PCL Redux

Update: 7/25/1938


Los Angeles pitcher Ray Prim helped get the Angels (44-46) on track this week with victories in his two starts against San Diego (45-45) and Sacramento (49-42), two of the teams the Halos are chasing in the standings. Prim hurled seven innings in the Angels’ 5-2 win over the Padres on last Monday, allowing three unearned runs, and then tossed a complete game, yielding one run, in a 4-1 triumph over the Solons on Saturday. Prim evened his record at 6-6 and lowered his ERA for the season to 4.36.

The Angels are in fifth place, still a distant 9 1/2 games behind front-running San Francisco (53-36), but a manageable 4 1/2 behind the second-place Solons. Oakland (48-43) is in third place, six games out of first but just one behind Sacramento, while fourth-place San Diego trails the Seals by 8 1/2, the Solons by 3 1/2. Hollywood (43-48) is 11 games out of first, and Portland (40-51) and Seattle (39-50) are 14 games back.

Update: 7/18/1938


Martín Dihigo, the great multi-talented pitcher/infielder/outfielder from Cuba, has concentrated just on playing second base this year—and, of course, on hitting. The results have been dramatic. Dihigo is hitting .325 with 25 home runs and 71 runs batted in. During the past week he was especially productive, earning Player of the Week accolades by hitting .448 with five HR and 15 RBI.  Dihigo’s Hollywood Stars (40-44) were only able to win three of seven games, however.

San Francisco (51-32) and Sacramento (46-39) also both won three and lost four, so the Seals remain six games ahead of the Solons while a few teams were able to pick up a little ground on both leaders. Oakland (44-40) is in third place, 7 /12 games out of first but just a game and a half behind Sacramento; San Diego (43-40) is eight games out of first, the Stars are 11 1/2 games back, Los Angeles (39-45) is 12 1/2 games back, Seattle (36-46) is 14 1/2 games back, and Portland (36-49) trails by 16.

Update: 7/11/1938


With all eight Coast League teams playing eight games this week, there was a real opportunity for a team to make serious headway in the pennant race. Among the eight, no team took better advantage of the situation than Sacramento (43-35). The Solons dropped their first game of the week and their final game of the week—but won all six games in between, picking up three games on league-leader San Francisco (48-28) and opening up a 2 1/2-game lead over third-place Oakland (40-37). Sacramento leads fourth-place San Diego (39-37) by three, fifth-place Hollywood (37-40) by 5 1/2, sixth-place Los Angeles (35-42) by 7 1/2, seventh-place Seattle (33-42) by eight, and last-place Portland (32-46) by eleven.

The Player of the Week was Padres second baseman Bobby Doerr, who hit a blistering .514 with three home runs and ten runs batted in. Hard to believe Bobby is still just 20 years of age, having begun his career while still a high schooler back in 1934. He’s hit as high as .310 (1936) with as many as ten home runs (last season) but has a legitimate shot at bettering both of those career highs this year. Doerr is currently hitting .304 with eight home runs.

Update: 7/4/1938


Last year the pennant chase in the Coast League was incredibly tight, with six teams still vying for two playoff berths into the final week of the season. Some years, however, one team just runs away with the regular-season title and 1938 is looking like it might be one of those years. San Francisco (45-23) has opened up a 9-game lead over Sacramento and San Diego (36-32). The Seals ares soaring while the rest of the league is struggling to tread water. The race for second place is compelling, however.

Oakland’s Willard Brown took Player of the Week honors as he hit .333 with a homer, eight runs batted in and seven runs scored. Brown is hitting .326 for the season. The Oaks (35-34) swept a five-game set at Los Angeles (32-37) before bowing in the first two games of another five-gamer at Hollywood (also 32-37). Oakland is in fourth place, 10 1/2 games out of first but only a game and a half behind the Solons and Padres. The Stars and Angels are tied for fifth, 4 1/2 games removed from a postseason berth, while Portland (30-40) and Seattle (29-39) are trying to find their way into the race.

Update: 6/27/1938

Another seven days, another Player of the Week Award for San Diego’s Buck Leonard.

The big first sacker is looking a lot like the unstoppable force that took the league by storm back in 1934, his rookie season. He hasn’t been able to match his home run production from that year (when he played his home games at cozy Wrigley Field) but his play is having a similar effect on his team (1934 was the last time the franchise finished over .500). Leonard hit .579 this week as the Padres (34-28) took three of five from San Francisco (40-21) to pick up a game in the standings. Leonard is hitting .337 with 8 HR and 54 RBI. The Padres are in second place, 6 1/2 games behind the Seals.

Sacramento (32-31) stayed above .500 and Los Angeles (31-31) got back to that mark; the Solons are in third place, nine games back, and the Angels are in fourth, 9 1/2 back. Oakland (30-32) is 10 1/2 out, Hollywood (who swept a six-game set at Seattle) is 29-33 and 11 1/2 back, Portland (27-36) is 14 back and Seattle (25-36) is 15 back.

Update: 6/20/1938

San Francisco’s tear continued, as the Seals (38-18) took four of six from Sacramento (29-28) to drop the Solons into third place, 9 1/2 games out of first. The Seals are 13-4 in June. San Diego (31-26), having also won four of six this week, now has sole possession of second place, 7 1/2 games behind San Francisco. Five of the league’s eight teams are under .500. Oakland (27-29) is 11 games back, Los Angeles (26-30) is 12 games back, Portland (26-31) and Seattle (25-30) are 12 1/2 games back, and Hollywood (23-33), back in the cellar after winning just one game this week, is 15 games back.

The Padres were able to keep pace with the Seals due in a large part to the efforts of first sacker Buck Leonard, who has been named Player of the Week for the second time this year. Big Buck hit .385 with two homers and ten runs batted in as the Friars made themselves at home at Oakland. Leonard is hitting .317 with 7 HR and 50 RBI; the 50 RBI places him third in the league.

Update: 6/13/1938


It’s been awhile since a team opened up as big a lead in the P. C. L. standings as San Francisco’s 7 1/2-game cushion. The Seals (34-16) have been red-hot for two weeks, losing only twice in that span. This week they won five of six, all at the expense of San Diego (27-24), dropping the Padres into a second-place tie with Sacramento (also 27-24).

The Seals’ Dom DiMaggio earned Player of the Week honors by ripping Padres hurlers to the tune of .765 (13-for-17). The 21-year-old right fielder now leads his brother/teammate Joe—as well as the rest of the league—in the race for the Coast League batting title. Dom is hitting .401, Joe is second at .379, and another Seal, Arky Vaughan, is third at .371. Small wonder the Seals are in first place and threatening to run away with the pennant race.

Fourth-place Oakland (25-25) trails San Francisco by nine games, but the Oaks are only a game and a half behind Sacramento and San Diego in what is now a tight race for the second postseason slot. Los Angeles (24-26) is a game behind the Oaks, 2 1/2 out of second. Hollywood (22-28), winners of five straight over Seattle (21-28), is five games behind the Solons and Padres, having dropped the Rainiers into seventh place. Portland (21-30) is now in the cellar, but only six games removed from a playoff spot.

Update: 6/6/1938

It’s been a strange year for Jeff Heath and the Hollywood Stars. Heath has been outstanding—a .337 batting average (ninth in the league), 12 home runs (tied for second most in the league) and 36 runs batted in (second in the league), but the Stars remain in the cellar. Stranger still, Heath has been named Player of the Week three times, and the Stars have failed to play .500 ball in each of those weeks. This week they went 3-4 while Heath hit .407 with five home runs and thirteen RBI. Does Heath needs to cool down in order for the Stars to rise?

San Francisco (29-15) won six of seven this week, increasing their lead over every team in the league. The Seals lead San Diego (25-19) by four games, Sacramento (24-21) by 5 1/2, Oakland (22-21) by 6 1/2, Seattle (20-23) by 8 1/2, Los Angeles (20-24) by nine, Portland (19-26) by 10 1/2, and Hollywood (17-27) by twelve.

Update: 5/30/1938


Los Angeles’ Jigger Statz certainly qualifies as one of the league’s elder statesman at age 40, but the veteran center fielder is showing he can still collect base hits like he did when he was in his twenties. Statz, a .296 career hitter, is hitting .420 this season after an eye-popping .727 performance (16-for-22) last week. The .420 average puts him in the league lead.

Statz’ big week didn’t help the Angels (18-19) make any strides in the standings, but further down south the Padres (22-15) are on the move. San Diego lost its first game this week, 5-2 to Seattle (15-21), but bounced back with four straight wins over Portland (16-22). The Friars are now in second place, just one game behind San Francisco (23-14). The Seals treaded water this week, winning three and losing three, so they saw their lead over San Diego shrink while managing to increase the gap between themselves and now-third-place Sacramento (22-16), who lost three of five. The Solons trail the Seals by 1 1/2 games. Fourth-place Oakland (18-18) is 4 1/2 games back, the Angels are five back, Portland and Seattle are both 7 1/2 back, and Hollywood (14-23) is nine back.

Update: 5/23/1938


Earlier this season Los Angeles (15-16) hit a rough patch that dropped them five games under .500 and into the second division, but this week the Angels looked more like a team defending a world championship, taking two of three from third-place San Diego (18-14) and three straight from front-running San Francisco (20-11). The sudden hot streak did not quite lift the Halos into the first division but it got them close; they’re in fifth place, a half-game behind fourth-place Oakland (15-15) and five games out of first. Instrumental to the club’s offensive onslaught (they scored 58 runs over the six games) was star right fielder Wally Berger, who hit had an unbelievable week even for him, hitting seven home runs, knocking in twenty, and hitting .556. Berger leads the league in home runs with 16 and RBI with an eye-popping 47.

The Seals lead Sacramento (20-13) by one game, the Padres by 2 1/2, the Oaks by 4 1/2.

Update: 5/16/1938

San Francisco (18-7) stayed hot, winning four of six, which allowed the Seals to increase their lead over second-place Sacramento (16-9) by a game; the Solons split their six games this week. Another team on a roll is San Diego (14-11), who took advantage of struggling Hollywood and Los Angeles (both 10-15) to make it a 5-1 week for the now third-place Padres. San Diego is two games behind Sacramento and four behind San Francisco. Oakland (12-12) is the only other team at .500 or better; the Oaks are 5 1/2 games out of first.

Jeff Heath of Hollywood has been named the Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks. This time around he did it on the strength of a .379 average, five home runs, eight runs batted in, and six runs scored. Heath is hitting .337 for the season but the Stars have not found a way to capitalize on his heroics, losing eight of their last twelve games.

Update: 5/9/1938


The San Diego Padres (9-10) have not put together a winning season since 1934, when they were still known as the Hollywood Stars. This season did not start out well either, and after dropping last Monday’s contest to Los Angeles (9-10) the Friars were 4-10. Since then, however, they have won five straight, knocking off the Angels twice and the current edition of the Stars (7-12) three times. First baseman Buck Leonard helped lead the turnaround, hitting .375 with three home runs, eleven runs batted in, and nine runs scored to make himself the obvious choice for Player of the Week. The 30-year-old is leading the league in hits with 30 and is tied with teammate Dom Dallesandro for the league lead in runs with 16.

Meanwhile San Francisco (14-5) went on a 6-0 tear, good enough to put the Seals atop the standings board. They lead Sacramento (13-6) by a game, Oakland (10-8) by three and a half games, Los Angeles and San Diego by five, Seattle (7-11) by six and a half, Hollywood by seven and Portland (6-13) by eight.

Update: 5/2/1938


Remaining on top of the Coast League standings for two straight weeks at the beginning of the season—or at any other time—is no small feat, and Sacramento (9-4) has done it. This week the road was a little rockier, as the Solons dropped three games while winning four, allowing San Francisco (8-5), who won five and lost two, to pick up a game on them. The Seals are in second place, a game in front of Los Angeles (7-6), a game and a half ahead of Seattle (6-6), two games ahead of Hollywood and Portland (both 6-7), and two and a half games ahead of Oakland (5-7). San Diego is off to a poor start at 4-9.

Hollywood’s Jeff Heath is this week’s standout performer, hitting .500 with a homer, four runs batted in and eight runs scored. The 23-year-old left fielder, who hit .310 as a rookie two years ago but slumped to .269 last season, is hitting .333 to begin the campaign. The Stars are scoring their share of runs, aided by Wrigley Field’s cozy dimensions, but the pitching staff is having a tough time adjusting, giving up a league-leading 73 runs.

Update: 4/25/1938


Sacramento was one of the teams that stayed in the pennant race last season until the final, frustrating week; this year, the Solons seem determined to get off to the kind of start that will prove frustrating to other teams. They certainly frustrated San Diego this week, taking five of the six games the teams played.

The only other team to start off the season with a winning record during the initial week is defending champion Los Angeles, who took four out of six from the new Hollywood Stars. Angels third baseman Gene Lillard led the charge, with four home runs, nine runs batted in and a sizzling .611 batting average. Lillard, who appeared in a few Spring Training games as a pitcher, may be used at some point during the season in that capacity but his hot start with the bat may induce Angel manager George Scales to table that indefinitely.

The week’s two other match-ups, Oakland/San Francisco and Portland/Seattle, ended in splits.

1937-1938 Off-Season

After dangling for two years, the other shoe has dropped. The team once known as the Vernon Tigers and for the past 12 financially-frustrating seasons as the Mission Bells has returned to the Southland as the new incarnation of the Hollywood Stars. Thus the league’s largest city resumes two-team status while its second-largest is relieved of the burden of supporting what appears to have been one team too many.

Hollywood is not an incorporated city, and is situated entirely within the city limits of Los Angeles, but the region finally has a team to call its own. The new Stars will share the Angels’ Wrigley Field as the old Stars did, but it will be a very temporary arrangement. Ground has already been broken to construct Gilmore Field at Beverly Boulevard and Genesee Avenue in Hollywood. If the location sounds familiar to sports-minded Angelenos, it is because the new ballpark will stand just a few hundred meters east of oval-shaped Gilmore Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Bulldogs professional football team.

Sick’s Stadium

Meanwhile, a thousand or so miles up the coast, the Seattle Rainiers will unveil brand-new Sick’s Stadium at the corner of South McClellan Street and Rainier Avenue in the Rainier Valley district of the King City. The new field was constructed on the same plot of land as old Dugdale Park, the Rainiers’ former home. Dugdale Park burned down in 1932, but Sick’s is a modern concrete-and-steel facility, built to last while providing seats for 12,000 cheering fans.