Thursday, September 13, 2007

Friday, April 20, 1951

              W L  Pct. GB
Vancouver ... 1 0 1.000 —
Salem ....... 1 0 1.000 —
Spokane ..... 0 0 .000 ½
Tacoma ...... 0 0 .000 ½
Victoria .... 0 0 .000 ½
Yakima ...... 0 0 .000 ½
Wenatchee ... 0 1 .000 1
Tri-City .... 0 1 .000 1

WENATCHEE, Wash., [Hal Malone, Sun Staff Writer] April 21.—Proving beyond doubt that he is a man of his word, Bill Schuster led his Vancouver Capilanos to a 9-4 success over the Wenatchee Chiefs here last night, in the opening game of their Western International League baseball season.
Earlier in the day he telephoned birthday greetings to his wife at Altadena, California. In the conversation, he told her that his personal present would be a victory. He wasn’t fooling.
Only 1372 spectators ventured forth to see the inaugural contest, and no wonder. When the game started the temperature was 29 degrees in the shade. It got so brisk thereafter that several patrons with bald heads were forced to put hats on so that frost wouldn’t settle in.
As baseball games go this wasn’t a particularly brilliant one, especially on the part of the Chiefs. They were charged with seven errors.
Three of these were committed by the Chief’s Negro shortstop, Larry Neal, who ordinarily gathers ground balls he has no license to touch.
The heavy hitting expected of Vancouver materialized more in consistency than it did in power. Although the Caps produced nothing but singles, they manufactured nine of those. On three of four occasions when they did hit, they turned the hits into runs.
Even so they had to wait until the ninth to give Mrs. Schuster her present. A 4-0 lead, gained in the first four innings, melted to a 4-4 score at the end of the eighth as the Chiefs pecked quietly but insistently at Bob Snyder’s deliveries.
Snyder started the Caps off in the ninth, reaching first on Neal’s second error. Left fielder Bob McGuire moved him along with a single and they both took a base on Ray Tran’s infield out. Chuck Abernathy, the Cap first-baseman who is only a few storeys shorter than The Sun Tower, ripped a ground ball through the middle of the infield.
Snyder and McGuire scored, but that was not all. Dick Sinovic reached base on a fielder’s choice. Seconds later Gordy Brunswick and Reno Cheso were walked, and the bases were loaded.
Manager Schuster hit what looked to be the third out—a medium-fast ground ball to shortstop Neal. The latter followed the ball intently, but when it nearly him, he spread his legs gracefully to let it through. It went all the way to faraway pastures. All the runners scored. Schuster eventually reached third. But not before he tipped his hat to Neal en route.
The victory for Snyder was his third in successive inaugurals. He was shaky in sports. When the weather improves, he likely will, too.
One matter in which the Caps excelled was the way they were thinking all through the game. Thinking of baseball, that is, and not what they were going to have for breakfast.
In the second inning, for instance, they engineered a double steal. Then in the seventh, Snyder and Abernathy collaborated to pick Neal (he had a disgusting evening, wot?) off first base.
An inning later, they anticipated an attempted steal of second base by Lyle Palmer. With Schuster directing traffic, the entire infield engulfed Palmer in a literal “hot box” and finally dispensed with him entirely.
If pennants are to be won on the thought process alone, it would seem that the Capilanos, 1951 vintage, have an excellent chance of collecting the pot.
- - - -
WENATCHEE [Eric Whitehead, Prov., April 21]—Right-hander George Nicholas will don woollies and earmuffs here tonight to make it two straight for Vancouver Capilanos over Wenatchee Chiefs.
In what must have been the coldest Western International League debut in history here Friday night, veteran pitcher Bob Snyder won his third WIL opener in as many years as Bill Schuster’s hustling Caps whipped Wenatchee 9-4.
Less than 1000 shivering fans watched the game. Snyder was tagged hard, the Chiefs collecting 11 hits, including two doubles [Palmer and Hjelmaa] and a triple [Len Neal].
With hands numbed by the bitter cold—the temperature was unofficially 29—the Chief infield went to pieces with the ball game tied up 4-4 going into the ninth.
Two bad errors in that frame plus couple of mental boots let five Vancouver runs across on but two huts.
With the game played under a haze of smoke that drifted over thousands of smudge-pots as local fruit-growers wages a desperate fight to save their threatened crops, the Caps jumped away with two runs in the second inning and were never headed.
Vamcouver made it 4-0 in the third.
The Chiefs came to life in the fourth with two runs on a single, then added another in the sixth.
[Buddy] Hjelmaa rapped a long double for his third hit of the game in the eighth and scored the tieing run on Palmer’s single. That was Wenatchee’s Beau Geste. In the Cap half of the ninth, the roof fell in.
Vancouver ......... 020 200 005—9 9 0
Wenatchee ........ 000 201 010—4 11 8
Snyder and Cheso; Breisinger and Neal.

SALEM, April 21—The Salem Senators survived a four-run rally in the ninth inning Friday night to defeat Tri-City 9-6 in the Western International League baseball opener here.
The soft slants of left hander Aldon Wilkie had the Braves puzzled over the eight plus innings he worked. Although he gave up five hits he kept them well distributed with no more than one to a frame.
Meanwhile, Lou McCollum, who went the full route, was having his troubles. Although McCollum gave up nine runs only six of them were earned. One run scored as a result of an error charged to Al Spaeter, second baseman and two more crossed the plate when McCollum missed as he fired to third in an attempted force out with both players scoring on the error.
However the Tri-City club left 13 teammates stranded which did nothing to help the cause either. In four successive innings the Braves were retired with two men waiting on the bags.
Although he failed to connect safely in his four trips to the plate catcher Nick Pesut was credited with two runs batted in, one on an infield roller and the other when he walked with the bases loaded.
The attendance total of 4,456 was within a few hundred of setting a new record for the opening game at Waters Park. The mark is 4,750. Despite the cold damp weather which permeated the air, the park was packed and fans were still streaming in at game time. The unusually large crowd held up the pre-game ceremonies briefly.
The Braves made a strong rally in the ninth inning but it fell three runs short of tying the game. Wilkie, who started and got credit for the initial Salem victory, was relieved in the eighth by John Burak. But the Tri-City bats rang around his ears so fast and furious that Manager Hugh Luby shifted him in a hurry and called in Ludwig Lew. Before he left the scene Burak gave up two runs both earned.
Lew initially had trouble finding the plate but finally levelled down on it long enough to get the Braves to groundout on infield rollers. Al Spaeter's blow down the third base line which was turned into the final out ended the game.
Norm Grabar, Salem right fielder, hit a home run over the right field fence in the third inning.
Tri-City ....... 000 000 204—6 7 3
Salem ......... 111 102 03x—9 11 2
McCollum and Pesut; Wilkie, Burak (9), Lew (9) and Beard.

WILfan note: the box is from the Herald and is missing Burak's pitching line. The Walla Walla paper has the full box but the scan I've got is out of focus and practically unreadable. He got no outs. It appears he gave up two hits and two walks.

Caps’ Boss No Rook at Horse Trading; Needs a Lefthander
By HAL MALONE [Vancouver Sun]
Wenatchee, Wash., April 21—Trade talk between Wenatchee Chiefs and Vancouver Capilanos overshadowed such mundane topics of conversation as General Douglas MacArthur’s speech to Congress and the weather here. But when tonsils had quietened no players had changed uniforms and the only think that was misplaced was a section of hot air in the lobby of the Cascadian Hotel.
Both Rupert Thompson, Wenatchee manager, and Bill Schuster, Capilano pilot, sought to make deals which would in their considered opinion strengthen their forces.
Thompson suggested he would be willing to swap righ-thanded pitcher Al Trichel [sic] for pitcher George Nicholas and utility man Curt Schmidt. Schuster merely issued a loud bellow which was potent enough to shake the apples from the trees within a 50-mile radius and that deal died a hasty death.
Then it was Schuster’s turn. He proposed to trade “one of the best outfielders” for Wenatchee’s clever left-handed pitcher Tom Breisinger. Thompson’s reaction was a pale pink. When he recovered sufficiently to speak, Thompson a distinct no and fled from the premises.
Two points about Schuster’s proposal might have some significance. Currently he has four outfielder, Bob McGuire, Dick Sinovic, Charley Mead and Gordon Brunswick. When school is out he will have three more, Jimmy Robinson, Jim Keating and Reg Clarkson.
If there is a commodity which Schuster lacks to realize a pennant it is not outfielders.
The attempt to secure Breisinger is an indication that Schuster could use more southpaw pitchers quality in this category Breisinger obviously fits.
Of the three left-handers in the Capilano camp, only Bob McLean is considered a potential starter. Schuster is not certain that Carl Gunnarson and Bill Whyte have the required talents to provide a sufficiency of success.

Eric Whitehead’s FAN FARE
[from Vancouver Province, April 22, 1951]

WENATCHEE—Recipe for baseball prosperity in any town: Appoint the Mayor president of the local ball club.
Mayors can cut a lot of corners.
Take here in Wenatchee. The president of the Wenatchee Chiefs is Mayor Arthur H. Pohlman. Li’l Arthur, a civic-minded baseball bug, has a delightful knack of getting things done in a manner that not only produces the direct desires result but also improves harmony among its citizens.
For instance, just a while back, it was decided the ball park needed a new coast of paint. The Mayor drops a gentle hint in the right quarter, and presto! the park is painted—by the prisoners in the city jail. Thus, the stockholders are happy, and the prisoners themselves were doubtlessly tickled pink to be out and around for a day or two.
Dog-Gone Good Idea, Too
Then it was suggested a city-wide distribution of baseball schedule and pamphlets might help the grand old game along. His Worship makes a modest suggestion, and presto! the literature is distributed—by the city dog catcher. The citizens got their reading material and the bored dog catcher sick to death of catching []ioved a refreshing break in routine.
That’s the way it goes in this bustling valley of apple blossoms and arctic spells. The local ball club is everybody’s business.
On Friday, the day of the WIL opener between the Chiefs and Vancouver, clerks in all downtown stores wore baseball caps at work; swarms of happy young matrons, also sporting baseball caps, swarmed over the downtown area, selling tickets to the big game.
At 4 p.m. sharp up Main street came a colorful cavalcade headed by the 60-piece Wenatchee junior high band, gleaming in white and scarlet. Behind the band snakes a motorcade of shiny convertibles, carrying the Wenatchee players. There was no vulgar overcrowding—one player to a convertible, identified by a huge streamer on the side.
A Whole Year Behind Parade.
They were strictly 1951 convertibles, with the exception of the last car. This one held newly-acquired ex-Vancouver rookie outfielder Stan Buden who looked decidedly miffed at having to ride in an old 1950 Buick.
The Wenatchee club itself is a unique development. Those of you with dangerously spry memories will remember this club was born—or rather, reborn—when the original franchise holders went broke. Then when the franchise was picked up by Tri-City, a group of local citizens manned the pumps and purchased the Bremerton franchise for $18,000.
Seven directors, headed by the mayor, plus 600 shareholders, form the club.
How is the deal working out?
Last year, the team drew 105,000 customers, fourth highest attendance in the league. Vancouver drew less than 100,000.
Wenatchee draws from a populated area of less than 30,000. If Vancouver attendance were equal pro rata with Wenatchee, it would have to total something like 2,000,000.
Which, you might say, makes Wenatchee a pretty fair ball town.
• • •
P.S.—Newly acquired Negro catcher John Ritchey arrived shortly after the game. You get a fair line of the Cap’s [sic] current outfield strength when you notice Charlie Mead, always good for 100 RBI’s per season, languishing on the bench . . . In the Friday opener third baseman and current question mark John Vick looked good enough afield and very potent at bat . . . Schuster, still after another left-handed pitcher, tried to swing a deal for Wenatchee’s Al Treichel . . . Chief Pilot Tommy Thompson said okay; he’s let Treichel go—for George Nicholas and Curt Schmidt.
What did Shuster say to that? . . that’s right, lady, and very rude, too.

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