Thursday, 13 March 2008

Spring Training, Thursday, March 26, 1953

Caps Get Mascaro, Pitcher Rod Owen
[Vancouver Province, March 27, 1953]
HEALDSBERG, Calif.—Vancouver Caps’ general manager Dewey Soriano is gradually plugging the gaps in the roster of his 1953 Western International League baseball entry.
Soriano added an outfielder and a pitcher today, and reported that another pitcher he hadn’t especially counted on will probably be back.
The new outfielder is big Frank Mascaro, whom he’s obtained on option from San Francisco Seals. Mascaro, a fast man with a good arm, played for Dewey at Sacramento in 1950, batting .348.
The mound staff addition is a Vancouver boy, Rod Owen, who had a whirl with the Caps once begore. Owen, according to Soriano, has “looked good” in workout with Seattle Rainiers. He’ll be one of at least six players the Rainiers will leave behind after their exhibition game with San Francisco here tonight.
Likely returnee is pitcher Bud Guldborg, who’s been working out with ‘Frisco. Guldborg had said he didn’t want to play for Vancouver this year, but Soriano says he talked to him and changed his mind. Bud will be back, he says, if he doesn’t make the Coast League team.
Besides the six Rainiers who’ll be left here—pitchers Pete Hernandez, Dale Thomason and Owen; catchers Sam Hairston and Jack Johnson, and shortstop Chuck Davis—first base candidate Ron Bowen is also on the premises for tomorrow’s official camp opening.
The B.C. contingent—trainer-pitcher Carl Gunnarson and five youngsters—has arrived, too.

Pries Keeps Record as Manager Intact
[Victoria Colonist, March 27, 1953]
Don Pries kept his record as a manager intact yesterday when his pick-up team eked out a 4-3 win over a team managed by Chuck Abernathy in an inter-squad game at the Victoria Tyee training camp at Sonoma, California.
Pries, who played third base, drove in the winning run with a single in the sixth inning.
Zeb Walker did the hurling for the winners with Manny Tornay as his batterymate. The infield was rounded out by Joe Ciardy at first, Bill Mosseau at second and Ron Odekirk at shorstop. Ralph Branting, Gail Taylor and Walt Tyler comprised the outfield.
Abernathy selected Negro southpaw Ron Washington as his moundsman, Sam Brusa was behind the plate with Abernathy at first, Dave Brien at second, Don Canulie at short and Wes Crossley at third. Bill Prior, Cec Garriott and Ron Wainright formed the outfield.

Raiding Charges Laid by Spokane Boss
SPOKANE, March 26—The Spokane Indians have accused an Oregon semi-pro baseball league of “raiding” top players from the Western International League “with fabulous offers,” and propose an emergency WIL meeting to combat it.
“This is just as serious as it was for the major leagues when their star players were jumping their contracts and playing in Mexico,” said Don Osborn, general manager of the Spokane Club, Friday.
He didn't identify the semi-pro league but said its teams are sponsored by lumber companies which “sit like vultures” waiting to pick off professional players with offers that even the pros can't match.
Lumbermen Own Clubs
The Southwestern Oregon semi-pro league has been referred to as “the sawdust league” because of lumber company sponsors.
Osborn made his comments in a letter to Bob Brown, president of the W.I.L. A copy was sent to George Trautman, president of the National Association of Baseball Leagues—the minors—and another copy was given the press.
Osborn, who is also Spokane's field manager, mentioned specifically the case of Cal McIrvin, a pitcher-infielder obtained from Portland who was expected to be a key man in the Indians' 1953 plans.
McIrvin has said he will not report to Spokane this year but has accepted an offer to join the Bandon, Ore., semi-pro team instead. Osborn said his decision will cost the Indians $5000.
McIrvin was to be the last installment on a player deal that sent catcher Joe Rossi to Portland of the Pacific Coast League in 1950.
Cost Is High
“This league is costing WIL owners thousands of dollars,” Osborn said. He claimed that probably every team in the WIL has been affected by the semi-pro league in the last few years.
Osborn said organized baseball spends “thousands of dollars” developing a player and that the semi-pros step in when the players are ready to be sold to a AAA league or the majors.
“There is no legislation, in organized ball to protect this investment,” he said. “The WIL owners should not let this go on. Some legislation should be made such as the majors did when their players were enticed into Mexico.”
Jumpers Suspended
Major league players who “jumped” to the high-paying Mexican league after the war drew five-year suspensions from U.S. leagues.
Osborn said Ward Rockey, a former Spokane pitcher, quit the WIL several seasons ago for the semi-pros and that he has information the Oregon league is seeking two other Spokane players.
At Bandon, Ore., Bill Burgher, manager of the Bandon team in the Southwestern Oregon semi-pro loop, called the complaint “nonsense.”
Burgher said security, not pay, was the lure. The whole trouble was low pay in pro ball for players “who aren't going anywhere.”
Most Bandon players, he said, are college students who work in the sponsoring lumber mill.
McIrvin, leading pitcher in the W.I.L. last year with a 13-4 record and a 2.28 earned run average for Victoria, has declined to report to Spokane this year. He will play for Bandon, where he said he could make "almost $1,000 a month."
The W.I.L. has a salary limit of $5,700 a month for 17 players, an average of $317.

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