PCL Redux

Update: 7/30/1934


After winning just one game the previous week Hollywood (58-40) changed the script and took six out of seven this week. With Sacramento (57-41) muddling through a 3-4 week the Stars and Solons have once again swapped positions; Hollywood leads Sacramento by a game.

Unfortunately for the other six teams in the league there is little further intrigue in this season’s pennant race. As the Stars and Solons have kept rushing past one another they have been steadily creating more distance between themselves and the rest of the loop. The also-rans have mostly themselves to blame as none of them have even managed to play .500 ball this year. The best of the lot—currently—is Mission (48-50), who climbed into third place this week without doing anything particularly impressive—the Bells won four and lost three, and that was enough to slip by flailing San Francisco (47-51), who lost six of seven. Tied for fourth place with the Seals is Portland (also 47-51), Los Angeles and Seattle (both 46-52) are tied for sixth. Oakland (43-55) brings up the rear.

Seattle’s Dutch Holland was the week’s top performer, hitting .500 with six home runs and 14 runs batted in as the Rainiers went 4-3. Holland is hitting .339 with 15 home runs and 67 RBI this season.

Update: 7/23/1934


San Francisco native and long-time Seals captain Lefty O’Doul took on a big addition to his workload this season by accepting the post of field manager, a decision that many observers assumed meant O’Doul was nearing the finish line as a player. Not necessarily, if this past week’s performance is any indication. The gregarious 37-year-old hit a sizzling .625, adding two home runs and eight runs batted in to capture the Player of the Week award. O’Doul leads the Seals in batting (.348), HR (10, tied with Mike Hunt), and RBI (55), clearly indicating he’s a “lead by example” manager.

While O’Doul’s Seals (46-45) played .500 ball and remained in third place, the top two teams in the league switched positions again. Sacramento (54-37) took five of six while Hollywood (52-39) lost five of six, so the Solons are back on top, two games ahead of the Stars. San Francisco is six games behind Hollywood and the only other team above .500. Mission (44-47), Los Angeles (43-48), Portland (43-48), Seattle (42-49), and Oakland (40-51) have been too inconsistent to make much of a run in this year’s pennant chase.

Update: 7/16/1934


Smead Jolley returned to the P.C.L. this season after four seasons back East, and the 32-year-old outfielder is glad to be back in the salt air. Playing for Portland, Jolley has rediscovered the form he showed during his best years in San Francisco in the late ’20’s. His sizzling .531 average—augmented by four home runs and 13 runs batted in—earned him Player of the Week honors. He’s now second in the loop in batting with a .354 clip.

Hollywood (51-34) kept up their winning ways, taking three of the last four against Los Angeles (42-43) and the first to of a five-game set with Sacramento. bounced back to take two of three from Sacramento (49-36). The Solons had taken four straight from Oakland (36-49) to pull even with the Stars on the eve of the series but are now two games back. San Francisco (43-42) is in third place, six games behind the Solons, and the Angels are now in fourth place, seven games behind Sacramento.

Update: 7/9/1934

It was a big week for Buck Leonard and Hollywood (46-33). While Babe Ruth is enjoying a banner season at the age of 39, one wonders if the heir to the Throne of Swat hasn’t emerged this season in Hollywood. Leonard, the Stars’ 27-year-old rookie first sacker, hit five home runs this week, running his season total up to 31. Could the Bambino’s single-season record of 66 be in jeopardy? Leonard’s pace is a little shy of what is needed to eclipse the mark, but on the other hand, he’s hot. He also hit .448 and drove in 12 runs this week, and now leads the loop in all three Triple Crown categories with a .368 average, 31 HR, and 73 RBI.

Last Monday the Stars were in second place, three and a half games behind Sacramento (45-34), with Los Angeles (39-40), San Francisco (39-40), and Portland (38-41) breathing down their necks, just two, three, and three and a half games behind them respectively. The Stars began the week by taking the final two games of a six-game set with the Seals, and then beat the Angels in five of six. With the Solons, Angels, Seals, and Beavers all failing to play .500 ball during the week, the Stars are now in first place, a game ahead of Sacramento, and a comfortable seven games ahead of Los Angeles and San Francisco and eight games ahead of Mission (38-41) and Portland. 

Update: 7/2/1934


The pennant race became a lot more interesting this week, thanks largely to four straight Portland (36-36) wins over Sacramento (43-29). The Beavers, eight games under .500 on June 16, have gone 12-4 since and are now just seven games out of first and three and a half games out of second.

With the Solons losing five of eight this week, second-place Hollywood (39-32) had a golden opportunity to close the gap, but they missed it. In fact, the Stars lost ground to Sacramento—and everyone else in the league—dropping six of seven games. Third-place Los Angeles (37-34) and fourth-place San Francisco (36-35) took advantage, closing to within two and three games of the Stars respectively. Sixth-place Mission (34-37) did not have a good week but the Bells are still just five games out of second place.

Seattle’s Willie Wells had a good week, even though the Rainiers (30-42) didn’t. The 28-year-old shortstop hit .408 with four home runs and 15 runs batted in, but Seattle won only twice in seven games. The Rainiers are in last place, a game worse than Oakland (31-41). Wells is hitting 272 with 14 HR and 43 RBI.

Update: 6/25/1934


Hollywood (38-26) bounced back to take two of three from Sacramento (40-24) and two of three from Mission (30-34), so the Stars are now within two games of the first-place Solons. The Solons also dropped two of the first three games of a six-game set against third-place Los Angeles (33-31). Fourth-place San Francisco (31-34) struggled this week, losing five of seven to fall three games below .500. The Angels trail the Stars by five, the Seals trail the Angels by two and a half, and the Bells trail the Seals by a half-game.

The Player of the Week is Portland first baseman Bob Johnson. “Indian Bob” hit .333 with five home runs and 12 runs batted in the Beavers (30-35) split six games. Johnson is hitting .270 this season.

Update: 6/18/1934


Earl Averill, the slugging sensation from Snohomish, Washington, has been making life miserable for PCL pitchers since 1926. This season is Averill’s first in a Sacramento (38-20) uniform, but aside from that small detail everything else about the man seems to be the same. This week he hit five home runs, drove in ten, scored seven, and hit .387 as the Solons took five out of seven to open up a four-game lead over Averill’s previous team, Hollywood (34-24). Averill was particularly unkind to his old mates, homering twice in three games against the Stars, all of which the Solons won. Averill is hitting .350 with 11 HR and a league-leading 53 RBI. Sacramento and Hollywood continue their head-to-head battle today with the fourth game of their six-game series.

Los Angeles (30-28) has climbed into third place ahead of San Francisco (29-29); the Angels are within four games of the Stars. Also continuing to rise is fifth-place Mission (27-31), who picked up three games in the standings on the second-place Stars, and now trail them by seven. The Bells were 13 games behind Hollywood on June 1.

Update: 6/11/1934


Having caught Sacramento (33-18) last week, Hollywood (also 33-18) has been unable to pass the Solons, and the Solons have been unable to shake the Stars; the deadlock atop the standings board remains. This week both teams played just slightly better than .500 ball, both winning four and losing three, while their closest challengers San Francisco (27-24) and Los Angeles (26-25) did the same, so the leaders retained a six-game edge over the Seals and a seven-game edge over the Angels.

The hottest team in the league right now is Mission (23-28), winners of ten of their last eleven games. This surge has lifted the Bells from the cellar into fifth place, ten games out of first. It’s still too early in the season for any team to give up hope.

Solons catcher Josh Gibson is the Player of the Week. The slugging backstop had been held without a home run all season, but this week he collected three while batting .423, driving in seven runs, and scoring five. Gibson’s home run production was late in arriving, but he’s been productive all year, hitting .350 with 31 RBI.

Update: 6/4/1934

With the way Hollywood (29-15) had been playing of late it seemed inevitable that they would catch  Sacramento (also 29-15), and catch them they did. The Stars won five of seven this week while the Solons had their first sub-par week of the season, losing five of seven. Buck Leonard, the rookie Hollywood first baseman who has taken the league by storm, had another phenomenal week, hitting .500 with a pair of home runs and eight runs batted in. Leonard has 19 home runs, which comfortably leads the league, and he’s tied for the league lead in batting average (.389) and RBI (45) with a couple of his teammates, Bobby Doerr and Vince DiMaggio.

The surging Stars notwithstanding, this was a week in which the second-division teams mostly held sway. Fifth-place Portland (20-24) went 4-2, sixth-place Oakland (19-25) went 5-2, and last-place Mission caught Seattle (both 17-27) for seventh place by going 4-3. 12 games separate first place from last place.

Update: 5/28/1934


Hollywood (25-13) gained two games on Sacramento (27-10); the Stars lost the final game of a five-game set with Seattle (15-22) but then swept five from Portland (16-22). The Solons only managed to split six games against Mission (13-24) and San Francisco (20-17) so their lead over the Stars is down to two and a half games. Los Angeles (19-18) is in the black for the first time this season; the defending champs won four of five this week and climbed into the first division. Mission got off to such a poor start this year that even their current five-game winning streak hasn’t been enough to lift them out of the cellar, but the Bells are now just a game out of seventh place and just two and a half games behind fifth-place Portland.

Oakland’s Buzz Arlett is the Player of the Week. The 35-year-old first sacker hit .500 with a home run and nine runs batted in. Arlett, a career .307 hitter, is hitting .290 with 3 home runs and 23 RBI.

Update: 5/21/1934


When the Player of the Week keeps coming from the same team every time, you might think that team would be in first place. In this case, they’re not—but they’re in a better position than they were most of last year. Center fielder Vince DiMaggio led Hollywood (20-12) to a split in six games this week, slugging four home runs, driving in twelve, and hitting .333, as the second-place Stars maintained their position on the standings, 4 1/2 games behind league-leading Sacramento (20-12) and a game and a half ahead of San Francisco (18-13). DiMaggio is the Stars’ fourth Player of the Week in the first five weeks of the season. All three of those players (first baseman Buck Leonard has been honored twice) are newcomers to Hollywood this year, which may explain the turnaround for a club that finished in last place last season.

Meanwhile Sacramento continues to set a high bar, winning four of their six games. The Solons are second in the league in runs scored (nine behind Hollywood) and second in fewest runs allowed (one more than San Francisco), but first in the all-important wins category.

Update: 5/14/1934

Buck Leonard of Hollywood (17-9) has taken the league by storm. The 27-year-old rookie first baseman hit .500 with four home runs and nine RBI this week to win Player of the Week honors for the second time in four weeks. Leonard has 14 home runs already this season and has the Stars in second place, 3 1/2 games behind Sacramento (20-5).

The Solons are still in command. They escaped a six-game series with last-place Mission (7-18) with only one loss and then kicked off a five-game series with third-place San Francisco (15-10) by splitting the first two games. The Seals are five games behind Sacramento but only a game and a half behind Hollywood. Portland (13-13) is 7 1/2 games out of first, four games out of second.

Update: 5/7/1934


Sacramento (16-3) won eleven straight before finally bowing to Seattle (9-11) on Thursday. The Solons then took the first two games of a six-game set with Mission (6-13) and are now hold a four-game lead over second-place San Francisco (12-7). During this run the Solons’ pitching and fielding has been very good but their offense has been other-worldly: Sacramento is hitting .343, and they’ve scored 6.9 runs per game. In just 19 games they’ve tallied 39 more runs than any other team.

Hollywood (12-8), 4 1/2 games behind the Solons and in third place, is the one other team with 100 runs scored this season (exactly 100). The Stars have needed that much offense because they’ve given up almost as many runs as they’ve scored. This week their new center fielder, 37-year-old Oscar Charleston, led Hollywood to five wins in six games, hitting .417 with two home runs, five runs scored and eight runs batted in. Charleston is the Player of the Week for the nineteenth time in his career (and first in a uniform other than that of the Portland Beavers). He’s hitting .327 with 5 HR and 15 RBI for the season.

Update: 4/30/1934


Sacramento (11-2) is riding an eight-game winning streak, having won the final game of their opening series with Oakland (3-10), going on to sweep a five-game series with Hollywood (6-7), and then sweeping a doubleheader against Seattle (7-6). The Solons have a two-game lead over San Francisco (who won six out of seven this week to bring their record to 9-4) and a four-game lead over the Rainiers. The other five teams are all under .500 after two weeks.

Mission (5-8) is struggling, not including right fielder Rap Dixon, who hit .323 with five home runs, eleven runs batted in, and seven runs scored this week. The big right fielder leads the league with 14 RBI, and is second in home runs and fourth in batting. Known for his cannon right arm, he’s already registered two base runner kills this season. Dixon threw out 24 runners in 1931.

Opening Week 1934


Hollywood first baseman Buck Leonard led the Stars to four wins in six games over league champion Los Angeles, capturing the Player of the Week award in his first week in the loop. Leonard hit .333 and blasted five home runs while driving in nine and scoring six.

Another rookie, Ray Dandridge of San Francisco, is one of three players leading the league in hitting at .474.

The Angels’ Turkey Stearnes hit his 400th career home run on Tuesday. Only Babe Ruth, with 686, has hit more round-trippers than Stearnes at the big league level. 

Willie Foster of Sacramento also reached a milestone this week, notching his 200th career win. In so doing he passed Nip Winters to become third all-time among P.C.L. hurlers. The league’s top three winners are all still active, and all three started two games this week, although only Foster was victorious both times. Frank Shellenback of Mission (215 lifetime wins) split his two decisions and Bill Holland of Oakland (209 career wins) lost twice.

Hollywood and Sacramento are 4-2, Los Angeles and Oakland are 2-4, and the rest of the league is even money with one week in the books and 148 games left to play.