Managers See Tough Year In W.I. League
By Jack Hewins
Associated Press Sports Writer
SEATTLE, April 16—The managers have passed the word and and it's going to be tough this year to grow a crop of grass in the baseball pastures of the Western International league.
All around the circuit—which launches its 14th season Tuesday night with four games—the word is "hustle." Young, galloping, college-try clubs have been the aim of the loop's field bosses.
Three new managers, two holdovers and three transplants will lead teams into action Tuesday.
Newcomer Marty Krug will pilot the Victoria Athletics against the Spokane Indians, managed by the 1949 Bremerton head man, Alan Strange. The Tri-City Braves of Pasco-Richland-Kennewick will bow into Willy society under Charley Petersen, who moved over from Wenatchee. Tri-City will host the Vancouver Capilanos, guided by the same Bill Brenner who led them last year.
Joe Orengo will take his title team team of 1949, the Yakima Bears, to Wenatchee. where a brand new team is operating under the old moniker "Chiefs" with newcomer Tommy Thompson as boss man. Ad Liska bows in as manager at Salem against the invading Tacoma Tigers. The Bengals are being handled again by Jim Brillheart, who left them to serve one season at Spokane.
Home openers for the four traveling clubs will come on April 25, with Spokane at Tacoma, Tri-City at Yakima, Salem at Victoria and Wenatchee at Vancouver.
League president Robert (Bob) Abel of Tacoma will be at Tri-City on opening night and will swing over to Wenatchee for the second session there.
He'll attend the Tacoma home debut but expects to visit all the league cities during the first month of action.
"With a break in the weather," he said Saturday, "I expect the league to draw a million spectators this season." The closest approach to that figure came in 1947. Poor weather in '48 and '49 cut down attendance. Tri-City will be the key to the record, and business manager Dick Richards of the Braves has predicted attendance would reach 200,000.
Yakima again looms as the main threat to the title, with Vancouver as the likely challenger. Spokane got a slow training start, with many of its potential players hanging on with teams in higher classification leagues.
Wenatchee had an impressive pre-season record and could figure as a dark horse. Salem bumped into bad weather and missed out on many training games. Victoria is optimistic and Tacoma figures to finish up with the leaders. Tri-City, with a nucleus from the 1949 Wenatchee team, looks to be a threat.