Pitching is Big “If” Facing Vancouver Club
By STEWART McNEILL
PENTICTON, B. C. (UP)—Pitching is the big question mark surrounding the 1952 Western International League pennant chances of the Vancouver Capilanos.
In this most important department, Bill "The Rooster" Shuster starts his second season as manager of the Caps without the faintest idea of how his mound corps will stand up.
It was great pitching which gave the Capilanos second spot in final WIL standings last season, just a half game back of the pennant winning Spokane Indians. The Caps had led the Willy Loop most of the season only to fall by the wayside in the stretch.
Last season the Vancouver Club won 94 games and lost 51. Of the 94 good ones, five pitchers contributed 59 of those victories or 63 per cent of the wins leaving the
other 35 to the rest of the mound staff. Not one of these hurling aces is back in spring - training camp here now. Whether Schuster can come up with a winning pitching. staff remains to be seen.
ALL ARE GONE
Biggest loss to the Caps is slender Bob Snyder, a four-year man with the Caps who compiled a brilliant 27-7 record in 1951. The victories were a new league record The smooth righthander, now with Memphis in the Southern association; climaxed that record breaking season by tying another WIL mark with 11 straight wins.
It's unlikely the Caps will get back young Pete Hernandez (17-4), the curve ball artist now with the parent Seattle Rainiers. Nor will they have durable righthander George Nicholas who hurled a no-hitter against Spokane two seasons ago and who compiled a 15-8 record last year. George has decided to stay in the dry cleaning business in Los Angeles.
Gone too, is southpaw comedian Bud Beasley (5-0). And Vern Kindsfather (5-0) is back with Seattle again.
For the first time in the club's history, Vancouver has three Negro players on the roster and two of them are pitchers. One is Harry Butts, a lefthander who had a 6-1 record with Indianapolis of the Negro American League pennant winners, the other is Eddie Locke, a boy with a tricky delivery who won 20 and lost but two in the winter Venezuelan League.
Other moundsmen in camp are holdover southpaws Carl Gunnarson and Bill Whyte and Don Tisnerat (5-3). Newcomers include Jerry Barta, Paul Jones, Don Tierney, George Stassi, who was with Salt Lake last year, and Len Chenard, the Seattle high school whiz.
LOOKING AT THE REST
The infield and outfield look solid. A big addition is first baseman Jim Wert, who clouted at a merry .330 clip for Spokane in '51. It looks like second base will be filled by the third Negro signed by the Caps, a fleet and sure fingered 22-year-old named Jesse Williams. He'll replace Reno Cheso who is trying to make a deal for himself after being cut adrift by Oakland.