City Assured Strong Contending Team If “Save Baseball” Drive Successful
[Victoria Colonist, Feb. 5 1952]
Victoria baseball fans can be assured of a contending team if the current “Save Baseball” drive to keep the Western International League franchise in Victoria is successful. Business manager Reg Patterson last night announced receipt of a telegram from George Norgan, president of Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League, promising to supply Victoria with “a competitive ball club on a par with the other teams in the W.I.L.” if the drive is successful. The Beavers are willing to provide all 17 players permitted under the league player limit, if necessary.
The A’s owned 13 players on the roster at the end of last season. They were Rocco Cardinale, Milt Martin, Rex [sic] Jackson, Bill Dunn, Gene Thompson, Bill White, Ben Jaffey [sic], Jim Propst, Ben Lorino, Bill Prior, Bill Osborn, Jim Hedgecock and Jimmy Clark. Only five or six will be returning.
Hedgecock has already been traded to Austin, Texas for outfielder Allan Lawrence, Martin has been sold to Portland and a deal has been completed for Cardinale. Jaffey is in the U.S army and deals will be made for Jackson and Thompson. Clark, Propst, Lorino and Osborn will likely be retained but Dunn and White are still in the doubtful stage.
Patterson did state that if the franchise is retained a strong bid will be made to complete a deal for big Dick Greco, former W.I.L. home run king with Tacoma Tigers. Greco broke all hitting record with Montgomery in the Class “A” Sally League last year but has expressed a wish to return to the Pacific Coast and a preference for Victoria. The centrefield fence at Royal Athletic Park would be made to order for the big outfielder.
Patterson also disclosed that all W.I.L. clubs had agreed at the league meeting over the weekend to abide by the new salary limit, which will necessitate cutting off all of the high-priced veterans. The player limit of 17 is to include two rookies and at least six limited service players—those with less than three years experience in professional baseball.
Veterans such as Edo Vanni and John Marshall should find it hard to get jobs in the circuit this season. Coast league clubs will not receive optioned players from the majors and will have to provide their own talent. Younger players will be farmed to the W.I.L. and Pioneer Leagues to gain experience.
But the pace of the “Save Baseball” drive must be stepped up to ensure retention of the franchise. Fund officials last night could only report receipt of approximately $15,000 and more than $20,000 is needed by Friday to assure professional baseball for 1952. Another radio jamboree is planned for Thursday, but details have not been supplied as yet.