Saturday, 15 December 2007

Eric Whitehead’s FAN FARE
[Vancouver Province, March 25, 1952]
A pensive little theme song the baseball fans are humming nowadays: Now that the WIL has been promoted from Class B to Class A, will the standard of play improve accordingly?
Offhand, after a quick survey of the early Capilano roster, we would say yes—but don’t expect a revolution. The fact is that last season, two clubs, Spokane and Vancouver, would have been good clubs in any Class A league in the business.
Why the sudden promotion from “B” to “A” ball?
As a matter of fact, the promotion was not at all sudden. According to the Caps’ Bob Brown, the WIL, possessing the league population requirement (1,000,000), could have gone Class A five years ago. This year, with the Pacific Coast League awarded an “open” status, which must be considered a cut above Triple A, the WIL promotion became imperative.
A New Financial Deal For Bob
Obviously, the Coast League has a naturally strong geographic tie-in with the WIL, and from now on these will be increased as much more respectable for trading and drafting purposes than Class B.
In the cold cash of the front office, the new WIL status means that the player salary limits jump from $4000 per month for 16 men, to $5200 per month for 17 men. On the other hand, the price for a player drafted into the Coast League goes up from $3500 to $5000.
Rookies Are Older This Year
The unknown quantity in the strength of the 1952 Capilano lineup is the potential power represented by manager Bill Schuster’s three new Negro hirelings, up out of the Negro American League.
Two of these huskies, because they picked up their experience in an unclassified league outside the National Baseball Association, can be classified as rookies to confirm with the WIL requirement of two rookies per club.
But if Jesse Williams (infielder), plus Eddie Locke and Harry Butts (a pair of pitchers) come through with the kind of ball they’ve been playing around Kansas City and Indianapolis, then we’ll have just about the hottest “rookies” in the business.
Williams is expected to give either Ray Tran (ss) or Reno Cheso (2b) a battle for one of these regular infield positions. Bill Schuster, with his ailing knee now apparently as good as new (minus a few years) is expected to play the full season at third base.
Behind the plate, of course, will be the Brownies’ fourth Negro, veteran John Ritchey. In the outfield, top three at the moment are: Edo Vanni, always a .300 hitter; Joe Scalise, a .332 hitter last year with the Class A Flint club of the Central League, and Bob Druott, another .300 hitter from the Class A Mongomery, Ala., club.
Don’t Count Your Trans
Two rumors—that old Cap favorite Len Tran will be back, and that big Jim Wert of the ’51 Spokane club will be sent by Seattle to fill first base at Cap Stadium—are just that: rumors.
As to Tran, Bob Brown feels that Len has an excellent chance of sticking with the Rainiers as a utility infielder.
Besides, both Schuster and Brown are still reasonably happy with ’51 first-sacker Chuck Abernathy. Big Chuck is certainly a magnificent fielding first-baseman, and he also hit .287 and knocked in 85 runs, which is fair enough.

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