Willy Loop Opens Race On Tuesday
By JACK HEWINS
Associated Press Sports Writer
Baseball fans around the Western International League will lift the lid on the 1952 season Tuesday and find thereunder four new managers, two transplanted dittoes and one reincarnated team.
This last would be Lewiston, which was a charter member of the league but for many seasons has been viewing the race through a knothole.
Enthusiastic, hopeful and sold for the opener, Lewiston's Broncs will play host to Tri - City's Braves and League President Bob Abel.
Miss Spokane Sees Action
In Spokane, the league champion Indians will call upon their own Miss Spokane (Marcia Gusman) to toss out the first ball for the season starter against the Salem Senators. Yakima, after warming up with a weekend series against Vancouver, opens at home with Victoria's Tyees providing the competition.
Club President Arthur H. Pohlman put on his mayor's toga at Wenatchee and proclaimed Tuesday "Baseball Day." The city will have a Fans' Club breakfast, an afternoon parade and the usual pre-game festivities.
Lewiston will get a preview of its team Mondav night at its rebuillt field, the fans turning out to [meet] the players. Lewiston took over the Tacorna Franchise this year.
The new managers are Dario Lodigiani at Yakima, Charlie Gassaway at Tri-City, Dick Adams at Wenatchee and Cecil Garriott at Victoria. One of the transplants is Bill Brenner, who moved from Yakima to Lewiston to guide the entry in its league debut.
The other is Don Osborn, boss of Vancouver some seasons back. He has succeeded Alan Strange at Spokane.
It's hard to put a finger on the likely 1952 champion with all the optimism coming from eight spring training camps. Salem ran up a string of seven pre-season victories and Spokane had one cluster of seven before stubbing its toe. Perhaps the single outstanding feature of the circuit will be the large number of Negro players who have won starting jobs.
Hugh Luby at Salem and colorful Bill Schuster at Vancouver are the holdover managers — and neither is pessimistic. Vancouver will be a hitting outfit and may be ready to stage a hot race to the wire with any of the entries. Salem has a club of hustling youngsters and recently acquired a threat for the batting championship in Ollie Anderson, Negro outfielder.
Spokane has a nice balance of vets and rookies, plus the benefit of the old baseball tradition: "First you have to beat the champion." Wenatchee could provide the league with a team of "hitless wonders", having worlds of defensive ability but not too much stick power. Manager Adams will use a pitching staff completely free of southpaws.
Victoria Started Early
Victoria came close to losing its franchise but a last minute up-surge of local pride saved the day. Realizing the town must field a contender. Garriott took his hopefuls into spring practice 15 days early with as many players as he could round up.
Lewiston, banking on Brenner's contacts in coast baseball circles, expects a well rounded club with good hitting, sharp infield work and a promising mound staff.
The Yakima Bears appear improved, especially in pitching and general defense. Lodigiani himself will be operating either at second or third. Tri - City has bobbed up with a batch of young talent out of the Philadelphia Phil chain and a nice backlog of veterans.
Abel will hold a last-minute conference with the league umpires Tuesday morning in Spokane, probably testing their lungs for the big shout that will wake up the in league for 1952: