WIL Clubs May Dispose of Franchises in Alberta
Tacoma, Salem to be Auctioned on Prairies?
By JACK DE LONG [Vancouver Sun, July 17, 1951]
Will Calgary and Edmonton be represented by teams in the Western International Baseball League next year?
The Alberta centres will be completing with the coast professional clubs next spring if determined efforts to sell franchises of the Tacoma and any other shaky WIL clubs are crowned with success.
Frank Gillihan, general manager of the Tacoma Club, left today for Calgary and Edmonton to talk business in the Alberta centres.
Mr. Gillihan said the Tacoma franchise, with players, can be bought for $25,000. He had high hopes of finding buyers in either Calgary or Edmonton.
The Tacoma official said he is also authorized to sell the Salem franchise and thinks prospects are good for selling one club to each Alberta city.
(At Salem Donald Young, chairman of the directors of the Salem Baseball Club today termed Gillihan’s report “childish.”
(“We’re third in attendance among the eight teams in the league, with only Vancouver and Spokane ahead of us. Our attendance is double what it was last year. I hope this report is quashed quickly.”
(With the season only about half over, Salem’s attendance this year is 65,000. Last year was only 56,000 for the entire season.
(The Salem club now is owned by 832 local stockholders who bought the team this year from Portland’s Pacific Coast League club.)
Regardless of whether or not he is successful in finding a buyer for Tacoma, that club will definitely not operate in the WIL next season.
Said Mr. Gillihan:
“We could not possibly carry on next season judging by the way things have been going. Attendance has scarcely been averaging 1000 per game.
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“Proximity to Seattle, (30 miles) and television, have ruined attendance in Tacoma. People won’t go to WIL games when they can drive 20 miles to Seattle or watch Pacific Coast League games on their television sets.”
The Tacoma business manager said he would recommend to any potential buyer that it sever connections with the San Diego Pacific Coast League club.
“They can’t do us any good in the way of players as they have trouble enough getting players themselves. Only a major league arrangement can help a minor league club to any extent in these times.” Gillihan thinks Philadelphia Phillies would be interested in sponsoring a ball club in Western Canada.
WILfan note: It seems the Sun wasn't the one to break this story.
Report Two WIL Teams Moving North
Tacoma Franchise On Block For $25,000
VANCOUVER, B. C., July 17 (CP) — The News - Herald says in a sports page story that Tacoma Tigers of the Western International baseball league will be offered today to both Edmonton and Calgary interests for $25,000.
“. . .And if it goes through,” the story adds, “The Prairie centres will likely both be represented in W. I. L. baseball in 1952.”
The story says Frank Gilihan [sic], Tacoma business manager, flew to Calgary early today to meet with John Duice [sic], who “apparently has put together a syndicate which is interested in the Tacoma purchase.”
“Should one of the two Prairie cities scare up the $25,000, it is quite possible that the Salem franchise will move to the other Prairie town.”
The News - Herald quotes Gilihan as saying the $25,000 figure includes both the franchise in the W. I. L. and the players already owned by the Tigers.
SALEM LAUGHS AT STORY
SALEM, July 17— A report that Salem's Western International league baseball franchise might be transferred to Calgary or Edmonton is "childish," Donald Young, chairman of the directors of the Salem baseball club, said today.
“We’re third in attendance among the eight teams in the league, with only Vancouver and Spokane ahead of us,” Young said.
“Our attendance is double what it was last year. I don’t know where these stories start that Salem is in danger of losing its franchise. I hope this report is squashed quickly,” he continued.
With the season only about half over, Salem’s attendance this year is 65,000. Last year it was only 56,000 for the entire season. The club directors think this year’s total will be around 120,000.
The attendance total so far this year doesn't include the record 5,540 persons who saw last night’s Portland-Salem exhibition game. This brought in a nice piece of change for the club treasury.
The Salem club now is owned by 832 local stockholders who bought the team this year from Portland’s Coast league club.
NOT YET SAYS ABEL
TACOMA, July 17 — President Robert Abel of the Western International baseball league said today no transfers of franchise could be made until the meeting of league directors at the end of the season.
Abel’s comment followed a report in the Vancouver, B. C., News Herald that the Tacoma Tigers would be offered today to both Edmonton and Calgary interests for $25,000. Abel said such a transfer would require approval of six of the eight members of the board of directors.
Tacoma Rumored to Canada
VANCOUVER, B. C., July 17 — The annual rumor that the Western International League might switch a couple more of its baseball teams into Canada blossomed again Tuesday and this time appeared to be bearing a crop.
Frank Gillihan, business manager of the Tacoma Tigers, said here the Tacoma is for sale at $25,000 and that he hoped to find a buyer either in Edmonton or Calgary.
Gillihan was quoted as saying also that the Salem team was on the block for the same price and this brought an indignant rebuttal from the Oregon city.
Donald Young and other directors of the Salem club called the report “absurd.” They said there hasn’t even been a meeting of the 832 stockholders—all local fans who bought the team from Portland’s Coast league Beavers.
What’s more, the team has been making money, ranking third in the league in attendance to date.
At Tacoma, president Robert Abel of the W.I.L. said no franchises could be transferred until a meeting of league directors at the close of the season.
Sports promoters in Edmonton and Calgary said they were interested.
Gillihan said Spokane and Wenatchee members of the league have approved the possible Alberta entries.
If the sale doesn’t go through, said Gillihan, Tacoma won’t operate a team in the league next year. He charged that television and Seattle baseball have ruined attendance in Tacoma.
Canada Wants WIL Franchise
TACOMA, July 19 — If Tacoma doesn't want its Western International league baseball franchise, Calgary does, Frank Gillihan business manager of the Tigers, reported from Vancouver, B. C., today.
Gillihan was enroute here from a conference with Calgary interests and said he planned within the week to give them a 30-day option on the Tacoma franchise unless Tacomans made a move to retain it.
Gillihan said Tacoma, at the insistence of Bill Starr, president of the parent San Diego club, had first chance at the franchise. The Tacoma business manager said that Calgary “is willing to go” and that it has he facilities to handle class B ball except that the stands may need some rebuilding.
Gillihan said that he talked with Sam Timmins, brewer, John McFarlane, a sporting goods dealer, and Harold Gundal, oilman.
A Tacoma group is being organized to explore the possibilities of keeping Western International baseball here since Starr has announced that the Padres will not operate in Tacoma next season.
Gillihan said he was somewhat astounded to read that he had been authorized to sell the Salem franchise—an item that he emphatically denied. “The only possible basis for such a statement was that I remarked if Tacoma withdrew, it would be difficult for Salem to operate,” he said.
Previously, Gillihan had been reported as saying he would approach both Edmonton and Calgary and offer to sell them the Tacoma club for $25,000.
It was too bad for Edmonton that Gillihan’s plane landed in Calgary first and that, after the conference, he thought things had progressed so favourably, he wouldn’t even bother to approach John Ducey of Edmonton on the subject.
“Why go on to Edmonton?” said Gillihan. “Everything went fine here and I’m pretty sure that if everything works out right you’ll be seeing W.I. ball next summer.
“Futhermore, if Calgary gets the Tacoma franchise, there’s little doubt in my mind that Edmonton will have little trouble buying another club.”