Monday, 3 September 2007

More November WIL Meetings

Shaughnessy Playoff Readopted By League
WENATCHEE, Nov. 3—The Tri-City Braves will open their 1951 Western International League season in Spokane on April 20. The rest of the league will also open on that date with Tacoma at Yakima, Vancouver at Wenatchee, and Victoria at Salem.
The teams will probably play a 154 game schedule and have brought back the Shaughnessy system of playoffs.
These two pieces of business plus the formal approval of the new price scale were the final decisions rendered by the WIL directors yesterday in their Wenatchee meeting.
Although they set the opening date and teams no further mention was made of the 1951 schedule. That will be taken up in full when the directors meet again in Tacoma on Jan. 13.
As a sidelight they handed the Spalding sports company a contract to use their baseballs for the next three years. They also agreed to a gentleman's contract to hold their ordering of baseballs down to the absolute minimum. Scarcity of wool and horsehide have sent baseball prices rocketing upward and government contracts have made the two items hard to get.
The Shaughnessy playoff, which the league didn't use last season, will follow the end of the season. It involves the first four teams in the race. The third team will open against the winner and the fourth team will play at the home park of the second. The winners of these, two out of three game series, will then meet in a three out of five playoff at the park of the league victor.
The players will share in the gate receipts, getting 40 percent of each game in which they play.

By DON BECKER, Herald Sports Editor [Nov. 5/50]
The present international situation is having it's [sic] effect on the sports world. [edited] Even our own Western International league may feel the pinch. And here's why. In the WIL they have a rule that calls for each team to carry one rookie and four limited service men. Now limited service in this case doesn't mean that they are disabled in some respect as it means in the armed forces. In baseball this term means a man with less than three years of professional baseball experience. Therefore out of a total of 18 players, the league limit, you have 13 players with unlimited experience. They can be from the majors. AAA baseball clubs or anywhere else. In the case of the WIL many of them are from the majors and the Coast league. The WIL is particularly a stopping off place for men coming down from the latter league.
On the other hand such leagues as the California State league which permits a maximum of five veterans, the balance being divided between rookies and limited service players will stand an excellent chance of being able to fill their rosters should the military draft dig deep into the nation's supply of manhood.
Why, for instance, do you think the majors and the Coast league are not very interested in using the WIL as farm clubs. The answer simply comes down to this. Under the present player rules, which we discussed, there is no chance for development of their younger players. That's one reason why Portland wasn't reluctant to give up Salem, and that's the same reason that San Diego is willing to part with Tacoma. After all, the major part of their profits will not come from Tacoma but if they can use that team to develop their younger players with an eye to the future they would be willing continue to subsidize the team.
Furthermore the salaries here are entirely out of line with baseball salaries in general. That's why players who are drafted from this league into class A and even into AA leagues refuse to report. Why should they, when in many cases they will take a cut in their paycheck. It all goes back to the fact that the WIL just isn't a proving ground for the higher leagues no more than the Coast league is for the majors.
Sure there are players here who could go up. In effect there's [sic] more who could go up and won't, than there are those who will. Look at the rosters of the Coast league. Do they sound familiar. They certainly should. Seattle's average age at one time during the season was 37. That's an age in baseball when you are usually written off as an old man.
But to change this situation isn't as easy as it may seem. Suppose for a moment that the WIL was changed to class A league. What would you, the fans, expect in the way of baseball. Well the odds are pretty good that most of them would expect to see better baseball. But the truth is that the WIL is far ahead of class A baseball.
The league owners realize this and that's why they don't want to make the change. They just couldn't bring you better baseball than what you are now getting unless the classification were jumped much higher. But reclassification is tied closely to attendance and as long as the gate isn't there they can't go into the AA system. And although there has been some talk that this league may not be able to work next season. . .the league directors scoff at the whole idea. "We should, and could have continued to operate during the last war. Unless it becomes an all-out struggle right down to the final man we will still be bringing baseball to the fans." That's the comment of one of the directors.
During the past season Dick Richards, the hard working general manager of the Tri-City club, took quite a verbal blasting from the Wenatchee fans when he appeared in their park. But you should have seen the difference at the recent meeting. Then they came around asking Richards for advice. Some of the very things that he tried to institute, and for which he was so severely criticized, the people now realize must be done.
Wenatchee is in a bad way right now. They lost a lot of money last year and the local boys are having to pony up across the desk to put their team on the field next year. They may not even move out of town for spring practice. But where are those critics we mentioned now. Frankly they are pretty well divided and sniping at one another.
There isn't much of a secret why George Clark their general manager resigned. Despite the huge gate Clark brought into the park and the heavy approval he had from the fans, the boys at the top didn't like the way he spent some of the money. All of it spent by Clark, by the way, in the interest of the club.
That's how the picture looks now in the W.I.L.

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