VANCOUVER BASEBALL

HOME PAGE

ABOUT THIS SITE

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

E-MAIL US

Okay, You Want Some P.C.L. Stuff....

 

The Vancouver Pacific Coast League pages won’t be ready for a while. Sorry. But just so it’s worth your while to stop by here, we’ll offer this. These notes were written almost 20 years ago before there was an internet or search engines. Today, you can find information about the first Vancouver P.C.L. season on-line.


Brick Laws looked at his ratty ballpark outside of
Oakland, then looked at the brand-new Capilano Stadium in Vancouver—and saw a gold mine. So, in 1956, he moved the Oakland Oaks north of the border.

 

Vancouver was quite happy with the arrangement. It always considered itself worthy of a P.C.L. team, as it has more in common with Seattle than, say, Kennewick or Bremerton in the poor-sister Western International League. And Vancouver came in when the P.C.L. was still the real P.C.L., before greedy major league owners turned it into just another AAA league.

 

The Vancouver Mounties played their first-ever P.C.L. game on April 10, 1956 at Seals Stadium against San Francisco, their former cross-bay rival:

 

      Vancouver ..............  010 020 000—3   5  2   

      San Francisco .........  211 110 00x—6 13  0

      Locke, Drummond (6), Herrera (6) and Neal; Casale, R.W. Smith (3) and Sadowski.

 

It started like a promising game. Spider Jorgenson, the old Brooklyn Dodger, led off and instantly got the first-ever Mounties' hit, a single over third base. But the inept play that would result in 98 losses during the season showed up in the first inning. A ball stuck in second baseman Don Leppert's glove, then he threw it away. Another ball dropped between Leppert and shortstop Witty Quintana. Neither called it (and neither would call Vancouver "home" by mid-season; they were shipped out). Two run unearned runs came in as Charlie Locke couldn't get his curve over. In the second, Quintana overcharged a grounder and ran right past it. On top of that, rain fell in the fifth inning (there was a nine-minute delay) and continued through the rest of the three hour, nine minute game. The Mounties couldn't get a hit off Missouri Bob Smith in the final four and two-thirds innings (Smith got nothing for it, as saves hadn't been invented yet). The wet contest drew a crowd of 14,401.

 

The first P.C.L. home game in Vancouver was a Friday night game April 27, 1956.  Eddie Joost's Seals did them in again:

 

     San Francisco ............ 000 000 002—2  6  1

     Vancouver ................. 100 000 000—1  6  1

     Osborne, Henry (9) and Sullivan; Harrison and Neal.

 

Jack Osborne (2-0) was the winner for San Francisco; he had won 21 games in Class C in 1955. Bob Harrison (2-3) was the loser, despite striking out ten. Each team had six hits. Bill Henry got the imaginary save, as he hurled a scoreless ninth, though he put two Mounties on base. 8,146 crammed Cap Stadium, the largest crowd the park had ever seen.

 

Vancouver’s first-ever P.C.L. run at home came on three singles in the first, with Bruce Edwards, the ex-big league catcher, driving in Don Leppert from second base. And there it stood until the top of the ninth. So, what happened? After Bob DiPietro grounded out, Joe Tanner singled. Pinch hitter Larry DiPippo grounded to Edwards, who happened to be playing first that day. Edwards threw to second to get Tanner for the force, but was wide of the base and everyone was safe. Sal Taormina came in to pinch hit and popped to short for the second out. Gordon Windhorn then poked at a high, hanging, inside curve and blasted it to the left field wall; considering the dimensions of the park, it must have been to left centre, which was maybe 380 feet in those days. It went for a double and Tanner scored the tying run. DiPippo made a dash for the plate. George Metkovich in left thought he had a chance to get him. He relayed to Quintana at short, who threw to Len Neal behind the plate. The throw beat DiPippo, but the ball took an awkward bounce, Lenny couldn't handle it and the run scored.

 

The Caps’ line-up that night – Spider Jorgenson, 3b; Leppert, 2b; Metkovich, lf; Jim Pisoni, cf; Edwards, 1b; Angelo Dagres, rf; Quintana, ss; Neal, c; Harrison, p. Frankie Austin (normally a catcher) struck out for Harrison in the ninth.

 

The Mounties made some cuts that day, too. Outfielder Armando Perez and pitcher Dave Jordan were sent to Class C Stockton, catcher Don Masterson (2 for 7) was shipped to Topeka and pitcher Ted Herrera caught a bus for Lubbock.

 

There was still interest in Oakland concerning their former club, and the Trib Sports Editor made the trip north for the Mounties' opener.  Some of his statements still sound familiar today.

 

Laws' Luck On Way Up

By ALAN WARD, Tribune Sports Editor

VANCOUVER, April 28—C. L. (Brick) Laws, the man who owned a Pacific Coast League baseball club in Oakland for many years and recently moved it to Vancouver, believes his luck has changed—and for the better.

Two incidents, both involving rain, have given Brick reason to hope he has been kissed fondly on the cheek by lady luck, and Brick, who blew a bundle running a ball club in Oakland, can use good fortune in abundance.

It rained here in Vancouver Friday afternoon. It rained again this morning. In Oakland the Friday night game, a seasonal opener, might have been called off. Ditto this afternoon, when not only rain but sleet pounded the housetops less than four hours before the opening pitch.

Weather in Vancouver is somewhat different than that of Oakland, and people here understanding the weather refuse to become panicked by the precipitation.

In the Bay Area such rainfall usually is sustained for hours. In Vancouver it blows over quickly, the ground absorbs water, the sun begins to shine and folks go on with their business as if nothing happened.

The Friday night game was played, and against the Seals, on schedule. So was this afternoon's contest. The Vancouver Mounties, lost Friday night won Saturday, are satisfied.

“Friday afternoon,” Laws told visiting newsmen from the Bay Area, “I was ready to jump off Lion’s Head Bridge here in Vancouver.

“The downpour was tremendous. My Vancouver friends smiled, said not to get excited and wait for the sun to shine. It did. Nothing ever looked quite so beautiful.”

Brick realizes he needs some luck to make PCL baseball here a profitable business. He realizes also his club needs help.

He probably will get both.

This writer came to Vancouver with the Seals not only to cover the Bay Area club, but to learn first-hand the attitude of Vancouver toward its first Coast League club.

Many people—taxi drivers, bankers, Mayor Fred Hume and the cute waitresses at the Sylvia Hotel, temporary local home of the Seals—were asked their views of their new baseball team.

Ed MacPherson, public relations officer for the Canadian Pacific Railway Co., seems a representative Vancouver citizen in the matter of quotes. MacPherson, an ardent baseball fan, says:

Vancouver is ready for Coast League baseball and has been for a long time.”

“This is a great and growing community and we want the best in sports. We feel Pacific Coast League ball is the best available. We have no major league aspirations now and if that ambition comes, it will be in proper time.

“Give us a team which can hold its own and we'll be happy. We don't expect miracles.

Already we are convinced the club managed by Lefty O’Doul is hustling. It needs strengthening in spots. O'Doul and Laws freely admit the fact they'll do everything possible to strengthen the clnb and we can't ask for more.

“We have a good park, Capilano Stadium, well located. Some of our residents may require slight education about Pacific Coast League ball—we had lesser leagues for a long time—but they'll catch on quick.

“I feel confident Vancouver will be a valued addition to the league and Brick Laws never will regret having moved into Canada.”

MacPherson’s views were expressed in essence by any number of local people. It appears the Mounties, if they hold together through the early weeks of the season, will become a permanent part of the Vancouver sports setup.

Cedric Tallis, Mounties’ general manager, has done an exceptional job of baseball promotion and renovation of a baseball park which until now was strictly Class B.

Today it is a comfortable, compact and picturesque plant, scenically among, the best in the league.

Tallis has worked hard for six months. He is optimistic about PCL baseball here. He was encouraged by the enthusiasm exhibited Friday night by more than 8,000 fans, and by the excellent playing facilities provided at Capilano Stadium, including a roof, which in addition to providing warmth for the spectators, acts as a sounding board for cheers of the spectators.

The roar of the grandstand crowd, which would be lost at Seals Stadium, rolls across the playing field and into far distances here.

Players on the field—Mounties principally—say the sound is mask to their ears.

O’Doul likes Vancouver, the people, the park and his club.

“Give me the help I need,” Lefty said today, “and I can give Vancouver a first division team. Not a real contender this year, but 1957 will be another season.”

Prediction: PCL baseball here will make the grade, financially and artistically, unless the team falls apart at the seams within the next two weeks.

It probably won't.