Sunday, 2 September 2007

November WIL Meetings

Airing Of Big League Tilts Hit
Herald Sports Editor
WENATCHEE, Nov. 2—Some well informed sources believe this meeting of Western International League directors may turn out to be nothing more than just a round of dinners and speeches. They point to the current international situation and predict that the league won't be functioning next year. Their spokesman, who is not a league official though close to the source says a recent conversation with the state director of the draft leads him to believe there just won't be enough players to man the class B league next year.
On the other hand league officials present an optimistic view.
But if they're feeling happy about the coming season, "and they are," they certainly have sounded the death knell for the broadcast of Major league baseball games—at least as far as the W.I.L. is concerned, the league directors have instructed President Bob Abel to inform the national baseball meeting in St: Petersburg, Fla., to that effect. They feel that such broadcasts have had an adverse effect on their gate.
What about the overall picture of Major league broadcasts?
That was the question we throw at President Abel. He shrugged his shoulders and answered it this way, "I think the big boys, and by that I mean the New York Yankees will see the handwriting on the wall." In substance Abel believes that these broadcasts are a thing of the past.
Abel was re-elected as president during yesterday's session. That makes the seventh consecutive year in that post. Although he has held the post since 1941 the league did not operate in 1943, '44, '45. The league directors also raised the minimum prices to 90 and 65 cents respectively for the grandstand and bleacher seats. They did not change the price for children and box seat prices are up to the indivudual club.
Topping today's session will be the one of umpires and gate cuts for the road teams. Umpiring has drawn a lot of criticism but as Abel points out "Where are you going to get better men at the price." Unofficial sources indicated the top umpiring salary in the W.I.L. is $300 per month.
The new Salem group, Salem Senators, Inc., represented here by a Salem attorney, Donald Young, got the go ahead from the Moguls provided Salem can complete their stock sale by Nov. 9. The Salem group expressed confidence they could do that.
The Canadian clubs, always heavy gate attractions at home, want the 40 percent cut for the traveling club pared down. "Why should we subsidize some of the weaker teams in the league," seemed to pretty well reflect their opinion. But they'll have a tough time pushing their plan through.
Along with Abel's election to the presidency was that of Dick Richards of Tri-City as vice president, Roy Hotchkiss, second vice president, and the re-election of George F. Abel as secretary.

By DON BECKER, Herald Sports Editor [Nov. 2/1950]
WENATCHEE (Special)—One thing is certain. The price of baseball is very definitely going up. And by that we mean both at the front office and at the gate. It hasn't been voted on yet—as this is written—but a jump to 90 cents for general admission and at least 60 cents for bleachers is almost a foregone conclusion.
But before you start beating your wife or dog about the situation here's what is facing the owners of baseball clubs today. Item one. The price of baseballs has taken a big jump. . . to the point where baseballs alone will cost a class B team using 144 dozen—and that's just average—right over $4,000 next year. Uniforms are on the increase too. The one they bought for $37 last year will cost $45 in 1951. Figure that at 20 per team and you begin to get an idea of the cost of operation.
However, even though the price at the gate will bring the Western International league within the class A classification, don't look for that to happen. For one thing it would mean carrying additional players and would also increase the basic salary limit. The latter item doesn't bother them. . .they are all paying way over that limit now by handing the dough under the table.
But adding more players would mean an increased payroll and that might be tough to manage. But it isn't just going to cost you, the fans, and the owners more to watch the nation's greatest pastime. The players will feel the rap of the upward spiral in prices also. That glove they bought last year for $11.50 will be $15 this time. And by the way, if you intend to buy a baseball for junior better hop right down to the store. From now on a league baseball, such as the WIL uses, will be $3.15 across the counter.
Earl Whitehill, a former Major league pitcher, and now western representative for Spalding Sporting Goods Company, is here taking in the WIL confab. Whitehall's big aim of course is to sell the league on using his company's baseballs. Last year the league used Wilson baseballs, but they usually switch every year so Earl shouldn't find the going too rough.
Whitehill holds what is probably one of the all time playing records for a Major league pitcher. He worked the big show for 19 years which in those days of "sore arm" pitchers is quite a feat, as you must admit. Thus what he has to say about the current crop of Major league hurlers is worth some consideration.
"They don't work hard enough and they don't know how to pitch." That ia brief is the way he sums it up. "The slider is what I call nothing but a lazy man's effort at trying to get away without using a curve. You know originally the slider was developed to help a hurler's fastball. "But today with pitchers throwing it at half speed—the way it was never intended to be used—it' s no wonder the batters knock it out of the park."
But of all the raft of stories which Whitehill has to tell, and they are plenty, the one he likes the best is one on himself. And as you might have guessed there is an umpire involved.
"We were in Washington playing the Yankees," said Earl, "and I had the ball game won 2-1 going into the ninth inning. It was one of those cloudy, dark days and there was a slight drizzle falling. The Yankees had a man on first and the late Lou Gehrig came up to the plate. Now right outside the park, and well back of the foul line was "a big tree. What does Lou do but hammer the ball right into the top of that tree, The base umpire took one look and motioned it foul, but Brick Ownes, behind the plate, called it fair . . . it took five guys to pry me off of Ownes . . . but I got even by throwing his whisk broom into the stands."
The story came up when the press were gathered in the lobby of the hotel waiting until yesterday's morning session was finished. What started the ball rolling about umpires was the general belief among those present that a new batch of "boys in blue" was certainly needed by the league. In fact if there aren't some new ones you'll hear an awful blast from some of the scribes around the league about it.
Looking at the teams city by city there is much still to be decided in the way of managers, both front office and out on the field. George Clark, who bossed the books for Wenatchee last year, quit yesterday. Seems that the club didn't want to pay George a year round salary so he just dropped the whole thing. That leaves the front office job here open and Tommy Thompson, the field manager, hasn't been signed yet either. In fact there's a strong rumor that Thompson may wind up in the Coast league working for his old friend Bill Mulligan, who just bought control of Sacramento.
Aside from Charlie Peterson of the Tri-City club, the only other field pilots who have agreed to terms are Alan Strange of Spokane, and Jim Brillheart of Tacoma. But even Brillheart won't be back unless his health improves a lot.
Marty Krug is still the manager of the Victoria club . . . but may not be for long. Edo Vanni, the player Krug fired last year, has applied for the job and may get it. . . Krug isn't too popular with the fans . . . and doesn't seem to care. That is the situation there in a nutshell. Salem is definitely in the market for someone new. They want a general manager who has lots of Major-league contacts . . . but name one club that doesn't. Bill Brenner will be back at Vancouver if they can't find anyone better, but they're looking hard and long . . Yakima has about six on the string for their job of running the team, but definitely would prefer a playing manager if they can find one.

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