WIL Officials Trekking To Tri-City Area
Two-Day Meeting Is Planned
RICHLAND, Wash., Jan. 9—Officials and club owners of the Western International Baseball league are due to arrive in Richland Tuesday for a two-day conference. The Tri-City Braves will act as hosts during the meeting.
Among the issues to be settled during the meetings at the Desert Inn hotel are the election of league officers. Robert Abel of Tacoma is the present league prexy. League owners are also expected to formally approve the 1950 schedule which was drawn up at the last meeting.
Other top items on the agenda include the adopting of legislation by the league, which was passed by the convention of minor leagues in Baltimore last year. The league will also fix the salary of their umpires and their schedules for the coming season.
Among the first to arrive will be Charlie Graham Jr., vice president of the San Francisco Baseball club which owns the Yakima Bears, 1949 WIL champs. Graham and Joe Orengo, manager of the Bears, and George Emigh, president of the Salem Baseball club, arc expected to arrive tonight.
One of the highlights of the conference will be a dinner sponsored by the Richland Lions club. Officials and owners will be guests of the Lions at the dinner. Following the banquet motion pictures of the 1949 World Series and the Notre Dame-University of Washington football game will be shown to the guests.
TO WELCOME VISITORS
Dick Richards and Vern Johnson will welcome the visiting members of the league. Orin 'Babe' Hollingbery, president of the local team, will not be able to be present for the meeting, he said.
A tour of the new home for the Tri-City Braves is also scheduled. Officials of the Tri-City Athletic association and businessmen who have led the drive to build the park are expected to meet with the officials and club during the two-day meeting.
Abel Re-elected President Of W.I.L.
League Starts Second Round Session Today
RICHLAND, Wash., Jan. 11—Robert B. Abel of Tacoma was re-electcd president of the Western International baseball league at their opening session in the Desert Inn Hotel, Richland, yesterday.
Abel's election marks the fourth consecutive term that he had served in this capacity. He is also the only president that the league has had.
Abel's re-election was the high-light of the business meeting Tuesday afternoon, which was adjourned until 9:30 this morning when the subject of schedules was due on the docket again.
Yesterday the club owners were unable to agree on anything concerning the league schedule past the first three weeks. The hiring and scheduling of umpires was also to be taken under consideration at today's adjourned confab.
Other officers elected to serve with Abel for the 1950 term are: John V. Johnson, first vice president. Johnson is also president of the Victoria baseball club, and replaces George Emigh in this position. R. P. Brown was elected as second vice president of the league. Brown is the general manager of the Vancouver team. George F. Able was re-elected as secretary of the league.
The league, at the suggestion of President Abel, also passed a resolution to secure full statistics from the Howe News Service. This information is intended primarily for the use of sports writers and sportscasters.
It developed at the meeting that San Diego will definitely continue to operate their franchise in Tacoma. Frank J. Gillihan, business manager of the Tacoma organization confirmed this fact to the press. This announcement definitely kills all rumors to the effect that the Tacoma franchise would be sold to Aberdeen or Bellingham. Gillihan also announced that Jim Brillheart, former Spokane pilot, would be the playing-manager for the coming season.
Gillihan replaces Enoch Alexson as business manager for Tacoma.
New Ump Rules Aid Game Says Prexy
League Buys Two Umpires
RICHLAND, Wash., Jan. 11—The Western International league, along with other leagues in organized professional baseball, will this year operate under a new system as far as umpires are concerned. This statement was made yesterday by Robert C. Abel, president of the WIL.
"The new rules pertaining to umpires and game officials unquestionably will do much to improve the sport both from the standpoint of the player and the spectators and assure better umpires for the league," commented Abel on the new regulations.
Abel said that under the new rules laid down by the National Association of Professional baseball that umpires will be subject to the same draft regulations that players are.
Simultaneous with this announcement Abel said that two umpires from Class C leagues had been purchased at the recent convention in Baltimore. He named the new umpires as Mickey Hanich of the California state league and Joe Iacavetti of the Cotton State league. Both contracts were purchased for $250 the league prexy added.
The new development concerning umpires grew out of an agreement with the national
baseball organization and the national umpires association during the minor league meeting last month, the WIL league president indicated.
"This means," said Abel, "that we now have an understanding with the Pacific Coast league, that their umpires that they declare to be surplus will be available to our league."
As one indication of what this new regulation may mean, Abel cited the fact that Triple A leagues may now sign 18 umpires instead of 12. This would seem to indicate that there may be a surplus of umpires in the Triple A league that would be available to the lower classification leagues.
The WIL league prexy said that "this league also accepted 100 per cent the theory and principle of the new idea as expressed by representatives of the National Association of Umpires Bureau at the Baltimore convention."
Baseball League President Gives Warm Welcome To Tri-City Area
RICHLAND, Wash., Jan. 11—"The Tri-City area is one of the best known areas in the Pacific Northwest." That was the statement made last night by Robert B. Abel, president of the Western International Baseball league, to an audience jammed into the dining room of the Desert Inn hotel, Richland. The WIL president was the principal speaker at a dinner meeting of club owners and guests.
"Not only do we know this," Abel continued, "but it has been talked about in professional baseball circles ever since the close of the war. And," he continued, "it means to you, of the Tri-City area proper, that your area through professional baseball will be given publicity six to seven months of the year."
Reviewing the long history of organized professional baseball the WIL president said that "the question will ultimately come up again to review the position of baseball with respect to radio and television. And if you care to follow the subject more closely, this question of baseball and the anti-trust issue will definitely come before congress this year."
Again referring to the Tri Cities, President Abel said that "this is one of the coming areas of our great Pacific Northwest He added that the Northwest had grown beyond the dreams of those who had founded it and belived in it. "And when you realize that through your association with professional baseball that the Tri-Cities are now known throughout, the nation tho value of your Tri-City Braves will become more and more apparent to you."
C. Buntin, chairman of the Richland Lions club, who sponsored last night's dinner, opened the after-dinner speakers' tour. He introduced in turn Earle E. Richmond, community manager of Richland; John Beck, mayor of Pasco, and Urban Keolker mayor of Kennewick.
These gentlemen were followed by Dick Richards, general manager of the Tri-City Braves, who acted as master of ceremonies for the balance of the program.
Richards then introduced Robert F. Philip, president of the Scott Publishing company. The youthful newspaper executive extended a warm challenge to the rest of the league to match the Braves during the coming league race.
Bob Brown of the Vancouver baseball team followed Philip on the program. He recalled some of the greats that had gone up to the majors from this league, among them Walter "Big Train" Johnson. Brown is now celebrating his 50th year in professional baseball and is considered to be one of the "grand old men of the game."
Hunky Shaw of the Tri-City Braves, also a contemporary of Brown, recalled some of the early days of baseball. He led the Pacific Coast league in the hitting department not too many years back with a .280 average. Brown's answer as to how Hunky could lead the league with such a low average is "Hunky batted from the port side and that gave him a couple of extra steps."
Following the meeting the league officials, club owners and guests viewed the motion pictures of the 1949 World Series and the University of Washington-Notre Dame football game.
W.I.L. To Discontinue Playoffs
League Also Adopts Revised Rookie Rule
RICHLAND, Wash., Jan. 12— Directors of the Western International league opened the door to new talent yesterday by adopting a "four and one rookie rule," This action was the high mark of yesterday's session which closed the two-day conference.
The league owners will re-convene Feb. 4 in Tacoma to adopt their 1950 playing schedule.
It was also disclosed following yesterday's final session that the league has definitely dropped the Shaughnessy type of playoff that they have been following.
But there was no announcement of a pool that would go to the first four, as was done in the Pacific Coast loop, when they discontinued the playoffs following the end of the regular season.
League President, Robert B. Abel, however, said that the league would definitely open their 154 game schedule April 18 and close Labor Day. The teams will play double-headers on Sundays and holidays, he added.
As a sidelight to the two-day baseball get-together the league prexy also disclosed that the club owners had voted for the repeal of the baseball bonus rule. Abel said that this vote was taken by telegram last Saturday. The major leagues have already voted for the repeal of this regulation, although it lost out in the minor league convention in Baltimore last month.
But baseball experts pointed out that with the backing of the major leagues, it seemed probable that the minors, who are now again balloting on the question, would probably follow the action of the National and American leagues.
DOOR IS OPEN
Adoption of the "rookie rule" by the W. I. L. marks the first time that this league has ever indicated a willingness to keep the door open to baseball player on the way up. Heretofore it has been up to the individual clubs.
But with the enactment of this new rule each team must now carry on their 17 player limit roster four players with no more than three years experience and one player with no more than one year experience.
However, one of the biggest headaches still is facing the club owners. That big problem, the 1950 schedule will be on the top of the agenda when they meet again next month. They tore up three proposed schedules Tuesday and failed to get any nearer to an answer yesterday.
Although they wrestled with the problem two days they were unable to reach a schedule that was satisfactory to the majority. George Emigh of Salem, will in the meantime re-draft several proposed lineups for the perusal of the W.I.L. directors. Abel, the league's re-elected head, said yesterday that the club owners will have to reach an agreement next month.