1928 Pacific Coast League Championship Series
Game One: Los Angeles 4, San Francisco 2 at Los Angeles, Tue., Oct.2, 1928
While Los Angeles’ Satchel Paige had taken the league by storm in his freshman campaign, winning the pitching Triple Crown, San Francisco had emerged victorious in all ten of Rats Henderson’s starts since acquiring him from Sacramento at the trade deadline, so both teams took the field for Game One brimming with optimism. The Angels broke the ice in the third inning on center fielder Jigger Statz’ RBI single, and doubled their lead in the following frame on a run-scoring single by first baseman Chick Tolson. Paige got some help from his defense in the fifth, as right fielder Turkey Stearnes threw catcher Art Koehler out at the plate, cutting down what would have been the Seals’ first run. Henderson had no such luck, as his defense let him down in the bottom of the sixth; a costly error by shortstop Dick Lundy extended the inning and led to RBI-singles by third baseman Ray Jacobs and shortstop Carl Dittmar. The Seals fought back for two in the seventh on a solo home run by center fielder Earl Averill and a run-scoring single by Koehler, but that was all they would get as Paige went the distance in the Game One victory.
Game Two: Los Angeles 8, San Francisco 7 at Los Angeles, Wed., Oct. 3, 1928
The Halos struck for three in the first on a Stearnes two-run blast and a Dittmar RBI-single, and led 6-1 after Statz’ two-run fourth inning triple. The Seals’ Duster Mails departed an inning later, and relievers Herb McQuaid and Bill Holland combined for three-plus scoreless innings to give San Francisco a chance to battle back against the Angels’ Rasty Wright. First baseman Gus Suhr made it 6-2 when he doubled home a run in the sixth, and the Seals tied it with a four-run explosion in a seventh inning that featured triples by Lundy, pinch-hitter Jerry Donovan, and second baseman Newt Allen. San Francisco pulled ahead in the ninth on Allen’s run-scoring single, but Bill Drake couldn’t hold the lead; the Angels led off their half of the inning with three straight singles to tie it, and won it on catcher Larry Brown’s RBI-single to right.
Game Three: San Francisco 8, Los Angeles 0 at San Francisco, Fri., Oct. 5, 1928
Needing a win, the Seals found themselves in a pitchers’ duel until late. The home team picked up a run off Bill Piercy in the second when third baseman Frankie Crosetti scampered home from third on Harry Salmon’s grounder off the glove of Halos’ second baseman George Scales. From that point on Salmon and Piercy traded goose eggs until the bottom of the eighth, when the Seals exploded for seven runs, highlighted by Averill’s three-run homer and Lundy’s bases-clearing double. His task having just become considerably easier, Salmon tossed one more scoreless frame to earn an 8-0 shutout.
Game Four: Los Angeles 7, San Francisco 4 at San Francisco, Sat., Oct. 6, 1928
In an unexpected move, Halos skipper Marty Krug opted not to start Paige on three days’ rest, turning instead to Carl Holling, while the Seals’ Nick Williams went with Game One starter Henderson. By the second inning it looked like Williams had won the chess match, with the Seals holding a 3-1 advantage. But Holling settled down, and in the fourth inning Jacobs’ two-run blast pulled Los Angeles even. They took the lead in the sixth on a pair of two-run singles, the first by Jacobs, the other, crushingly, by Holling. Holling gave up an eighth-inning solo shot to right fielder Smead Jolley, but hung tough to complete the game and get the Angels to the brink of the title.
Game Five: Los Angeles 5, San Francisco 3 at San Francisco, Sun., Oct. 7, 1928
With Paige back on the hill, the confident Angels appeared poised to finish off their hosts. Scales led the game off with a triple and scored on Dittmar’s double, and run-scoring singles by left fielder Wally Berger and right fielder Wes Schulmerich gave the Halos a 3-0 first inning lead. They added a third inning run on Brown’s RBI-double, and Paige carried the shutout into the fifth, when San Francisco broke through on Averill’s two-out RBI-single. Scales doubled home a run in the eighth to restore the four-run lead, but Jolley electrified the crowd with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning that cut the lead to 5-3. The Seals collected a pair of singles in the ninth to put the tying run on base, but Paige induced second baseman Lonny Baker to bounce into a game-ending double play to secure the championship for Los Angeles.
Entering the week with identical 80-68 records, Mission and San Francisco had six final regular season games—five of them against each other—left to determine who would play Los Angeles for the league championship. The Bells dropped a 7-2 decision to Hollywood on Sunday, while the Seals bested the Angels by the same score, their third straight triumph. After both clubs rested on an idle Tuesday they faced off at their mutual home, Recreation Park, with the Seals holding a one-game edge.
Needing three wins to clinch, the Seals looked like they might cruise effortlessly into the postseason when they began the series with consecutive 6-run victories, 12-6 on Wednesday and 15-9 on Thursday. But the Bells took Friday’s contest, 4-2, to set up a shot at forcing a one-game playoff if they could win the next two games. They built a 7-2 lead in Saturday’s game, but the wheels came off in the eighth inning as the Seals struck for 8 runs. The Bells tied it in the bottom of the inning and then the bullpens held sway until the top of the 15th, when the Seals’ Smead Jolley drove home the eventual winning run on a sacrifice fly.
Los Angeles lost their final eight games to finish 89-65, but took the flag by five games over the 84-70 Seals, while the Bells and Stars wound up tied for third with identical 82-72 records, seven games behind Los Angeles. Fifth-place Sacramento’s hot September netted them a winning record at 78-76, while Oakland (74-80) finished sixth, Seattle (69-85) finished seventh, and Portland (58-96) brought up the rear.
Earl Averill of San Francisco hit .401 to win the batting title, followed by Los Angeles’ Turkey Stearnes (.355) and Hollywood’s John Beckwith (350). The Angels’ Wally Berger paced the loop in home runs with 39, while Averill swatted 33 and Stearnes clubbed 29. Berger drove in 141 runs to lead all challengers, with Mission’s Ike Boone and Heavy Johnson plating 133 and 123, respectively. Cool Papa Bell of Mission swiped 85 bases, easily out-thieving Oakland’s Buzz Arlett and the Angels’ Jigger Statz, who each pilfered 30.
Angels rookie Satchel Paige’s dominance on the mound was the year’s biggest story; the 22-year-old right-hander took the pitching Triple Crown, winning all three categories by huge margins. His 1.46 ERA was over a half-a-run better than Hollywood’s Nip Winters’ excellent 2.13; Ed Brandt of Seattle posted the third best mark at 2.64. Paige won 28 games, seven more than Winters and eight more than Brandt. Perhaps most impressive was his 256 strikeouts, more than twice as many as every other pitcher in the league save for Sacramento’s Willie Foster, whose 150 K’s still trailed Paige by over a hundred. Winters was third with 127.
The Angels and Seals will kick off the championship series on Tuesday, the winner of which will claim the Nyquist Trophy. It’s the Seals’ fourth time in the tourney and the Angels’ third. San Francisco has won the championship once, in 1921, and Los Angeles has won it twice, in 1923 and 1924. It will be the first time the two clubs have faced each other with the league title on the line.
San Francisco’s Earl Averill, a leading contender for Player of the Year, drove the Seals (80-68) to a 4-2 week, tying them with Mission (80-68) for second place. Averill hit .474 with three home runs, five runs batted in, and seven runs scored while lifting his season’s average above .400 (.401). The Seals have one more game against Los Angeles (89-59) and the Bells have one more game against Hollywood (76-72) before they meet each other at Recreation Park for a five-game set that will determine which club makes it to the postseason.
The Angels will wait to see who their championship series opponent will be, having clinched the top spot early in the week, while the Stars were officially eliminated when the Seals beat the Halos on Sunday. Sacramento (74-74) and Oakland (71-77) were eliminated early in the week.
Hollywood (73-69) is in a tailspin, losers of six straight. Beaten in their final two meetings against now-eliminated Seattle (63-78), the Stars continued the slide with four straight defeats at home to San Francisco (76-66), one of the two teams they can ill-afford to lose to. Hollywood has dropped down to fourth place, four games behind Mission (77-65) with 12 to play. The silver lining is that after they finish their series with the Seals, the Stars play the Bells, so the opportunity to turn their fortunes around quickly is available.
The Seals are riding high with a four-game win streak, and have pulled within a game of Mission. The Bells’ victory over first-place Los Angeles (87-55) on Thursday put them within seven games of the leaders and inspired visions of a race for the top spot, but the Angels won the next three meetings and now the Bells are ten games out, and more concerned about the Seals breathing down their necks.
The Angels are officially in the postseason, and will clinch home field advantage with three more wins. This week their standout player was second baseman George Scales, who more than earned Player of the Week accolades with an unbelievable .739 (17 for 23) average. Scales is hitting .331 this season with 15 home runs and 78 runs batted in. He’s second in the league in runs scored with 121.
Mission (75-61), Hollywood (73-61), and San Francisco (72-65) all drew match-ups against second division clubs, with the Bells taking five of six from Seattle (60-75) and Portland (52-83), the Stars taking four of six from Portland and Seattle, and the Seals splitting six with Sacramento (65-71) and Oakland (63-73). Thus the Bells extended their lead over the Stars by one and the Seals by two; with time running out on the regular season, Mission’s two-game lead over Hollywood and three-and-a-half-game lead over San Francisco is significant, but not so significant as to be decisive. This week the real fireworks begin, with Mission hosting league-leading Los Angeles (84-43) and the Stars and Seals squaring off in San Francisco.
Hollywood’s Leo Ostenberg is the Player of the Week. The 20-year-old third sacker hit .524 with two home runs and ten runs batted in. Ostenberg, in his first season as a regular, is hitting .282 with 14 HR and 73 RBI.
Portland has been eliminated from postseason consideration.
With a month to play Los Angeles (80-51) appears to be firmly in control, leading second-place Mission (70-60) by nine-and-a-half games. The Angels just completed their best month; they were 20-7 in August. Left fielder Wally Berger, who was named Player of the Month for August (.321, 9 HR, 34 RBI) is also the Player of the Week for third time this season. Over the past seven days Berger hit .407 with four home runs and 11 runs batted in. He leads the league in homers (35) and RBI (125).
Assuming the Halos hold onto their lead, the question of who they will play for the Nyquist Trophy remains very much an open one. The Bells lead Hollywood (69-61) by a game and San Francisco (69-62) by a game and a half. The Stars had a poor August (10-17) but they’ve won three in a row. The Bells played .500 ball in August and have continued that trend by splitting their first two games this month. The Seals have mirrored the Bells’ performance over the last 28 games (14-14). The prescient schedule maker prepared a dramatic finish to the season, with three straight five-game series between the three clubs: The Stars host San Francisco Sept. 13–18, Mission hosts Hollywood Sept. 20–24, and the Seals and Bells wrap up the regular season Sept. 26–30.
Heavy Johnson of Mission (66-58) is the Player of the Week for the second time in less than a month. Johnson went 13 for 27, a .481 clip, to raise his season’s average to .323. He also hit his 13th home run and drove in six. He’s tied for third in the league in RBI with 90.
In spite of Johnson’s heroics, the Bells didn’t have a particularly good week, winning two and losing four. They dropped a half-game to first-place Los Angeles (75-49), who they now trail by nine games, and a half-game to Hollywood (66-58), who now have tied the Bells for second place. Right behind the Bells and Stars is San Francisco (66-59), a half-game out of second.
The hottest team right now is Sacramento (69-65); the Solons won five and lost just one this week. Their run probably comes a little too late to help them join the playoff hunt, but their most optimistic fans may note that they began the week ten games out of second place and picked up three games in the standings. If they can do that two more times they can make things interesting.
The Angels’ Satchel Paige set the single-season record for strikeouts when he fanned Bevo LeBourveau of Portland to close out the seventh inning of Saturday’s 13-2 Halos victory. LeBourveau was Paige’s 209th strikeout victim this season. Bullet Rogan of the Beavers held the old record of 208 strikeouts, set in 1922.
Last time Sacramento’s Joe Cronin took Player of the week honors, he did so despite his team going winless. The plucky shortstop has just captured the honor again, this time with his team winning just two of six. It was another tough week for the Solons (54-64), but a great one for Cronin, who hit .538 with two home runs and seven runs batted in. The 22-year-old star is hitting .327 on the season.
Los Angeles (73-46) appears to be pulling away. The Angels have won eight straight and now lead second-place Mission (64-54) by eight-and-a-half games.
The Bells dropped five in a row to the Halos, which certainly didn’t help them in their quest to replace Los Angeles at the stop of the standings, but it was not a disastrous week for them, thanks to two victories over Sacramento over the weekend and a rough spell for Hollywood (63-55).
The Stars are now in third place after losing six straight before rebounding with a win over Oakland (55-62) on Sunday. Hollywood trails Mission by one game.
San Francisco (63-57) is fighting their way back into contention. The Seals trail Mission by two games.
Los Angeles (66-46) distanced themselves slightly from second-place Hollywood (62-49) and third-place Mission (62-50), picking up a game on both clubs this week. The Angels lead the Stars by three-and-a-half games and the Bells by four. Fourth-place San Francisco (58-55) is fading; the Seals have fallen eight-and-half games behind the Halos and five games behind Hollywood.
Portland (43-68) has been in or near the cellar most of this season as injuries to key players have taken their toll. The Beavers’ best player, center fielder Oscar Charleston, missed most of April and May; by the time he returned the club was far out of contention. But Charleston still gives the fans a reason to come to the ballpark. Having recently accumulated enough playing time to officially contend for the batting title, Charleston finds himself in second place in that contest, his .380 mark within striking distance of Earl Averill’s league-leading .398. Charleston is this week’s Player of the Week to boot, having just hit .464 while driving in seven runs.
Los Angeles’ Satchel Paige, just 22 years old and with slightly less than four months of big league experience under his belt, is already a 20-game winner. The fireballer picked up two victories this week to run his record to 20-2, pitching two complete games (one a rain-shortened 7-inning shutout) and striking out 10 batters in 16 innings en route to the Player of the Week Award. Paige leads the league in victories (20), ERA (1.62), and strikeouts (181), all by substantial margins.
The Paige-led Angels (62-44) won four and lost two to maintain their two-and-a-half-game lead over Hollywood (59-46), who also went 4-2. Mission (59-47) kept pace with the two top teams, so the Bells remain a half-game behind the Stars and three games out of first. Fourth-place San Francisco found the going a little rougher, losing four of six and dropping four games behind the second-place Stars.
The trade deadline came and went; a few players changed uniforms, with the Seals doing the most dealing. They acquired pitcher Rats Henderson (7-11, 3.65) from Sacramento and catcher Art Koehler (.308, 1 HR, 23 RBI) from Oakland.
This week the schedule offered the first division clubs the opportunity to distance themselves from the second division clubs in the standings, and the league’s fop four clubs took advantage of it. Los Angeles (58-41) went 5-1, Hollywood (55-44) went 3-2, Mission (54-46) went 4-2, and San Francisco (54-47) went 5-1 while the other four teams all posted sub-.500 records to fall further from contention. The Angels lead the Stars by two-and-a-half games, the Stars have a one-and-a-half-game cushion over the Bells and a two-game cushion over the Seals. Seattle (47-52), currently the best second division club, is a full eight games behind second-place Hollywood.
Heavy Johnson of the Bells was the league’s top performer this week, hitting .609 and driving in eight runs. Johnson is at .326 for the season. He’s fifth in the league in RBI with 72.
The Seals’ Earl Averill has lifted his average to .412, fifty points higher than the league’s second best mark, owned by Turkey Stearnes of the Angels.
Los Angeles (53-41) is back in first place after a 5-1 week that culminated with a five-game sweep of Sacramento (43-51). The Angels’ lead is slim, just a half-game over Hollywood (52-41), who dropped four of six this week. The Stars maintain a one-and-a-half-game edge over Mission (50-44) and a three-game lead over San Francisco (49-46).
The Halos have been getting a lot of help from Player of the Week Wally Berger, who followed Portland’s Bevo LeBourveau as the second player to win the award twice this season. This time around Berger hit .435 with three home runs, six runs batted in, and seven runs scored. The slugging right fielder leads the league in homers (26) and RBI (86) and is second in hitting (.367).
Hollywood’s (50-37) hot streak continued this week; the Stars took four of six games and extended their lead over Los Angeles (48-40) to two-and-a-half games. The second place Angels, who split six, may be looking less at who they’re chasing and more at who’s chasing them; third place Mission (47-41) also won four games out of six this week and trail the Halos by just one game. San Francisco (45-44) is three and half games behind Los Angeles, Seattle (43-44) trails them by four-and-a-half, and Sacramento (42-46) and Oakland (40-46) trail them by six games and seven games, respectively.
It’s not looking like Portland’s (35-52) year, but right fielder Bevo LeBourveau seems determined to claim it as his own anyway. LeBourveau hit .647 with three home runs and ten runs batted in to take home Player of the Week accolades for the second time this season. The 31-year-old journeyman is hitting a robust .351 for the season.
With the success Los Angeles (45-37) has been having this season, it has perhaps been easy to overlook the fine season the Angels’ stadium-mates, the Hollywood Stars, are having. That has probably ceased to be the case, however, now that the surprising Stars (46-35) have shot past the Halos and taken over first place. They did it by dominating Los Angeles head-to-head, taking eight of the first nine contests in their eleven-game mid-season joust.
Another team to assert an edge during the “rivalry weeks” is San Francisco (42-41), who have taken six of nine from Mission (43-39), aided significantly by the play of right fielder Smead Jolley, the latest Player of the Week. Jolley hit .600 and drove in 12 runs, raising his season average to .326. He’s hit 12 home runs, good for fourth in the league.
Hollywood’s lead over Los Angeles is a game-and-a-half. The Angels lead the Bells by two games, the Rainiers and Seals by three-and-a-half, and the Solons and Oaks by six.
Satchel Paige was finally beaten, and with his defeat came several additional Angels losses. Los Angeles (44-31) is still in first place, but the race has tightened considerably. Paige (13-1) didn't pitch poorly in his first defeat, going 10 innings and giving up just one earned run, but unearned runs proved his undoing as San Francisco (37-39) clipped the Halos 4-3.
Mission (41-34) gained three games on the Angels and passed Hollywood (40-34) in the standings, having beaten the Stars five times in six tries. The Bells, winners of five out of seven this week, trail the Angels by three, while the Stars trail the Bells by a half-game.
Sacramento (37-38) is the league‘s hottest team, losing only once this week and passing San Francisco (37-39) and Seattle (36-38) in the standings. The Solons are four games behind Mission, and the Seals and Rainiers trail the Bells by four-and-a-half.
Hollywood’s Tony Lazzeri took Player of the Week accolades with a three-home run, 9-RBI, .393 performance. Lazzeri is hitting just .265 but has started to heat up, just in time for the Stars’ mid-season clash with the Angels.
Los Angeles (42-26) remains four-and-a-half games ahead of Hollywood (37-30) as both L.A. clubs won four of six contests against opponents from the City by the Bay. The Angels took three of five from Mission (36-32) and one from San Francisco (33-36), while the Stars took four of five from the Seals and dropped one to the Bells. The Bells remain in third place but are now a game an a half behind the Stars, while the Seals have dropped down to fifth, half a game behind Seattle (33-35) and four-and-a-half behind Hollywood.
Last season's last-place finish is almost forgotten by Angels fans, as the rejuvenated club has held onto first place for over a month. Much of the focus had been on the still-unbeaten (13-0) rookie phenom Satchel Paige, but second year man Wally Berger’s season cannot be ignored. Berger was named Player of the Week after lighting up opposition hurlers with a .579 average. The 22-year-old left fielder has emerged as a true Triple Crown threat: indeed, he now leads the loop in all three categories with a .400 batting average, 18 home runs and 70 runs batted in.
Mission (33-29) is hot on the heels of second place Hollywood (33-28), trailing the Stars by just a half-game after taking five of six at Oakland. Only Sunday’s 4-2 loss kept the Bells from a perfect week.
The Stars didn’t have too bad a week themselves, taking four of six from Sacramento to keep pace with front-runners Los Angeles (38-24), who they trail by four-and-a-half games. The club’s top performer this week was Johnny Frederick, who hit .522 with three home runs and eight runs batted in. The right fielder lifted his season’s average to .379, good for fourth in the loop. Frederick’s 11 home runs place him in a three-way tie for second, and his 47 RBI place him fourth.
San Francisco (32-31) is in fourth place, two games behind
Hollywood. Seattle, Sacramento, Oakland and Portland are all under
Los Angeles (34-22) got back on track, winning four of six at Portland (24-32) to extend their lead over second place Hollywood (29-26) to four-and-a-half games. Right fielder Turkey Stearnes was a key to the Halos’ success, hitting .667 to raise his season’s average to .386. Stearnes is third in the league in hitting, second in runs scored (55), and tied for second in home runs (11). He’s tops in the loop in hits with 86.
While the Stars were battling Oakland (26-29) to a draw to hold onto second place, San Francisco (29-28) and Mission (28-28) soared past Seattle (27-29) and into the first division. The Seals downed the Rainiers five times in a row before falling on Sunday, and the Bells took four of six at Sacramento (27-30). Only three games separate the second and seventh place teams. It looks like anybody’s race at this point.
Los Angeles (30-20) hit the skids much the same way Sacramento (25-28) did a few weeks ago; the Angels lost seven straight, including the first five of a six-game series at home against Oakland (23-26), finally recovering with a narrow 3-2 victory on Sunday to snap the streak. With Seattle (26-24) losing four of six to Mission (24-26) and dropping to third place, the race has tightened up from top to bottom. Last place Portland is only four-and-a-half games behind second place Hollywood (25-23). The Stars trail the Angels by three-and-a-half.
Mission third baseman/pitcher Martín Dihigo is the Player of the
Week. Dihigo hit .556 to raise his season mark to .337. His work
on the mound has been inconsistent at best, but at the plate and
at the hot corner he has maintained the stellar heights that have
become standard for him during his young career.
Los Angeles (29-15) was unable to continue last week’s dominating form against Sacramento (22-23), but by splitting with the Solons, the Angels maintained their five game lead over Seattle (24-20) and their five-and-a-half-game lead over Hollywood (23-20). In fact, every series this week was a 3-3 split, so the standings have not budged since this time last week.
Earl Averill of San Francisco is on a tear. The slugging center fielder hit a blistering .684 this week against Oakland, adding a pair of round trippers and nine RBI. Averill is leading the batting race by a length; his .422 clip well outdistances the next three hitters, who are all in the .380’s.
The Halos’ sensational rookie Satchel Paige still has not lost a game. Paige is 9-0 and leads the league in ERA (1.38) and strikeouts (80). He’s struck out at least twice as many hitters as every other pitcher in the league save for Portland’s Bullet Rogan, who has fanned 43.
Strange But True Dept.: Joe Cronin, the Sacramento shortstop, is the Player of the Week. What’s strange about that? After all, Cronin is one of the league’s brightest young stars, a great offensive and defensive player, a field leader at 22 years old with a championship already under his belt. He hit .600 this week; so what’s strange about him being named Player of the Week?
It’s strange because the Player of the Week usually isn’t a player on a team that didn’t win a game all week. And that’s what the Solons (19-20) did (or didn’t do): they went 0-7 and fell from second place, one game out of first to fourth place, seven games-and-a-half games out of first. Most of the damage was done by first place Los Angeles (26-12), who swept them in six games en route to an undefeated week. The reigning champs won’t have to wait long for a chance to reverse the momentum, though: they open another six-game set against the Angels in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Seattle (21-17) and Hollywood (20-17) took advantage for the Solons’ skid to charge past them into second and third place, respectively. Mission (18-20) and San Francisco (18-21) are breathing down their necks as well.
It was the reigning Player of the Year John Beckwith’s turn to shine this week. The Hollywood first baseman picked up a hit every other time he batted, going 14 for 28 with two home runs and eight runs batted in. For the season Beckwith is hitting .391—good for second in the league—along with six round-trippers, 21 runs scored and 21 runs driven in.
Los Angeles (20-12) has taken over the top spot in the league after winning five and losing two this week. Sacramento (19-13), losers of four out of seven, dropped to second, a game behind the Angels. Seattle (17-15) took four of seven and trail by three, while Hollywood (16-15) lost four of seven and trail by three-and-a-half. Mission (16-16) won five of seven to reach the .500 mark. Oakland (13-18), Portland (13-19), and San Francisco (13-19) are struggling, but nobody’s fallen too far back; a short hot streak could put one of the cellar-dwellers into contention quickly.
The race tightened up a bit this week. Sacramento (16-9) had its first losing week of the campaign, going 2-4, while Los Angeles (15-10) won three and lost two to pull within a game of the Solons. Hollywood (13-11) also went 3-2 and remain in third place, a game-and-a-half in back of the Angels, while Seattle (13-12) went 4-3 to surpass the .500 mark and keep pace with the Stars and Halos. In all, everybody in the first division gained on Sacramento.
The Mission Bells (11-14) are off to a lackluster start, but you can’t pin their struggles on left fielder Ike Boone. Boone was a terror this week, hitting .478 with three home runs and eight runs batted in. The slugging Alabaman missed about half of last season with a back injury, but he’s picking up where he left off from his excellent 1926 campaign, hitting .347 with four homers and 14 RBI.
Angels rookie Satchel Paige is creating quite buzz in the early going. He’s undefeated (5-0) and leading the league in ERA (1.34) and strikeouts (47). It remains to be seen if P.C.L. hitters will figure him out, but in the meantime he’s the Pitcher of the Month for April. Seattle’s Willie Wells is the Batter of the Month.
Bevo LeBourveau has bounced around quite a bit since he began playing professional ball in 1918, but this year the 31-year-old California native may have finally landed. Starting in right field for Portland (9-11), LeBourveau is hitting .324 with three home runs, ten runs batted in, and nine runs scored. He’s the Player of the Week, having just hit .406 with a pair of homers.
His team didn’t fare too well this week though, winning two and losing six. At the other extreme is the high-flying Sacramento Solons (14-5), who won six and lost only one to extend their lead over Los Angeles (12-8) to two-and-a-half games. The Angels won four out of seven but it was only enough to hold onto second place, as they lost ground to the Solons. Hollywood (10-9) sandwiched a four-game winning streak in between a pair of defeats to raise their record above .500 and storm into third place, a game-and-a-half behind their landlords.
Sacramento (8-4) remains atop the standings board after .500 week; the Solons dropped three out of five at Portland (7-5) but took the first game of a five-game set at Seattle (6-6) on Sunday. A half-game behind them is Los Angeles (8-5), who won four of five at San Francisco (6-7) before splitting a pair at home against Mission (6-7). The Beavers are a game behind Sacramento-and-a-half-game behind the Angels after their series win against the Solons and an 8-2 victory at Oakland (3-9) on Sunday. With Hollywood at 6-7, only the Oaks are more than 2 1/2 games out of first.
Mission’s Cool Papa Bell earned Player of the Week accolades, hitting a sizzling .640. Bell’s .462 average after two weeks is tops in the league.
Sacramento began their defense of the 1927 league championship with five wins in six games at home against Oakland. Only a 2-1 loss on Thursday marred what otherwise would have been a perfect week for the Solons.
The only other team to manage a winning record in the opening week was one of last year’s co-cellar-dwellers, San Francisco. The Seals lost to Mission on Opening Day but then beat the Bells four times in a row before bowing on Sunday.
The league’s northern-most teams, Portland and Seattle, split their series in the City of Roses, as did the two southern-most teams, Los Angeles and Hollywood.
The Rainiers’ Willie Wells is the Player of the Week, as the shortstop feasted on Beavers’ pitching to the tune of a .400 average, three home runs, six runs scored and six runs driven in.