VANCOUVER BASEBALL

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A SHORT HISTORY OF VANCOUVER BASEBALL

BOB BROWN

NORTHWESTERN LEAGUE
1905 Veterans Preview
1907 Canucks Opener
1908 First No Hitter
1913 Athletic Park Opens
1915 Player Mutiny

FIRST NIGHT BASEBALL GAME IN CANADA

WESTERN INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE
Stories and scores on:
1937 Maple Leafs Opener
1946 CAPILANOS
1947 CAPILANOS
1948 CAPILANOS
1949 CAPILANOS
1950 CAPILANOS
1951 CAPILANOS
1952 CAPILANOS
1953 CAPILANOS
1954 CAPILANOS

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE
A NOTE FROM 1956

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Night Baseball Is Well Received by Vancouver Fandom

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Thousands See Four Clubs Work Through Games in Brilliant Light

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It Was History-Making Event that Ended Happily Before Midnight

By ANDY LYTLE

[Vancouver Sun, July 4, 1931]

Mother Nature took one more on her calloused old chin last night when the darkness of night vanished in the light madame through another of those human artifices that belong to our modernity.

Several thousand people watched Earl Lewis hurl his own game away to end the second night baseball game ever at the ball park last night and permit V.A.C. to best B.C. Telephone 1-0.

The first game played under the lights in this Dominion was won by Firemen 5-3 over Arrows and it was close to midnight ere the second game finished and the fans ambled away well satisfied with the entertainment for playing conditions were nearly as perfect as could be imagined.

A STARTLED MOON

Shortly after 11 the old moon came over from behind the eastern shadows and one fancied the old girl was almost persuaded to roll right back again when her eyes caught the startling sight of multi-powered incandescents giving her the well-known works.

There is a field so brilliantly lighted that the rays of Mother Moon passed unnoticed, in practically shadowless light thrown from thousand-powered, enclosed globes, the wit of man to take his own from the strange forces of nature, had turned night into day.

“We are making sports history for Canada,” Mr. W.G. Murrin said into the loud-speaker that, somehow, had ceased to function as he officially opened the evening’s show, “but I have no doubt before long, other cities will follow Vancouver’s lead.”

No doubt he spoke truly. Certainly the most captious critic could find little to cavil shout on night baseball’s bow to fandom at Athletic Park.

The weather was perfect and the new lighting arrangements make baseball after dark as easy to play and as engaging to watch as through played on a summer afternoon.

ALMOST OVERDONE

V.A.C. and Telephones almost made their part of the big introductory act too good. They were to go five innings but they played errorless ball and tossed in so many engaging plays that it was seven innings going very rapidly, and 11:30 of the clock before Earl Lewis, with a most generous gesture, and himself in a hole, filled the bases and then walked the winning run over by passing Puder, who had, at that, out-chucked the big Telephone hurler through their bright mound duel.

The crowd started coming early and they continued late. Lynne Pickler on the loud speaker and Charlie Defieux on the air, were the “mike-robes” of the evening.

It seemed that everybody and everything was there including an army of hungry gnats and so many white moths that Abie Cohn, the umpire with the voice and the trick right arm, finally ducked, with celerity and charm, a speeding moth, think it was just a baseball or may just a pop bottle tossed by some irreverent fan.

Estimates of the crowd varied. Over the renovated loud speaker, Pickler made it 6000. Probably 4500 would be closer. The stands and bleachers were filled. Many stood up.

JUST A GOOD SHOW

It was a real good show and the prizes were presented the lucky ticket holders by the League officials, in spotless flannels and Miss Mary Doyle, a tiny miss who pulled the winning numbers from the box between games.

There were foot races put on to kill time until it would be dark enough to flood the field with the installed lighting system, in which Percy Williams and Mary Frizell did some great sprinting.

Proof of the value of any sports “pudding” is in the eating they say. Last night a scant few left at the conclusion of the first game shortly after 10.

The majority say in their uncushioned seats until the end. They liked the entertainment. Night ball, in Vancouver, at any rate, staged a successful debut.

Arrows …………….  0 2 0 1 0—3

Firemen …………… 5 0 0 0 x—5

B. Richardson, Gray (1) and Barnes; Kaye and H. Richardson.

Telephones ……….   000 000 0—0

V.A.C. ……………..  000 000 1—1

E. Lewis and Spicer; Puder and Henry.

Once Overs

“Play Ball!” somebody scolded when Mayor Taylor was expressing his pleasure about being present at the initial bow of night baseball.

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His Worship, no doubt sensing that it was time to quit trying to reach his audience through a “dead” speaking attachment shot his fast one: “I can’t play ball,” he replied with a quick-fire comeback that delighted his few hearers.

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Jacobsen returned to Telephones at third base and made the catch of the night when he ran away from a foul fly, turned and speared it in his mit like any good ball plater might do in broad daylight.

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Vernard Stewart “loud spoke” the track events and was heard perfectly. When he left so did the magnetism. The officials spoke into a dead instrument! Pinkey, how could you?

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W.A. McKenzie, Provincial Minister of Mines, is a red hot baseball fan. He came over from Victoria for the games and was one of the speakers into a “mike” on strike!

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Scoring night ball games is no sinecure. Pete Staggs got Canada’s first hit at night. It was a high infield fly that Trasolini misjudged. Daytime it would have been a glaring error. At night he wasn’t blamed for over-running. Staggs got a hit on the play.

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Trasolini knocked a ball flung by Bill Richardson over the right field wall for the first home run ever scored at night in Canada. Guess that’s somef [rest of sentence unreadable].

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Bill Richardson was batted out of the box and into the showers in the first game. Gray succeeded him and made a nice job of his work. But he couldn’t get a win over, quite.

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The greasy pig turned out to be a dry-tanker. The S.P.C.A. decided that Friday was no day for pork and informed the officials that if the contest was staged, as advertised, it would pain them, maybe, but they would have recourse to what it was they needed and prosecution would follow.

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It may be all right, in other words, to kiss a pig but greasing one and then turning him loose to be chased by active and venomous small boys is not the S.P.C.A. idea of what constitutes kindness to a pig.

If you know a funnier one than that send it to John Hix, but that’s why there was no pig-chasing stunt last night. League officials are wondering what causes that but there it was!

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One of the “Bingies” blue coats patrolled the outfield until he thought all was safe. As he came away a line of bright heads formed all the way along the eastern wall and clung. Why pay these cops, Robert?

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Across Sixth Avenue one sloping verandah was filled with people who “once-overed” the game and, above and to the left an improvised grandstand on top of a house, was well filled with fans.  They saved their fees.

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Coley Hall had a chance to win for the Vac in the third. Morse was on second and a hit meant a run. Hall blew the works.

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Jack Cranstoun panicked the stands with a shoestring catch in right field while going at full speed. It was the fielding feature of the game.

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Jimmy Condon first-based for the Arrows and made a nice job of it. Watters had his troubled moments there for the Firemen. Daley worked nicely for Vacs and Cross was the star of the night on this sack for the Telephones.

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Al. Scott was the ball hawk of old at second for the Telephones. He makes hard plays in the field look easy. At bat—but why bring that up?

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Officially New Westminster was represented by J.A. Courtney, Bruce Fisher, Dan McKenzie and Jack Morgan. To be polite, they wore flannels. There were hundreds of Royal City folks in the stands, just comfortable.

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“We’re all set for night baseball at Queen’s Park,” said Dan McKenzie dryly, “that is we’re set except for the money.”

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Firemen won their game in the first frame. They got five runs and batted around. Miller three-bagged and Stevie scored him. Miron singled and Trasolini slapped one over the fence for three. Bean got on and Harry Richardson sent him over. Brother Bill was then yanked. There’s a first inning for you.

 

Packed Stands See Night Baseball

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Skeptics Converted When City League Teams Play Fast Games in Opening Double-header In Canada—Attendance is 4500—V.A.C Beat Telephones 1-0 and Firemen Down Arrows.

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[Daily Province, July 4, 1931]

VANCOUVER again takes the lead, being the first city in the Dominion to play night baseball. There wasn’t a seat in the stands at Athletic Park last night when Firemen and Arrows took the field in what was billed as the opening double-header of five innings each. Firemen beat the Arrows 5-3, while in the second end of the bill Telephones and Arrows hooked up in a real snappy display and when the nines were deadlocked at the end of five innings, Umpire Cohn kept the battle going and it was not until the seventh that the Redcaps got to Earl Lewis for three singles to fill the bases and then Lewis passed Puder to force in the only run of the game. The first game started at 9 o’clock and the second finished at 11:30.

There were doubtless hundreds who took in the show with a certain amount of misgiving, but certainly even the most sceptical went away with the conviction that the lighting afforded the opportunity of witnessing the plays little short of daylight conditions. Balls hit to the outfield could be followed for every putout and several flies to the outer garden were caught in a most sensational way.

Proceedings opened at 7:45 with a series of races in which Bert Davison as started and Bob Granger took leading parts. Then a series of short congratulatory speeches were made by Mayor Taylor, Hon. W.A. McKenzie and W.G. Murrin, who declared the night baseball season open and as his final words were uttered the switch was turned and the park was flooded with light. Lynne Pickler acted as master of ceremonies and conducted the broadcast of the game by the public address system.

The second night game of the season is billed for tonight when the Vancouver and Seattle firemen meet in their annual battle. The same teams were to play this afternoon. On Monday night at 8:45, Firemen and VAC will clash.

RICHARDSON BATTED OUT

Bill Richardson and Lefty Kaye were the opposing pitchers in the opening game. [unreadable few words] the former had been touched for five runs in as many innings with two down, he was derricked for Dave Gray, who held the champions scoreless for the remaining three innings. Arrows had opportunities, but inability to hit in a couple of pinches robbed them of chances to tie the count. They had two on and two down in the first, but Robertson fanned.

Firemen got all of their runs in the first. Miller led off with a triple and scored on Stevenson’s single to centre. Holden sacrificed. Miron singled between first and second and stole second, Stevenson making third. Trasolini lifted one over the right field fence. Watters went out to first. Bean walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Richardson singled to left, proving his brother’s downfall. Bean scored on the play. Gray went into the box. Kaye singled to left but Miller fanned. Thereafter, Gray held the champions safe at all stages.

The Arrows got two in the second. Jimmy Condon, who played first, singled through the box, and Keplinger was hit by a pitched ball. Barnes walked, filling the sacks. Gray forced Barnes at second, but Condon scored. Nestman was safe and Keplinger scored when Miron dropped Nestman’s fly. Campbell popped to Stevenson, who doubled Nestman at first, the first double-play of night baseball.

STEVENSON STARS

Arrows garnered their other run in the fourth. Gray grounded out. Netman was safe on Miller’s error. Campbell flew out to left and Watters failed to block the throw from Miron to get Nestman, who went to second. Jack Cranstoun’s long double to left scored Nestman. Staggs grounded out.

Stevenson’s smart work at second was one of the features. He had six chances without a miss. Cranstoun’s brilliant running catch of Miron’s long fly to left was loudly applauded.

There were no changes to the regular lineups of the Telephones and V.A.C. teams in the second game with the exception that Jacobsen made his initial appearance of the year with the former, turning in a fine game at third, instead of Freshfield. Both Puder and Earl Lewis pitched good ball, each having five strikeouts and three walks. They were well enough supported in the field, and though the time was getting well on, the play was so good that the great majority of the crowd waited to see the finish.

WINNING RUN FORCED IN.

Telephones had chances to score in the second, third and sixth, but the needed hits were not forthcoming. With the game still scoreless at the end of the fifth, the game was continued, and nothing developed in the way of a score until the last of the seventh. In that inning Dailey started for V.A.C. with a clean single to centre. Purmal beat out a hit to Earl Lewis, who slipped in making the play. The bases where clogged when Sherman beat out a hit to second. Lewis became unsteady and passed Puder [missing words] the winning and only run.

Jacobson’s catch of Puder’s foul fly well back of third was the fielding feature, the third baseman making the putout while running with the ball.