Thursday, 13 March 2008

Sturgeon Gets Warm Welcome

In This Corner
Long Beach Press-Telegram Sports Editor [from March 14, 1953]

Take it from Bob Sturgeon—travel is broadening. You'll never know what's on the other side of the hill until you take the time and make the effort to investigate. Bob has. Now he's more than ever bubbling over with enthusiasm for his new job as manager of the Edmonton club in the Western International League.
“Did you know that Edmonton is a city of 170,000 people,” he asked me, which is reversing the usual procedure since I'm the one who usually asks the questions. Before I had a chance to answer he put the words in my mouth, “Neither did I.”
“I went up there to meet the Edmonton club's board of directors and the leading citizens of the community and to make a series of personal appearances. Everywhere I went I received an enthusiastic welcome,” he enthused. “Edmonton will have a club in organized baseball for the first time in 30 years and if the enthusiasm for the team is the same as that shown me I'm certain well have a successful season.”
Bob who used to infield for the Chicago Cubs Boston Braves and Los Angeles Angels after developing a pro baseball potential in Poly High and American Legion ball here, then gave me a quick review of his brief visit, as follows:
“I spent the first day with the board of directors and with John Ducey,
prominent real estate operator who is the club's general manager. They held a luncheon for me, then a dinner, and then we went to see Edmonton play Calgary in a hockey match.”
“Then we cut a record at a radio station. Say, did you know that Edmonton has four radio stations?" he asked me. Before I could answer, he went on with his story: "We made arrangements for me to do a weekly half-hour radio show, then I made a personal appearance at a kiddie show. After that I was taken out to a curling rink and introduced to the art of curling.”
• • •
JUST TO REFRESH MY MEMORY, I TOOK A PEEL AT THE DICTIONARY ON THIS SUBJECT of curling and found that it's a game played on ice, in which opposing teams try to slide a large circular stone toward a goal at either end of the rink.
After the day spent learning the art of curling, Bob attended a meeting of Edmonton's knot hole gang. Edmonton's youngsters, he said, gave him a fine demonstration of the youthful zest for the new ball club.
Two more radio shows, a Kiwanis luncheon and another luncheon completed the mad whirl, except for a few more conferences with club officials.
• • •
SO IF YOU SEE BOB STRIDING DOWN THE STREET WITH A BOUNCIER STEP and a jauntier air, you can understand why he's happy. Edmonton opens spring training a week from next Monday at Cressey Park, Compton, with approximately 20 ball players due to report.
• • •
BOB, WHO HAS LOTS OF FRIENDS AROUND THESE PARTS, AND APPARENTLY A HOST of new friends up in Edmonton, will continue his search for new talent all next week before jhis club opens training. Since he wants to continue in the managerial end of the game, it's a sure bet that he'll burn plenty of midnight oil figuring out his problems. He expects to be a playing manager, holding down either second or short with the Edmonton club.
“There's even a local angle to the Edmonton story,” Bob offered. “Did you know that Bearns Reardon started his umpiring at Edmonton,” he asked.
I confessed in a vague way that I remembered something along that line, but wasn't quite sure. But I did ponder the possibility of a coincidence.
Reardon started his great officiating career at Edmonton and went on to become one of the National League's finest umpires for many, many years.
I wondered if Sturgeon could parallel Reardon's career in the managerial end of the game . . . with Edmonton as real birthplace of a long and successful managing career. Could be?

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