runs and hit one home run. Smith pitched two innings in a relief role, gave up no hits and walked five. Wesley saw limited action in two or three games.

The Sports Herald

[Vancouver News-Herald, May 26, 1954]
K Has a theory about hitting
K Chorlton, who has hit safely in 20 consecutive baseball games, has been the Vancouver Capilanos’ most pleasant surprise this year. He batted .267 a year ago and sometimes impressed as the fellow who was swinging at baseballs with a magazine cover.
For the statistician, K has 46 hits in 98 appearances during the streak for a .469 average. He has increased his season’s efforts from a .297 pace to the present .418 figure … With all of this recorded, someone asked the man what he held responsible for his newly-found success.
“Air,” he answered with a wave of his hand, “I’m doing it alone this year.”
Further explanation proved that during 1953, K swung at, and missed, too many pitched balls. As a result, he hit nothing but air, and by his own investigation, K can recall “you just can’t get any distance hitting that air.”

Sports Notes

[Tri-City Herald, May 26, 1954]
Jim Tang, who keeps an eye on the sports scene for the Victoria Daily Colonist, was commenting last week on the Western International league tendency to operate in the red because some teams pay players more than they can afford.
Tang observed the club touching off the spend-more-than-you–have-or–ever-hope-to-have policy this season is Vancouver and its raft of high-paid home run hitters.
He also noted this had inspired Lewiston to go overboard with the signing of ex-Coast leaguers Guy Fletcher and Al Yaylin [sic], both expensive players.
Now who’s third in the list of those teams which figure an expensive player here or there might be just what they need? Right after Tang’s column came out, Victoria announced the signing of Neal Sheridan.
Tri-City had a chance to purchase Sheridan's services but lacked the cash to come through. This, of course, is going to cause some teeth knashing [sic] among Tri-City fans who will feel that "we should have got him anyway.”
Trouble is, Tri-City hasn’t any dough (and even this bare old economic fact isn't going to be reason even this enough for some) but if anyone happens to have a stray $20,000 or so and wants to give the same to general manager Eddie Taylor, he will be glad to provide some home run hitters.
* * *
We Got Some Choices
Leave us face it, kids.
We got a couple of choices and they are these:
Pennant winner this year with either no team next year unless we have another money-raising drive.
Team mid-way in the standings this year with another team next year and without putting the bite on the public for more cash.
Taylor and Vanni, too, prefer the latter course. As Edo says, “I’ll tell you one thing. Those guys aren’t going to bleed this club to death.”
This area is an unusual one for the screwball business of baseball. A lot of little people have kicked in to the ball club, but there are no big “financial angels” here coming across, with cash as has been the case in other areas. We have no breweries to list ballclub losses under some other heading, and if our one major industry were found contributing to the baseball team, it would touch off a Congressional investigation.
* * *
Diminishing Returns

There is a theory often propounded that all you have do is “get” some of those players, win the pennant, and the increased gate will offset the increased salaries. That’s true to a degree. Yet, there’s always that law of diminishing returns.
I doubt if Tri-City, pennant winner or not, will ever draw over 100,000 and that won’t bring in enough money to pay for a club such as Vancouver’s. It won’t do it here, nor in Vancouver either for that matter, and even the Cap management knows it.
Someday, maybe, the bigwigs in the league will come to the realization that neither baseball teams, families no businesses can spend more than they earn year in and year out. When and if that time comes, teams in the WIL can become accepted and established, competition will be better, and talk of franchise shifts, defunct ball clubs, and threats to fold won’t come with the every winter’s snow flurries.
They Aren’t That Bad
Meanwhile, what about this cellar-dwelling aggregation now playing at Sanders Field which the above implies “isn't going anywhere.”
First off, they aren’t that bad. And they can make the game of baseball pretty interesting. If the Braves lack a home run hitter, at least they have the biggest collection of base thieves in the WIL. It is a running club which is something the fans like to see.
It is also a club proving pretty proficient with that old double-play which is still one of the big thrills of baseball.
The pitching staff is coming around and will probably be tougher as the season progresses. The Braves haven’t been solidly waxed in any series and has given Vancouver the toughest tussle of any team in the league.
That ball club isn’t any Cadillac — but it is a fair-running Ford.
* * *
The Braves’ DP’s

Burbank, the village the other side of Pasco, may soon be fielding a team which well could be called the Braves DPs. Bill Kostenbader, a former Tri-City hurler, already pitches for the Burbank team and is now busy recruiting players for possible entry in the Lake Shore league.
Bill said Ernie Hockaday, who was released recently, may play; Neil Bryant, a-former player is another, and Tom Marier, still a member of the Tri-City team although currently carried on the suspended list, may also be on the nine.
Bill is how working for Harold Matheson. Last year Bill's fruit stand business went kerflunk when that early freeze damaged his apple shipment and cost him all of his working capital.

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