baseball lover. Or maybe you’re a Vancouver lover. Regardless, welcome to this humble and
poorly designed site.
It is intended
to provide contemporary reports of some of the highlights—and maybe
lowlights—of professional baseball here in
Vancouver. If you read
the short history, you can get a roundup of some of
the posting of the highlights has been waylaid a bit. I am first
working on a game-by-game, season-by-season roundup of the Vancouver
Capilanos, and the other teams, of the Western International League.
It’s tedious because most of it involves parking myself in a library
and going through old newspapers on microfilm—and some of the
microfilm is not in the best of shape.
So, it’s slow going
and may not be finished for some time. That means the highlight pages
will be on hold. But, eventually, you’ll read contemporary stories of the game
Babe Ruth played in Vancouver, the infamous 1966
on-field bat attack by Mounties’ first
Santiago Rosario, the 5
a.m. game that stole the pennant from Vancouver, and much more. In the
meantime, please enjoy re-living the post-war Western International League seasons. You’ll
find linescores for all games, a line or
two on most of them and daily (or weekly) standings, along with columns as
well as odd minor league items that interested me, like some
goofy scoring decisions and the Hollywood Stars wearing shorts. The
1952 season is not complete, 1953 has to be restructured and I have
yet to begin work on 1954, which was the last year the league
operated before morphing almost overnight into the Northwest
League—with no Canadian teams. That’s another
I’ll try to
avoid making this too self-indulgent. Then again, why should I? I’m
paying for the web space.
My dad was a
life-long Detroit Tigers fan. I guess he got it from my grandfather,
who was from Chatham,
Ontario, not far from
Detroit. In fact, they
lived briefly in Detroit before coming
to Vancouver at
the tail end of World War One when dad was a few years old. It seems to
me he once told of how they spent some time watching games at
Park, which had pro ball
until 1922, and then amateur action until the Western International
League returned in 1937. World War Two came, and dad ended
up in uniform. After the war, he went to UBC and next went into the
teaching profession in the Fraser
Valley . Then he
decided, for reasons unbeknownst to me, to get married and I came
along in due course.
Dad used to listen to Jim Robson call
the Vancouver Mounties games on CKWX 1130 and one day he
decided he wanted to go into town to see the team play. My sister
and I made the trek with him into Capilano Stadium. Roberto
Rodriguez was on the hill for the Mounties, had been having a great,
undefeated season at one point, and dad wanted to see him
pitch. Another game I recall was against the San Diego Padres (yes,
youngins, there were Padres before a major league team stole their
name). The Mounties never drew well, and dad didn’t go in 1969,
joining throngs of fans who kept seats empty as the team folded
for good after that season. The field was chewed up by soccer
and artsy events for nine years
Harry Ornest coaxed an expansion team out of the P.C.L. directors.
Life rolled on and I ended up in
the radio business. By 1979, my employer was
a practically-forgotten all-news station in Vancouver called CKO.
With Mr. Robson now on CKNW, and
assorted Hurtin’ an’ Cheatin’ warblers now on CKWX, the new Vancouver Canadians
ended up on this
sorry, last-place station. I was hired to be a weekend news reader and to
operate the board for the away baseball games
(for the record, a fellow named Paul Mitchell did the home games). Having
loads of time on my hands, I asked if I could
come to the ball park (which shed ‘Capilano’ in favour of ‘Nat Bailey’ in
1978) and sit in the broadcast booth to watch the game being
called. The announcer was Jerry Sherman, and he more than graciously obliged. And
I’ve been there off-and-on ever since, more ’on’ over the last 18 years. Today,
I cover the team for the old broadcast home of the Mounties and
have spent a number of seasons filling in as the official scorer
when Pat Karl is not available. The team actually employed
me as a P.A. announcer in 1981 when I was told Peter Rogers was
getting another position with the club. It gave me the opportunity to do
things ask Hawaii’s Doug Gwosdz how to pronounce his name (not knowing
he was the one I was talking with) and announce a home
run that was actually a ball caught by Craig Ryan in left
field. I’d likely still be in the P.A. booth if I hadn’t decided to leave
Vancouver before the 1982
season for a year in the Okanagan.
Bailey Stadium has been an enjoyable place over the years,
except when games are dragging close to four hours and pitchers can’t
find the plate. Or when there are five errors when you’re scoring.
Once upon a time, there was a press room, which was a great place to
be after the game. Scouts would come in who were more than willing
to talk about prospects (and duds). Several managers used to hang
out there, Marv Foley and Rick Renick especially, as did general
manager Stu Kehoe and his assistant, the late Dick Phillips. And
the coaches. The irrepressable Moe Drabowski was one. Players popped
in for awhile, too, though an end was put to it for a number of
years after some of them gave us all a fairly graphic description
of their activities on a road trip to Salt Lake City. But a few did
drop in under the new general management several seasons later.
Ed Wojna was one. Ty Van Burkleo brought in his kids. There were others.
Chris Howard borrowed a cycling hat from me for his workouts (which he
may still have for all I know). Jerry Willard would regale us on
baseball strategy. We all got a kick when, a year later, he won a
game in the World Series for Atlanta. But one of Stewie’s
replacements decided a press room was not essential and it was
closed for good. And they wonder why the press stopped coming. Making
people feel unwelcome is not good P.R., especially if you’re a
minor league baseball team in a major league town where everyone thinks
hockey 12 months of the year.
probably tales of the press room I could relate, but I’d rather talk
about someone else’s past. So, if you drop in here once in a while,
you may see a new article or two here. You’ll certainly see the
W.I.L. pages being slowly completed.
Thanks for coming.