Thursday, 13 March 2008

Jimmy Tang Kisses Up to News Source

It Beats Me
By Jim Tang

[Victoria Colonist, March 18, 1953]
There has long been an impression that unfortunate and costly player deals are one of the big reasons the Victoria Baseball and Athletic Co. Ltd. has been having tough financial sledding. Actually, nothing could be more incorrect.
For a club which joined the WIL in 1946 without owning a player and which had to build from scratch again when the New York Yankees ended their working agreement at the end of the 1949 season, Victoria has done amazingly well in the player markets. And much of the credit belongs to business manager Reg Patterson, who has been blamed for a lot of things but who is a pretty fair hand when it comes to dealing with baseball’s David Harums.
Since 1946, Victoria has paid out $15,450 for the purchase of players and realized $11,850 from player sales. This is a discrepancy of $3,600, just over $500 a season, but the Victoria Tyees today own the contracts of 28 players, worth, at a conservative estimate, at least $15,000.
During the last four season, the last three as a Yankee affiliate, the Athletics operated economically. They paid out only $1,000 for players--$500 each for outfielder Joe Morjoseph and pitcher Len Kasparovich.. And this amount was exactly balanced by the sale of Joe Blankenship, who cost nothing, to Wenatchee. In addition, the Yankees paid the A’s $3,500 a season to act as a farm club.
Trying Period as an Independent
When the Yankees pulled out they left the A’s with just two players—Morjoseph and Blankenship. The A’s had to go into the player market and it was a costly proposition. Naturally, they could only get players deemed expendible by other clubs and the also-rans of 1950 and 1951 complicated matters by causing a sharp attendance decline. The club lost plenty of money but a winner was built in two seasons and there were surprisingly few bad deals –but a great many good deals which paid dividends.
Club officials rue most the decision to hire Dick Barrett as playing-manager for 1951. It turned out to be a $6,000 blunder with Barrett, dismissed in mid-season, winning his suit to collect for the full season.
Purchases of Morjoseph, catcher Rocco Cardinale and first baseman Marty Krug for $500 was money wasted. The first two were released and Krug, still owned by the club, was the unfortunate cause of dissention in the unhappy 1950 season. Outfielder Bill White was also an expensive acquisition, failing to live up to his $1,500 price tag. He may still return part of it if he is sold.
Outfielder Gene Thompson cost $2,000 but turned in two good seasons before his joined the Los Angeles police force; Jim Propst cost $1,500 for two fair seasons before he developed a sore arm and joined the U.S. Marine Corps, and southpaw Jim Hedgecock gave the club one season and Chuck Abernathy, in a trade, for $1,000.
Slightly on the debit side was the purchase of catcher Hal Danielson for $200 and Aldon Wilkie for $1,000. Wilkie pitched one season, then was sold for $750. Jim Olson, Jim Wert, Tom O’Loughlin and Carl Gunnarson were sold for a total which equally their cost price.
Seven Players Bring $5,800
On the other hand, the club netted $5,800 on the sale of seven players. John Marshall cost $2,000 and was sold for $2,200 with another $500 realized when San Diego turned him back after a draft claim; Al Ronning cost $1,000 and was drafted by the Brooklyn organization for $2,500; Blankenship and John Treece, who cost nothing, brought $1,000 each; Ron Smith, signed as a free agent, brought $500; John Hack was sold for $200 more than he cost, and Dick Bartle netted $900.
The players owned by the club today cost the Tyees little. Bob Moniz, Jim Clark, Lu Branham, Bill Prior and Bill Wisneski of last season’s champions, cost the club nothing. Neither did the new players signed this season—outfielders Herman Charles and Ralph Tyler, rookie shortstop Ron Odekirk, and six or seven other rookies who will be at training camp.
Ben Lorino, a 25-game winner last season, and Ben Jaffey, a promising outfielder due to get out of the army this year, were purchased for $100 each. The same amount brought the club Don Pries and Milt Martin under terms of the Portland working agreement along with the retired Bill Osborn and Bartle. The Tyees paid a total of $750 for Joe Ciardy and Gail Taylor to Las Vegas and reports have it that it was a real bargain. It if isn’t, the club can turn one or both back after a 30-day look.
Yep, you can take a bow, Mr. Patterson.

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