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.

No comments: