PCL Redux

Update: 9/29/1931

Hollywood defeated Oakland 11-3 in their one-game playoff to determine the second Nyquist Trophy Series berth. The Stars will travel to Sacramento to play Game One of the best-of-seven series today.

Sacramento finished 92-62 to take the regular season crown. Hollywood finished 90-65 to place second, and Oakland finished 89-63 to place third. Fourth-place Los Angeles finished 74-80, while Portland and Seattle tied for fifth place at 71-84. Mission finished seventh at 70-84 and San Francisco finished eighth at 60-94.

The Stars’ Earl Averill missed the Triple Crown by the slimmest of margins, losing the batting title to Oakland’s Ike Boone by a barely-measurable .00001. Boone hit .34712 and Averill hit .34711. Averill’s 29 home runs outdistanced Los Angeles’ double threat of Turkey Stearnes and Wally Berger, who each hit 28. Averill’s 128 RBI topped teammate John Beckwith’s 124.

The Angels’ Satchel Paige led the league in ERA, setting a single-season league record in the process with a 1.22 mark, over a run better than Solons ace Willie Foster’s 2.33. The Oaks’ Bill Holland was the top winner with 24 triumphs, one better than Foster, Sacramento’s Tony Freitas, and Hollywood’s Nip Winters. Paige’s 223 strikeouts far outpaced Foster’s 158.

Update: 9/28/1931

The regular season has ended—but not for everybody. Hollywood and Oakland, tied for second place with 89-65 records, will meet today in a one-game playoff to earn a ticket to the Nyquist Trophy Series. The winner will travel to Sacramento to play the Solons (92-62) for the league championship.

The Oaks’ bats were ice cold during four consecutive losses to the Solons to start the week but Oakland’s offense exploded in the last two games of the season as they thumped Sacramento by scores of 17-6 and 11-7. Meanwhile the Stars were winning four of six from Los Angeles (74-80), picking up two games in the standings from the Acorns and matching their record over 154 games. Hollywood’s 13-9 head-to-head record against Oakland earns them the right to hosts today’s Game 155. The starting pitchers are expected to be Jim Turner (11-15, 4.03) for Hollywood and Monte Pearson (18-11, 3.17) for Oakland.

Update: 9/21/1931

With one week to play, Sacramento (88-60) holds a one-game edge over Oakland (87-61); the Oaks are two games ahead of third-place Hollywood (85-63). Each of these three teams have played well enough this season to deserve a slot in the postseason, but only two of them are going to get one.

One thing we know is there will not be a three-way tie for first place. The Solons and Oaks play each other six times; a split means Sacramento comes in first; If the Oaks win four or more, Oakland will come in first. Hollywood, playing their final six against Los Angeles (72-76), needs to win two more games than Oakland this week or three more games than Sacramento to force a one-game playoff for second place. The Stars are a huge long shot to finish in first place but it’s still a possibility; they would probably need to sweep the Angels while either Oakland or Sacramento sweeps the other.

The Angels’ Turkey Stearnes won the Player of the Week Award with a .588 average, one home run and five runs batted in. The veteran outfielder is second in the league in home runs with 26, third in RBI with 108, and fifth in batting at .330.

Update: 9/14/1931

Five of the six games of the big Hollywood vs. Sacramento showdown have been played, and the Solons (84-58) have won three of them. The Stars (81-61) needed a better result that that; their hopes for a first place finish are beginning to fade, as they are now three games behind Sacramento with 12 to play. But they’re just a game behind Oakland (82-60), who struggled to a 3-4 mark this week against Seattle and San Francisco. The Oaks are two games behind the Solons, who are entering the final two weeks as the league’s hottest team. The Solons are certainly in the driver’s seat, but the race is still close enough that a poor showing the rest of the way could could cost them a trip to the Nyquist Trophy series.

Don’t count on rookie third baseman Stan Hack going into a slump. The 21-year-old budding star has just captured Player of the Week recognition for the second time this season. This time he did it by hitting .556 with seven runs batted in and eight runs scored. Hack is third in the league in runs scored with 111, and second in batting at .345, trailing the leaders by three runs scored and three percentage points, respectively.

Update: 9/7/1931

Riding a four-game winning streak, the league’s hottest team, Sacramento (80-55), has vaulted into first place. After a 20-7 August, the Solons have logged a 4-1 record in September. They lead Oakland (79-56), who won three and lost two this week, by a game, and Hollywood (78-57), who split four games, by two. Each of the top three teams have 19 regular season games left to play.

Los Angeles’ Wally Berger has now been named Player of the Week three times in the last six weeks. This time he earned it by hitting .450 with a home run and seven runs batted in. Berger has 25 home runs for the season, tying teammate Turkey Stearnes for the league lead.

Update: 8/31/1931


Anyone who was dreaming of an exciting pennant race in the Coast League this year can wake up; this one’s better than anything your subconscious is likely to conjure up. One half-game separates the top three teams. Hollywood (76-54) is back in first place after winning four out of six this week; Oakland (75-54), after losing four of six, and Sacramento, after matching the Stars’ 4-2 pace (75-54), are tied for second. Sacramento plays Hollywood Sept. 9-15 and Oakland Sept. 22-27. The Oaks and Stars don’t meet again during the regular season.

The League Champion Portland Beavers have had a disappointing season, as has captain Oscar Charleston, whose .306 average is the lowest of his 11-year P.C.L. career. Charleston made up a little for the frustration this week, however, hitting a robust .462 with two home runs. He was named Player of the Week for the 17th time in his illustrious career.

Update: 8/24/1931

This week Sacramento (71-52) played about as close to flawlessly as any team of mortals is probably capable of; in any case, their results were perfect, with three straight wins over San Francisco followed by three straight wins over Mission, with no losses. The hot streak has placed the third-place just Solons a half-game behind second-place Hollywood (72-52). The Stars had begun the week in first place but won only one game all week against five losses, and thus dropped one-and-a-half games behind Oakland (73-50). The three-team race for two postseason spots is the tightest it’s been all year.

Wally Berger of Los Angeles won his second Player of the Week Award this month, hitting .526 with two home runs and six runs batted in. Berger is fifth in the league in hitting at .328, fifth in RBI with 83, and tied for the lead in home runs with teammate Turkey Stearnes. The Angels’ slugging outfield tandem each have 24 round-trippers.

Update: 8/17/1931


All it takes for things to get tight at the top is for the first-place team to play a little worse than the second-place team while the second-place team plays a little worse than the third-place team. That’s exactly what happened this week, as Hollywood (71-47) dropped four of seven contests while Oakland (69-48) split their six and Sacramento (65-52) won four of six. The Stars hold a one-and-a-half-game lead over the Oaks, who lead the Solons by four.

Los Angeles’ Turkey Stearnes took Player of the Week accolades this week, the 19th time in his career he has earned the honor. Stearnes hit .448 with two home runs, eight runs batted in, and seven runs scored. The all-time P.C.L. leader in the latter three categories, Stearnes seems intent on proving his best years are not behind him; he leads the league this season in home runs with 24, and is third in RBI with 91. His batting average, .323, places him seventh on the season.

Update: 8/10/1931


Sacramento (61-50) dropped three key games to Hollywood (68-43) in the middle of the week, but the Solons still managed to go 4-3 and keep pace with the Stars; more importantly, they picked up a game on second-place Oakland (66-45), who went 3-4. The Solons trail the Oaks by five games.

Stan Hack, Sacramento’s rookie third baseman, is making his mark in the Coast League at the tender age of 21. Hack hit .552 to earn Player of the Week honors this week, and is now hitting .332 for the season—good enough for fifth in the league. Hack is third in the league in runs scored (82), fifth in the league in singles (103), and third in bases on balls (65).

Update: 8/3/1931


Hollywood (64-39) has reclaimed the top spot, leading Oakland (63-40) by a game. The Stars won their first four games this week but lost the last two, Sunday’s loss coming at the hands of Sacramento (56-47). The third-place Solons, eight games out of first and seven behind the second-place Oaks, have another ten games left against Hollywood, four this week and six in September. If Sacramento is going to make a three-team race of it, they’ll have to take advantage of their opportunities right away.

Los Angeles (48-55) isn’t going anywhere this year but left fielder Wally Berger is playing championship-caliber baseball anyway. Berger hit .542 this week while popping six home runs and driving in 14. He’s the Player of the Week for the ninth time in his short career, and is second in the league in home runs with 18 and fifth in RBI with 69.

Update: 7/27/1931


Hollywood (60-38) is back on track, beginning the week by completing a sweep of San Francisco (39-59) and finishing it with three wins in five games against first-place Oakland (61-37). With the Oaks going 3-4 overall, the Stars picked up a game in the standings and are now just a game out of first. Sacramento (52-46) kept pace with Hollywood but the third-place Solons are still nine games out of first and eight games behind the Stars.

Hollywood’s John Beckwith hit .500 this week, adding a home run and 11 runs batted in to his season’s totals, an impressive 15 HR (third in the league) and 83 RBI (tied for first with teammate Earl Averill). He’s hitting .306 overall.

Update: 7/20/1931


While the rest of the teams beat up on each other, Oakland (58-33) and Hollywood (55-36) just keep on winning; the Oaks, three games ahead of the Stars, now have a double-digit lead on the rest of the field. Sacramento (47-44), the only other team above .500, trails the Oaks by eleven and the Stars by eight. The also-rans will have an opportunity to gain some ground on one or both of the leaders later this week when Hollywood hosts Oakland in a five-game set beginning Wednesday.

Player of the Week Award voters almost always choose a position player for the honor, mostly because pitchers usually average less than two starts a week. When a pitcher does manage to get two starts in and also throws shutouts in both of them, the voters tend to take notice. That’s what Oakland’s Monte Pearson did this week, shutting out Hollywood on four hits last Tuesday and then coming back on Sunday to whitewash Los Angeles with a three-hitter. Now 11-6 with a 2.78 ERA on the season, Pearson has been a key component in the Oaks’ pennant drive.

Update: 7/13/1931

No question about it, Sacramento’s Cristobal Torriente is on what is colloquially referred to as “a roll”. The age-defying 37-year-old center fielder has picked up his second consecutive Player of the Week award after hitting .433 with a home run and 6 RBI. He’s raised his batting average from .243 to .283 in the two-week span.

For some reason Torriente’s hot streak has not translated into much success for Sacramento (45-40), who dropped four out of five games at Oakland (53-31) this week before salvaging a pair of victories at Seattle (42-43). The Solons remain six games behind second-place Hollywood (51-34), who had their struggles this week against Los Angeles (42-43) and Oakland. The Oaks lead the Stars by two games, the Solons by eight, and the Angels and Rainiers (42-43) by eleven.

Update: 7/6/1931


Hollywood (48-30) had been on quite a hot streak of late, but the Stars cooled down enough this week for Oakland (48-30) to make up a three-game deficit and again pull even with them for first place. The Oaks split the final two games of their series with the Stars, then took four of five at Sacramento (42-36) while the Stars were losing four of five to Los Angeles (39-39). Sacramento picked up a game on Hollywood in the standings but lost two to Oakland; the Solons trail the leaders by six.

Sacramento’s so-so results this week certainly can’t be blamed on center fielder Cristobal Torriente, who hit .417 with three home runs and twelve runs batted in. The 37-year-old Player of the Week honoree seems to be kicking his season into high gear, as he has struggled a bit at the plate this year, posting a .267 average, but with 52 runs scored and 42 runs batted in, he has managed to remain productive even with a batting average well below his standard.

Update: 6/29/1931


The two teams who call Los Angeles’ Wrigley home are on the move—in different directions. Hollywood (46-25) won six of seven this week and have opened up a three-game lead over second-place Oakland (43-28), while Los Angeles (35-36) lost six of seven and are now eleven games behind the Stars. The Oaks’ week sums up the current trend thusly: they opened the week with three straight wins over the Angels, and closed it with four straight losses to the Stars. Third-place Sacramento (39-31) trails the Stars by seven and the Oaks by four.

it would have been surprising if the Player of the Week had been someone other than a member of the team that won six games in seven tries, and indeed it is Hollywood’s Tony Lazzeri who has captured the honor. Lazzeri hit .407 with three home runs and eleven runs batted in to raise his season marks to .310, 11 HR, 40 RBI. Lazzeri leads the league in runs scored with 59.

Update: 6/22/1931

Hollywood (40-24) took two of the last three games of their six-game set at Oakland (40-24), and then won three straight at San Francisco (25-39); the Stars are now tied with the Oaks for first place. Sacramento (35-30), with four wins in seven games this week, moved past Los Angeles (34-30) into third place, but the Solons still have some work to do, trailing the leaders by five and a half games.

The Stars’ Earl Averill was the week’s top performer. With a .444, 2-HR, 8-RBI ledger, Averill raised his season average to a league-leading .372, his home run total to 11 (second in the league), and his RBI total to 53 (also second in the league. It’s looking like another great season for Averill, who has turned in great seasons like clockwork since his P.C.L. debut in 1926.

Update: 6/15/1931


Hollywood (35-23) completed a six-game sweep of San Francisco (23-35) before dropping two of the first three of a six-game set at Oakland (37-21). The Stars have surged into sole possession of second place, two games behind the Oaks and three ahead of Los Angeles (32-26), who won only twice last week against the same two teams. Sacramento (31-27) had a similarly poor week and remains a game behind the Angels, but now four behind the Stars.

Taylor Douthit of Hollywood had a memorable week, hitting .581 and driving in nine as the Stars drove towards the top of the league. Douthit is hitting .335 this season, which would be a career high if he’s able to maintain it. The 31-year-old center fielder, who was born in Arkansas but grew up in Oakland, is known primarily as a glove man but he can hit, too, collecting 36 or more doubles in both of his first two seasons with the Stars.

Update: 6/8/1931


Oakland (32-19) was still tied with Los Angeles (30-21) going into their six-game set which started this past Saturday. The Oaks took the first two games and are now all alone in first place. Even worse for the Angels is the fact that Hollywood (30-21) also gained two games on them; the Stars have caught the Halos and the two park-mates are now tied for second. Just a game behind them is Sacramento (29-22).

Seattle’s Red Kress is the Player of the Week. The 27-year-old infielder, who’s mostly concentrating on second base this season, hit a sharp .394 with one home run and six runs batted in. The Columbia, California native is hitting an even .300 for the season. His 16 doubles are second in the league, one behind George Scales of Los Angeles. The Rainiers (22-29) are off to a slow start but did play better than .500 ball (4-3) this week.

Update: 6/1/1931


Los Angeles (27-17) took four games out of six from Sacramento (25-19), taking over the Solons’ share of first place and dropping them into a third-place tie with Hollywood (25-19), two games out of first. Oakland (27-17) won four of seven this week to hang onto a share of the top spot. The Solons and Stars will fight it out in a five-game set beginning today. The Angels and Oaks will begin a six-game series on Saturday.

The Oaks’ third baseman Leo Ostenberg is the Player of the Week. Ostenberg, relegated to reserve status by Hollywood last season after two solid years as a starter, has found new life in Oakland. This week he hit .500 and drove in eight runs. He’s hitting .318 for the season, and is fifth in the loop with 32 runs batted in. Along with a rejuvenated pitching staff that includes Pitcher of the Month Leo Mangum (8-1, 2.42), and contributions from veterans such as first baseman Buzz Arlett (.374) and catcher Ernie Lombardi (.359), Ostenberg is a key reason for the Oaks’ turnaround this season.

Update: 5/25/1931


Oakland (23-14) has company. Sacramento (23-14) took four of six this week against Mission (17-20) and San Francisco (16-21) while the Oaks split six games with the same two clubs, so the Solons are now tied for first. Not far behind is Los Angeles, a half-game back at 23-15, and Hollywood, two games back at 21-16.

The Player of the Week is 38-year-old George Burns, Hollywood’s age-defying first baseman. Burns hit .579 with two home runs and six runs batted in. With a .321 average, 6 home runs and 19 RBI, Burns is showing the young folks there’s plenty of life in him yet. With Burns’ bat a conspicuous contributor, the Stars won four of five this week.

A couple of early-season standouts are Oakland’s Leo Mangum and Sacramento’s Stan Hack. Mangum, whose career record entering this season was 21-34, is 7-0. Hack, just 21 years old and playing his first season for his hometown Solons, is leading the league in hitting at .405.

Update: 5/18/1931


Oakland (20-11) remains in first place after a 3-3 week, but playing .500 ball is no way to hold onto a lead. Los Angeles (20-12) and Sacramento (19-12) are breathing down the Oaks’ necks, a half game out and a game out respectively. The Angels won five of six this week and the Solons won four of six.

Hollywood (17-15) is off to a modest start this season; the Stars currently reside on fourth place. Don’t blame left fielder Earl Averill, though; this week the Washington-reared slugger hit .458 with three home runs and eight runs batted in. Averill’s hitting .375 for the season, good enough for third-best in the league. His five home runs place him in a tie for second place, and his 23 RBI are fourth. Still just 28 years old, he’s already made his mark in the league’s record book: his .359 career average is the best in P.C.L. history.

Update: 5/11/1931


Oakland (17-8) is off to a great start. This week they took three out of four against San Francisco and split a pair with Mission, led by by their new left fielder, 35-year-old Ike Boone. Boone hit .481 and drove in 12 runs on the week, also hitting his second home run of the campaign. His .386 average is second in the league and his 29 RBI are tops.

The Oaks are scoring 5.3 runs per game, the most on the league, and allowing just 3.7 runs per game, second best by a hair behind Sacramento’s 3.6. The Acorns lead the second-place Solons by two games and will be difficult to catch if they can maintain their present pace.

Los Angeles and Hollywood both are 15-11 and tied for third place, a half-game behind Sacramento and two and a half behind Oakland. The rest of the league is under .500 and at least five games out.

Update: 5/4/1931


Los Angeles’ Jigger Statz is known more for his stellar play in center field than for his bat, but as his .295 career average attests, he gets his licks in now and again. This week he got them in to the tune of .407 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI, bringing his season’s average up to .325 and earning the Player of the Week award for the third time in his career.

It wasn’t as good a week for the Angels (11-9) as it was for Statz, however. In spite of Statz’ contributions they dropped four of seven games to fall to third place, two and a half games behind Oakland (13-6). The Oaks completed a six-game sweep of Seattle (6-14), dropping the Rainiers into the cellar, and then split the first two games of a six-game set with San Francisco (9-10). Mission (11-8) played just .500 this week and therefore fell two games behind the Oaks, but fell no further than second place. The Bells are two games behind Oakland; Sacramento (10-9) is three back. Hollywood (10-10) and the Seals are three and a half and four games back, respectively.

Update: 4/27/1931


There’s a three-way tie atop the standings after two weeks. Los Angeles, Mission, and Oakland all have 8-5 records. Sacramento is a game back at 7-6; Hollywood and Seattle are each a game under .500 at 6-7, while San Francisco (5-8) and Portland (4-9) have started slowly.

The Seals and Angels battled all day long on Thursday, a game extended not only by each team’s inability to score but also by by a half-hour rain delay in the 13th inning. San Francisco finally won it, 3-2, on Freddie Muller’s RBI-single in the 16th.

Oakland catcher Ernie Lombardi is the Player of the Week, hitting an unbelievable .722 over the Oaks’ last seven games. Not surprisingly, he’s leading the league in hitting, with a .500 average in 42 at-bats.

Opening Week 1931


Seattle finished strongly last season and the Rainiers are off to the league’s best start in 1931, beating World Champion Portland five times in six tries. The Rainiers hit .314 against the Beavers and outscored them 35-23.

Los Angeles and Mission got off to 4-2 starts, beating their park-mates, Hollywood and San Francisco, respectively. Oakland and Sacramento split their opening six-game set.

The Player of the Week is Mission’s Martín Dihigo, who blistered Seals pitching to the tune of .500 with 2 home runs, 6 RBI, and 7 runs scored. It’s the fourth time in his career that Dihigo has captured the honor. Dihigo is .315 career hitter with 141 home runs to his credit.

1930-1931 Off-Season

Seals Stadium

The San Francisco Seals will unveil the sparkling new Seals Stadium on Opening Day. The ballpark, located at 16th and Bryant Streets, is a short six blocks from the club’s old home at Recreation Park, but in terms of aesthetics the modern 16,000-seat steel-and-concrete structure may as well be on another world. Immediately Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field and Portland’s Vaughn Street Park have another rival for the league’s most attractive venue.

The Seals have rarely had difficulty drawing crowds, so the Mission Bells, who will also take up residency in the new facility, may be the larger beneficiary. The Bells have had contending teams and exciting stars but still haven’t seemed to catch on in The City. Perhaps playing on the league’s newest stage will attract the customers that have been eluding them.