Job Still in Doubt, Patterson Faces Busy Schedule To Catch Up on Preparations for Baseball Season
By JIM TANG [Victoria Colonist, Feb. 10, 1952]
It’s an odd situation Reg Patterson finds himself in today. The king-size business manager of the Victoria Athletics is actually business manager is name only. He has no contract, no assurance that he will be kept on when a new board of directors is elected later this month. In fact, the only tangible thing he has is a request for his resignation from a minor group of stockholders.
But the show must go on. Victoria Athletics are already a month behind in preparing for the 1952 Western International Baseball League season, and even those who wanted him out of the picture are expecting that he will pick up the loose ends.
This week Patterson will send out contracts to all the players listed on the Victoria roster. These include Hal Jackson, Bill Dunn, Allan Lawrence, Ben Jeffey, Ben Lorino, Gene Thompson, Bill White, Jim Propst, Bill Prior, Bill Osborn and Bill Carr. At the same time he will be attempting to finalize the working agreement with Portland Beavers, arrange for a training camp, buy needed equipment and negotiate for some new players.
BUILD NEW CLUB
The building of a new club is of paramount importance at the moment and will take up much of Patterson’s time during the next three to four weeks.
Jeffey is in the U.S. Army. Carr won’t be back and it is extremely doubtful Dunn and Jackson figure in 1952 plans. Dunn stated last season that he was hanging up his spikes, and Jackson may be sold to a Texas club.
Other deals are hanging fire. Oklahoma City sought Thompson and White several months ago and Victoria will see the big outfielder if the offer is right. However, there is every change that the Texas League club has done something about its player problems while Victoria was a doubtful starter, and new negotiations will probably have to be started. Several clubs are seeking southpaws Propst and Lorino and while there will be a reluctance to make any move about disposing of either, the front office would have to be considered. Catcher Rocco Cardinale has already been sold to Amarillo.
On the incoming side, Patterson has a deal in progress which would bring Art Thrasher back from Sacramento to become the club’s first-string catcher. He also hopes to sign Jimmy Clarke, the economy-sized shortstop, who made such a good impression after joining the A’s late last season. Clarke is anxious to return and there is every reason to hope that he will. However, chances that Victoria can get Dick Greco are slim. Montgomery is loathe to dispose of the former Tacoma slugger, who is a great drawing card there and refused to deal when Patterson made an offer at the minor-league meeting at Minneapolis in December. It has been later reported that Portland made an offer for Greco, lost enthusiasm when it was discovered what he was being paid.
Much, of course, depends on what Portland will have to offer. The Beavers have promised a “competitive” team and are said to have some promising young pitchers who would fill the bill in the W.I.L. More will be known about prospects here when terms of the working agreement have been worked out.
Nothing definite has been done about a training camp but best bet at the moment is that the A’s will start working out winter kinks on or about April 1 at Salinas, Cal. Don McShane, Philadelphia Phillies scout, has been attempting to line up a suitable camp and reported to Patterson last night that Salinas, about 90 miles south of San Francisco, appears to be the most ideal spot. Near a huge army camp and once in the Sunset League, Salinas is a good baseball town with a well-lighted park.
There is nothing new about the managerial situation. The A’s are tentatively committed to Ted Norbert, who led the A’s for three seasons, from mid-season 1946 through mid-season 1949, and it is likely that the former Coast League clouter will be back. The list of applicants continues to grow, however, and it includes some well-known baseball names.
LIKELY NAME CHANGE
Also to be decided soon is whether or not the name “Athletics” will be discarded. It is entirely probable that there will be a new name and that it will be the Victoria Tyees.
Meanwhile, Wenatchee and Spokane have complained bitterly about the schedule adopted at Seattle last Sunday and a good wrangle is in the making. League president Bob Abel has called for another league meeting at Seattle Wednesday to discuss the complaints but other clubs are up in arms and some may refuse to attend. The Victoria club, given 75 home gates and 69 on the road in the adopted schedule, is not in favor of any changes.
Lastly, and good news for Victoria fans, is the fact that admission prices, except for a slight rise in the bleacher section, will remain the same. Bleacher prices in Victoria this season will go to 65 cents from 60 to conform with the balance of the league. The increase was made last season but Victoria, allowed to retain all of its home gate, made no change.