Thursday, 13 December 2007

Victoria - 2 Days Left

Baseball Officials More Hopeful As Response to Appeal Improves
[Victoria Colonist, Jan. 30, 1952]
Officials of the “Save Baseball” fund drive were more hopeful last night that the Victoria Western International Baseball League franchise can yet be saved. There was a definitely
improved response to the appeal for funds and the total was increased by over $700, leaving it closer to $3,500.
However, the big push will be made today and tomorrow, which are the last two days before the Friday morning deadline. A committee of city business men will get busy this morning canvassing a list of “special names” and it has every hope that it can raise the necessary amount before the time limit expires. The amount set as necessary to pay off outstanding obligations and give the club some working capital to start the season is $35,000 but it believed that $15,000 by Friday morning will bring a reprieve, giving the club additional time to collect the remaining amount.
New collection booths will be set up today in addition to fund headquarters at the Douglas Hotel. They will be located in the Hudson’s Bay, Eaton’s music department and Gordon’s Sporting Goods store at Hillside and Quadra. Which no time left for a canvass of the city, officials urge fans to drop in and do what they can to help.
Among pledges received yesterday was one from Times’ newsboys, who have turned in $13.15 they have collected toward purchase of a $25 share. Club shareholders will meet tomorrow afternoon at a special meeting which will set the date for the annual meeting, probably for mid-February. If the drive succeeds, a new board of directors will be elected at that time to take over. It will be up to the new officials to name the manager and business manager, though Ted Norbert has tentatively agreed to resume his managerial togs if the club continues to function.
Meanwhile, pending player deals await the outcome of the drive. The A’s have a chance to sell or trade outfielders Gene Thompson and Bill White and to sign Jimmy Clarke [sic], the popular little shortstop who finished the season here. Business-manager Reg Patterson also had another managerial bid last night. Cec Garriott, one-time Chicago Cub and Los Angeles outfielder, made a telephone bid for the job. He managed Visalia in the California State League last year.

Victoria Optimistic Over WIL Franchise
[Vancouver Province, Jan. 30, 1952]
Victoria baseball interests were reported today as being “very optimistic” about their chances of saving their franchise in the Western International League.
Bob Brown, Vancouver Capilano’s general manager, said he talked to club officials by ‘phone Tuesday and said “the way they talked, it looks if the Athletics will be with us this year.”
The A’s were given until Feb. 1 to raise $35,000 for outstanding debts or forfeit their franchise. A stockholders meeting is scheduled in the capital today, and the WIL will meet on the subject in Seattle on Sunday.
Brown said that a report of Victoria police cracking down on a man settling $1 raffle tickets on a house had “nothing to do with the ball club.” The raffle wasn’t authorized by the club, which he said was getting marvellous support from the city’s two newspapers and the “man on the street.”
“Even the kids are out working on the drive,” he said. “I don’t see how it can fail to go over.”

By Jim Tang [Victoria Colonist, Jan. 30, 1952]
It is understandable why people might wonder about the need for a “Save Baseball” fund. After all, Victorians have subscribed $43,000 for stock in the Victoria Baseball and Athletic Co. Ltd., the
Athletics have drawn about 700,000 paying customers in six seasons and there is a deficit somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000. Questions and doubts are inevitable. However, reviewing the reasons for the current state of baseball affairs one finds less reason to holler mismanagement than is generally believed.
The cost of operating the A’s has risen from about $60,000 in 1946 to $73,000 in 1948 to over $95,000 last season and very little of that can be blamed to the management. During the same period, admission prices remained stationary until last year, when they were increased slightly, and there was a steady attendance decline, so not all of it due to the failures of the A’s or their officials. It was general.
Salaries, of course, were the big item in spiralling operational costs. In Victoria, they rose from $18,000 in 1946 to $42,000 for the past two seasons. Nobody could have done much about that and there were clubs in the W.I.L. who matched that figure without any outstanding success.
Increased costs of transportation, hotel rooms and spring training plus a 30 per cent increase in meal money allowance tacked about $5,000 on the operating costs since 1946. Baseballs doubled in price and other playing equipment rose in proportion, adding another $3,000. Players received half their salaries in U.S. currency, which brought an exchange item of $3,500 annually. Costs of printing, advertising and park help increased and the league increase its cut from five to seven per cent.
The 60-40 gate split cost the A’s $35,000 in five seasons because they never drew on the road. They were allowed to keep their home gates last season and the special dispensation boomeranged, the club losing support at home and gaining a bit on the road.
It should also be remembered that the A’s have spent about $24,000 on Royal Athletic Park, this amount including $9,000 for lights.
Situation Was Forced
Turning to another part of the operation, there has been much unfavorable comment about player transactions, most of it unfounded. The Yankees, who made the terms of the working agreement much stiffer in 1949, pulled out at the end of the season leaving the A’s with a player roster composed of Joe Morjoseph and Joe Blankenship. It became immediately necessary to get out and buy players, working agreements being difficult to obtain with clubs in higher clubs in higher classifications cutting down on farm expenses, and Victoria officials had to take what was offered. It was inevitable that it would result in getting too many of the wrong kind of players on one club and this, more than anything, was the reasons the A’s have failed to live up to expectations.
Mistakes were made, of course. The signing of Dick Barrett, which would have been averted with more careful checking, turned out to be a costly one. So did the same of Jim Wert. Jake Mooty was an expensive flop but he was recommended by Marty Krug and Edo Vanni didn’t pan out. On the other hand, the sale of Joe Blankenship, who cost nothing, came at the right time, the purchase of John Marshall and Al Ronning resulted in a very tidy profit and there were many other good deals. The club never did own Vic Buccola and criticism over his departure was unjustified.
So, in the final analysis, the big failure was the failure to “sell” the A’s to Victoria baseball fans. This can be rectified this time and there is no reason to believe that baseball can’t pay its way here if Victorians can be made to give the A’s the same measure of support they have given the Shamrocks and the Cougars. Costs will be down this year with the league determined to keep the salary line, the saving of the exchange item, a slight, but promising reduction in the cost of baseballs, and the profit to be made from study of mistakes that have been made. At least, let’s give it one more try.

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