Sunday, 13 July 2008

Friday, August 14, 1953

W L Pct. GB
Spokane ..... 32 18 .640 —
Salem ....... 28 20 .583 3
Vancouver ... 29 23 .558 4
Yakima ...... 25 23 .521 6
Lewiston .... 23 22 .511 6½
Edmonton .... 23 23 .500 7
Calgary ..... 20 25 .444 9½
Victoria .... 21 28 .429 10½
Wenatchee ... 19 27 .413 11
Tri-City .... 20 29 .408 11½

VANCOUVER, [Dick Beddoes, Sun, Aug. 15]—Last week, when the Vancouver Caps were floundering in a series with Victoria Tyees, folks were saying: “Now is the time for all good miracles to come to the Caps.” This week, they arrived as a phenomena of pitchers who pitch no-hit baseball games.
Clarence Marshall accomplished the feat Tuesday, impaling Salem Senators on a nine-inning no-hitter as the Caps won 12-1. The second was a spectacular seven-inning job, whipped up Friday night by Van Fletcher before 1938 delighted customers at Cap Stadium.
The cigar-chawing tobacco farmer from East End, North Carolina was so stingy toward the Yakima Bears that he wouldn’t give ‘em the right time unless they sneaked a peak [sic] at his watch. In blanking the Bruins 2-0 in the first half of a doubleheader, Fletcher came within one man of pitching a perfect game and that blot was a result of his own error in the first inning.
Van juggled Phil Steinberg’s ground ball long enough to give Phil a life at first, where he died. No other Bears got a chance to languish on the bases. Fletcher struck out three, walked nobody and only five of the 22 batsmen to face him knocked the ball out of the infield.
Owner of a 14-9 won-loss record, Fletcher’s chief weapon last night was a fast ball that sank. It served him well as he became the fifth hurler in Western International League history to stymie the opposition on no hits over a seven inning route.
And except for his own miscue, Fletcher would have become the seventh pitcher of all time to achieve a perfect game in organized baseball. The last such feat occurred April 30, 1922, Charles Robertson allowed no one to reach first base as Chicago White Sox shut out Detroit Tigers 2-0.
Fletcher was required for a brief relief chore in the ninth inning of the second game when manager Harvey Storey ran out of pitchers. The shortage of firemen was heightened when Storey used three in some last-second strategy, and the fact that Bob Roberts didn’t bother to appear for work forced the Cap leader to use Fletcher.
With Vancouver ahead, 5-4, one out, a Yakima runner at second base and southpaw swinging Fuzzy White at bat, Storey relieved right-hander Dale Thomason in favor of Lefty Carl Gunnarson. The percentage worked, Gunnarson whiffing White on four pitches.
Then Storey’s skull whirred so warmly the smell of burning hair rose on the cool stadium air. He replaced Gunnarson with Fletcher, figuring a right thrower would have more success than a lefty with wicked walloping, right-handed Bob Wellman. As it developed, Wellman singled off Storey’s shins but Fletcher got Herman Lewis to ground out and thwart the rally.
- - -
VANCOUVER [CLANCY LORANGER, Province, Aug. 14]—Baseball historians, whose names are legion and whose memory is prodigious, were busily wracking their record books, trying to find another week when two no-hit games were pitched in one ball park in one week by one ball club.
Yes, it happened here. When Van Fletcher pitches seven innings of near-perfect baseball against Yakima Bears at Capilano Stadium Friday night, it was the second time this week that a Vancouver pitcher has trod the diamond game’s mythical hallowed halls. Clarence Marshall came up with the first one on Tuesday against Salem.
Although Fletcher’s performance came in a scheduled seven-inning game and as such rates a niche or two below a regulation effort, it was in many ways a superior offering. Where Marshall walked nine men, Van didn’t allow a base on balls. In fact, only one Yakima runner got on base, courtesy of an error by Fletcher himself in the third inning, and he never got beyond that point.
Fletcher, younger brother of ex Coast League pitching ace Guy, retired the last 20 men in order, three of them by strikeouts, as he recorded his 14th win against nine losses. Van, who had terrific support, particularly by Jim Clark and Jack Bukowatz, was naturally thrilled by the turn of events.
Naturally, the Caps won that game, and they made a night of it by taking the nightcap, too, thanks mostly to the generosity of the Yakima fielders—plus some Durocher-type juggling of the pitching staff in the ninth inning.
Yakima threatened to get even in the ninth, but Cap Manager Harvey Storey, manipulating his pitchers like puppets, outsmarted ‘em. With one out and a man on second, Storey brought in left-hander Carl Gunnarson to pitch to southpaw swinger Al White. Gunnarson struck him out, then gave way to Fletcher.
PROVINCE STARS — Naturally, Van Fletcher, who with any luck would have close to 20 wins now … Jim Clark (again) who not only fielded superbly but gave the Caps a lesson in base running as he twice eluded fielders waiting for him at the keystone in stealing second … That’s all: Fletcher rates two stars.
- - -
VANCOUVER [KEITH MATTHEWS, News-Herald, Aug. 15]—Only once before has the same kind of lightning struck over baseball’s passive history. Friday, Van Fletcher pitched a seven-inning no-hit, no-run 2-0 victory for Vancouver and it was the second “dream” accomplishment by a local pitcher this week.
The once before was 1945 when Johnny Vander Meer, then at the peak of his career, twice walked out and pitched double-no efforts for the Cincinnati Reds. The Vancouver Capilanos must take a back seat to this one, but to no other.
With the Fletcher effort as their inspiration, Vancouver took both ends of a double set, winning the second game as Harvey Storey exerted his season’s best managerial strategy in winning 5-4. Harv used four pitchers, three of them in the last inning, in obtaining the win.
Fletcher, of course, was the story. Tuesday it had been Clarence Marshall, not long from the Majors, who pitched the first no-hitter in Vancouver’s history since Bill Richardson turned the trick in Bob Brown’s old semi-pro league in 1937. And now, just three days later, Fletcher walked out and did it again.
In a way, it was better than Marshall’s even though a seven-inning no-hitter is never considered in the same category as a full nine. But Fletcher came within one baserunner of pitching a completely perfect game.
Long Time Between Perfects
It was in the first inning that Phil Steinberg hit an easy tap back to the mound. Fletcher reached up to grab it and the ball hit the heel of his glove and rolled free for an error. Steinberg was the lone Yakima baserunner in the entire seven innings. Fletcher walked none. The Capilanos erred no more behind him. Had he managed that one other out, Fletcher would have become baseball’s second pitcher to turn the “perfect” trick. The last and only was Charley Robertson, the old Chicago White Sox hero, who beat the Detroit Tigers in 1917 and faced only the minimum 27 batters in so doing.
Fletcher was mobbed as he walked from the field, after the third out in the seventh. “It’s my first ever,” he yelled. “I knew it in the fifth inning and right then I said if they’re going to get a hit off me, they’re going to have to hit my best pitch!”
The 5-4 victory, even though it was every bit as dramatic in its intensity, became secondary.
Harv Played The Percentages
Jack Bukowatz set the stage when he drove in two runs in the seventh to attain the 5-4 margin. Then, with Dale Thomason pitching in the ninth, Yakima got a base runner in position through a walk and Andy Anderson sacrificed him along to a scoring station at second.
It was here that Storey reached into his bag of tricks. He hauled Carl Gunnarson from the bullpen to pitch to left-handed hitting Al Smith. Cal got his man out on four pitches with a strikeout. Then Storey yanked the “Gunner” and came in with Fletcher again to pitch to the right-handed Bob Wellman.
Wellman cracked a scorching grounder down the third base side and Storey held it to an infield hit with a valiant stop. Fletcher then got Herman Lewis on an infield out to wind it up. It was quite a night.
Tonight the same clubs play a single game with the Capilanos, now winners of their last seven out of nine, pitching Clarence Marshall, the other no-hit hero. Danny Rios goes for Yakima.
First Game
Yakima .............. 000 000 0—0 0 1
Vancouver ......... 000 200 x—2 5 1
Edmunds, Townsend (6) and Novick; Fletcher and Duretto.
Second Game
Yakima ............. 100 201 000—4 9 4
Vancouver ........ 102 000 20x—5 9 2
Carter, Rial (8) and Albini; Myers, Thomason (3), Gunnarson (9), Fletcher (9) and Duretto.

EDMONTON — Calgary Stampeders made it two straight Friday night in their four-game Western International Baseball League series with Edmonton Eskimos as they drubbed Esks 10-5 before 1,029 fans.
Glenn Hittner went the route for Calgary, hurling his third win over Esks and his 11th of the season against 12 losses.
Bob Bonebrake and Jim Wert blasted home runs for Stamps while Whitey Thomson hit a three-run homer for Edmonton.
Included in Calgary's 15 hits against Leon Day and Pat Utley was a double by Don Hittner. The teams meet Saturday in a day-night double-header.
Calgary .......... 000 311 500—10 15 1
Edmonton ....... 000 200 300— 5 8 3
Hittner and Bricker, Lillard (9) ; Day, Utley (7) and Morgan.

VICTORIA [Colonist, Aug. 15]—Salem Senators, still smarting from the sting of four straight setbacks at Vancouver, threw their two righthanded aces—Joe Nicholas and Gene Roenspie—at Victoria Tyees at Royal Athletic Park Friday night to sweep both ends of their WIL doubleheader.
Nicholas, the pitcher the Lewiston Broncs didn’t want this season, racked up his 20th victory in 24 decisions with a five-hit, 13-4 triumph in the opener and Roenspie collected his 14th win against three losses as the Senators took the seven-inning nightcap, 5-3.
The two clubs conclude their series with a double bill at Athletic Park today. Bill Bottler is due to start the afternoon game and Bob Drilling may take the mound in the “Family Night” game which starts at 8.
Ben Lorino, a 24-game winner with the Tyees last year, made his first Victoria start and was shelled out in the midst of a seven-run outburst in the fourth inning, after giving up eight runs on six hits, three bases on balls and two errors.
Earl Dollins, who relieved Lorino with two out and, two on, gave a base on balls to Jim Deyo to load the bases then served up a home run pitch to first baseman Gerry Ballard. Ballard collected his second homer—this one with the bases empty—off Zeb Walker in the seventh.
Catcher Jim Harford picked up the first two hits against Nicholas, singling in each of the third and fifth frames. He scored on Bob Moniz’fly ball in the third and crossed the plate in the fifth on Moniz’ single. Lu Branham, who ahs been swinging from the left side of the plate in recent games, doubled to open the Victoria eighth. Cec Garriott tripled to score Branham and came in with the final Tyee run on Don Pries’ ground out.
Bill Prior, away to a shaky start in the first inning of the second game, was charged with the loss, which dropped the Tyees down into a last-place tie with Tri-City Braves.
An error and four successive singles gave the Senators a 3-0 lead in the opening frame. They added another in the fourth, when Jim Deyo stole home as Milt Martin failed to hold Prior’s pitch to Roenspie. Deyo scored the fifth Salem run in the fifth.
Granny Gladstone doubled and scored for the Tyees in the second inning and Don Pries poled a two-run double in the fifth to bring the Tyees closer.
Martin with three singles in three times at bat and Pries and Gladstone, each with two for four, led the Victoria attack.
First Game
Salem ............ 201 700 111—13 12 1
Victoria .......... 001 010 020— 4 5 3
Nicholas and Masterson; Lorino, Dollins (4), Walker (8), Hodges (8) and Harford.
Second Game
Salem ........... 301 010 0—5 8 0
Victoria ......... 010 020 0—3 8 3
Roenspie and Nelson; Prior, Collins (6), Walker (7) and Martin.

LEWISTON, Aug. 14—The Lewiston Broncs moved ahead in the standings Friday night with a double victory over Tri-City which left the Braves sharing the cellar with the Victoria Tyees.
The Broncs eased through, 4-3, in the first game, then pounded out a 26-3 triumph in the second with a barrage of extra-base hits which included five home runs and six doubles. Mel Wasley, Bob Williams and Clint Cameron each batted in five runs.
First Game
Tri-City ........... 000 000 3—3 8 0
Lewiston ......... 004 000 x—4 6 2
Dobernic and Warren; Kine and Garay.
Second Game
Tri-City ........... 200 010 000— 3 6 2
Lewiston ......... 500 424 0(11)x—26 21 0
Hedgecock, Snyder (2), Dobernic (5), Hockaday (7), Tran (8) and Pesut; Marshall and Cameron.

Wenatchee ........ 000 210 000—3 8 0
Spokane ............ 000 000 001—1 5 0
Botelho and Bartolomei; Giovannoni, New (5), Romero (9) and Sheets.
(story unavailable)

Baseball Wife’s Gypsy Life Suits Her to a ‘T’
[Vancouver Sun, Aug. 14, 1953]
Dewey Soriano wasn’t “the boy next door” but he was a constant visitor to the boy next door.
“So I had to go all the way to California to meet him,” recalled his attractive wife, who is one of her husband’s Capilano baseball team’s most avid fans.
With the Capilanos fighting strong for the second half pennant in the Western International League play-offs, Mrs. Soriano sees “even less” of her manager-husband than usual, but she still insists she wouldn’t trade being a “baseball wife” for any other job in the world.
“I’ve been a baseball fan ever since I was two,” she said, “and I guess I’ll be a baseball fan when I’m an old lady.”
Daughter of Royal Brougham, sports editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mrs. Soriano used to cast admiring looks at the young ball-player who visited her neighbor.
“But we were never introduced,” she said. “So one year I went to spring training in California with my Dad. And that’s how I met Dewey.”
Their seven-and-a-half-year-old son, Gary, is a constant fan of the Capilanos and even two-and-a-half-year-old Patti can recognize a foul ball when she sees one.
“We never miss a game,” Mrs. Soriano said. “The children just sleep in late in the morning and Patti has a long nap in the afternoon.”
Maybe some wives would object to the constant travelling about that goes with being a baseball wife, but not Mrs. Soriano.
“We’re all good travellers, and the children see a lot of the country they wouldn’t see otherwise,” she said.
And neither does she object to it when Dewey “goes on the road” with the team and leaves her behind.
“He used to be in the Merchant Marine, and be gone fro three or four months,” she laughed. “This is heaven when he’s only gone for a week or so.”
And she’s never once looked back and thought she should have married a business man who went to work at 9 a.m. and came home at 5 p.m.
“Sure,” she said, “I guess ball-players are a little more temperamental than ordinary men. They’re bound to be with the fans spoiling them. But they’re still pretty wonderful.”
There’s only one tiny touch of sorrow in it.
“There’s my wonderful automatic washer and dryer sitting in our house in Seattle nd I’m doing washing in an old machine here!” she mourned.

WILfan note: This story just reeks of the 1950s. And nowhere in the story do we learn her first name. It’s like she’s her husband’s property.

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