Saturday, 15 December 2007

Training Camp — April 1, 1952

[Province, April 1, 1952]
A Sure Flag?
Manager Bill Schuster likes to look back one year and compare the baseball club he had to start with then with what he has now and to remember how he nearly won the flag with what he had.
Then he looks forward to next September, and rubbing his hands, says: “We are so far ahead of last springs there IS no comparison.”
He thinks, no doubt, of two veterans R.P. Brown is sending up to Penticton with him, Edo Vanni, one of A baseball’s great clutch players, and big Jim Wert. He is definitely counting heavily on them.
• • •
What kind of a ball season do the Caps expect? At Monday’s inaugural press dinner, John Dunsmuir asked R.P. how far over 200,000 he expected to go.
“Before you answer that one,” warned Schuster, “don’t forget I get a bonus over 50 percent on every one over it.” That tickled Brown’s fancy. He is very fond of the Californian who made such a hit in his managerial debut last year.
“We’ll shut the gate at 199,999,” jibed R.P. He looked more wan than I have ever seen him after his winter illness. But going over the winter’s player deals with the writers, you could see he had lost none of the cunning which has given Vancouver one of the best-known and most respected baseball executives in the whole business.
He, too, leaves the impression that he honestly believes he has a flag-winner.
• • •
The Caps can expect a tough training camp. Schuster is fresh from a tour of Paul Richards’ well-run, hard-working White Sox camp at Pasadena. One day, Schuster watched coach Ray Berres working a ballplayer at one of Richards’ ball-retrieving games.
“I counted up to a hundred times he made that poor guy chase the ball,” says Schuster.
“Then I said: ‘Ray, how long are you going to make him do it?’ Berres snarled at me: ‘Till he dies.’” There will not likely be much social life for the boys in the hospitable Okanagan town where they’ll train.
Schuster himself looks fitter than ever. He has no trace of a limp. He knee, he says, has healed perfectly after winter surgery. “I’ll play 150 games,” he predicts buoyantly. Since the Caps’ decline last year dated from his benching, the best wishes of all fans are with him this year that he will.

Caps Head For Training With Talent Surplus
By CLANCY LORANGER [Vancouver Province, April 1, 1952]
Main worry of general manager Bob Brown as the first wave of his 1952 club checked into spring training camp at Penticton today was one a lot of fellow-executives would give a few gross baseballs for—what to do with his surplus talent.
Browen, who did a lot of open market buying over the winter, has a better “potential” at this stage than he’s had in any year since pro ball returned here after the war in 1946.
CATCHERS—John Ritchey, back from last year, led the league in hitting in 1951; Don Lundberg, on option from Seattle, with Tacoma last year, showed good arm and not much hitting; John Wilburn, signed with the Caps three years ago, never reported, wants to play this year; Neil Kelly, Vancouver boy getting try-out.
INFIELDERS—Jim Wert, first base, bought from Seattle, starred with Spokane last season, Chuck Abernathy, first baseman last year, deal will probably be made for him; Reno Cheso, jack-of-all-trades, returning after working out with Oakland of the Coast League, may get whirl as catcher; Jesse Williams, shortstop or second baseman, from Kansas City of the Negro American League, rated by Brown as “better than Ritchey,” Ray Tran, veteran shortstop, one of the league’s steadiest fielders; Bill Schuster, manager of course, and with knee operation over winter promises to play “over 100 games” at third base; Martin (Bud) Isham, California high school infielder getting first crack at pro ball; Ray Downey, Courtenay boy getting try-out; Danny Stillman, Seattle boy, in Downey category; Jimmy Moore, second base.
OUTFIELDERS—Edo Vanni, long-time WIL star, with Spokane last year, solid choice for right field; Bob Duretto, bought from Montgomery after being out of baseball for a year, highly recommended by Schuster; Bill Cleveland, on option from Seattle, two years of pro ball; Joe Scalise, bought from the Central League where he hit .331, but in doubtful class as not anxious to report here; Bob McGuire, with club last year, not available until May; Gordie Brunswick, currently with Seattle.
PITCHERS—Ed Locke, bought from Kansas City, played for Jorge Pasqual, also doubles as outfielder, counted on by Brown as one of the club’s best pitcher; Harry Butts, another of the five Negros on club, lefthander bought from Indianapolis, rated another top hurler; Carl Gunnarson, veteran lefthander, back for another season; Jerry Barta, from last year’s club, lots of stuff but wild; Don Tisnerat, with ’51 club, out most of the year with injuries; John Tierney, bought from Colorado Springs, up on 30-day trial; Len Chenard, one-time bat boy with L.A. for Schuster, up for tryout; Paul Jones, another Negro, bought from Central League; George Nicholas, with ’51 team, status “doubtful” at moment; Dick Larner, bought from San Francisco, may not report either; Bill Whyte, Vancouver lefthander, reports to camp at Easter; Cal Humphries, Seattle bonus pitcher.

Ambitious Negros Show Hustle at Tyee Camp—Conduct Excellent
By JIM TANG [Victoria Colonist, April 1, 1952]
SALINAS—Watch the Victoria Tyees work out for the first time and the impression is that there seems to be a majority of colored players. This is not quite true but there are nine, and Ignacio Villarreull, stocky Mexican righthander from Los Angeles, appears to be a tenth from a distance, so swarthy is his complexion. There is, too, every possibility the Portland Beavers will be sending along a southpaw pitcher to increase the number to an even half-score.
Just how many of these will be carried is something only time will tell, but it seems certain that at least four will be with the club for the season. There is no intention to carry more but this may became necessary to keep within W.I.L. regulations which limit each club to a maximum of nine veterans and require at least two rookies and six limited-service players. Not one of the colored players with the Tyees if a veteran under baseball law and all but two are classified as rookies.
But Victoria won’t be alone in the matter of colored players this season. Practically every W.I.L. club will have two or more—and the reasons are simple. First of all, these players will be playing organized professional baseball for the first time, and therefore, qualify as rookies. This not only helps clubs to remain within player restrictions but, as many of these players have had several years experience in fast semi-pro or colored baseball, it gives them rookies and limited service of Class “B” or better calibre. It all adds up to better-calibre baseball and, quite important in many ways, there is a considerable saving in salaries.
Victoria’s colored players at the moment are pitchers George Randolph and Don Troy, second baseman Luther Branham, catcher Maisoe Bryant, infielder Cliff Prelow, outfielders Rufus Johnson, Harvey Allen and Granville Gladstone, and Walter Towns, who is listed as an infielder but may wind up as a pitcher. It is no exaggeration to state that the deportment of these players has been excellent. They all hustle at every workout, listen eagerly to the advice from manager Cece Garriott and show real ambition to get ahead, and conduct themselves properly off the field. There was a reluctance on the hotel of the owner of the club hotel at the starts to put up the colored players but he has had no cause to feel he has made any mistake and is free with his praise of their behavior. They have been accepted by the other players and there is no sign of any resentment or friction nor cause for any.
Allen, Johnson, Towns and Troy are “loose” and rangy, Branham, Prelow and Gladstone are on the smallish side, and Randolph and Bryant are on the huge side. Johnson is probably the fastest man in camp, but Allen, who covers ground with amazing long strides, Gladstone, Branham and Prelow all can scamper.
It is took early to make any definite conclusions, but it appears that Branham, Gladstone and Troy will make the club and that Allen has a good chance to stick. Johnson, who has the clippings to show for a fine college athletic career, and Towns seem to have potential and will undoubtedly be farmed out if they are deemed not yet ready for the W.I.L. Bryant, unconsciously funny, would appear to lack the experience of steady work behind the plate in a Class “A” league and Randolph and Prelow are, as yet, unknown quantities.
The small, pleasant-faced Branham, who seems to wear a constant grin, has impressed with his fielding. At 28, the oldest of the lot, he shows the benefit of experience in the Negro American League and fast semi-pro company. He has style and a strong arm and gets rid of the ball in a hurry. He’s a cinch if his hitting comes close to measuring up to the rest of his abilities.
Gladstone, of course, is being counted on for full-time duty. He played all of last season with the Portland Beavers in the outfield and although his batting average was only in the vicinity of .230, he is considered a fine prospect. An attempt will be made to convert him into a shortstop, but if this should fail, he will go back to the outfield, where he is acknowledged as a defensive star, and should find W.I.L. pitchers more to his liking than those in the Coast League.
Troy, who is making a comeback at 23 after being sidelined with a sore arm, may be the prize of the lot. He broke into the Negro National League with the Baltimore Elite Giants as a 17-year-old phenom in 1946 and reportedly won six of seven meetings with Don Newcombe. He blanked the Memphis Red Sox, 7-0, in his first game with Baltimore and was rated highly until his arm injury. He has been taking it easy on orders from Garriott but, so far, there has been no trace of soreness in his pitching arm. Troy, incidentally, is a cousin or Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Nobel Peace Prize winner and chairman of the trustees of the United Nations.
Allen is possessor of a powerful arm and heaves the ball in from the outfield on a low line. He lacks the polish of experience but will undoubtedly stick if he can hit. He has speed and seems adequate defensively. He was born in Monroe, Louisiana, and was chosen on both football and baseball high school all-star teams. He has played first base as well as outfield and has been used around the gateway in the absence of a regular first baseman but will be in the outfield if he is kept.
Nothing is known of the pitcher due from the Beavers other than that his name is Heard. However, the fact that Portland has kept him all during spring training and rates him a good prospect is encouraging.

Caps Get McGuire
LEWISTON, Idaho, April 1—Bobby McGuire, Pullman, Wash., high school basketball coach, is expected to join the Vancouver Capilanos of the Western International Baseball League, the Lewiston Tribune said today.
It said it had word from Vancouver indicating McGuire, an outfielder, would join Capilanos after spring training ends.

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