Thursday, November 22, 2007

Kewpie Dick Fired

Athletics Fire Barrett; Sturgeon New Manager
By JIM TANG [Victoria Colonist, June 26, 1951]
In a sudden if not unexpected move, Victoria Athletics yesterday morning removed Dick Barrett as manager and replaced him with Bob Sturgeon, former major and Coast League infielder who joined the club June 8.
The decision was made Sunday night when club directors were polled individually at the request of Club president J.V. Johnson, who was attending the W.I.L. meeting at Spokane. Directors voted unanimously for the change.
It has been felt before this that the managerial situation would be discussed at a meeting of directors yesterday afternoon and those close to the club were certain that Barrett would be asked to resign. Johnson’s move from Spokane was unexpected and, although he refuses to discuss the reason, it is reported it was prompted by with other club owners at the league meeting.
Barrett was removed after a two-month tenure in his first try at managing. He left the club with a 26-40 record and only a half-game out of the basement. While the club did not perform up to expectations for the former Coast League star, there were other circumstances which helped bring about his dismissal.
Chief of these was probably his failure to get into shape to fulfill his obligation as a playing manager. A popular performer in his playing days, Barrett also failed to win fan support and his impromptu talk to the paying customers last week when a good crowd turned out to honor Lilio Marcucci was a big factor. Directors felt that at least part of the drop in attendance was the fault of their manager.
Sturgeon, who could turn out to be an excellent choice, becomes the sixth manager of the A’s in the six years of existence and the third to take over in mid-season. Laurel Harney was replaced by Ted Norbert after a few weeks of the 1946 season, and was in return replaced by Earl Bolyard mid-way through the 1948 season. Marty Krug was at the helm last season.

By JIM TANG [Colonist, June 26]
Replacement of Dick Barrett as manager of the Victoria Athletics yesterday highlights the singular lack of success enjoyed (?) by the Victoria Baseball and Athletic Co. Ltd. in its choice of field leadership.
Barrett became the fifth manager in six seasons when he was signed last year. Although results are not in yet on the sixth, only Ted Norbert proved to be at least close to a success and his firing, dictated by the New York Yankees, may have been a mistake. The big fellow didn’t win any pennants but he was at least the most personally popular field manager the club has had up to Bob Sturgeon. Many fans have been clamouring for his return since early season.
Just why the A’s shouldn’t do better at selecting their managers is a matter for conjecture and there has been plenty of that. Business manager Reg Patterson has been roundly blamed in many quarters but it should be pointed out that he could no reason to think that Marty Krug was to run into fan resistance or that Barrett wouldn’t fill the bill. Both had good baseball background and both came highly recommended.
It should be said in Patterson’s defence here that whatever mistakes can be attributed to him, he has not interfered with management of the club on the field, reports to the contrary notwithstanding. In fact, the reverse has been sometimes true.
Letting Barrett go was a tough decision. The club is in financial difficulties and a change is going to cost money. But after considerable thought, the directors believed it would cost them more if they didn’t make the change.
A popular and colorful figure as a player, Barrett could not win over the fans as a manager. They felt that the A’s were a better club than their record indicated and they blamed the manager. There was considerable resentment at Barrett’s failure to be a playing manager and considerable criticism of his handling of pitchers. Rightly or wrongly, many customers believe that more could have been done with John Marshall, who reported badly out of condition and remained that way until the day the club grabbed at the chance to get their investment back.
There had been thought of a change for the past two weeks. The club thought of bringing in another playing manager and gave some consideration to bringing back Norbert. However, in Sturgeon they had a player with the necessary experience and a fellow who made a fine impression with his attitude on a losing club. With the full support of the players and the fans, Sturgeon can prove the right answer.
Random Harvest
Art Thrasher, the A’s new catcher, will join the club today or tomorrow. He will be a welcome addition, but will have quite a fight on his hands to unseat Milt Martin, who has filled in nobly since Lilio Marcucci left. Including last night’s game, the husky youngster has batted .370 in his role as first-stringer and his receiving has improved with his batting average. . . . John Nenezich, no favorite of Victoria fans, is now umpiring in the Coast League . . . Jim Moore, second baseman of the A’s last season, saw his first action with Vancouver Capilanos on Sunday.

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