Monday, 19 November 2007

Season is Here!

WIL to Open Play Tonight
By the Associated Press [April 23, 1953].
The Class A Western International League, organized baseball's largest circuit, opens its gates tonight.
The sprawling league, which operates in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and two Canadian provinces was expanded to 10 teams this year. Victoria, defending champion, will meet Spokane, 1952 runnerup at Victoria, and Vancouver's Capilanos will host Lewiston in the two openers tonight. Calgary and Edmonton, both in Canada, are the league's newest members.
Five teams have new managers. Edo Vanni, who replaced Billy Schuster as Vancouver manager in midseason last year, is pilot at Tri-City. Harvey Storey, ex-Pacific Coast Leaguer, succeeds Vanni at Vancouver; former major leaguer Bob Sturgeon will manage Edmonton; Gene Lillard is head man at Calgary and Mike McCormack is field boss at Wenatchee.
Holdover managers are Hugh Luby at Salem, Don Osborn at Spokane, Cecil Garriott at Victoria, Bill Brenner at Lewiston and Dario Lodigiani at Yakima.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Pre-Season, April 22, 1953

Willy League Due To Start
By The Associated Press [April 22, 1953]
Umpires will call "play ball" Thursday in Victoria and Vancouver as the Western International baseball League begins its 1953 season with two games—weather permitting.
And with the annual call came a note of optimism on league attendance as Bob Brown, the new president of the ten-team circuit, which expanded to Calgary and Edmonton this year, estimated that paid admissions would exceed one million for the season.
Brown is slated to toss out the first ball at Victoria, where the defending champions will meet the Spokane Indians. The Vancouver fracas will pit the Capilanos against Lewiston's Broncs.
Other league openers are set for Friday night, when Yakima plays at Wenatchee, Calgary at Salem and Edmonton at Tri-City.
Wenatchee officials said they expect a record-breaking attendance Friday of 4,000 as all reserved seats have been sold out for a week. The present high attendance mark of 3,488 was set opening day of 1948.

By Sherm Mitchell, Jr.
Union-Bulletin Sports Editor [April 22, 1953]
The Western International Baseball League, which gets its 1953 campaign underway Thursday, will be one of the largest professional leagues in the country. With the addition of two more Canadian entries this year, Edmonton, and Alberta [sic], the Willy Loop now is a 10-team circuit.
The eight holdovers from 1952 are Spokane, Salem, Wenatchee, Yakima, Tri-Cities, Lewiston. Victoria and Vancouver. The Victoria Athletics are the defending champs, and Spokane was runner-up last year. Looking back, we recall that the A's and Indians made it a two-team race, finishing far ahead of the field. Victoria won 94 and dropped 55, while Spokane had a 91-64 mark.
Our neighboring Tri-City Braves finished in a virtual deadlock with the Lewiston Broncs for sixth place, winning 67 and losing 78 for a .462 mark, while Lewiston, playing a few more games, had a percentage of .464 on 71 wins and 82 setbacks.
Oddly enough, it's interesting to note that the league has grown rather than diminished in size when one recalls the original entries that have dropped out.
Lewiston was one of the charter members, then dropped out and later returned, apparently making a successful campaign last year. Bremerton and Tacoma both found their proximity to Seattle too much of a hazard at the gate, and pulled out. The fans were more interested in watching the Coast League variety than Willy action.

Pre-Season, April 21, 1953

Takes Prexy Job to Heart
VANCOUVER, April 21 — Bob Brown, freshman president of the Western International League, will add a personal touch to two league openers this season.
Brown, who succeeded Bob Abel of Tacoma as president of the 10-team league, largest in organised baseball, will be in Victoria Thursday for the defending WIL champions' opening game against Spokane Indians.
He will also perform official duties May 11 at Edmonton when the Eskimos are host to Yakima Bears in their first professional baseball game since the late 1920s.
Other league openers are Lewiston at Vancouver Thursday, April 23; Yakima at Wenatchee, Calgary at Salem, Edmonton at Tri-City April 24.

Pre-Season, April 20, 1953

PORTLAND, Ore., Apr. 20 — Bill Bottler, right-handed pitcher, has been optioned by the Portland Beavers to Victoria of the Western International League. He had a 6-6 record with Victoria last season.

Tri-City Braves Trip Missionaries 6 to 1
KENNEWICK, April 20 (Special) — The Tri-City Braves of the Western International League made it two wins in a row Monday night over the Whitman College Missionaries when they collected six runs in the first three innings and breezed to a 6-1 victory.
Whitman outhit the Braves 5-3, but 10 walks by Bill Osborne, Whitman's starting pitcher, opened the gate for runs in bunches in the first three innings.
Vic Buccola, Brave first baseman, got two of his team's hits, one a double in the third inning which drove in two runs. Len Tran, Tri-City second sacker, got the other bingle.
For Whitman. Dick Neher had two singles. Del Klicker and Bill Ward had a single apiece and Mert McGrew got a double.
Tri-City scored one run in the first inning on four walks by Osborne.
Three Brave runs clattered across in the second on two walks and two errors, and Buccola drove in the other two tallied with his third-inning double.
McGrew scored Whitman's only run in the fifth. He got on a walk and went on around on singles by Ward and Klicker.
Sid Aronson relieved Osborne in the fourth inning and held the Braves scoreless the rest of the way while giving up two hits.
Tri-City won its first game over Whitman here last Saturday with a 6-5 10-inning victory. The Braves have one more exhibition game before they open the WIL season against Edmonton Friday.
Whitman ..... 000 100 00—1 4 3
Tri-City ....... 132 000 0x—6 3 2
Osborne, Aronson (4) and Neher; Michelson, Piedmont, Hostenbots and Johnson.

Salem Wallops Sacramento In Exhibition Tilt, 15-5
SALEM, Ore., April 20 — Salem of the Western International League defeated Sacramento of the Coast League 15-5 in an exhibition baseball game here Monday night.
Salem Starter Bill Bevens held the Solons scoreless for five innings. Then an error gave Sacramento a run. They added one more that inning, two more in the seventh and one in the eighth.
Sacramento ...... 000 002 210—5 3 1
Salem .............. 033 220 05x—15 17 3
Roenspie, Lorino (5), Brovia (7), Smith (8) and Winter; Bevens, Collins (7) and Masterson, Nelson (7).

Hot Springs Keeps Harmony, Farms Out Two Negroes
HOT SPRINGS, Ark., April 20—In an 11th hour bow to Cotton States league harmony, the Hot Springs baseball club has backed down from its plan to use two Negro pitchers.
The club announced Monday night — just 24 hours before the Class C circuit's opening games — that it had optioned Jim and Leander Tugerson, Brothers of Florence Villa, Fla., to Knoxville, Tenn., of the Class D Mountain States league.
However, the Bather management let it be known it is not giving up its fight to break down the racial barriers in the league embracing Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The announcement said the Tugersons, stars for Indianapolis of the Negro American league last year, were being sent down on 24-hour recall and expressed hope that "other members of the league will reconsider the matter so we can recall these players."
There were veiled threats by other CSL members, particularly those in Mississippi, of withdrawal in event Hot Springs went through with the plan to use the Negro players.

Pre-Season, April 19, 1953

Broncs Shellac Spokane Indians
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho, April 19 —The Lewiston Broncs smothered the Spokane Indians, 7-1, here Sunday in a Western International League exhibition, baseball game before a capacity crowd of 1800.
Lewiston, racked up six runs in the first three innings to go ahead 6-0 before Spokane's catcher, Bill Sheets, homered in the third frame.

Salem Senators Power To 8-2 Win at Silverton
SILVERTON, Ore., April 19—The Salem Senators of the Western International league made their Oregon debut here Sunday, defeating the Silverton Red Sox 8-2.
Jack Hemphill and Wayne Rick held the Red Sox to four hits. Salem gained a three-run lead in a first-inning spurt highlighted by Gene Tanselli’s triple. Don Taylor hit a two-run homer for Salem in the seventh inning.

LODI, Calif., April 19—The Idaho Falls Russets saw their perfect exhibition record spoiled Sunday when they ran into the Calgary Stampeders 4-3 in a tight, well played ball game.
Bowman was in trouble in the first inning, but a fast double play from Stan Stewart to Les Corcoran to Manager Red Jcssen eased some of the the pressure.
Bowman walked Jerry Kruger of Calgary, and Gus Stathos singled behind their runner to put two men on and set up the double play, Kruger going to third. He scored on a bloop single by Charley Mead, and the Calgary nine took a one run lead.
Mead scored on Corcoran's error at second after Don Bricker singled to center, and Bob Sangster lined to Third Baseman John Hack to end the inning.
Second man up for Calgary in the second frame, Haig Lavery, tripled, and scored on Joe Orrell's ground out to put Calgary three runs ahead.
First Russet Hit
Joe Borich got the first Russet hit, as he singled to center to start the second inning. Pete Estrada was safe on an error by the first baseman, but John Hack hit into a double play to erase Borich at third, and Stan Stewart struck out to end the inning.
The Russets set Calgary down in one, two, three order in the third, all on ground balls as Bowman's curve ball was breaking sharply.
The Russeta threatened in the sixth when Reno Barbisan, who went in to relieve Bowman, lived on the third baseman's error and Phil Staehle, Russet leadoff man, doubled to deep center, after Second Baseman Jim Landis struck out and Red Jessen popped out. Catcher Cuno Barragan grounded out to end the inning.
Idaho Falls roared back into the ball game in their hall of the seventh inning.
Pete Estrada, laced a single down the left field foul lane. And Stewart banged out a sharp single to left field. Then little Larry Nenna rapped out a 375 foot triple to score the two base runners, scoring himself on Barbisan's long fly to center field. That tied the ball game at three all.
Calgary came back to go ahead in their half of the eighth frame. Pitcher Joe Orrell singled to right and was sacrificed to second. He scored on Stathos' single.
Calgary ......... 210 000 010—4 7 2
Idaho Falls ..... 000 000 300— 3 6 1
Orrell and Bricker; Bowman, Barbisan (6) and Borich, Barragan (6).