PCL Redux

Update: 9/27/1937






Outen

As we enter the final week of the season, four teams remain prominently in the mix, and two others still have a reasonable shot. Los Angeles (80-68) survived a six-game series with Oakland, earning a split, so the Angels are all alone in first place entering their final six-game set with San Diego (62-86). They lead the Oaks, Sacramento, and San Francisco (all 78-70) by two games. Mission and Portland (both 76-72) are four games out of first but just two out of second. The Bells will close the season with six games against the Seals, one of the teams they are chasing, while the Beavers will take on fifth-place Seattle (64-84). The Oaks and Solons also face off, each with aspirations of knocking off the other en route to the playoffs.

Mission catcher Chink Outen hit .522 and drove in nine runs this week as the Bells struggled to remain in the race (they took five of six from Seattle). The 32-year-old Outen is hitting .309 this season.


Update: 9/20/1937

In the six-game showdown between Los Angeles (77-65) and San Francisco (76-66) the Halos took four of the six, and in so doing took over first place. Such is the nature of this year’s race: a team can go from fourth to first in one week by winning just one more than half their games. On the flip side the Angels have no opportunity to rest on their laurels—next up is six games with Oakland (75-66), looming just one and one-half game behind them. Two games separate the top four teams, with a fifth, Portland (73-69), just three games removed from the second postseason berth. Los Angeles leads San Francisco by a game, Oakland by one and a half, Sacramento (75-67) by two, and Portland by four. Mission (71-71) has lost four straight and appears to be falling out of contention, now six games behind the Halos and five away from a postseason berth.

Los Angeles’ Wally Berger is the Player of the Week, hitting .520 with six home runs and eight runs batted in. Berger, who hit his 400th career round tripper this season, appears well on his way to winning his fifth home run crown. He has 44 for the season, eight more than teammate Turkey Stearnes. Berger is also third in hitting at .351 and second in RBI with 126.


Update: 9/13/1937

Mission (69-66) and Portland (68-67) are still hanging in there, four and five games back respectively. Above them is the logjam to beat all logjams. San Francisco and Oakland (both 73-62) are back in a first-place tie; Sacramento (72-62) trails them by a half-game, and Los Angeles (72-63) trails them by a game. With just under 20 games to go it’s still a six-team race but time is running out for the Bells and Beavers. They begin a six-game set tomorrow, giving either one of them the opportunity to all but eliminate the other. Neither of them can afford many more losses, so a split might be all but fatal for both teams.

The Seals and Angels also play one another this week, an important series not only for the combatants but also for the other contenders, while the Oaks play San Diego (54-81) and the Solons play Seattle (58-76). Sacramento and Oakland begin their own do-or-die six-gamer a week from Tuesday.

The latest Player of the Week is the man who has won the award more times than any other, Los Angeles center fielder Turkey Stearnes. Stearnes hit .448 with four home runs and nine runs batted in last week as the Halos took five of seven to inch two games closer to first place. Stearnes is hitting .329 and is second in the league in homers with 32, third in the league in RBI with 115.


Update: 9/6/1937





MAckey

The ageless Biz Mackey is the Player of the Week. The Seattle catcher has had a legendary career in the Coast League, hitting .334 lifetime, but the 40-year-old is in danger of hitting under .300 for only the second time in his career; he’s at .284 this season. This week, however, he torched enemy hurlers for a .455 average, four home runs, seven runs scored and seven runs driven in. Seattle (54-73) went 3-2.

Oakland (70-58) has a half-game edge over second-place Sacramento (69-58). San Francisco (69-59) is just a half-game behind the Solons and a game behind the Oaks. Los Angeles (67-61) is three games out of first, and both Mission (65-63) and Portland (also 65-63) are five games out of first.


Update: 8/30/1937






Cronin

If any team had visions of breezing to an easy title in the Coast League this year, those dreams do not appear to be viable. This may be the most hotly-contested race in this circuit in recent memory—possibly in league history. Oakland (67-55), by way of a 4-2 week, has captured a share of first place with San Francisco (also 67-55), who dropped four of six, including three straight to the Oaks. All of the other contenders either gained ground on the Seals or held serve; Sacramento (65-56) is in third place, just a game and a half back; Los Angeles (65-58) is two and a half games back; Portland (63-60) is four games back, and Mission (62-60) trails by five. Six teams separated by five games; only Seattle (51-71) and San Diego (49-74) are sitting this race out.

Sacramento’s Joe Cronin is the Player of the Week. The veteran shortstop hit .552 with 11 runs batted in. The Solons, however, lost four of six, allowing Oakland to slip past them in the standings. Cronin is at .343 for the season, good for fourth best in the league.


Update: 8/23/1937





Heath

There’s a bit of a renaissance going on in Sacramento (63-52), where the Solons are trying to once again stake their claim as one of the Coast League’s powerhouses. After missing the postseason two years running, skipper Bill Killefer has the club in second place, knocking on the door of front-running San Francisco (65-51). The Solons took four of six this week, so with the Seals losing four of six, Sacramento picked up a game and a half on the leaders. San Francisco leads the Solons by one and a half games, Oakland (63-53) by two games, Los Angeles (61-56) by 4 1/2, and Portland (60-57) by 5 1/2.

Mission (58-58) is on the fringes of the pennant race, not quite out of it but not really in it either, but if one or two of the Bells can get as hot as their teammate Jeff Heath, Mission can get right back into the thick of things. The 22-year-old Heath hit .542 this week, raising his season average to a respectable .285. The second-year man hit .310 last year, so he may just be finding his groove. His nine home runs leads the team.


Update: 8/16/1937






Berger

Seattle (45-64) never emerged as a serious contender this season, but center fielder Fred Berger is still finding something to play for; perhaps he relishes the role of the spoiler or just possesses a strong desire to finish somewhere other than the cellar. Whatever the motivation, Berger—who is hitting .332 this season—hit .542 this week against contending teams in Sacramento (59-50) and Mission (56-54), picking up Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career. His teammates didn’t really hold up their end of the bargain, as the Rainiers dropped five of seven, but it was enough to keep the club a game and a half ahead of last-place San Diego (44-66).

In the high-rent district, Sam Francisco (63-47) won five of seven to open up a 2 1/2-game cushion over Oakland (61-50), who won five and lost three and currently hold second place and the second postseason berth. The Solons are in third place, just a half-game behind the Oaks, while Los Angeles (57-54) trails Oakland by four, the Bells trail them by 4 1/2, and Portland (55-55) trails them by 5 1/2.


Update: 8/9/1937

Mission (51-52) is in sixth place, seven games out of first and five games out of a playoff spot, so it would be fair to call the Bells something of a long shot to make it to the postseason. Whether they happen to get there or not, it will be hard to downplay the role Lou Tost has played in the club’s success. Tost has just earned his second Player of the Week trophy of the season—a rare feat for a pitcher—doing so in dominant fashion, pitching a two-hit shutout over San Diego last Monday and a four-hit, complete game 7-1 victory over Portland yesterday. Tost is 15-4; the Bells are 12 games under .500 when other pitchers get decisions. The 15 victories is second-most in the league, and Tost’s 3.00 ERA is fourth-best.

San Francisco (58-45) remains in first place but the Seals struggled this week, losing four of six. That allowed Oakland (56-47) to climb within two games of the top spot; Sacramento is just a half-game behind the Oaks at 55-47. Los Angeles and Portland (both 53-50) had their struggles this week and trail the Seals by five games, but are only three out of a playoff spot.


Update: 8/2/1937

The race for second place has become exceedingly tight, while pace-setting San Francisco (56-41) continues to play just a little bit better than everyone else—meaning the Seals have begun to distance themselves from the rest of the pack. They lead Los Angeles and Oakland (both 52-45) by four games, Portland (51-46) by five games, and Sacramento (50-46) by five and a half. Mission (48-49) still has life as well—eight games out of first but just four behind the second-place Angels and Oaks.

Bob Johnson of Portland won Player of the Week honors on the strength of a .500 average, a home run, nine runs batted in and eleven runs scored. Johnson is hitting .309 this year, with 22 home runs (third in the league) and 78 RBI (fourth in the league). He also leads all left fielders with 242 putouts.


Update: 7/26/1937





Cullop

Nick Cullop is far from the first player to put in a few partial seasons at the major league level and several solid minor league campaigns prior to making his P.C.L. debut, and it’s certain that he won’t be the last, considering his stellar play this season. Cullop, the Player of the Week this week, hit .440 with two home runs and ten runs batted in to lead Sacramento to four wins in six games. The 37-year-old outfielder is hitting .318 with 14 home runs and 66 RBI.

The Solons are in the center of a donnybrook for first or second place in the league this season. San Francisco (51-40) was battered a bit by Portland (46-45) and Seattle (37-53) this week, dropping four of seven, while Los Angeles (49-41) played .500 ball to pick up a half-game on the leaders. The Angels trail the Seals by a game and a half. Just a half-game behind the Halos are Sacramento (48-41) and Oakland (49-42)—that’s four teams separated by two games. Portland remains competitive, just five games out of first, and with Mission (43-47) winning four straight, the Bells are just 7 1/2 games out of first and six out of a playoff spot.


Update: 7/19/1937






Berger

Last season’s Nyquist Trophy Series participants—San Francisco (48-36) and Los Angeles (46-38)—are once again sitting atop the Coast League standings board. The Seals hold a two-game lead over the Angels. The two front runners are anything but shoe-ins, however; this appears to be a season where the two postseason slots will be highly contested. Third-place Sacramento (44-39) is 3 1/2 games out of first and a game and a half out of second; fourth-place Oakland (44-40) is four games out of first and two games out of second; fifth-place Portland (43-41) is five games out of first and three games out of second. All five of these teams pose a legitimate threat to make the postseason.

Meanwhile the Angels’ Wally Berger is having his typical fine campaign. Berger is the Player of the Week this week after hitting .400 with a pair of home runs and ten runs batted in. For the second consecutive season Berger is again a serious Triple Crown threat: his .362 average is third in the league behind Mission’s Ox Eckhardt’s .371; his 79 RBI puts him in a tie for the league lead with teammate Turkey Stearnes, and his 22 homers are tops in the circuit.


Update: 7/12/1937





Muller

It has not been a memorable campaign so far for cellar-dwelling Seattle (30-47), but Rainiers fans were treated to an even-money showing this week as the club won three and lost three, while one player in particular shone brighter than all others. That player was second baseman Freddie Muller, this week’s Coast League Player of the Week. The 29-year-old veteran hit five home runs—three of them in one game, a 14-9 loss to Portland (40-38)—while driving in eight and hitting a blistering .545. Muller was an unlikely candidate for such an outburst, as he, like the Rainiers in general, has struggled all season—the rampage only lifted his season average to .180. But Muller is a veteran with several solid campaigns under his belt, so he and the Seattle faithful hope this is a sign of things to come. The Rainiers are 13 1/2 games out of first place.

The aforementioned first place is currently held by San Francisco (44-34), who won five games and lost just two this week; so far they have won four of the first six games of their annual mid-season clash with Mission (35-43); four games remain in that series. Los Angeles and Oakland (both 43-45) are batting with their regional rivals San Diego (36-42) and Sacramento (40-37), respectively; the Angels and Oaks are both a game out of first. The Solons are 3 1/2 back and the Beavers trail by four.


Update: 7/5/1937






Stearnes

It seems fitting that Los Angeles’ Turkey Stearnes would win the Player of the Week award the same week he hit his 500th career home run (which was one of two he hit in Saturday’s 12-11 victory over Mission), but awarding Stearnes the trophy was no sentimental nod: he hit .520 with four home runs and 12 runs batted in this week. The 36-year-old Stearnes is the P.C.L.’s all-time leader in hits, triples, home runs, runs scored, runs batted in, and total bases, and he is showing no signs of slowing down. Stearnes is currently fourth in the league in hitting at .356, while leading the league in home runs with 18 and RBI with 70.

Stearnes’ heroics helped the Angels (38-33) to five wins in eight games, and the club is now just one game out of first—but in third place. It’s tight at the top: Oakland and San Francisco (both 39-32) are even after a rough 1-6 week by the Seals; the Oaks went 3-4. Sacramento (37-33) is very much in the thick of things, just a game and a half back after a .500 (4-4) week, and fifth-place Portland (36-35), who also went 4-4, is just three games out of first. San Diego (34-37) is riding a six-game winning streak and are now within five games of the top. Mission (33-38) is six games out. Seattle (27-43) has yet to latch onto a winning formula this season.


Update: 6/28/1937

Seattle’s Willie Wells is having quite a month—.347 average, four homers, 22 runs batted in, 24 runs scored. He’s just wrapped up his second Player of the Week award of the last three weeks after hitting .414 with eight RBI and eight runs scored. The Rainiers (25-38) remain in last place, although Wells did help power them to four wins in seven games this week.

San Francisco (38-26) won only three of seven but the Seals are still in first place, now three games ahead of second-place Oakland (35-29). Sacramento (33-29) has taken over third place; the Solons four games behind San Francisco, while fourth-place Los Angeles (33-30) trails by four and a half. Portland (32-32) heads up the second division, six games off the pace but only three out of a postseason berth. Mission (29-34) is 8 1/2 back and San Diego (28-35) is 9 1/2 back.


Update: 6/21/1937





Gibson

San Francisco (35-22) won seven straight before falling to Portland (29-28) 5-1 on Sunday. The Seals have been almost unbeatable in June—15 wins in 19 games—and have opened up a four-game lead over second-place Oakland (31-26). Los Angeles (30-27) is floundering; the Angels are now in third place, five games back. In fourth are the Beavers, six games back, followed by Sacramento (28-28), six and a half games back, and Mission (28-29), seven games back. San Diego (25-32) and Seattle (21-35) are both in need of a major turnaround.

Solons catcher Josh Gibson missed over a month with a leg injury earlier this season, but he’s back with a vengeance. Last week he hit a sizzling .625 with six home runs, 12 runs batted in, and 12 runs scored. Now hitting .424 with 11 HR, Gibson was the obvious choice for Player of the Week.


Update: 6/14/1937






Wells

The outstanding individual performance this week arrived courtesy of Seattle shortstop Willie Wells, who hit .458 with three home runs, seven runs batted in, and seven runs scored. Wells, who is hitting .269 with 6 HR and 32 RBI so far this season, helped the Rainiers (20-29) win four of their six games. It wasn’t quite enough to get them out of the cellar, but they are now only a half-game out of seventh and a still-manageable 8 1/2 out of first.

Appropriately enough, the Portland Beavers (26-25) were the busiest team this week, with eight games on their docket, and also the winningest, victorious in six of the eight. Portland is in fourth place, just 3 1/2 games out of first.

First place is now held by San Francisco (29-21), who leads Los Angeles (28-22) by a game and Oakland (28-23) by one and a half. In fourth place is Sacramento (24-25), 4 1/2 games out, and right behind the Solons is Mission (24-26), five games back. It’s anybody’s race to win.


Update: 6/7/1937

Mission’s Ox Eckhart has been named Player of the Week for the second time this season—this time on the strength of a .545 average, eight runs batted in, and six runs scored—but the bigger focus is on Eckhardt’s cumulative stats. He’s hitting .444 for the year. The P.C.L. hasn’t had a .400 hitter since Harry Heilmann hit .408 in 1927; Heilmann’s mark is the league’s single-season record. Still a lot of baseball to be played, but the Bells’ 35-year-old first baseman is on pace to get his name into the record books.

San Francisco (25-19) won five of six to surge into a second-place tie with Oakland (also 25-19), who lost four of six. Los Angeles (27-17) played .500 ball, which was good enough to keep two games’ worth of distance between themselves and the Oaks and Seals. The Bells (22-21) won three of five, edging over .500 for the year and getting within 4 1/2 games of the Halos. Sacramento (21-22) is 5 1/2 back, Portland (20-23) is 6 1/2 back, San Diego (18-26) is 9 back, and Seattle (16-27) is 10 1/2 back.


Update: 5/31/1937





Vaughan

San Francisco’s Arky Vaughan had a banner week, hitting .483 and driving in five runs while scoring eleven. Vaughan’s .362 average has him in third place behind Mission’s Ox Eckhardt (.423) and Los Angeles’ Wally Berger (.383).

Vaughan’s Seals (20-18) are also in third place after a 3-4 week, four games behind the Angels (24-14), who competed a perfect 6-0 week by sweeping a five-game set with Seattle (14-24). The Halos slipped by Oakland (23-15), whose 5-2 ledger this week wasn’t good enough to keep them in first place. Los Angeles leads the Oaks by a game.

Mission and Portland (both 19-19) are five games out of first, Sacramento (17-21) is seven back, San Diego (16-22) is eight back, and Seattle trails by ten.


Update: 5/24/1937






Sweeney

Oakland (18-13) remained in first place and Los Angeles (18-14) remained in second, but it was anything but a banner week for the two front runners. The Oaks saw their nine-game winning streak come to an end on Monday and won only one game all week, while the Angels were crushed in five of their six games, the only exception being a 10-0 victory over Portland on Friday.

San Francisco (17-14), who began the week with an eight-game losing streak still intact, finished the week unscathed, winners of six straight. This put the Seals in a flat-footed tie with Mission (also 17-14) for third place, just a game behind the Acorns. San Diego and Portland (both 15-17) also picked up ground on the leaders, as did Sacramento (13-18) and Seattle (13-19). Only five and a half games separate the first-place Oaks from the eighth-place Rainiers.

Portland first baseman/manager Bill Sweeney is the Player of the Week, hitting .517 with a home run and nine runs batted in to lead the Beavers to four wins in six games. The 33-year-old Sweeney, who spent most of his career moving up and down in the Detroit system, hit .333 for the Beavers last year and is at .341 thus far this season, good for fifth best in the league.


Update: 5/17/1937





Lillard

Gene Lillard of Los Angeles (17-9) picked up the Player of the Week award on the strength of a .450 average, four home runs and ten runs batted in. The 23-year-old third baseman raised his season average to .301 while improving his home run tally to seven and his RBI count to 20.

However, the Angels were just a .500 team this week, and that wasn’t good enough to allow them to hold onto first place. Oakland (17-8) is surging—nine wins in nine games dating back to the Thursday before last—and the Oaks have replaced the Halos atop the standings. The Acorns’ winning streak includes a win over San Diego (12-14) and two over Mission (14-11), but the brunt of their onslaught was borne by San Francisco (11-14), who they swept in a six-game set. The Seals have lost eight straight and have fallen from second place to fifth, tied with Sacramento (also 11-14). The Oaks lead the Angels by a half-game, the Bells by three, the Padres by five and a half, the Solons and Seals by six, the Beavers by six and a half, and Seattle (9-17) by eight and a half.


Update: 5/10/1937






Tost

Mission’s Lou Tost won both of his starts this week, yielding just one run in a 4-1 complete game victory over Portland on Monday, and then shutting out his former team, Sacramento, 4-0 on Sunday. Tost was named the Player of the Week and might well be considered the Pitcher of the Year so far, sporting a 4-0 record and a league-leading 1.25 ERA. The Bells (11-8) were perfect this week, winning all six of their games and surging into a tie for second place with Oakland and San Francisco (also 11-8). Los Angeles (14-6) remains in first place, two and a half games ahead of the three clubs that comprise the remainder of the first division. Sacramento (8-11) is in fifth place, five and a half games out, Portland and San Diego (both 8-12) are six games back and tied for sixth place, and Seattle (7-13) is in the cellar, seven games behind the Angels.


Update: 5/3/1937





Eckhardt

Mission’s Ox Eckhard isn’t getting any younger. The 35-year-old has finished in the top five in batting each of the last five seasons, but he’s never actually won the batting title. The way he’s hitting this season would indicate a realization that he may be running out of chances left to take home the trophy. This past week Eckhardt hit a blistering .609 (14-for-23) to raise his season’s average to .545.

Eckhardt’s teammate Cool Papa Bell entered Thursday afternoon’s contest at Seattle with four stolen bases on the year—and 997 in his career. He swiped #998 in the third inning, and with the Bells comfortably ahead 6-2 in the ninth, he singled to lead off the frame, stole second for #999, and then stole third for 1000.

The Bells (5-8) were only able to ride Eckhardt’s and Bell’s accomplishments to three wins in seven games this week, so they find themselves five games out of first place, tied for sixth with Sacramento (also 5-8). Los Angeles (10-3) kept rolling, winning five of seven, and the Halos lead second-place San Francisco (9-4) by a game. Portland (7-6) is three games back, Oakland and Seattle (both 6-7) trail by four, and San Diego (4-9) brings up the rear, six games behind the Angels.


Update: 4/24/1937






Johnson

Bob Johnson, Portland’s veteran left fielder, kicked off the new season in style, hitting safely in all six games of the Beavers’ opening series with Seattle, collecting five home runs and twelve runs batted in along the way. Those are both league-leading totals, and Johnson’s .565 average is good for second place behind Los Angeles’ Wally Berger (.593). Johnson is the Player of the Week, the fourth time in his career he has been so honored.

The Beavers, who won four of six, are tied for second place with Oakland and San Francisco. Los Angeles took five of six, so the Angels are at the top of the standings one week in. Mission, Sacramento, and Seattle are 2-4, and San Diego is 1-5.


1936-1937 Off-Season

The Seattle Rainiers have been discussing plans for a new, permanent stadium ever since being forced to move to dusty Civic Field in the wake of the fire that destroyed Dugdale Park in 1932. Various locations have been considered but the most likely site seems to be the same plot of land where Dugdale Park once stood. Plans have not been finalized and ground has not been broken so it appears likely that the Rainiers will play another season in the dirt of Civic, but a new ballpark may be in place before Opening Day 1938.

The Mission Bells are restless as well. The Bells have never drawn particularly well in San Francisco and rumors suggesting relocation to various exotic locales surface every so often. For now, though, the Bells remain in the City by the Bay, calling Seals Stadium home.


1936