Mound Staff Carries Hopes of Victoria
By Jim Tang
Victoria Daily Colonist
VICTORIA—Operating independently for the first time since the club was organized in 1946, the Victoria Athletics are counting heavily on an experienced pitching staff in their all-out bid to win the 1950 W.I.L. pennant.
Forced to rebuild from scratch when the working agreement with the New York Yankees was terminated at the end of last season, Business Manager Reg Patterson concentrated first on his pitching staff. As one of his first moves, he signed Marty Krug as manager.
Krug was in the majors with the pennant-winning Boston Red Sox of 1912, Cincinnati and Chicago Cubs, managed Los Angeles for seven consecutive seasons, coached at Hollywood and scouted for Philadelphia Phils and Pittsburgh. His baseball connections were invaluable in helping to procure players.
Strong At Start
When the A's opened spring training at their Kamloops, B.C., base on April 1, Krug had eight proven pitchers and two rookies in camp from which to select his mound staff. Absent was Buzz Sporer, 11-game winner at Yakima last year, who was listed as a holdout. The imposing array of mound talent should make Victoria one of the flag favorites despite a possible lack of punch and uncertainty at one or two other positions.
Jake Mooty, Aldon Wilkie, Ronnie Smith and Joe Mishasek loom as a "big four" although the other experience while Mooty and Wilkie saw service in the majors. Mooty was signed as a free agent after being released by San Diego following the 1949 season while Wilkie was purchased from the Yankees. He was with Beaumont and Kansas City last year.
Smith and Mishasek were both with the 1945 Hollywood club, Smith winning 15 games and Mishasek 16. Smith had a chance to pitch for Baltimore this year but turned it down to remain on the Pacific coast. Mishasek pitched in the Mexican and Cuban leagues the past two seasons.
Behind the top four are holdover Joe Blankenship. who set the W.I.L. record of 25 victories for Victoria in 1948; Jim Hedgecock, veteran southpaw purchased from Vancouver; righthander Jim Olson, who won 11 for Salem in 1949, and Job Jensen, giant speedballer who set the W.I.L. strikeout record of 296 in 1946 with Victoria.
Rookies Jim Smith and Ernie Marshall, younger brother of John and Clarence, are also in camp but are not likely to stick this year. There is the possibility that John Marshall, drafted by San Francisco, will be returned.
Two After Job
Al Ronning, who hit .311 with Bremerton last year, is the first-string catcher. Rookies Pete Kroeger and Bill Weatherwax will battle it out for the second-string job.
The infield has Al Smith, purchased from Yakima after a 1949 season with Vicksburg, at second base; Bill Dunn, shortstop of the 1946 club; K Chorlton, on option from the Seattle Rainiers, and first basemen Jim Wert and Marty Krug, Jr., both purchased from Salem. It appears sound defensively but may not pack too much punch.
Refusal of Snag Moore to report left only Joe Monjoseph and Gene Thompson and an outfield nucleus. Monjoseph, a holdover, hit 31 home runs and batted in 131 runs for the Class "A" Dayton club in 1948. Thompson, a solid hitter, was purchased from Yakima. Pending the arrival of possible additional help, Krug and Olson, who is a long-ball hitter, may be used in the outfield. Further acquisitions are expected daily but on the pitching possibilities alone, Victoria can be counted as a definite pennant.