Pro Ball Dream in Calgary Realized After Long Wait
(This is one in a series on the prospects of teams in the Western International baseball league.)
By RAY GUAY
Calgary Herald Sports Writer
CALGARY, Alta., April 15 — A dream of many years’ standing came true not long ago when Calgary was admitted into the Class A Western International Baseball League.
Baseball boosters kept the game in Calgary by operating semi-pro and amateur leagues and now feel that Calgary is ready to step into organized baseball.
The winter months were taken up with organizing the club and boosting the park’s seating capacity by at least 1,000. The park will accommodate some 4,500 fans when the first home game gets under way May 12.
Lacey Is Prexy
First president of the new club is Norman (Bus) Lacey, a former baseball player in these parts who is now in the oil business.
Shortly after his appointment, Lacey hired Walter Brock of New York, formerly with the Boston Braves, as business manager. Then came the hiring of Gene Lillard as playing-manager. Gene has been playing baseball for 18 years and has spent the last few years as playing-manager of several minor league clubs.
While the Stampeders—a name also claimed by the Calgary hockey and football clubs—have no working agreement with any higher-classification clubs, they have been promised help by several.
When training season opened at Porterville, Calif., March 30, Lillard had in camp Pitchers Bob Roberts, acquired from Spokane Indians; Bill Francis, purchased from Pocatello, Ida., of the Pioneer League; and Rookies Al Lobato of Miami, Ariz., and Gale Pennington of Exeter, California.
Lillard, who can handle any infield position and has started out as the club’s catcher, has Jerry Cruger, formerly of Santa Barbara of the California State League, at first base; Bob Bonebrake, out of Great Falls and the Pioneer League, at second; Al Cowan, formerly of Wichita, at shortstop; and Joe Tedesco, purchased from Elmira, N.Y., of the Eastern League, at third base.
His outfielders include Charlie Mead, ex-New York Giant purchased from Lewiston; Haif Lavery, a native of Toronto, Ont., on option from the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League; Gus Stathos of Santa Barbara; and Glen Hittner, who may join the club on option from Jacksonville, Fla.
Dick Bishop, another pitcher acquired from Spokane, has asked to be placed on the voluntary retired list. Expected to join the club are Ray Jacobo [sic], a rookie outfielder from Tulare, Calif., and Gus Kyle of Calgary, a catcher-outfielder who plays defense with the hockey Stampeders and had a two-year stint in the National Hockey League with the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins.
In addition, the Stampeders expect Joe Orrell, former Detroit Tiger pitcher who had a 21-3 record while with Tijuana, Mex., of the Southwestern League last season, and Bill Carpenter, the batting champion in the Big State League in 1951 with a .365 record. Carpenter was out of baseball last season.
Joe Hopper, a rookie catcher who was recently discharged from the U.S. Marines, has also turned up in the Calgary camp and has impressed Lillard with his speed and batting power.
The Stampeders, like most other clubs, had their contract troubles earlier, but things are gradually straightening out.
“We're in a worse position than the other clubs,” said Brock. “We haven't last year’s material to fall back on But we’re getting along okay and we'll be ready to go when the season opens.”