Thursday, September 13, 2007

Opening Night!

Weather Abbreviates WIL Opening Program
By The ASSOCIATED PRESS [April 20, 1951]
The curtain goes up today on the 1951 Western International league baseball season.
The initial games that count, barring a veto by the weatherman who already has abbreviated the opening day program, take place at Wenatchee, where Vancouver is the guest, and at Salem, host to Tri-City.
Spokane and Victoria also were to have opened today but the game was postponed to a doubleheader tomorrow because of the cold. Yakima, also open tomorrow, meeting at Tacoma.
Two of the league's three new managers make their debut today.
Billy Schuster, former Pacific coast leaguer, will lead the Caplianos against the Chiefs at Wenatchee, and ex-major league Hugh Luby will pilot Salem against Tri-City.
Kewpie Dick Barrett, former ace hurler with Seattle and Hollywood in the coast league, will call the signals for Victoria in tomorrow's game at Spokane.
On the eve of the season opener, Spokane completed a deal with Salem. The Indians swapped Glen Stetter, the league's leading hitter last year, to Salem for Mel Wasley, Ray McNulty, right-handed pitcher, who was supposed to report to Spokane under a deal with Portland, also was sold to Salem.
Probably pitchers for the opening games:
Wenatchee — Tommy Breisinger; Vancouver — George Nicholas.
Tri-Clty — Lou McCollum; Salem — Alden Wilkie.
Spokane — John Conant; Victoria — Ron Smith.
Tacoma — Guzman Amador; Yakima — Gary Clark.

By DON BECKER, Herald Sports Editor [April 20, 1951]
One-half of the eight Western International League baseball teams kick open the gates tonight. Our Braves go to the post at Salem while Vancouver opens at Wenatchee. Victoria at Spokane and Yakima at Tacoma meet in their first contests on Saturday. The cold weather at Spokane set that game back while Tacoma is trying a double-bill, one game in the afternoon and another in the evening. Portland lured some 20,000 fans through the turnstiles that way, and Tacoma could well afford a similiar reception to the idea.
Based on what we've seen and heard thus far it should he a close race between Tri-City, Salem, Spokane, Victoria and perhaps Yakima. Those first four are definitely pennant contenders all the way. So thumbing through the rosters here's how they look from here, though not necessarily in the order in which they appear.
TACOMA — Not the fence busting team of last year, no question about that A little weaker in the infield too, at least that's how they looked in California. The pitching staff minus Bob Kerrigan who won 27 for the Tigers last season may be another question mark. Still with all that at least a first division team.
SALEM — The Senators may have finished in the cellar last season, but don't forget that was a year ago. Then Portland didn't help them and now Sacramento is, there's your big difference. To all intents and purposes this an entirely new club. Anywhere among the top four.
TRI-CITY — The Braves may be lucky to finish third and on the other hand they may win the pennant in a walk. It all depends on the outfield. The pitchers are mostly veterans, no trouble there. The infield too is a stable one and the backstopping compares with the best.
SPOKANE — A much improved club over the seventh place finisher of last year. For one thing the Indians need a good gate, so they've tried to weld a smooth nine together. Fifth at least.
YAKIMA — Definitely a dark horse. How well the Bears go depends on how much help they get from the San Francisco Seals and the Yankees. Right now it looks like they may need a lot of it. Maybe first and perhaps even seventh.
VICTORIA — Judging the A's solely on what we've read they seem to be short on speed and a bit wobbly fin the inner defenses. However, good pitching and a trio of hard-hitting outfielders may change that complexion quite a bit. Definitely a much better club than the 1950 version.
VANCOUVER — Pitching was a major problem of the Capilanos last season and they're trying hard to remedy it by trades and other deals. With a new park due to open in Vancouver this sason, and a big one too, the Caps are trying to build a solid team to keep the new home filled. They won't cop the flag but should be a strong contender.
WENATCHEE - The Chiefs big trouble is money. If they had a little more, say $10,000 worth, the air could be cleared. But if Wenatchee intends to try and make the full season with only five hurlers the cellar is obviously not too far away. The infield with aging Manager Tommy Thompson on first may hurt too. Tommy can easily go six or seven, but can he go the nine?

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