Thursday, 13 March 2008

Spring Training, Tuesday, March 31, 1953

Local Boys Get Chance on Mound
Vancouver Province Sports Writer
HEALDSBERG [April 1]—Two Vancouver boys, Rod MacKay and Rod Owen, will get a first-class chance to show their wares Thursday night as they share mound duties in the first Capilanos exhibition game of the spring season.
Manager Harv Storey has nominated MacKay and Owen to go against the Aberdeen (class C) club at nearby Ukiah on Thursday night in the first of an 18-game grapefruit league schedule listed for the Caps.
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Backing the Vancouver chuckers Thursday night will be Ron Bowen, 1b; Gordie Hernandez, 2b; Dick Briskey, ss; Harv Storey, 3b; and Sam Hairston, catcher. In the makeshift outfield will be Frank Mascaro, Nick Castas and Jim Wert. Jack Johnson, a husky rookie long-ball hitter, will split backstop duties with Hairston.
Part of Storey’s pitching staff troubles were solved Tuesday when veteran lefty Jim Hedgecock okayed his contact. Big Jim, an ex-Capilano 21 game winner who had a 14-11 record for Victoria in 1951, will join the club this week.
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General manager Dewey Soriano is still looking for another strong left hand pitcher and at least one hard-hitting outfielder. He could use two.
There is still—as most every spring—the possibility of either K. Chorlton of Gordie Brunswick coming down on option from Seattle. Of the two, Soriano would definitely prefer Chorlton.

It Beats Me
By Jim Tang
[Victoria Colonist, April 1, 1953]
FETTER SPRINGS HOTEL, Fetter Springs, Calif.—Victoria Tyees had a lot of new faces at their training camp but by the time this is read, many of them will have left. Manager Cec Garriott has been giving his large rookie contingent every chance in early exhibition games and it is already obvious that not more than two or three have any chance of starting their organized baseball career in class “A” company. If two of them make it, the 1953 spring training season can be labelled a real success.
One youngster who will be around for some time is Ron Odekirk, who will in all probability start the season at shortstop and has every chance to finish there. Jim Clark, last year’s all-star shortpitcher, is still recovering from the hand injury suffered at work during the winter and his return is indefinite. It could be that he is out for the season. In this even, the success of the defending champions this year will depend to a large extent on Odekirk. Victoria fans are not likely to forget that it was Clarke’s [sic] sterling shortstopping that played such a large part in last season’s success.
Off early impressions, which admittedly can be wrong, Odekirk could fill the bill. He hasn’t had too much to do defensively in the Tyees’ first games and wasn’t meeting the ball solidly but the bespectacled 19-year-old has the “actions.” About the same size as Clark, Odekirk is at least as fast and while he lacks in experience, he appears to be the type of a player who will come along fast. At the plate, he takes a good look at pitches and even when he wasn’t hitting, it was noticeable he wasn’t swinging at pitches. He won’t hit for distance but the hits he did get were sharply hit.
Outfielder or Pitcher?
Among the other rookies brought to camp by the Tyees, the most interesting possibility at the moment is Ross Washington, a young colored player who paid his own way here for a chance. Washington, a well-built and muscular type, is listed as a pitcher-outfielder. He has yet to show what he can do on the mound but he aroused some spectulation with the manner in which he swung a bat. He rides a ball for distance and his future may be in the outfield. He has a good throwing arm and while a lack of experience may throw him, the Tyees may get themselves a player for the future by sending him to a lower classification for seasoning. They’ll know more about his possibilities after a few more games.
There may be a “sleeper” or two among the other rookies but at the moment it appears as if none of them can make the jump. Pitcher Don Hobb will likely be around for the season but he is Portland-owned.
However, the Tyees have some interesting possibilities among give other players they have brought here: outfielder Gail Taylor and first baseman Joe Ciardy from Las Vegas and colored outfielder Walt Tyler from Yuma of the class “C” Southwest International League, catcher Sam Brusa from Macon of the class “A” Sally League, and colored outfielder Nap Gulley from Visalia of the class “C” California League. Taylor and Ciardy were purchased, the others signed as free agents.
Of the five, most is expected from Gulley, who is being counted on to supply most, if not all, of the extra-base power given the Tyees last season, by Granny Gladstone. Gulley played for Garriott at Visalia in 1951 and the Victoria manager, who brought the club Bob Moniz last year, is more than happy at Gulley’s acquisition.
Gulley played for Newark Eagles and in the Mexican League for almost three seasons before he started in organized ball with Visalia in 1950. Only 25 years old and sturdily builr, he improved every season at Visalia and last year finished fourth in the league in hitting with a .333 average. He was sought by several clubs when he managed to get his free agency but threw in his lot with the Tyees because he wanted to play for Garriott and had promised that he would come if he did get his free agency.
Only in 103 games last season, Gulley mananged to drive in 82 runs with his 131 hits. A power hitter, he led the league in doubles with 43 but his home-run production slumped to eight. He struck out 64 times in 393 trips and drew 48 bases on balls. He bats and throws lefthanded.
Garriott Best Talker
Brusa, who lives in Chicago, is in Victoria because he wanted to play on the Pacific Coast. He was with Portland for awhile in spring training and was sold on the Tyees by Garriott, whose reputation for lack of loquacity doesn’t appear to have prevented him from being convincing when he wants to sign a player.
Dark and slightly on the stocky side, Brusa has indicated he is an excellent receiver. He calls his pitches smartly and pitchers like to throw to him. His plate ability isn’t yet known. He batted only .188 last season in 84 games but had to stay in action despite a broken finger, which, naturally, handicapped him considerably. He has a good chance to stick.
Ciardy may have quite a battle to win the first base job from holdover Chuck Abernathy, who reported in excellent condition and could be set for an improvement over last season’s .277 average, but the ex-Las Vegas player, who was purchased with Taylor on a 30-day look, has a 1952 record which will earn him a good shot. His .346 batting average was the fourth best in his league and he led the runs scored with 142, in hits with 202, in total bases with 321, and in triples with 22. He also had 33 doubles and 14 home runs, stole 16 bases, batted inn 103 runners, struck out only 48 times and coaxed 88 bases on balls from opposing pitchers. He also led his league defensively at his position and seems to be quite adequate with his glove.
Taylor, too, has a 1952 record which till keep the Tyees interested until they are certain despite the fact he has looked a bit on the shaky side defensively. He batted .311 and was at the plate more times than any player in the league—592. He drove in 113 runs with his 184 hits, had 33 doubles, eight triples and 12 home runs and stole 25 bases, an item which is bound to please the speed-minded Garriott.
And, last, but perhaps not least, is Tyler, who shared the batting championship of the SIL last season with Pete Hughes, one-time Victoria outfielder. Both has 138 hits in 377 trips for a .366 average, only a late-season slump depriving Tyler, who was over .400 for most of the season, sole possession of the honor.
Tyler has looked capable in the outfield in early games but wasn’t meeting the ball at the plate. There was an obvious effort to make an impression and he was cutting for distance with the result his timing suffered. He was also prone to cash bad pitches but his 1952 record shows only 44 strikeouts in 377 trips. He drove in 82 runs and his extra-base production showed 14 doubles, eight triples and three home runs.

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