You have to love how the two main wire services can't decide how long the season is. Incidentally, it doesn't appear the third main wire of the day, INS, covered the WIL.
Western International Loop Opens 10th Season Tonight;
144-Game Schedule Planned
By ELDON BARRETT
United Press Sports Writer
TACOMA, Wash., April 18 (UP) —The Class B Western International Baseball League, where young colts are farmed for training and old warhorses are put to pasture, begins its 10th season tonight.
Eight eager teams set to square off before some 17,000 fans in Spokane, Wenatchee and Kennewick, Wash., and Salem, Ore.
Spokane, playing host to Victoria, B. C., anticipates a crowd of 6,000. In Wenatchee a sell-out aggregation of 4,500 is predicted as the title-holding Yakima Bears invade Apple Town. Salem is preparing for 4,000 fans when the Senators meet Tacoma. And the Tri-City Braves of Pasco-Kennewick-Richland contemplate a packed house in their new 2,500 seat park when the Vancouver, B. C., Capilanos come to the atomic area.
It's Up to Weather
Each team is scheduled to play 144 games by the time the circuit season ends September 9. WIL President Robert Able of Tacoma said the weather will determine whether or not the loop draws for fans than the 880,000 that checked through the turnstiles last season.
"With a break in the weather we expect our best season," said Able. "We hope to pass the 1,000,000 mark."
The "Willy" league make-up has had a few changes since last season. Bremerton gave up its franchise and Tri-City was added. Three new managers have taken over, three managers shifted to other WIL teams and two stayed put.
Ad Liska, a veteran submarine hurler who pitched for Portland for 14 years, is the new field boss of the Salem Senators, a Portland farm club. Marty Krug, Sr., is the new pilot of the Victoria Athletics. And Tommy Thompson is chief of the Wenatchee Chiefs.
Bremerton's former manager, Alan Strange, has taken over the reins at Spokane, Charley Peterson has moved from Wenatchee to Tri-City. Tacoma has Manager Jim Brillheart who handled Spokane last season. Holdovers are Joe Orengo of Yakima, and Billy Brenner of Vancouver.
The four traveling clubs will return for opening games at home April 25, with Spokane at Tacoma, Tri-City at Yakima, Salem at Victoria and Wenatchee at Vancouver.
Willy Race Opens Tonight
Yakima Rated Team to Beat As 152 Game Slate Commences
By Associated Press
The Class B Western International League swings into its 1950 schedule Tuesday night with one new member in the lineup and the Yakima Bears, defending champions, rated the team to beat.
Each opening series will be three games, with Tacoma at Salem, Victoria at Spokane, Yakima at Wenatchee and Vancouver at Tri-City.
The Tri-City club from Pasco-Kennewick-Richland was transferred from Wenatchee, which in turn obtained the franchise of the Bremerton Bluejackets who dropped out of the circuit.
A general managerial shuffle since last year will bring three new faces, while three other head men in the league have shifted to different clubs.
The newcomers are Tommy Thompson at Wenatchee, Ad Liska at Salem and Marty Krug at Victoria.
Alan Strange moved from Bremerton to Spokane, Charley Peterson shifted from Wenatchee to Tri-City and Jim Brillheart returned to Tacoma after handling the reins at Spokane.
Joe Orengo of Yakima and Bill Brenner of Vancouver are still doing business at the same old stand.
Teams opening at home will remain there an entire week, changing opponants on Friday. On that day, Victoria comes to Wenatchee, Vancouver to Salem, Yakima to Spokane and Tacoma to Tri-City.
The season extends 152 games.
Name Battery For Opener
SPOKANE, April 18—Only the pitcher and catcher will be old-timers to Spokane fans tonight when the Indians and Victoria Athletics get the Western International League baseball season underway here.
Manager Alan Strange has named Johnny Conant, a 15-14 winner for Spokane in 1949, as his starter. Behind the plate will be big Joe Rossi or Ed Nulty. Rossi was the team's top receiver last year. Nulty played in a reserve role.
Joe Mishasek is expected to pitch for the athletics with Al Ronning doing the catching.
The rest of the Indians, from Manager to left fielder, will be playing their first game in a Spokane uniform.
Weather prospects are for clear but on the nippy side. How many will show up for the opener was a guess. Warmer weather has brought out more than 10,000 for the initial game of the season. The park—Ferris Field—seats 6,600.
Baseball Debut At Kennewick Given Buildup
Union-Bulletin Staff Correspondent
PASCO, April 18 — Three parades, each pointing up the opening of professional baseball in the Tri City area, took place Tuesday, prior to the scheduled debut of the Tri City Braves against the Vancouver, B.C., Capilanos at new Sanders field at 8 p.m.
Richland was first to see the festivity, with a noon procession, following which Pasco was traversed at 1:30 and Kennewick at 3 o'clock.
Robert Abel of Tacoma, president of the Western International league; Orin E. (Babe) Hollingbery of Yakima, former W.S.C. football coach and a prominent stockholder in the club; the mayors of Richland. Kennewick and Pasco, and W. H. Sanders of Cornell, for whom the new field at Kennewick was named, were slated to have featured places in pre-game festivities set for 7:45 o'clock.
After the traditional throwing out of the first ball at 8 o'clock the newest area in Pacific northwest professional baseball was promised a red-hot game, under lights.
Pro Ball Season Opening Tonight
Braves And Capilanos Cross Bats
By DON BECKER
Herald Sports Editor
Heavy advance ticket sales indicated that tonight's opening game of the Western International League season may set the 1950 WIL first game record.
Box seats were exhausted by last Friday, however, Vern Johnson, secretary of the club said that plenty of grandstand seats were still available yesterday.
But the crowds that thronged Sanders field last night as Charlie Petersen sent his charges through a brisk batting and infield drill presaged a heavy sale tonight.
Peterson named the veteran Lou McCollum for the opening assignment on the mound with
another veteran, Nick Pesut on the receiving end.
SNYDER GETS NOD
Manager Bill Brenner gave his starting nod to right hander Bob Snyder with Brenner, himself, on the backstopping job. Thus it will be two-right-handers facing the opening gun.
Robert C. Abel, president of the league, will be one of the many sports notables that will be present at Sanders Field tonight for the WIL curtain raiser due to get under way at 8 o'clock, after opening game ceremonies have been concluded.
On hand to pitch the first ball across the plate will be W. H. Sanders of Connell, for whom Sanders Field was named. Sanders will serve up the ball to Urban Keolker, mayor of Kennewick, while John Beck, mayor of Pasco will do the catching and Grover Dawson, president of the Richland city council will do the umpiring.
SEVERAL ROOKIES ON TOP
The Tri-City Braves are bringing a record of 11 consecutive practice games with them into the park tonight. For Vancouver it is a record of five victories against seven losses. However, most of the losses can be charged to the "B" squad of the Capilanos.
The Braves have one rookie, 19-year-old Artie Wilson in the lineup, while the Capilanos have two in Ev Pearson, left fielder, and Jimmy Moore, second baseman. Moore is regarded by Manager Brenner as one of his "hottest prospects" along with Bill Heiser, catcher, and Manall Travis, infielder. However, the latter two were not named for the opening game.
ONE OF THE FINEST
Both rival managers had the same comment to make about the park. They agreed that within a month or two Sanders Field could be one of the finest in the league. However, lack of sun-shine and rapid construction has hurt the outfield in spots. As soon as these are ironed out, plus he sun, the park is expected to blossom.
Commenting on his own team Manager Peterson said of the Braves, "we've got the makings an excellent team, but we said that last year and look what happened. Why at one time we were down to three pitchers and had to use our catcher at first base. There are so many things that can happen that I hate to venture a prediction any more. But I'll say one thing. Just like last year we'll be in their fighting right up to the wire."
Manager Brenner of Vancouver said "Yakima looks to be the team to beat. We dropped two out of three to them over the last weekend. We've also seen Wenatchee and Victoria, and from what I hear your Braves seem to be pretty well loaded. About ourselves I'd say that we've got to feel our way along, but it looks to me as though the race for the pennant this year is going to be a close one all the way, with no team way out in front by itself."
Opening game ceremonies are slated at get under way at approximately 7:45 p.m. when Dick Richards, vice-president of the Braves, will introduce the featured guests. This will be followed by a personal introduction of each member of the team to the fans. Then W. H. Sanders will throw the first ball, the National Anthem will be played and the Braves will take the field to start the game.
Scherger Decides To Quit Team
KENNEWICK, April 18 — Johnny Scherger, outfielder of the Tri-City Braves, has asked for, and received, his outright release from the club, Dick Richards, business manager of the team, said this morning.
Srherger had been offered a contract by the club, but declined to sign at the figure offered.
He had been playing with the Braves throughout their spring training tour in California. However, the recent acquisition of Dick Faber, from Sacramento, to the Braves, relegated Scherger to a utility position.
Scherger was one of the two remaining athletes from the Tri-City area still on the Braves roster. Les Logg, pitcher, the other, has signed a contract with the club.
Although he was unavailable for comment this morning it is believed that Scherger will resume his duties with the Columbia Photo and Sports Center in Kennewick, where he was employed prior to going to spring training with the Braves.
Ken Michelson, Pasco, another Tri-City athlete who was signed by the Braves, was optioned to Marysville in the Sunset league on a 24 hour recall. Jim Doyle, Kennewick, the fourth member that had tried out for the team from here, was given his release previously.
ON THE INSIDE
Herald Sports Editor
BOB BROWN "his 51st year"
KENNEWICK, April 18 —Sitting on one of the box seats at tonight's WIL opener between the Tri-City Braves and Vancouver will be one of the truly "grand old men of baseball." Perhaps we should have omitted that word 'old' because if you know Bob Brown, general manager of the Capilanos you'd realize that while he has acquired the years, his outlook and zest for the game easily earns him the classification of a youngster.
When the umpire cries "play ball" tonight it will mark the official opening of Bob Brown's 51st year in baseball. That takes him back to 1899, quite a change from the game and uniform of today to the quilted, high necked outfits they wore then.
Almost as unique as his long tenure with American's favorite sport is the number of years that he has spent with the same baseball club. It was in 1910 that Bob bought the Vancouver franchise and he held it until 1943 when he sold it to Sick's Capilano brewery. Hence, the nickname of Capilanos. Bob will stay over for tonight's and Wednesday night's game then will head back to the home city of the team.
"We'd like to get things painted before we're due to open," he said hanging a suit in the closet. "But the way the weather has been up there lately it would be just putting paint over wet wood and that's no good."
Glancing out the window of the hotel he observed, "a couple of clays like this up there and we'd be able to get a lot done. You know when we leave here the team moves to Salem and then into their home park." Shaking his head as he sat down in the chair he said, "it looks now like it might be about a month before we get the park fixed up the way we want it."
MANAGER IS THE CATCHER
Rooming with Brown in the Desert Inn at Richland is Bill Brenner, playing manager and front line catcher for the Vancouver team. You'll see Bill tonight when the Capilanos take the field. He'll be the one in the heavy catcher's gear giving the signs to Bob Snyder out there on the mound. He's a tall, powerfully built man, rather quiet in his manner and this is his fifth year at the helm of the Vancouver team.
"What kind of a team are you going to have Bill?" we queried. "Frankly I don't know myself yet," the Vancouver manager answered, shifting his weight on the bed. "But I'll tell you one thing I'm glad of, and that is, this year the pressure if off. Last year everyone had us tabbed to win the flag and that always puts the screws on tight. We're still carrying 25 men on the roster so you can see that a lot of the positions are still wide open."