Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Whither Victoria - Column

It Beats Me
By Jim Tang
[Victoria Colonist, Dec. 11, 1951]
Victoria’s $64 baseball question remains unanswered.
Home Sunday after attending the annual meeting of the National Association of Minor Professional Leagues at Columbus, Reg Patterson, business manager of the Victoria Athletics, had news about a lot of things in the baseball world except about who, if anyone, would operate the Victoria W.I.L. franchise in 1952.
Best guess is that the club will be bought by George Norgan, Vancouver brewer who owns the Portland Beavers of the Coast League, but no one who knows any of the facts is yet ready to divulge them.
Patterson was, however, pleased with the trade which brought third baseman Allan Lawrence to the A’s in exchange for southpaw Jim Hedgecock. Baseball men at Columbus who have seen Lawrence in action claimed the 26-year-old infielder was a good ballplayer who will hit in the higher brackets.
Lawrence, who resides at San Leandro, Cal., was anxious to play on the Pacific Coast and this desire prompted the trade.
Other clubs were interested in Victoria players and Patterson could have made a number of deals. Southpaws Ben Lorino and Jim Propst, as well as Hedgecock, were in demand. A deal which would have brought righthander Dick Larner to Victoria in exchange for Propst was turned down. Larner, a 13-game winner at Salt Lake City last year and an 18-game winner at Yakima in 1950, was later sent to Vancouver.
However, the groundwork was laid for several future deals, which may be made when the uncertainty over the 1952 ownership in cleared up. Oklahoma City is interested in outfielders Bill White and Gene Thompson and Amarillo will take catcher Rocco Cardinale. Chances are that none of the trio will be back next season.
Biggest drawback at the Columbus meeting was the continent-wide search for rookies and limited-service players. All minor leagues lost ground last season and all are seeking to shave expenses by doing away with high-priced veterans.
The attendance decline also made it more probable that Norgan would take over at Victoria. Most minor league owners are willing to sell and there aren’t many buyers.
Patterson also had a word of two with Casey Stengel, manager of the New York Yankees. Stengel spoke highly of Gil McDougald, his prize rookie infielder by way of Victoria, and prophesied that he would set some batting records within the next 10 years.
Medwick Victoria Appointment
Other baseball news of interest included:
1—The A’s can purchase the contract of catcher Art Thrasher from Sacramento if they wish.
2—Bill Anake, one-time Victoria catcher who umpired in the Pioneer League last season, has been drafted as an umpire by the Coast League.
3—Bob Sturgeon, who finished last season as manager of the A’s, has likely signed as manager at Ventura.
4—Joe Orengo, recently-deposed as general manager at San Francisco, will probably wind up as manager at Lewiston, new W.I.L. entry.
5—Dick Adams, one-time W.I.L. first baseman who went up to Philadelphia Athletics and managed Stockton last season, is the likely choice to succeed Rupert Thompson as playing manager of Wenatchee.
6—Don Osborn, one-time W.I.L. hurling great and one of the best minor league managers, will take over from Alan Strange at Spokane.
7—Osborn, Ducky Medwick, former big league star, and Jim Brillheart, former Tacoma manager, were among several who approached Patterson about the possibility of managing the A’s.
8—Jim Wert, one-time Victoria first baseman who starred at Spokane last season and was later purchased by Seattle, may wind up with the Vancouver Capilanos.
9—Jack Harshman, one-time Victoria first baseman who went up with the New York Giants, recently pitched successive shutouts in the Porto Rican League and is claimed to be a major league prospect as a pitcher.
10—Junior Krug, still another one-time Victoria first-baseman, has been ill with heart trouble and his playing career may be ended.

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