Negro Ump To Officiate In West
VANCOUVER, Feb. 6—The only Negro umpire in organized baseball has been hired by the Western International League, president Bob Brown announced Friday.
He is Emmett Ashford, 37, for the last two years an umpire in the class C Arizona-Texas League and at present umpire in the California winter league.
Ashford is one of four umpires hired by the league, Brown announced. The others are: Gerald F. Van Keuran, who comes from the class A Western League, Mel Steiner and Blackie Lacamus, both of the class C Pioneer League.
Ashford is reported to be headed for the major leagues. Although he has only two years in organized ball, he has been associated with baseball for 15 years.
A college graduate, he umpired baseball and basketball at the University of California at Los Angeles and University of Southern California.
Van Keuren is coming to the expanded 10-team loop because he is reported to be trying to get into the Pacific Coast League and feels the step would be easier from here. Steiner played in the WIL many years ago.
NON WIL MINOR LEAGUE NEWS
ALLENTOWN, Pa., Feb 6.—The Class B Interstate League, which helped develop such major league baseball standouts as Brooklyn's Billy Cox, disbanded Friday night, because, its president said, "it can no longer compete with television."
Gerald Nugent, loop president said the 14 year old league, composed of teams from South Central Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, was being abandoned and added, "I doubt if we'll ever operate again."
Nugent said an Allentown group headed by contractor Al Butz had declined to pick up the franchise for a sixth team in this city because they had not been able to obtain a working agreement with a major league team.
Butz, a former owner of the local franchise, sold it to the St. Louis Cardinals, which operated it from 1944 through the past season.
Nugent said the league will disband officially February 27th after the cleaning up of details to the closing.
He told club representatives from Lancaster, York, and Sunbury, Pa., and Hagerstown and Salisbury, Md.:
"I doubt very much whether this league ever will be revived. The territory is too close to major league ball parks and television from those ball parks. Television has helped to kill off this league just as it did in the New England and other leagues."
The league started the 1952 season with eight teams, but Wilmington, Del., Harrisburg, Pa., and Allentown dropped out.
Only two of the five remaining clubs had working agreements for 1953 — Hagerstown with the Boston Braves and Lancaster with the Cleveland Indians.