Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Alberta Closer to Having WIL Teams

WIL President Okays Prairie Ball Entries
TACOMA, Oct. 10, 1952—Western International Baseball League president Robert B. Abel said here today that Calgary and Edmonton, Alta., interests are “ready, willing and clearly able” to enter the class A diamond circuit.
Abel said the two Canadian prairie cities could gain admission to the league by one or two methods, (1) acquisition of existing franchise, or (2) persuading the league directors to expand to 10 teams.
Both Edmonton and Calgary have “baseball populations” i.e.—populations within 10 miles of city limits in excess of 200,000, Abel declared. In that connection, only Vancouver, Victoria and Spokane of the present league alignment have regular potential drawing power.
Consideration of the Calgary and Edmonton bids at an early date was a prime factor in the scheduling of a league meeting for Oct. 17 in Seattle.

Travel, Schedule Problems in WIL Bid
[Vancouver Province, Oct. 17, 1952]
A pair of prairie men, seeking to bring culture—in the form of the Western International League baseball—to Edmonton and Calgary, visited Vancouver briefly Thursday en route to Seattle, where they meet with WIL directors tonight.
The duo, Sam Timmins of Calgary, and Edmonton’s John Ducey, huddled with Bob Brown, Vancouver’s Mr. Baseball and the No. 1 supporter of their pro bid, in an effort to put the boots to what Brown describes as their two main stumbling blocks—1. Transportation; 2. Schedule.
How successful they were should be known later tonight. This much is certain: The WIL and the prairie cities need each other.
• • •
The Class A pro league of which our Capilanos are members has two weak sisters, Wenatchee and Tri-City, both of which are out of their depth.
Edmonton and Calgary are, as Ducey put it, “bustling their britches” as cities and are anxious for something better than the inter-city, you-play-me-I’ll-play-you semi-pro rivalry they’ve had for some years now.
There seems no doubt that the two Alberta centre can hold their own attendance-wise. Not only are there the examples or pro football and pro hockey, but the figures Timmins and Ducey quote for baseball itself are impressive enough.
Keeping in mind that the people are seeing the same faces all the time—just Edmonton vs. Calgary—you can’t argue with these statistics: Calgary, seating just 2700 in Buffalo Park—but with unlimited standing room—drew 186,000 in their best recent season; Edmonton, with 4350 seats in Renfrew Park, pulled in 155,000 cash customers.
They have other figures such as this supplied by Timmins, who was known as “Sad Sam” when he performed capably as a hockey goalie: Box seats—at $100 a throw—are at a premium, with 156 of ‘em being snapped up pronto.
• • •
And there’s no worry about the financial setup, apparently, with some 10 oilmen ready to back the Calgary team, and a similar setup at Edmonton.
That leaves transportation—which Timmins said they haven’t investigated—and the schedule, unwieldy for a 10-team setup, assuming that the WIL’s weak sisters hang on.
With a league stretching from Salem, Ore., to Alberta, it’s obvious Bob Brown and Co. are owners of a king-sized headache.
They’ll be trying to come up with a monarch-size aspiring tonight.

WIL Favors New Entries, Decide Thursday
SEATTLE, Oct. 17—It will be known by next Thursday whether the Class A Western International Baseball League will be expanded to 10 teams to make room for the Canadian prairie cities of Calgary and Edmonton.
League Directors and club representatives decided at an all-day meeting here Friday to leave it up to local directors of the eight current WIL teams whether two more clubs shall be added.
The deadline for action by the local boards is Oct. 23.
Robert B. Abel, league president, said all those in attendance at the Friday meeting reported they would recommend approval by their local directors.

Edmonton, Calgary Clubs Certain in Enlarged W.I.L.
[Victoria Colonist, Oct. 18, 1952]
It’s as certain as anything in baseball can possible be at this stage of the season—Edmonton and Calgary are to become members of an enlarged 10-team Western International Baseball League for the 1953 season.
League officials met with John Ducey and Sam Timmins, representing Edmonton and Calgary interests respectively, at Seattle yesterday in an all-day conference. Only the fact that four clubs could not make a decision until their directorates had voted on the matter prevented a definite announcement that Edmonton and Calgary were “in” last night.
However, there is no doubt but that the Alberta cities will be admitted. Representatives of the four clubs in question—Lewiston, Wenatchee, Tri-City and Salem—were all in favor of the enlarged league and approval of their directorates is considered only a matter of form. Only two more favourable votes are needed in any event with Victoria, Vancouver, Spokane and Yakima already on record as supporting the Edmonton and Calgary entries.
Face with the almost positive assurance that they will have 10 teams, league officials are already laying plans for next season, and striving to find means to combat added schedule and transportation difficulties.
Tentatively, they decided yesterday on a season opening on or about April 26 and closing on Labor Day with approximately 140-145 games for each club. It is their hope to arrange a balanced schedule, which would have every club playing two four-game series in each of the nine other cities. This would make for a 144-game schedule with 72 home games for each team, almost ideal.
However, with no Sunday baseball in Canada and the lengthy distances between such cities as Salem and Edmonton, to say nothing of getting the most out of holiday fixtures, the schedule presents quite a problem. The league will pay $300 or more to anyone who can frame a suitable schedule any anyone who wants to give it a try is welcome to do so. Just mail your entries to the Victoria Baseball Club, who will see that they get to the proper official
Club officials at the meeting were surprised at the cost of transporting their players to Alberta by air. A representative of Trans-Canada Airlines was at the meeting and it seems almost certain that the clubs, particularly those situated on the Pacific Coast, will do considerable travelling by air next season. Needless to state, this will help with the balky scheduling problem.
Some system of play-off is certain for next season. Both the Shaughnessy play-off plan and the split season have been under discussion and it appears that the league will go for the divided season in 1953 with the two winners meeting in a playoff for the league championship.
All clubs were favourably impressed with the possibilities at Edmonton and Calgary. Ducey and Timmins stated that it was possible for start their home seasons on or about May 10 and that there was no cold weather problem until late in September. The Alberta entries will play on the road for the first two weeks of the season.
Edmonton’s Renfrew Park and Buffalo Park at Calgary were said to be equipped with suitable lighting. Renfrew Park will seat 4,250 while Buffalo Park has a capacity of 2,800. Both Ducey and Timmins stated that extra seats will be installed if needed. Timmins stated there should be no trouble filling Buffalo Park for every game and has previously initimated the would favor keeping the park at its present capacity on the theory that a shortage of seats would help keep the park full.

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