Braves Field Veteran Club In Opener
Gassaway Undecided On Opening Mound Choice
[Tri-City Herald, April 22, 1952]
Manager Charlie Gassaway field a predominently veteran team tonight when the Tri-City Braves open their 1952 Western International League baseball season against the Lewiston Broncs at Lewiston.
Only two positions, left field and third base, will not be manned by players with more than three years experience. In left will be Frank Mataya, who is more familiar sports fans as the Washington State football quarterback. Occupying the hot corner will be either rookie Rick Palfini or Bob Rittenberg, a limited service flayer. Rittenberg will open there if he arrives time. He had not reported late yesterday afternoon.
Gassaway was undecided would open on the hill for the Braves. The choice lies between righthander Ralph Romero (14-12 with Salt Lake las't season) or southpaw Al Porto (4-7 with Hashville [sic] last year).
However, Gassaway said those two will definitely get the starting call for the first two games against Lewiston with rookie Ad Satalich slated to finish out that series. Depending again on the arrival of fresh mound talent it will probably be Ken Michelson to open against Yakima.
Here's how the Braves will appear in tonight's starting lineup, in batting order with, last year's batting averages, Patterson, centerfield, .299; Charouhas, shortstop, .277; Buccola, first base, ,293; Rogers, right field, .252; Marier, second base, no record; Mataya, left field, no record, Pesut, catcher, .260.
The Associated Press reported that 18,000 fans were expected to fill the stands at Spokane, Wenatchee, Yakima and Lewiston, Idaho, newest member of the circuit, for the first games of what WIL President Robert Abel has predicted will be a record-breaking, year.
Traditional pre-game ceremonies will precede the umpires' first "Play Ball!" of the new season in in the four cities.
The umpires themselves will get a briefing from Abel before they take the field to look at the strikes and balls. Abel called a meeting of umpires in Spokane Tuesday morning to hand out final assignments.
Later he planned to go to Lewiston to welcome the Broncs into the circuit. They acquired Tacoma's franchise at the end of the 1951 season.
Spokane, the defending champion, is host to Salem for the opening series, while Wenatchee entertains Vancouver, Victoria plays at Yakima and Tri-City drops in on Lewiston.
The fans will see a score of new faces in lineups of the various clubs, but veterans of last year and previous years when the league had a Class B rating also will be on hand.