Monday, 1 September 2008

Vancouver Looks Ahead to PCL

Oakland’s Brick Laws Is the ‘Mr. X’ Who Might Bring Coast League Baseball Here
[Vancouver Province, Oct. 12, 1954]
The mysterious Pacific Coast League baseball franchise holder who’s coming to town this week to discuss a possible move to Vancouver was identified today.
Emil Sick, Seattle Rainier owner, said Brick Laws, president of the Oakland Acorns, would accompany him to Vancouver for Thursday’s meeting with Mayor Fred Hume and other civil leaders.
A story in the Seattle P.I. today quoted Sick as saying “Laws and I represent the league in investigating Vancouver a a possible Coast League city.”
But, the story said, “the strongest indications are that Laws himself is interested in moving the Oaks to Vancouver.”
There’s another current league franchise holder who may be interested in Vancouver’s Coast League possibilities, too. An Associated Pres report out of Sacramento said that Eddie Mulligan, president of the Solons, would accompany Sick to Vancouver. Mulligan, however, denied it.
Laws has long been recognized as a top baseball executive. He gambled $40,000 to hire Chuck Dressen as his manager for the past season. Dressen led his club from seventh place in 1953 to third, and the Oaks won the Governor’s Cup in the playoffs.

Coast Ball In Vancouver? We’ll Have To Battle For It
Coast League Not Wooing Us, Say Emil Sick, Laws


[Vancouver Province, Oct. 15, 1954]
Brick Laws threw Vancouver the ball on the Pacific Coast League baseball question Thursday, and Mayor Fred Hume caught it and ran. He didn’t run very far and some of the grandstand quarterbacks thought he ran too cautiously.
But His Worship, although not committing himself or the city fathers to anything, did accept the suggestion of Laws, president of the Oakland team, to this extent: he said, privately, after Thursday’s luncheon in Hotel Vancouver, that he would think about the whole question seriously and organize a committee next week.
The mayor should have quite a dossier of suggested names for the committee next week. He left the meeting with the drums beating loudly for such local sportsmen as Coley Hall and, of course, Bob Brown, both at yesterday’s meeting; Jack Diamond; George Norgan, who’s selling out his Portland Coast League interests; Chuck Charles; and Stan Smith, if he’s recovered from his B.C. Empire Games chairmanship duties.
There were suggestions, too, something like San Francisco’s [word unreadable] “little corporation” might be formed. There, $60,000 worth of stock was sold to the “little people,” who then went out and supported the ball team because they had a financial interest in it.
Civic Enterprise
And, of course, B.C. Lions’ setup was discussed. Their pre-season ticket sale gave them as assured attendance of some 9000 people per game, and also helped create a civic spirit that wouldn’t let rain, hail or the Lions’ record keep them away.
As Bob Brown said, “The day of the one-man operation in baseball is over. A baseball team, in so many places, has now become a civic enterprise.”
Purpose of the committee, as Laws had pointed out earlier Thursday, would be to provide concrete evidence to the Coast League directors that Vancouver is anxious to keep them company.
Laws, who emphasized he was not necessarily prepared to move his own franchise here, reiterated in the meeting what he had earlier told The Province: if Vancouver can sit down with coast directors and show them we have an adequate ball park and parking facilities, can offer a reasonable rental deal, and can guarantee that the club would do $300,000 worth of business for two years, they’d have to give us serious consideration.
Sunday Baseball!
An adequate ball park would have to seat from 10,000 to 12,000 (the capacity now, 6500), would require a roof over the grandstand at least, and the parking lot would have to be blacktopped. Estimated cost? Emil Sick, president of the Seattle Rainiers, who brought Laws up here, said “the whole thing wouldn’t cost more than $200,000.”
Sunday baseball was discussed, too. Mr. Sick said it would be “a big help” for us to have it, but when Coley Hall said he didn’t think it was necessary, no one argued with him too strenuously. Feeling seems to be that the Sunday ball angle is incidental.
Laws, a medium-sized sandy haired man who looks like a younger version of Brown (he’s 52), and who talks like he’d be right at home in the locker room, also repeated what he’d said earlier: that he was very impressed with our city and our people. “This is easily a Coast League town,” he said.
A Quick Return
Both he and sick stressed that we’d “have to battle to get a franchise”—that the Coast League wasn’t after us.
Mayor Hume, showing some fancy footwork, thanks Sick for his help in bringing Laws up here and in organizing Thursday’s meeting and added that “it seems to me, with [a few words unreadable] support—this thing is possible.”
Sick, equally adept at broken field running, replied that he’s certainly help all that he could, but “of course one organization can’t own two franchises in the same league.” His brewery, of course, backed the Seattle Rainiers and the defunct Vancouver Capilanos for some time.
Besides Laws and Sick, visiting basemen men included Torchy Torrance, vice president of the Seattle club; Freddy Hutchinson, currently an unemployed baseball manager, and Dewey Soriano, general manager at Seattle.
City Hall was represented beside Mayor Hume by aldermen Cornett, Orr and Cunningham.

Vancouver Eyes Solons
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 11— Eddie Mulligan, president of the Sacramento Solons, said Thursday night he had received an enticing offer to move the Pacific Coast League club to Vancouver, B.C. and that he would put the proposition before Solon stockholders next week.
Mulligan said he had met in Vancouver businessman and sports enthusiast. Hall has been seeking a baseball team for the Canadian city which lost its Western International League team when the loop went out of business this fall
The Solon president said he told Hall “our first loyalty is to Sacramento” but “I was but one of a group of stockholders and could not speak for the entire Solon family.”

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