PCL Redux

Update: 8/29/1927


As we approach the home stretch, there’s a deadlock for first place in the Coast League. Seattle and Sacramento are are both 74-50.

The Rainiers took advantage of a light schedule this week, winning four and losing two against the league’s two worst teams, San Francisco (50-74) and Los Angeles (49-75). Meanwhile, the Solons had to play Mission (61-63), a team fighting to stay in the race, and Hollywood (70-54), a team very much in the race. Sacramento only managed two wins in six games, and lost their lead as a result. Hollywood is four games back.

Willie Wells, the Rainiers’ outstanding shortstop, earned Player of the Week recognition by hitting .571 and scoring nine runs while driving in nine. Wells is hitting .315 for the season and is tied for the league lead in triples with 15. One of the loop’s best defensive shortstops, he is currently second in fielding percentage at .955.

Harry Heilmann is still hitting a notch above .400, at .401.

Update: 8/22/1927

Hollywood (67-51) has emerged as a serious pennant contender. The Stars lost only one game this week, splitting a Sunday doubleheader with Oakland, while second place Seattle (70-48) and first place Sacramento (72-46) each won four and lost two. In picking up a game on both leaders Hollywood sits just two games out of second and five games out of first.

The Stars’ John Beckwith was the week’s top performer, hitting a sizzling .458 with 3 HR, 11 RBI, and 9 runs scored. Beckwith is second in the league in hitting (.381), hits (183), triples (14) and home runs (20) and third in runs scored (100). He leads the league in RBI (109) and doubles (43).

Harry Heilmann of Mission is hitting .403.

Update: 8/15/1927

Mission left fielder Harry Heilmann is the Player of the Week, but as good a week as it was (.560, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R), it’s Heilmann’s season statistics that are gaining attention around the league. While several other batters have flirted with .400 this season, all but Heilmann have fallen below the .380 mark, while “Slug” raised his to .406 this week. The batting title seems like an easy accomplishment at this point; it’s that “.400” that captures people’s interest.

The pennant race tightened up a bit at the top, as Seattle (66-46) won four out of six to cut Sacramento’s (68-44) lead to two games. The Rainiers maintained their four game edge over third place Hollywood (62-50), while Mission (58-44), in spite of Heilmann’s heroics, has fallen eight games behind Seattle.

John Beckwith of Hollywood is closing in on the 100 RBI mark (he has 98), while Turkey Stearnes of Los Angeles leads the league in home runs with 21. The Stars’ Andy Cooper paces the circuit with 18 victories, while Oakland’s Syl Johnson currently claims the top ERA at 3.08.

Update: 8/8/1927


Biz Mackey of Seattle (62-44) earned Player of the Week accolades by hitting .542 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI, but the Mackey and the Rainiers are hearing footsteps from the catcher’s former team, Hollywood (58-48). The Stars took five out of six this week and now trail Seattle by just four games—the same margin by which the Rainiers trail first place Sacramento (66-40). With Mission (56-50) now six games behind Seattle and Portland (53-53) a distant nine behind their Northwest neighbors, the post-season race for now looks like a three-team contest. But with nearly two months to go, a lot can happen.

The Solons righted the ship after their disastrous final week of July, winning five of six. Most importantly, the victories came against key opponents, Seattle and Mission. The Solons have two more games with the Rainiers at home, and then they won’t see them again until mid-September in Seattle.

Update: 8/1/1927


Just when it looked like Sacramento (61-39) was set to run away with the race, the Solons instead ran right into a wall, losing six straight. Three of the six were one-run losses, which certainly could be viewed as overdue occurrence, given that they had gone 27-9 in such contests after beating Hollywood (53-47) 9-8 last Monday. They then proceeded to lose four straight to the Stars (two by one run) and then their next two to Mission (53-47). The Solons are still in pretty good shape, though, leading Seattle (58-41) by 2˝ games and the Stars and Bells by 8.

The Rainiers struggled a bit this week as well, gaining only a split in six contests against two down-and-out clubs, Los Angeles (43-56) and San Francisco (38-62). The Angels enjoyed their best week of the year, winning five games and losing just one.

Without question, the race has tightened, with Hollywood and Mission just 5˝ games behind Seattle, and even fifth place Portland, at 10 games behind the Rainiers, possibly just a quick hot streak away from getting back into contention. With two months remaining, there is still more than just a glimmer of hope remaining for several teams.

Mission center fielder Cool Papa Bell is the Player of the Week. Bell hit .484 with 2 home runs and 9 RBI to lead the Bells to seven victories in eight games. Bell is hitting .296 and leading the league with 61 stolen bases.

Update: 7/25/1927


Sacramento (60-33) was in second place for a brief period a few weeks back and they appear to be uninterested in returning. The Solons have opened up a 4 1/2 game lead over Seattle (55-37). No longer doing it all with pitching and defense, they won three consecutive games at San Francisco by scores of 13-7, 12-1, and 12-0. With a .645 winning percentage, the Solons are looking like the class of the league. 

The Rainiers did not have a good week, winning only twice, but they now lead second place Portland (48-45) by 7 1/2 games. The Beavers were beaten four times in five games by Hollywood (47-46), who now trail them by just one game.

The Stars’ top contributor was Player of the Week John Beckwith. The burly third sacker hit .565 with four home runs and seven RBI. Beckwith leads the league in doubles with 37 and total bases with 238, and is second in RBI, third in home runs, and third in runs scored. It sounds like a Player of the Year-type season, but there’s competition, notably from San Francisco’s Smead Jolley, who leads the league in home runs and RBI and is third in batting at .391, just nine points behind his league-leading teammate, Earl Averill.

Update: 7/18/1927


Johnny Frederick of Hollywood grabbed Player of the Week accolades, leading his club to five victories in seven games by hitting .440 with 5 home runs and 11 RBI. Frederick now has 15 home runs this season, one shy of league leader Turkey Stearnes of Los Angeles. The Stars (42-45) are still a few games under .500, but they’re just one game out of the first division—a marked improvement from their performance the previous two seasons.

It wasn’t a particularly good week for either of the top two clubs in the loop; Sacramento (56-31) lost four of seven and Seattle (53-34) lost four of six. Their lackluster results gave third place Portland (47-40) some hope, as the Beavers won five out of seven to climb within six games of the Rainiers.

The Solons received bad news this week, as southpaw Oscar Levis, the league leader in ERA with a 2.64 mark, has been lost for the season with an elbow injury. Levis was 8-2.

Update: 7/11/1927

With a dominant 7-1 week, Sacramento (53-27) has recaptured the top spot and put some distance between themselves and their closest challengers, Seattle (49-32). The Rainiers didn't have a bad week themselves, going 5-4 against third place Portland to open up an 8 1/2 game edge over the Beavers, but for now they’ll have to be content in second place, 2 1/2 games behind the Solons.

The Solons have been winning a lot of one-run games this year, and they won three more this week in their mid-season clash with Oakland (35-45) to run their record in such contests to a phenomenal 24-6. One of the games was a 1-0 combined shutout by Harold Morris and Howard Craghead. But it’s not all nail-biters for these Solons; they had pounded the Oaks 14-1 the previous day.

San Francisco (31-49) is back in the cellar and currently enduring a six-game skid but one Seal is having a superb season: center fielder Earl Averill, who has just been named Player of the Week for the third time. Averill hit .552 with a pair of homers and 7 RBI this time. He leads the loop with a .406 average.

Update: 7/4/1927


Sacramento and Seattle are in a dead heat now at the top of the Coast League standings; both clubs are 46-26 after the Solons took four of five from last-place Los Angeles (27-45) and the Rainiers dropped three of five to Mission (32-39). The Solons are a remarkable 21-6 in games decided by one run, which largely accounts for the tie at the top; the Rainiers have outscored them by 50 runs, as well as giving up four fewer. Any way you chop up the numbers, it’s been a great first half for two clubs vying for their first postseason appearances since the league declared itself a major league 6 1/2 years ago. They both hold a 7 1/2 game advantage over third place Portland (38-33).

Hollywood (34-38) is a handful of games under .500 and 12 games out of a postseason berth but it’s been a pretty good campaign for the Stars, considering their 94-loss performance in 1926. One of the bright spots this year is second baseman Tony Lazzeri. He’s not hitting home runs like he did in the days of the thin air and short fences of Salt Lake City, but his .322 average is nothing to scoff at. Lazzeri is the Player of the Week, having just hit .480 in five games against Portland.

Update: 6/27/1927


Oakland (33-34) got off to a miserable start this year; a month ago they were still six games under .500 and in last place. Slowly but surely, the defending champs have been climbing back to respectability, with an eye on post-season contention. They’re now just a game under .500 and in the first division, 3 1/2 games behind third place Portland (36-30) and 9 games behind second place Sacramento (42-25). They still have their work cut out for them, but they’ve been moving in the right direction.

The Oaks’ brightest star this week was shortstop Dobie Moore, who hit .517 with 3 home runs and 9 RBI as the Acorns took four out of six at Los Angeles (26-41). Moore also picked up his 100th hit of the campaign in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, a 16-3 Oaks romp. The big hit was his second two-run homer of the game. Moore is hitting .348 with 3 homers and 38 RBI.

Seattle (44-23) remains in first place after taking four of six from Hollywood (31-36). The Solons trail the Rainiers by 2 games after beating San Francisco (26-41) four times in six tries.

Update: 6/20/1927

Seattle (40-21) stayed hot, running their winning streak to 11 before falling at Los Angeles (24-37) on Sunday. The Rainiers picked up a game over Sacramento (38-23), as the Solons were taking three out of five games at home against Mission (27-33). Seattle now leads Sacramento by 2 games and third place Portland (32-28) by 7 1/2. The Beavers suffered three losses in five games to San Francisco (24-37).

The Seals haven’t climbed out of the cellar yet, but they have company there, once again tied with the Angels. Sophomore center fielder Earl Averill’s star continues to rise, as the 25 year-old from Snohomish, Washington captured Player of the Week accolades with 4 home runs, 6 RBI, and a .500 average against Portland. Averill leads the league with a .406 batting average and is part of a three-way tie for the league lead in home runs with 10. Sharing the top spot is his teammate Smead Jolley and Mission’s Ike Boone, who’s been sidelined since May 19.

Update: 6/13/1927


Seattle (36-20) is sizzling. The Rainiers swept San Francisco (21-35) and are now in first place, a game better than Sacramento (35-21). The winning streak is currently at seven. Seattle leads the league in runs scored with 315 and they’re tied with the Solons for the fewest runs allowed, at 237. Not surprisingly, a Rainier was Player of the Week this time around. The honor went to Chick Hafey, the Berkeley-born right fielder who punished the Seals’ pitching staff to the tune of .522, driving in 10 runs in the process. Hafey is hitting .312 this season, and if his career average of .344 indicates anything, he’s probably just getting warmed up.

Portland (30-25) managed three wins in five games against Los Angeles (23-33), so the Beavers lost ground to Seattle but picked up a game on the Solons, who dropped three of five to Hollywood (26-30). Portland trails Seattle by 5 1/2, Sacramento by 4 1/2.

The Seals are reeling, having dropped 13 straight. They haven’t won since beating Seattle 3-1 on May 27.

Update: 6/6/1927

Look out, here comes Portland! The Beavers (27-23) were in last place just slightly less than two weeks ago; now they’ve won eleven straight and have catapulted themselves into third place and into the thick of the pennant race. They trail second place Seattle (31-20) by just 3 1/2 games.

Sacramento (33-18) was in need of a good week to hold onto first place after a fortnight of .500 ball, and they sandwiched four straight wins in between losses in their series at Mission (24-26). The Solons even extended their lead over Seattle (31-20) to two games as the Rainiers split with Los Angeles (21-30).

San Francisco (21-30), the latest victims of Portland’s hot streak, fell into a seventh place tie with the Angels. In spite of the sweep, right fielder Smead Jolley took Player of the Week honors for the second time this year. Jolley shredded the Beavers’ staff at a .619 clip to raise his season average to .399. That’s only good enough for third in the league at this stage, as his teammate Earl Averill and Mission’s Harry Heilmann both weigh in at a hefty .406.

Update: 5/30/1927


Seattle (28-17) won four of six meetings with San Francisco (21-24) this week while Sacramento (29-16) was splitting with Hollywood (21-24), so the Rainiers are now just a game behind the Solons for the top spot. Southpaw Ed Brandt, a Spokane native already in his fourth season with the Rainiers at the tender age of 22, has emerged as the staff ace. Brandt is 8-2 with a 2.91 ERA. His new battery-mate, Biz Mackey, is hitting .381 as a Rainier.

It’s still early enough in the season that a team can begin the week in or near the cellar and finish the week in the first division. That’s what Portland (21-23) did; after losing the first game of a six-game set to Los Angeles (18-27) to fall a half-game behind seventh-place Oakland (19-26), the Beavers won the next five and are now just two games under .500 and in fourth place. Player of the Week Bill Riggins was the biggest contributor to the Beavs’ surge. The shortstop hit .536 with two home runs and 9 RBI against the beleaguered Angels staff. Los Angeles is now in last place, a game behind Oakland.

Update: 5/23/1927


Seattle and Hollywood made a major six-player trade after concluding their series last Monday. The Stars (18-21) sent catcher Biz Mackey, outfielder Frank Zoeller, and third baseman Joe Manger to the Rainiers (24-15) in exchange for third baseman John Beckwith, catcher Jose Maria Fernandez, and outfielder Marty Callaghan. The Rainiers immediately set out to prove they had “won” the trade by taking four out of six games from Mission (19-19), dropping the Bells 4 1/2 games behind them. The Stars, meanwhile, lost four of six to Portland (16-22).

The Rainiers are now within two games of the top spot, which for now is still the property of Sacramento (26-13). The Solons fought San Francisco (19-20) to a draw this week.

The defending champion Oakland Oaks (16-23) are not off to a good start this season; in fact, they are back in the cellar after dropping four out of six to Los Angeles (17-22). But their slugging right fielder, Buzz Arlett, is not one to take losing in stride. Arlett hit .440 against the Angels and was named Player of the Week. He’s hitting .314 on the season.

Update: 5/16/1927


Sacramento (23-10) got back on track this week with five wins in seven games, but Seattle (20-13) remained hot and picked up a half a game on the Solons. The second place Rainiers are three games back and are riding a six-game winning streak. Mission (17-15) is 5 1/2 games out; the Solons, Rainiers and Bells are the only teams above .500.

In a Bay Area skirmish, Oakland (14-19) took three out of five from San Francisco (16-17), The Oaks are out of the cellar now, in sixth place; while the Seals are tied with Hollywood (16-17) for fourth. The Stars were off to a good start but hit a road bump this week, getting swept in five straight by Seattle.

Los Angeles (13-20) and Portland (12-20) are now trying to avoid the stigma of the cellar, with the Angels currently holding the half-game edge.

Sacramento’s young shortstop, San Francisco-born Joe Cronin, looks like a star in the making. He took Player of the Week accolades this week by hitting .571 with 9 RBI. Cronin’s at .333 for the season and is providing some stability in the middle of the Solons’ infield while the club platoons at second base.

Update: 5/9/1927


Sacramento (18-8) remains in first place, with a three-game lead over Hollywood (15-11) and a four-game lead over Mission (14-12) and Seattle (14-12). The Solons had run their record up to 17-4 with only a single losing streak of two games through the first three weeks of play. Now they’ve lost four of their last five, all to the Rainiers, who have supplanted them as the league’s hottest team. Seattle’s formula this year seems to echo that of the Solons: dominating pitching, just enough offense to get by. The Rainiers have hit just three home runs all year, but they’re outscoring their opponents by close to a run per game.

Portland (10-16) has hit bottom, but at least they have company; they’re in a  three-way tie for the cellar along with Los Angeles (10-16) and Oakland (10-16). You wouldn’t know it by watching center fielder Oscar Charleston, though; the captain hit .567 this week to raise his season average to .410 and grab Player of the Week honors.

Update: 5/2/1927


Sacramento is for real. The first place Solons (15-4) increased their lead to 3 1/2 games over second place Hollywood by winning their last six games in a row, including doubleheader sweeps versus Seattle and Portland. The Solons are still doing it mostly with pitching, as their league-leading 2.59 ERA will attest. Lefthander Willie Foster (4-1, 2.06) and righties Ray Keating (4-0, 2.86) and Howard Craghead (2-1, 1.40) give the Solons a 1-2-3 punch that’s hard to match.

The Stars (11-7) are playing like a new team as well, although few faces have changed since last year. A notable exception is a veteran center fielder from the Negro Leagues, Cuban-born Alejandro Oms. Oms is hitting .347 while playing his usual outstanding defense.

Mission (10-8) is a game behind Hollywood, and the Bells are once again leading the league in runs scored; a new wrinkle is an improved performance from their pitching staff.

Smead Jolley of San Francisco is the Player of the Week. The slugging right fielder hit .538 with 3 home runs and 13 RBI to raise his average to .403. Jolley’s 23 RBI lead the league.

Update: 4/25/1927


Sacramento (9-3) took four out of six games from Portland (6-6) to remain in first place. The Solons scored in double figures twice, winning 11-3 and 10-5, but their pitching has been even more impressive with its league-leading 2.74 ERA.

Breathing down the Solons’ necks are the Mission Bells (8-4), who remain a game back after beating Los Angeles (4-8) four times in six tries. Mission is scoring runs in bunches, 7.3 per game so far. Many Bells are contributing to the onslaught, but none more than Player of the Week Harry Heilmann, who hit .481 against the Angels. Heilmann is at .490 for the season.

Third place Hollywood (7-5) is the only other team above .500 after their split with San Francisco (5-7). Seattle (6-6) is tied with Portland for fourth place, followed by the Seals, Angels, and, improbably, defending champion Oakland (3-9).

Opening Week 1927


The big story the first week of the 1927 Coast League campaign is the 5-1 start of the Sacramento Solons. The perennial also-rans looked like champions while taming the actual defending league champs, the Oakland Oaks. It’s early, of course, but it’s a promising beginning for the Solons, especially for the pitching staff, who allowed a league-low 17 runs and notched a pair of shutouts.

Mission, Hollywood, and Portland each won four games this week and sit a game behind Sacramento.

The league’s top performer was San Francisco center fielder Earl Averill. The slugging sophomore ripped Mission pitching to the tune of .593 with two doubles and a triple. The Seals failed to take advantage of Averill’s heroics, though, dropping four of six to the Bells.

1926-1927 Off-season

It was a relatively quiet off-season. No new facilities were built, no franchises moved; movement wasn’t even discussed. Rumors that the National and American Leagues were on the verge of accepting the Pacific Coast League as the third major swirled, as they had for years; the Coast League prepared itself for another season, again maintaining publicly that it would accept the offer if it came, and again offered the challenge of a post-season series between the Governor’s Cup champion and the World Series champion. Organized baseball remained mum on the subject.

1921     1922     1923     1924     1925     1926     1927