CAPS MAY GET CHRISTIE
Ritchey Sold To Sacramento
By CLANCY LORANGER
[Vancouver Province, Jan. 5, 1953]
One of the best “natural” hitters ever to wear a Capilano uniform, popular Johnny Ritchey, won’t be back with the Vancouver baseball team next summer.
Ritchey is going to get another crack at the Coast League. General manager Dewey Soriano announced today that the stocky catcher, WIL batting leader in 1951, has been sold to Sacramento. Purchase price was not disclosed.
Disgruntled at being passed up in baseball’s draft despite his second fine year at bat—Johnny was runner-up for the batting crown in ’53—Ritchey had written that he wouldn’t play another season of Class A ball.
“We went to some trouble to make a deal for Johnny,” Soriano said. “We felt he deserved a chance after his two years here.”
Coast League managers were reluctant to accept Ritchey after his earlier stay in the Coast League, which ended with Johnny suspended after a run-in with Portland manager Bill Sweeney.
Soriano said today he is relying on what he called a “closer” working agreement with the parent Seattle Rainiers to fill the large gap left by Ritchey’s departure.
“Emil Sick has promised me we’ll get first choice of Seattle’s surplus talent,” said Dewey, and he thinks he’ll be able to get Claude Christie, Sam Hairston, or both, to maintain the high quality in the Caps’ catching department.
“Seattle wanted to send Christie here last year, but there wasn’t much point with Ritchie around. He’s a highly capable receiver who should hit well in WIL company.”
Hairston, a Negro, played in the Class A Western League last season, and at least reports, was outhitting Ritchey in Mexico’s winter baseball league.
Bob Duretto, the Caps’ handyman last summer who took a whirl at catching, will be available for behind-the-plate duties, too, Soriano said.
Ritchey Goes Back to PCL
SACREMENTO, Jan. 5 (UP)—The Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League last night added support to one of their weakest positions with the purchase of catcher John Ritchey, 28. from Vancouver, B.C. of the Western International League.
No purchase price was announced. Ritchey, first Negro to ink a Coast League contract, formerly signed with San Diego in 1948 and later played in Portland, Ore.