PCL Redux

Update: 8/4/1930






Averill

Sacramento’s (63-39) hot streak continued; the Solons won all six of their games and have moved to within three games of league-leading Portland (66-36). Hollywood (60-42) picked up a game on the Beavers but the Stars are now three behind Sacramento. The Beavers and Stars have split the first four games of their five game set at Portland. Their final regular season meeting takes place today.

Hollywood needs a big push to stay in the playoff hunt, and left fielder Earl Averill is providing one. The 26-year-old Snohomish, Washington native ripped opposing pitchers for a .520 average this week, adding three home runs and 12 runs batted in. Averill is second in the league in home runs with 30 and third in RBI with 103. He’s hitting a crisp .351, just out of the top five in the loop in batting.


Update: 7/27/1930





Smith

Hollywood (56-40) has won four in a row but the Stars are suddenly looking up at two teams. Sacramento (57-39) has stormed into second place by winning nine in a row before falling to Mission on Sunday. Portland (63-33) leads the Solons by six games and Hollywood by seven. The rest of the league is all under .500, so with the trade deadline approaching, it’s clear which teams will be looking to strengthen their ranks for a stretch run and which teams are looking towards building for the future.

The Solons’ Charlie “Chino” Smith is the Player of the Week after a dominating performance at the plate. Smith hit .420 with two home runs and twelve runs batted in. He’s hitting .337 for the season, with ten homers and 61 RBI, statistics that are even more impressive when you consider he’s only been healthy enough to play in 74 of the Solons’ 96 games.


Update: 7/21/1930






Bartell

Sacramento (52-38) picked up a game on both Portland (59-31) and Hollywood (52-38), so the Solons have caught the Stars but remain seven games behind the Beavers. Since it looks like a race for second at this point it was a good week for the Solons.

Portland’s Dick Bartell is the Player of the Week. The 23-year-old shortstop hit a sizzling .609 with a home run and six runs batted in. Bartell, a native of Chicago who grew up in the Oakland area, joined the Beavers this year after a breakthrough season in Pittsburgh. He’s hitting .341 with 7 HR and 67 RBI. He’s also leading the league’s shortstops in putouts, assists, and double plays.


Update: 7/14/1930

Los Angeles’ Turkey Stearnes is having a season for the ages; he hit .500 with four home runs and eight runs batted in this week, taking home the Player of the Week award for an unprecedented sixth time this year. To say that Stearnes has been the dominant player in the league is to understate the case considerably. He has 35 home runs, 11 more than any other player; 17 triples, five more than any other player; 94 runs batted in, five more than any other player; and 90 runs scored, six more than any other player.

Despite Stearnes’ heroics, the Angels (42-42), are struggling to stay above .500. The Halos ran into red-hot Portland (56-28) this week, and the Beavers won all three meetings. The Beavers also took the final three games of their series with Seattle (38-46); their 6-0 perfect week has distanced them from second-place Hollywood (49-35) by seven games and third-place Sacramento (48-36) by eight games. Although there is still plenty of time for teams to heat up or cool down, right now it looks like the only race in question is the one for second place.


Update: 7/7/1930

It was a busy week, as each team played at least seven games, some playing as many as eight. Portland (50-28) now leads second-place Hollywood (47-31) by three games, as the Beavers won five of their eight contests while the Stars won only three of theirs. Also faring particularly well over the last seven labor-intensive days was Sacramento (43-34); the third-place Solons were victorious in five of seven games and thus gained ground on both of the top two teams; they're within three and a half games of Hollywood.

The Solons’ veteran center fielder, Cristobal Torriente, is having the best season of his career at the ripe old age of 36. Torriente has always been productive when healthy but has missed considerable playing time over the years to various injuries. Injury-free thus far this season, he's leading the league in hitting at .393, adding 14 home runs and 60 runs batted in to his impressive ledger. He”s also been named Player of the Week twice this season, most recently as a result of a .444/2 HR/12 RBI performance.


Update: 6/30/1930

After taking the first two games of their series last week, Sacramento (38-32) completed a sweep of Hollywood (44-26), briefly bring the Solons to within four games of the second-place Stars, but the Stars rebounded by taking three of their next four games against Oakland (32-38) while the Solons were losing three of four to Los Angeles (36-34). Meanwhile Portland (45-25) has claimed the top spot by winning four and losing three this week. The Beavers lead Hollywood by a game, Sacramento by seven, and Los Angeles by nine.

The Angels’ Turkey Stearnes has caught fire again, winning his fifth Player of the Week award this year by hitting .464 with five home runs, eleven runs batted in, and eleven runs scored. Stearnes is fifth in the league in hitting at .362 but leads the league in runs (75), triples (16), home runs (29), and runs batted in (79).


Update: 6/23/1930





Johnson

Portland (41-22) continued to roll, winning five and losing two, and as a result the Beavers have caught Hollywood (41-22) in the standings. The two clubs sit tied for first place, seven games better than their closest competition. The Beavers have been somewhat of a surprise to some this season, particularly considering they last finished above .500 in 1926. But the club is pitching well and hitting well, and that’s a combination that’s hard to beat.

One of the key performers has been first baseman Bob Johnson, who collected at least two hits in five consecutive games this week. The 24-year-old was named Player of the Week thanks to a .481 average, four home runs, and 14 runs batted in. On the year he’s hitting .342 with 12 HR and 58 RBI. Only in his second season, the Oklahoma native appears to be one of the league’s rising stars.

Sacramento (34-39) won six and lost just one this week, taking over third place and even gaining ground on Portland and Hollywood. San Francisco (21-42) also had a good week, winning five and losing two. It’s been a terrible start for the last-place Seals, but they will look to build on their recent success.


Update: 6/16/1930






Cronin

Portland (36-20) picked up a game on Hollywood (37-19) so the Stars’ lead over the Beavers is down to one game. With no other team within fewer than eight games of either of them, the two front-runners are looking like the class of the league.

It’s a shame there’s no prize for coming in third place in the Coast League; this year’s race for third would be fascinating if it was worth anything. Los Angeles, Oakland, and Sacramento are in a dead heat at 28-28, with Seattle just two games behind them at 26-30 and Mission a game behind the Rainiers at 25-31. If those don’t sound like the records of postseason-bound teams, it’s because none of these teams are currently strong candidates for the postseason.

Don’t blame Solons shortstop Joe Cronin. The 24-year-old star hit .520 en route to the Player of the Week award. Cronin is hitting .325 with 6 home runs, 44 runs scored, and 39 runs batted in.


Update: 6/9/1930





Quellich

The race for the postseason had tightened over the preceding couple of weeks, but with 5-1 records this week for both Hollywood (34-15) and Portland (32-17), the only race that appears in question right now is the one for for first place. The Stars maintained their two-game edge over the Beavers, who beat Los Angeles (25-24) five times in a row to drop the Angels nine games out of first and seven games out of second. There’s still plenty of time for the rest of the pack to make a run, but right now the top two clubs look dominant.

Portland’s George Quellich earned Player of the Week honors, hitting .522 with three home runs and 14 runs batted in. He more than doubled his RBI output for the season, while upping his batting average to a crisp .355. It’s the second Player of the Week award for Quellich, who also took one home in August of 1924.


Update: 6/2/1930






Torriente

Cristobal Torriente hit .536 with two home runs and twelve runs batted in to earn Player of the Week honors. The Sacramento center fielder led the Solons (22-22) to a 6-1 week, evening their record and bringing them within seven and a half games of league-leading Hollywood (29-14) and within five and a half games of second-place Portland. Torriente is off to an excellent start, hitting .393 (good for second in the league) with 8 HR and 31 RBI.

The Stars won four and lost two this week, wrestling the top spot from the Beavers, who won two and lost four. Los Angeles (24-19), also went 2-4 and are now five games behind Hollywood.


Update: 5/26/1930

It’s hard to imagine a more productive streak than the one Los Angeles’ Turkey Stearnes is on. The 29-year-old outfielder has been named the Player of the Week for the third time in a row and the fourth time this season. Stearnes hit four home runs, drove in ten, and scored ten; he already led the league in all three categories, and his leads are growing. He also leads the league in batting, and although he hit .379 this week, his batting average went down. With a .401 average, 19 home runs, 49 runs scored and 54 runs batted in, Stearnes has numbers that would look outstanding with half a season in the books—and the calendar hasn’t even hit June yet.

The Angels (22-15) have inched to within three games of first place, which is now shared by Hollywood and Portland (both 25-12). With all other teams at least three games below the .500 mark, it’s currently looking like a three-team race. But with Memorial Day still in the future, nobody’s panicking yet.


Update: 5/19/1930

Turkey Stearnes of Los Angeles (18-13) has done it again; the Halos’ star right fielder has been named the Player of the Week for the second week in a row and the third time this season. Stearnes hit .455 with four home runs and eight runs batted in, and now is now tops in all three Triple Crown categories: .407 batting average, 15 home runs, 44 RBI. 

Unsurprisingly, his team is on a good run too, winning their last four after dropping two to start the week. The Angels gained ground on both Portland (23-9) and Hollywood (22-10), as both of the top two clubs went 4-3. The Beavers and Stars have split the first four games of a five-game series in Portland; the finale is today. Portland leads Hollywood by a game and Los Angeles by four and a half.

Among the other five clubs in the loop only Seattle (15-16) is currently showing much fight; the Rainiers went 3-3 this week. Mission and Oakland (both 13-18) are already nine and a half games out of first, while Sacramento (12-19) and San Francisco (9-22) trail the Beavers by ten and a half and thirteen and a half games respectively.


Update: 5/12/1930

Hollywood (18-7) cooled off just enough to surrender their lead to Portland (19-6); the Stars split their six games this week, while the Beavers won five of their six. Portland’s five-game sweep of defending champion Oakland (10-15) may be symbolic of a shift in the balance of power in the league; or it may just be a case of one team riding a hot streak while another endures a cold one.

Third-place Los Angeles (14-11) is on a bit of a streak of their own, winners of their last four contests. Playing no small part in that run is right fielder Turkey Stearnes, now a two-time Player of the Week honoree this season. Stearnes hit a clean .500 (12 for 24) with two home runs and 10 runs batted in. He’s second in the league in the former category (.396, behind Portland’s Frank Sigafoos at .416) and tops in the latter two, with 11 homers and 36 RBI respectively.

The Beavers lead the Stars by a game and the Angels by five. Seattle (12-13) is seven games back, Mission (11-14) trails by eight, Oakland trails by nine, Sacramento (9-16) trails by ten and San Francisco (7-18) trails by twelve.


Update: 5/5/1930





Charleston

Two teams are threatening to run off and leave the rest of the pack in their dust. Hollywood (15-4) won five of six this week while Portland (14-5) did them one better, winning six of seven. The Stars and Beavers are the only two teams in the league over .500.

It’s a welcome development for both clubs. The Stars have been oh-so-close to postseason paydirt the last three seasons, ultimately finishing third each time, while the Beavers have finished below .500 all three years. They are indeed two hungry franchises.

Oscar Charleston, the Beavers’ veteran center fielder, has made a habit of collecting Player of the Week awards during his tenure in Portland. He’s just done it again, winning the honor for the 15th time since his Coast League debut in 1921. Charleston’s work this week included a .536 batting average and five runs batted in. He’s hitting .388 for the season, with two home runs and eleven RBI's.


Update: 4/28/1930






Stearnes

Los Angeles’ Turkey Stearnes has been one of the top players in the league since he first donned an Angels’ uniform in 1921. He entered this season as the circuit’s all-time leader in home runs and runs batted in, and has wasted no time in adding to his impressive totals, with five home runs and twelve RBI this week, and 9 homers and 23 RBI overall, both league-leading totals. He also hit .480 this week to capture Player of the Week honors.

His team had a pretty good week as well, winning five out of seven, but they still lost ground to their intercity rivals, Hollywood. The Stars (10-3) won six and lost just one and now lead second-place Portland (8-4) by a game and a half and the third-place Angels (7-6) by three. Seattle checks in at 6-6, three and a half behind Hollywood. Oakland (6-7), Mission (5-7), Sacramento (4-8) and San Francisco (4-9) are all off to sub-.500 starts on the young season.


Opening Week 1930





Wells

The defending league champion Oakland Oaks wasted no time in establishing themselves as the front-runners, stunning last years runners-up Sacramento with with five wins in six games. The Oaks, at 5-1, hold a one-game edge over Hollywood, who bested Los Angeles in four out of six, and Mission, who did the same to San Francisco. Portland and Seattle split their six-game series and are thus tied for fourth place, two games behind Oakland.

Seattle shortstop Willie Wells has had a fine start to his career, hitting over .300 in each of his first five seasons. He’s started this season in spectacular fashion, hitting .480 with a home run and six runs batted in against arch-rival Portland. This is the third time the 24-year-old Wells has been named Player of the Week, an honor that will likely bear his name multiple times in the future.


1929-1930 Off-Season

The wait is over. Since 1921, the Pacific Coast League has petitioned Major League Baseball for recognition as the third major league and a place in baseball’s annual championship post season. Beginning this season, the dreams of West Coast officials, players, and fans have been realized: the Coast League is now officially “major”!

“The quality of play out West has reached a point where it can no longer be considered sub-par”, admitted one Eastern owner. “We’ll see how good they are come October,” offered another. “If they’re a major league they know what they’ll have to do to prove it,” implying nothing less than a championship would validate the Coast League’s new status. The subtly dismissive nature of these comments suggests a less-than-hearty endorsement, and indeed one owner refused to sugarcoat his position: “I still think it’s a bush league. But I was outvoted.”

How, then, did the surprising development come about? Many observers believe it was all about the bottom line. “The Eastern owners eventually realized that a postseason series with Babe Ruth or Lefty Grove or Mel Ott or Lou Gehrig opposing Satchel Paige or Earl Averill or Wally Berger or Martin Dihigo is gong to sell out every game,” said a P.C.L. executive who preferred to remain anonymous. “It took them nine years, but they eventually saw the light. Maybe they just started listening to their accountants. Greed won out over arrogance.”

Arrogance may indeed have been a factor, but others believe the Eastern owners’ reluctance to roll out the welcome mat had a less savory origin. “It was racism, pure and simple,” said another anonymous P.C.L. exec. “Once they consent to play officially against a racially-integrated league, they know the pressure to integrate themselves is going to increase. Some of them have no intention to yield to that pressure, and would just as soon see it go away.” While no word has come from any of the A.L. or N.L. clubs either officially authorizing or prohibiting black players, the Major Leagues’ recognition of the P.C.L.—which has been integrated since 1921—appears to be a significant step for the Coast League, for black ballplayers, and for professional baseball.


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