PCL Redux

Update: 7/27/1936


The Player of the Week is Oakland’s Harlin Pool, who led the Oaks (47-51) to five wins in seven games by hitting .531 and driving in eight runs. The 28-year-old native of Lakeport, California is hitting .352 with a home run and 54 RBI this season. Now in his sixth season in the Coast League, this is the first time he has been given the opportunity to start regularly, and the left-handed-hitting outfielder is making the most of the opportunity.

The Oaks had a good week but Sacramento (59-39) had an even better one; the Solons, in fact, were a perfect 6-0, and have now won seven straight en route to first place and a two-game lead over Los Angeles (57-41), who lost four of seven. San Francisco (52-46) was nearly as good as the Solons, winning six and losing one, so the Seals are now in third place, seven games behind Sacramento but two ahead of fourth-place San Diego (50-48). Oakland is in fifth place, Mission (44-54) is in sixth, Seattle (42-56) is in seventh and Portland (41-57) is back in the cellar, eighteen games off the pace.

Update: 7/20/1936


George Scales has been an Angel since 1922, and one of the team’s on-field and clubhouse leaders for just as long. This season the club asked him to utilize his leadership skills in a more official capacity, giving him the title of field manager. The rookie skipper currently has the team in first place. Of no small benefit is the outstanding play of his second baseman, who is hitting .325 with 9 HR and 52 RBI, and has just wrapped up a week during which he hit .481. That second baseman, of course, is Scales himself.

Scales led Los Angeles (54-37) to a 4-2 record this week, which allowed the Angels to slip past Sacramento (53-39). The Solons dropped five of seven and trail the Halos by a game and a half. San Diego (49-42) is five games out, San Francisco (46-45) is eight games out, Oakland (42-49) is 12 games out, Mission and Portland (both 41-51) are 13 1/2 games out, and Seattle (40-52) is 14 1/2 games out.

Update: 7/13/1936


“If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” may be the motto of a certain veteran Coast League center fielder. That would be Oscar Charleston, who between outfield stints and turns at bat also calls the shots as manager of the San Diego Padres. The 39-year-old Charleston showed his charges—and the rest of the league—how it’s done this week, hitting .526 with two home runs and six RBI. In 50 games this season (the one thing he doesn’t do well anymore is avoid injury) Charleston is hitting .339 with 3 HR and 37 RBI.

The Padres (47-38) were unable to gain ground this week on either first-place Sacramento (51-34) or second-place Los Angeles (50-35), as all three teams battled to identical 3-3 records. Fourth-place San Francisco (42-43) won four of six, so the Seals are nine games behind the Solons. Oakland (40-45) remains 11 games out. Mission and Seattle ( both 37-48) are tied for sixth, 14 games back; the Rainiers are in the maelstrom—16 losses in their last 17 games. Portland (36-49) was a winner four times in six tries this week but Beavers remain in the cellar, 15 games back.

Update: 7/6/1936


Sacramento (48-31) dropped to a last-place finish last season after a run that included seven postseason appearances in eight years. Was last year a fluke? Sure seems like it; the Solons have won eleven of thirteen and have taken over first place, one game ahead of Los Angeles (47-32). Several Sacramento players are hitting well over .300 and rookie hurler Hilton Smith is 13-1, but their top player is catcher Josh Gibson, who has just been named Player of the Week. Gibson hit .500 with three home runs, eleven runs batted in, and seven runs scored this week. He’s fourth in the loop in hitting at .357 and fifth in home runs with 17.

The now-second-place Angels and third-place San Diego (44-35) have split the first six of ten consecutive head-to-head matchups; San Francisco (38-41) and Mission (34-45) have done the same. The Solons have beaten Oakland (37-42) four times in the first six meetings of their mid-season set. Seattle (36-43) has lost eleven straight including the last six vs. Portland (32-47).

Update: 6/29/1936

Seattle’s Willie Wells is certainly on a roll; the shortstop has just captured his second consecutive Player of the Week Award by punishing opposing pitchers to the tune of a .433 batting average, a homer, and six runs batted in. He now has 13 home runs on the season to go along with 55 RBI and a .322 average. His teammates, however, did not keep up their end of the bargain this week, as the Rainiers (36-36) dropped five out of seven—including the last four in a row—to fall seven and a half games behind Los Angeles (43-28).

Not that the Angels are coasting. They had a losing (3-4) week themselves and have watched their lead over second-place Sacramento (42-29) dwindle down to just one game. The red-hot Solons dropped their first contest this week then bounced back to win their last five. Third-place San Diego (40-31) won four and lost three and trail the Halos by three games. San Francisco (34-37), Oakland (34-38), Mission (30-41), and Portland (26-45) make up the second division.

Update: 6/22/1936


The top three teams in the standings last week are still the top three teams this week, but they all took their lumps playing supposedly inferior teams. Los Angeles (40-24) lost three straight to Oakland (29-35) before taking two of three from San Francisco (31-33). Sacramento began the week on fire, taking three straight from Portland (25-40), but then dropped four in a row to Seattle (34-31). San Diego (36-28) won two in a row against the Seals but lost the series finale and then dropped three straight to the Oaks. When the dust settled the Angels held a 3 1/2-game lead over the Solons, a 4-game lead over the Padres, and a 6 1/2-game lead over the Rainiers, who have climbed into fourth place. Oakland is in sixth, 11 games back, Mission (26-39) is 14 1/2 games back and the Beavers trail by 15 1/2 games.

Not too surprising that the Player of the Week wears a Rainiers uniform, since the defending league champs won six of seven. Shortstop Willie Wells hit .394 with four home runs, ten runs batted in, and nine runs scored. Wells is hitting ,310 this season with 12 homers and 49 RBI.

Update: 6/15/1936


Portland center fielder Cleo Carlyle hit .400 and scored eight runs this week, good enough to earn the 34-year-old flycatcher Player of the Week honors, but not quite good enough to lead the Beavers to a winning record for the week (they went 4-4) or to lift them out of the cellar. They do, however, have company now. A brutal stretch for both Oakland (they went 1-6) and Mission (they went 2-6) left all three teams in a tie for sixth place with a 23-35 record. The trio trails first-place Los Angeles (38-20) by 15 games.

The Angels are four games better than their closest pursuers, but there is now a tie for second place. San Diego won just four of seven while Sacramento took six of seven, so the Solons have caught the Padres; they both stand at 34-24. Fourth-place San Francisco is 29-29, nine games back, and Seattle (28-30) trails by ten.

Update: 6/8/1936


Turkey Stearnes of Los Angeles has picked up more Player of the Week Awards than any other player since the honor was established in 1921. This time around he earned it for the 27th time by hitting .476 with a home run, six runs batted in, and five runs scored. A .336 hitter in his career, Stearnes is a little below that mark so far this year, hitting “just” .313, but his 14 home runs place him fourth in the league, as do his 40 RBI. His Angels (33-18) fought to a 4-3 record this week, which was enough to maintain their three-game lead over second-place San Diego (30-21).

Two games behind the Padres is Sacramento (28-23), the only other team in the league right now with a winning record. San Francisco and Seattle (both 25-26) are tied for fourth place, Oakland (22-29) is in sixth, Mission (21-29) is in seventh, and Portland (19-31), in spite of a current four-game winning streak, remains in last.

Update: 6/1/1936


San Diego’s Buck Leonard may not yet be acclimated to his new home at Lane Field, but the parks that are more familiar to him—such as Portland’s Vaughn Street Park and Sacramento’s Moreing Park have been more than accommodating. This week, playing all road games, the Padre slugger hit .412, and while hitting just one home run, he still drove in 14 runs and scored 10. Big Buck’s season average is at .366—fifth in the league—and his 39 RBI are third while his 8 homers have him tied for sixth.

The Padres (26-18) went 5-2 (winning their last two games against Sacramento by a combined score of 41-6), surged into second place and picked up a half-game on the high-flying Angels (29-15); Los Angeles won four of six and leads San Diego by three games. Sacramento (24-20) is in third place, five games out of first, and San Francisco (23-21) is in fourth, six games back. Seattle (21-23) is eight games back, Oakland (20-24) is nine games back, Mission (18-26) is eleven games back, and Portland (15-29) trails by 14.

A couple of Angels stalwarts hit milestones this week. On Saturday George Scales collected his 2500th P.C.L. hit (he’s seventh on the league’s all-time list), but his feat was somewhat overshadowed the following day when Turkey Stearnes doubled in the first inning off Mission’s Boom-Boom Beck for hit #3000. Stearnes is the first player to collect 3000 hits in the major-league P.C.L.

Update: 5/25/1936

Two teams—Sacramento and Mission—won five games against just one loss this week. It was enough to lift the Solons (22-15) into second place, 2 1/2 games behind Los Angeles (25-13). For the Bells (16-21), it only means a tie for sixth place with Oakland (also 16-21)—for now. Few P.C.L. observers have forgotten Mission’s 8-24 start last season, or the 18-1 run that followed it.

The Solons’ successful week was largely due to shortstop Joe Cronin’s second Player of the Week performance this season. Cronin hit .435 with a home run, scoring six runs and knocking in seven. He’s hitting .370 for the season.

San Diego (21-16) won just one game this week, but the third-place Padres remain one of just three .500+ teams in the league. San Francisco is 18-19, Seattle is 18-20, Portland is 13-24.

Update: 5/18/1936


The Player of the Week in the Coast League is almost always an everyday player; it’s very difficult for a pitcher to put up statistics that are eye-catching enough to outshine the top hitters when a pitcher typically only makes one or two appearances in a week. One way to make the voters sit up and take notice is to throw two shutouts, and that’s exactly what Mission’s Frank Shellenback did. He stopped Oakland 2-0 last Monday on a five-hitter, then followed that up with a 20-0 four-hit whitewashing of Sacramento on Sunday. The latter victory was Shellenback’s 250th in the P.C.L.; it’s the all-time record. The 37-year-old spitballer is 3-2 with a 3.92 ERA this season.

Shellenback’s twin triumphs helped the Bells (11-20) to a winning record (4-2) for the week, but the club remains in seventh place, ahead of only struggling Portland (10-22). Mission is still looking up at two other second-division teams, sixth-place Seattle (15-17) and fifth-place Oakland (15-16). In the higher-rent section, Los Angeles (21-11) has a one-game edge over San Diego (20-12) and a 3 1/2-game lead over Sacramento and San Francisco (both 17-14).

Shellenback wasn’t the only pitcher making headlines this week. Seattle’s Willie Foster no-hit San Diego 6-0 on Saturday, allowing just one man to reach base (via a base on balls). It is the first no-hitter in the P.C.L. during the loop’s major-league era—a feat that has taken 15+ years to accomplish.

Update: 5/11/1936


Los Angeles left fielder Wally Berger has hit his share of home runs during his 10-year career; he’s 3rd on the all-time list in the P.C.L. with 341. Just 30 years of age, Berger’s swing is as devastating as ever. This week he hit five home runs and batted .438 as the Angels (17-8) took four out of five to increase their lead over second-place San Diego (16-10) to one and a half games. Berger is currently leading the loop in all three Triple Crown categories, hitting .461 with 9 HR and 28 RBI. He’s won the RBI crown twice in his career and paced the circuit in homers four times, but he’s never won a batting title in spite of a career .332 average.

There is a tight race in the middle of the P.C.L. pack right now, with two teams (Oakland and San Francisco) three games out of first at 14-11 and two teams (Sacramento and Seattle) four games out of first at 13-12. Mission (7-18) and Portland (7-19) are off to difficult starts but the Bells started out even worse last season and still made the playoffs, so nobody’s being counted out yet.

Update: 5/4/1936


Los Angeles (13-7) has taken over the top spot after a 5-2 week, but their lead is slim: just a half-game over San Francisco (12-7), one game over San Diego (12-8), and two games over Seattle (11-9). The Rainiers, and their pitching staff in particular, had a particularly rough week, losing five of seven and giving up 10, 13, 14, and 12 runs in four losses to the Seals and 20 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Padres. Even after all that, Seattle is just two games out of first.

Sacramento shortstop Joe Cronin is the Player of the Week. Cronin hit .500 with three home runs. seven runs batted in and ten runs scored; he’s now at .338 for the season. The Solons (8-11) were only able cash in that performance for three wins in six games, but it was their first non-losing week this season, so the fiery Cronin may have sparked the beginning of  a turnaround. The Solons are a game worse than Oakland (9-10) and a game better than Mission (7-12). Portland (6-14) remains in last place but the Beavers are coming off their first winning week of the young season.

Update: 4/27/1936


Last season San Francisco’s Ted Norbert was a rookie who failed to show much promise, hitting just .197 with three home runs and 25 runs batted in over 232 at-bats. Perhaps something clicked for the 27-year-old outfielder during the off-season, because this week he hit .324 with five homers and fourteen RBI. The five home runs and his 19 RBI both lead the league, while his season’s batting average sits at a more-than-respectable .314.

Norbert’s heroics led the Seals (7-6) to a 5-2 record this week, good enough to lift them into a fourth-place tie with San Diego (also 7-6). Seattle (9-4) remains in first, but the Rainiers have cooled down, going 2-4 after a 7-0 start; they’ve lost their last three in a row. Los Angeles and Oakland (both 8-5) are a game back. Mission (6-7), Sacramento (5-8), and Portland (2-11) are off to disappointing starts.

Opening Week 1935


The defending league champions have not skipped a beat. Seattle is off and running with a 6-0 record and a two-game lead over Mission and Oakland (both 4-2) after one week of P.C.L. action. First baseman Ray Jacobs, a 34-year-old veteran who was rarely utilized last season, was dominant this week, hitting .440 with three home runs and eight runs batted in. Catcher Biz Mackey also homered three times, and left fielder Max West homered twice. The Rainiers have already hit 11 home runs.

Rounding out the standings, Los Angeles and San Diego (both 3-3) split six games and are tied for fourth place, Sacramento and Seattle are 2-4 and tied for sixth, and Portland, having had the bad luck to play only the red-hot Rainiers, are in the cellar at 0-6.

1935-1936 Off-Season

Lane Field

The Hollywood Stars are no more. Frustrated by their inability to find a suitable site in the Los Angeles area to build their own stadium, and unwilling to tolerate the rent hike imposed on them by their landlords, the Angels, the club has packed its bags and headed to greener pastures.

They will call themselves the San Diego Padres, and will set up shop at the newly-constructed Lane Field at the corner of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway, just across from the West Broadway Pier in the fast-growing port city of San Diego. The ballpark, for now an all-wooden, uncovered structure, seats 10,000.