Thursday, 13 March 2008

Spring Training, Monday, March 30, 1953

No Game For Tyees—Opponants Forgot
[Victoria Colonist, March 31, 1953]
SONOMA, Calif.—Victoria Tyees’ scheduled exhibition with Santa Rosa Junior College was cancelled Monday when the Santa Rosa coach forgot about the game and his club failed to show up,
Tyees refunded the money received at the game. Later the lights were turned on for the first time and an infield practise held under the lights.
Victoria lost its second straight exhibition tilt Sunday when San Francisco Lucky Lagers pounded out a 17-13 victory with a 19-hit attack. Lucky Lagers were champions of the Bay area’s semi-pro loop last season.
The game was marked by 23 bases on balls, 15 by Victoria pitchers. Berlyn Hodges, young Victoria hopeful, started for the Tyees but was bothered by the muddy mound.
He lasted until the third when he gave up seven base hits, seven walks, hit over batter [sic] and 11 runs. Zeb Walker took over and managed to get the side out. He allowed only one run in the next five innings but weakened in the ninth.
Despite his shellacking coach Cec Garriott was pleased with Hodges’ performance and will keep the youngster in camp for another try.
Manny Tornay with two singles and a double in six trips, Don Pries with a triple and two singles in five trips and Chuck Abernathy with two singles and a walk for a perfect day were the leading Victoria stickers.
The Tyees have signed Nap Gulley, colored Visalia outfielder who could pass as Granny Gladstone’s twin brother.
Lu Branham reported to camp yesterday and Ben Lorino is on his way from Los Angeles and is expected in tomorrow.

Hairston Will Help ‘Em Forget
Vancouver Province Sports Writer
HEALDSBERG [March 31, 1953]—A few months from now Vancouver baseball fans will be recalling ex-Cap star John Ritchey as the poor man’s Sam Hairston.
That, of course, is merely a springtime prediction by this correspondent, but from the cut of catcher Hairston’s spring training performance here with Harvey Storey’s Caps, the husky Negro looks just like the laddie to make Caps fans forget the popularity and batting average of the sharp-hitting Ritchey.
Hairston hits the ball a mile, is a ball hawk behind the plate, and , what’s more—in glaring contrast to Ritchey—he is extremely popular with his teammates.
In an intra-squad game here Monday, Sambo, as the boys fondly call him, rammed out a long triple, singled and chased the centre fielder clear to the fence for another drive, and looked all the way like a player who is merely warming up easily for a big season.
If you’re guessing at a potential Capilano starting lineup come opening day, here it is, as far as we can go at this point.
Leadoff—just about settled—Gordie Hernandez, 2b; No. 2 spot will likely go to whoever makes good at short (maybe Chuck Davis, en route from Seattle, Spokane alumnus, 1950); third spot in the order, Jim Wert, 1b; cleanup, Harvey Storey, 3b; fifth, Hairston; sixth, Frank Mancuso, o.f., .348 for Yakima in 1950, in army since; seventh spot reserved for an unknown outfielder (the club is still short in this department); eight spot, Dick Briskey, who at this point, is ticketd as a “maybe” outfielder.
Number nine for opening nine—as tentatively slated by Storey—could be pitcher Pete Hernandez. As we inferred, Storey, through G.M. Dewey Soriano, is still looking for outfield help, plus a couple of leftie pitchers.
Of the four B.C. hopefuls in camp, Vancouver rookie pitcher Rod MacKay looks the most impressive and will get a good, long look from Storey.
Outfielder Ken Mitchell is hitting the ball sharply, but both he and pitcher Dick Letourneau and infielder Lyle Cornett of Cowichan Station need a deal more seasoning.
Another B.C. boy, first baseman Vic Jones of Mission, headed home Monday, along with outfielder Marvin Kessler, Rod McKitchen, Larry Maniuan and pitcher Jim Jones.

Los Alamitos Nine Downs Edmonton, 8-3
COMPTON, Cal., March 30—Paced by Dale Coogan's powerhitting, the Los Alaraitos Naval Air Base nine scored an 8-3 exhibition baseball verdict over, the Edmonton Eskimos of the Western International League at Compton's Cressey Park Monday.
Coogan slammed a triple, two doubles and a single.
Los Alamitos .... 003 011 101— 8 14 0
Edmonton ........ 000 300 000— 3 7 3
Willis and Zuber; Manier, Widner (4), Schbard (7), Thurston (9) and Morgan.

Strikeout King Returned to Spokane
SPOKANE, March 30—George New, the Western International League's strikeout king last year, was optioned Monday to Spokane Indians by the Philadelphia Phillies. He's a left-handed pitcher.
New fanned 215 men in 1952 while winning 12 and losing 16 for the Tri-City Braves. He was at Phillies training camp this spring and is due here in a few days.
Meanwhile, the Spokane Chronicle reported that Spokane's sale of second baseman Jimmy Brown to Beaumont of the Texas League was “rushed through when the Indians learned he was being wooed by a team in the Southwestern Oregon semi-pro league.”
Don Osborn, general manager of the Spokane club, accused the semi-pros last week of “raiding” the WIL of top players, mentioning Cal McIrvin, a pitcher-infielder due to play with the Indians this year. The semi-pros called it “nonsense.”

Wenatchee Nine Has Extra Talent
WENATCHEE, March 30—Wenatchee Western International League Baseball club officials said a surplus of players will be available shortly when the Class C Arizona-Texas League announces it will not operate this season.
Wenatchee General Manager Frank Dasso said his club has received five young players who were to be assigned to Albuquerque of the soon-to-be-defunct league. The players came from Oakland of the Pacific Coast loop, which has a working agreement with Wenatchee.

Tri City Braves Tangle With Mavericks Here Next Sunday
WALLA WALLA, March 30—The Tri-City Braves of the Western International League will play the WSP Mavericks on the prison diamond Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the first appearance this year of a professional baseball team in Walla Walla, Boots Fain, recreation director, announced Monday evening. Manager Edo Vanni, former Coast League outfield star and new manager of the Tri-City entry, will bring his squad, now in spring training, for a test that will be open to fans without charge.
A former major league chucker Jess Dobernic, who toiled for Los Angeles before moving up to the parent Chicago Cubs, may toe the mound for a portion of Sunday game, Vanni announced. Bob Bloom, a recruit from Tacoma, is another who probably will slant his offererings at the inmate team.
Sunday's game will give the leaguers opportunity to try out a flock of material new to their club including a smattering of rookie and some seasoned additions such as Ray Tran, the Seattle infielder who has had several seasons with Vancouver, Terry Carroll, former W.S.C. outfielder up from the Southwest International, and Dobernic, whose contract was held last year by Toronto of the AAA International League.
With two contests on tap for this weekend—the Mavericks will entertain Yakima Junior College Saturday afternoon—choice of pitchers to face the visitors will be decide later. Two Bobs, Buren and Brogan, both righthanders, are showing the most promise among pitching candidates on the hill.

today’s fanfare
Penticton Not Like This; The Caps, Either
By Eric Whitehead

[Vancouver Province, March 31, 1953]
HEALDSBERG, California—Sorry dear friends and neighbors in the Okanagan, but Penticton was never like this.
It was 76 degrees in the shade here Monday as manager Harvey Storey’s big squad of would-be Capilanos romped playfully about this bit of sunny California, hell-bent on opening day in Vancouver. After three training seasons in the hospitable and unpredictable spring clime of Penticton’s peach country, this is like hopping out of the chill breeze and into the frying pan.
That is, if there were any ballplayers around here to remember the change. My, how times, and ballplayers, have changed on this club.
It was last Dec. 31, on the nose when this daring young man on the flying typewriter predicted herein that new G.M. Dewey Soriano would “clean house” in this his freshman year in the Cap Stadium front office, Dewey has not only cleaned house, he has practically swept the whole cockeyes residence into the Little Mountain reservoir. A 1952 scribe around here can’t tell a player without a program—bar two. The only two holdovers from the entire 1952 can are pitchers Van Fletcher, and first baseman Jim Wert.
Still the Same Old Story
Apart from a change of location and a change of personel, everything’s the same. It happens every spring.
Spring training, a ritual of sweat, tears, everlasting hope and heartache, springs eternal. The sweating, eager, awkward rookies palpitating at their chance to catch on. . .The one or two year vets battling confidently to move up. . .and the “almost made it” ballplayers, fresh out of the flossy coast league camps, disgruntled and a little sulky over being shipped down.
One of the latter clan is slender Pete Hernandez, the smooth righthander who had a great year with the Caps in 1951, was picked up by Seattle in ’52, was finally shipped to the Memphis Chicks, had a fair year and reported back to the Seattle fold this spring.
We won’t say that Pete is actually disgruntled—he’s the kind of easy-going athlete who can toss a halter on any keen disappointment, but Pete feels that he rated a better “look” than he got in the Rainier camp this spring under boss Bill Sweeney.
“Look at his roster,” challenges Pete. “Sweeney prefers older men, younger players don’t get much of a break with his club.”
Everybody Wants A Winner
And so Hernandez, a good right hander who might well be ticketed for a big future, falls victim to the old bugaboo of all loops short of the majors; where a manager such as Sweeney is interested primarily in winning the pennant, therefore prefers to play say with aging stars rather than take a chance on a comer, and there is a general manager such as Soriano, primarily interested himself in collecting a winning ball club, and who will and must do all he can to wean a good young comer out of the richer fold for another season or two.
That, Pete, and you thousands of others, is professional baseball and how it is—must be—played by the men who pay for it
One ballplayer here who has absolutely no quarrels with fate is Carl “Eternal” Gunnarson, the left who like Satchel Paige and “Ol’ Man River” just keeps rollin’ along. Carl is Storey’s “twin threat” doubling as a trainer and bullpen pitcher.
This is Carls’ thirteenth season as a pro, having stopped enroute at Grand Forks, Winnipeg, Portland, Salem, Victoria and Vancouver. This after a one-year absence, is his sixth season with Vancouver.
He had his best year last year with Victoria, winning 12 and losing 5—but Gunnar knows this sort of thing can’t go on forever. Already the regular Vancouver Canucks hockey trainer, Carl is now breaking in as the Caps’ dressing room boss.
Which gives the popular old work-hoss a year-round career, and that suits Carl.

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