Contrary to what you may have heard, Vancouver’s first professional baseball season was not in 1907 nor was the team that year called the ‘Horse Doctors.’

What Vancouver did have in 1907 was the worst ball club of all time. The Canucks finished at 34 and 106, 53 games out of first place in the Northwestern League.

There was reason for optimism at the start. The owners of the team hired Parke Wilson as manager, fresh from the 1906 season with the San Francisco Seals of the P.C.L. But Wilson wasn’t in Vancouver at the end of the season; in fact, the team went through five managers that year.

However, there is always overflowing optimism at the outset of the season, and opening day, Saturday, April 20, 1907 was no different, as you can see on this opening day story in the Daily Province from the following Monday.

Yes, and the R.P. Brown mentioned is “Mr. Baseball” Bob Brown, who ended up in Vancouver in 1910 and was connected with the Grand Old Game here for decades to come.

 

VANCOUVER LOSES OPENING GAME

THROUGH POTPOURRI OF ERRORS

-------------

WILSON’S YOUTHS RATTLED AT FIRST

LOCALS ARE SLUGGERS.

 

Hammer Ball Strenuously, but Aberdeen Stars Are Finely Conditioned and Win 12 to 5 – Seattle and Tacoma Lose.

 

Standing of the Clubs

 

W

L

Pct.

Aberdeen

1

0

1.000

Seattle

1

1

 .500

Tacoma

1

1

 .500

Spokane

1

1

 .500

Butte

1

1

 .500

Vancouver

0

1

 .500

IF the pyrotechnical displays in the second, third and fourth innings could have been but the dreams of a rarebit fiend; IF the local players could have but shaken their severe attack of stage fright; IF “Slivers” Nelson had cancelled his balloon ascension until nightfall; IF the juggling acts on the matinee programme had been called off, and IF Aberdeen had not slugged the ball so strenuously, Vancouver would have captured the opening game of the Northwestern league season at Recreation Park Saturday afternoon.

Despite the defeat, the 3500 or more fans present enthused over the work of Parke Wilson's youngsters, and the consensus of opinion seems to be that the Vancouver manager has gathered together a good bunch of players. They were nervous from the jump, and in the second allowed three runs on three successive errors. Two runs went to Aberdeen in the third from doubles by Van Buren, Householder and Streib.  The fireworks netting five runs in the fourth were due to a melange of well placed hits, sacrifices and bungles. In the last five innings, Vancouver settled down, and but two runs were chalked up by the  visitors, one of those due to Kelly going after one in short right field at a gait which would cause a  water-cart horse to blush.

Mayor’s Arm is Kinky.

The day was a gala one for baseball and all that was lacking to fill the cup of cheer to the brim was a victory. His Worship Mayor Bethune held the place of honor in the big parade and following were a long row of carriages occupied by directors of the club and prominent citizens. The Aberdeen and Vancouver players, all neatly attired, brought up the rear of the procession and the sight as a whole was a jolly one. At the grounds, His Worship was “introduced” to the thousands of fans, and they cheered wildly.

General Manager J.W. Evans – who by the way, was in splendid voice – made a few preliminary remarks in which he had declared that Vancouver would be given the best baseball possible.

He then introduced R.P. Brown as “the scrappy manager of the Aberdeen team” and Parke Wilson as “the man who will bring the Northwestern League pennant to Vancouver.”

A brief tete-a-tete was held between His Worship, the team directors and the team managers while Umpire Jack Mullane came forward and announced the batteries. Mahon, of Aberdeen, took his plate at the plate; His Worship was handed a brand new ball and after tugging three or four times at his trousers, in imitation of a professional, he sent a spit ball which went six feet shy of reaching the plate. Then came the command “Play ball,” from Mu1lane, and the big thing was on in earnest.

The Comedy of Errors.

The first inning started with goose eggs for both teams, but the second parade of the afternoon came in the second. Streib, the first man up, hit one along the first base line which Nelson easily captured and tossed in a baby-like way to Saunders, who proceeded to give a sorry exhibition of clown juggling, with the result that the Aberden man was secure on first. Boettiger followed with a. liner which Quigley let slip by. Donovan sent one to Saunders, who became affected with tanglefoot. Brown came through with a sacrifice hit to Quigley, scoring Streib. Starkells hit to Waters and was out at first but Boettiger scored

on the play. Mahon then sent a balloon over to Scofield who dropped it, allowing Donovan to trot home. Mahon tried to stretch the play to second and was nailed. The inning netted three runs.

Aberdeen got two more in the third on three two-baggers.  The doings in the fourth were started by Manager Brown with a hit along the second base line. Starkells attempted to sacrifice to Nelson but the latter threw wild to second in an effort to catch Brown and both men were safe. Mahon came through with a bunt along third base and Van Buren scored two men with a pippin of a swat between first and second. Anderson got in with a single, scoring Mahon, and stole second. Householder was the first man to go out, expiring on strikes. Streib flew out to left. Boettiger sent the fifth run across with a single to centre.

Donovan hit an easy one to Nelson and his death at first was sudden.

The visitors got a run in the sixth when Kelly’s alarm-clock failed to work properly and he played never-touch-me with Van Buren's short field fly. Hits by Anderson and Householder brought Van to the finish. The twelfth run for Aberdeen was recorded in the ninth on a single by Streib and a double by Boettiger.

When "Canucks" scored.

Vancouver was dormant until the fourth when Kelly led of f with a peach of a single to left and came home when, when Waters clouted one to deep centre on which he took three bags. Saunders dropped one right between Starkells and Waters came home. Sauders advanced on a sacrifice by Wilson, Nelson kicked the bucket at first on a measly toss to Starkells, and Plank whizzed the ozone three times. The “Canucks” tallied in the fifth on a double by Scofield and a single by Kelly after two men were down. Waters struck out. The other two runs came to Vancouver in the seventh when Garry walked and Quigley, Scofield and Kelly followed with singles,

the two first named tallying.

The battle was an interesting one excepting in the three innings when the storm was at its height and the Wilson ship of fortune was being rocked unmercifully in dangerous waters. Vancouver struck its gait after the fourth inning and more than held its own with the Aberdeen stars. The youngsters clouted the ball hard and

At times they looked threatening. With any kind of luck, there would have been things doing. Throughout, it was a rattling opening and the fans got their fill of the excitement.

The complete details of the play, compiled exclusively for The Province:

 

ABERDEEN

 

AB

R

H

PO

A

E

Mahon, ss

  4

 1

 1

 0

 1

1

Van Buren, lf

  5

 3

 2

 4

 0

0

Anderson, 2b

  5

 1

 3

 4

 2

0

Householder, rf

  5

 1

 2

 0

 0

0

Streib, 1b

  5

 2

 2

14

 0

0

Boettiger, c

  5

 1

 2

 5

 1

0

Donovan, 3b

  5

 1

 0

 0

 1

0

Brown, cf

  3

 1

 1

 0

 0

0

Starkells, p

  5

 1

 0

 0

 6

0

Totals

42

12

13

27

11

1

 

VANCOUVER

Plank, ss

 5

 0

 0

 3

 4

2

Garry, c.f.

 3

 1

 1

 1

 0

0

Quigley, 2b

 5

 1

 1

 2

 3

1

Schofield, lf

 4

 1

 2

 3

 1

2

Kelly, rf

 5

 1

 4

 1

 0

1

Waters, 3b

 5

 1

 2

 0

 0

0

Saunders, 1b

 4

 0

 1

 9

 0

1

Wilson, c

 3

 0

 0

 8

 3

0

Nelson, p

 4

 0

 0

 0

 3

2

Totals

38

 5

11

27

14

9

Score by innings

Aberdeen      0 3 2 5 0 1 0 0 1–12

Vancouver    0 0 0 2 1 0 2 0 0– 5

Summary:

Earned Runs, Aberdeen 5, Vancouver 3.

Two-base hits–Schofield, Streib, Boettiger,

Householder, Van Buren. Three-base hits–

Waters. Bases on Balls, off Starkells, 4, off

Nelson, 1. Struck out, by Starkells, 5, by

Nelson, 5. Hit by pitched ball, Wilson.

Passed balls, Boettiger. Sacrifice Hits–

Brown (2), Quigley, Wilson. Stolen bases–

Anderson (2), Streib, Schofield. Umpire, Jack

Mullane. Time of game, two hours, ten min-

utes. Attendance, 3500.

 BASEBALL GOSSIP

Come on! Be good chaps, get in on the game and root hard and all the time and we’ll be there with bells yet.

   

Mullane is a fairly good umpire on balls and strikes, but he was away off on two base decisions Saturday when he called Anderson and Householder safe when they were out by seven blocks. Trim your Jack, and for goodness sake don’t give the youngsters the worst of it.

   

President Lucas certainly did not give Vancouver a snap with which to open the season when he sent us Aberdeen. Starkells last year was with Washington of the American League, and would be there now but for the fact that be secured his release on the plea of illness. Hickey was with Cleveland and Milwaukee last season. and it cost Brown $500 to get him, and  Householder and Van Buren are both ex-major leaguers.

   

Big Virgin Garvin allowed Seattle but three measly hits and Hall’s Butte town team won the opening game 5 to 000000000. Five thousand fans witnessed the slaughter of the innocents. The Tacoma Tigers journeyed to Spokane and the contest did not come up to the standard of the one in Vancouver, the score being 9 to 3 in favour of the home team.

   

How the fans at a ball game do love the umpire! When Saturday’s contest was about to start, Mullane came forward and announced the batteries. “And what’s the name of the umpire?” queried someone. “Mullane,” was the answer, which was greeted by applause. A brief period later, suggestions of “Kill the umpire,” “Mob the mollycoddle,” and other like humane hints came from different sections of the grandstand. The lot of the umpire is a happy one – yes, no.

   

Billy Quigley, the second baseman for the Canucks, is to be field captain of the team when Wilson takes a day off and allows “Stub” Spencer to officiate behind the plate. Quig knows the inside of baseball and he has entertained the players time and again with tales in Arizona when he led a team in that sagebrush country. Wilson, however, expects to be steady at his post every day for the next two weeks until he gets the boys to going to his way of thinking. Then for a rest.

   

Le Gore is doing the twirling this afternoon and Longanecker will be the boy behind the speed and curves Tuesday. Le Gore is regarded as some pumpkins and great things are expected from him. Longanecker is said to possess the innermost secrets of Hermann the Great with regard to gently mystifying the opposing batters so that something should be doing in the sweet by and by.

   

Among the few new things which the umpires have to watch this year, and which was noticed on Saturday, is the one which permits only of the pitcher discoloring the ball. It costs any other play $5 to rub a new ball in the dirt. In years gone by, it was regarded as wise baseball to have a batter switch from side to side in an effort to rattle the pitcher, but this is no longer permissible. A player must now decide before stepping into the plate which way he will bat, right or left-handed, and must stick to that side of the plate until his batting turn is ended.

   

Arthur Longanecker, the long chap with the mysterious wing, is one of the hardest men in baseball to round into form. He is as hard as steel but suffers from divers kinks in his salary wing, and for that reason is at home when the sun is hottest. Wilson is getting the charley horse out of Long by sending him around the ball grounds five or six times in the forenoon and then again in the afternoon. This is in addition to his standing on the mole for an hour or so and throwing them out to the youngsters who hit it for keeps. Long is given plenty to do and when he steps to the bat and slams one out, he is made to run the bases at full speed so that by the time he returns to the dressing room, he is perspiring freely and anxious for rest. Long should warm up pretty soon, and if he goes the pace which he is reputed to possess, he will make some of these Northwestern League sluggers tear big chunks out of the ozone.