1936 World Series
Game One: St. Louis 6, San Francisco 3 at St. Louis, Fri., Oct. 8, 1936
Both teams got to the World Series by sweeping their first-round opponents, so the match up was highly anticipated. San Francisco’s Lefty Gomez had pitched 13 innings six days previously to clinch the P.C.L. flag for the Seals, and while the Cardinals’ Dizzy Dean (25-7, 2.94) had been idle since beating the Giants in the Eastern Series opener. The heavier workload did not seem to be an issue for Gomez six and a half innings in, with the Seals leading 2-0, but the Cards strung together four singles in the seventh to take a 3-2 lead. Joe Marty’s RBI-single in the eighth tied it, but Pinky Higgins’ solo shot in the bottom of the inning started another three-run outburst to give Dean and St. Louis a win at home to start off the series.
Game Two: St. Louis 7, San Francisco 4 at St. Louis, Sat., Oct. 9, 1936
Sam Gibson and Paul Dean (21-2, 2.83) were locked in a 3-3 tie going into the bottom of the fifth when second baseman Stu Martin led off the inning with a triple. Four consecutive singles followed, with Dixie Walker’s grounder up the middle capping a four-run rally. The Cardinals never looked back en route to a second consecutive victory in front of friendly fans.
Game Three: St. Louis 5, San Francisco 4 at St. Louis, Sun., Oct. 10, 1936
Paul Derringer (21-10, 3.15) out-dueled Win Ballou despite having to pitch from behind for most of the afternoon. The Seals squandered leads of 2-0 and 3-2, allowing the Redbirds to tie it in the seventh on Johnny Mize’s solo home run and win it in the ninth on Martin’s RBI-single. The Cardinals finished their final home date of the year one step away from a world title.
Game Four: San Francisco 9, St. Louis 3 at San Francisco, Thu., Oct. 15, 1936
The Seals came out swinging in the do-or-die Game Four, scoring three runs off the elder Dean in the fourth inning and five off of Benny Frey (9-4. 3.07) in the eighth. Gomez, who had gotten a no-decision in Game One, delighted the home crowd with a complete game victory that gave him a 3-0 record in the postseason.
Game Five: St. Louis 7, San Francisco 5 at San Francisco, Fri., Oct. 16, 1936
Paul Dean was erratic but effective while Gibson was lit up early, yielding a two-run single to Walker in the first and and three consecutive run-scoring-singles in the fourth. Down 5-0 the Seals began chipping away, but Walker’s two-run blast in the seventh put the game away, and Frey finished up for Dean as the Redbirds earned their first World Championship.
1936 Nyquist Trophy Series
Game One: San Francisco 3, Los Angeles 2 at San Francisco, Tue., Sept. 29, 1936
The Angels loaded the bases but failed to score in the opening frame against Lefty Gomez (23-6, 3.52), while Satchel Paige (22-9, 3.35) survived a leadoff walk to shortstop Arky Vaughan in the bottom of the inning. The Seals got to Paige in the fourth, however, on first baseman Les Powers’ two-run single. The Halos cut the lead in half on center fielder Jigger Statz’ fifth-inning run-scoring single, and each team picked up a late run but Gomez held the lead throughout the afternoon to give the Seals an opening game triumph.
Game Two: San Francisco 3, Los Angeles 2 at San Francisco, Wed., Sept. 30, 1936
The Angels took their first lead of the series on RBI-singles off Sam Gibson (15-5, 4.08) by Statz and left fielder Wally Berger in the third, but the Seals roared back for three in the fifth as skipper/left fielder Lefty O’Doul picked up a two-run single and third baseman Ray Dandridge collected a sacrifice fly to send Jack Salveson (15-10, 4.58) down to defeat and give San Francisco a 2-0 series advantage.
Game Three: San Francisco 9, Los Angeles 8 at Los Angeles, Fri., Oct. 2, 1936
Few expected the low-scoring affairs of spacious Seals Stadium to repeat in Los Angeles’ cozy Wrigley Field, and the Seals almost immediately served notice that they could compete anywhere, exploding for five runs in the second inning off Joe Berry (8-7. 4.32). Right fielder Joe Marty kicked off the scoring with the first of his two solo home runs, beginning consecutive innings in that manner. With their title hopes if not their pride in the balance the Halos. down 6-1 against former teammate Win Ballou (9-8. 3.87), struck back for three runs in the fourth and three runs in the fifth—the big blow being first baseman Don Hurst’s two-run fifth-inning round-tripper—to wrest the lead from the Seals. But in spite of Berger’s second solo homer of the afternoon, which broke a 7-7 tie, the Seals would not be denied, as second baseman Ted Jennings’ two-run eighth-inning blast off Ralph Buxton (16-7, 4.24) made a winner out of Tom Hafey (6-3, 4.62).
Game Four: San Francisco 3, Los Angeles 2 at Los Angeles, Sat., Oct. 3, 1936
Gomez and Paige had pitched well in the opener but saved their best performances for the rematch, shutting out the opposition for the first six innings. Paige yielded a solo home run to center fielder Joe DiMaggio in the seventh; the Angels came back to tie it in the bottom of the frame on back-to-back doubles by shortstop Carl Dittmar and catcher Larry Brown. Paige and Gomez then resumed the task of throwing shutout innings, and it was still 1-1 after 11. In the 12th Powers singled home DiMaggio for what the Seals hoped would be the game winner, but the Halos took advantage of two errors to tie it up on Statz’ run-scoring single. In the 13th Paige gave way to Buxton. Hafey, spelling O’Doul in left field, reached on catcher’s interference, and Dandridge’s two-out single brought him home. Gomez’ 13-inning complete game triumph bettered Paige’s 12-inning no-decision in spite of the latter’s record-shattering 17 strikeouts, and the Seals had their first league championship since 1921.
San Francisco (88-68) stayed hot, winning five of six over Mission (88-68), which was good enough to earn the Seals the top spot for the regular season since Los Angeles (86-68) seemed to coast in their final series against San Diego (77-77), winning only once. The pressure was already off the Angels after their win on Friday, as that victory eliminated Oakland (82-72) from contention. Sacramento (84-70) had been eliminated the day before. The Solons did end up taking four of six from the Oaks to finish in third place. In the final tally the Seals topped the Angels by two games, with the Solons finishing four games out, the Oaks finishing six games out, the Padres finishing 11 games out, the Bells finishing 19 games out, Seattle (68-86) finishing 20 games out, and Portland (62-92) finishing 26 games out.
The Seals will host the Angels in Game One of the Nyquist Trophy Series on Tuesday.
The Angels’ Don Hurst would up with the batting title with a .356 average, beating out San Francisco’s Arky Vaughan (.353) and Mission’s Ox Eckhardt (.350). Los Angeles’ Wally Berger, who hit .349, led the loop in homers with 42 and RBI with 154. Finishing behind Berger in home runs were teammates Hurst (36) and Gene Lillard (32); the #2 and #3 RBI men were the Seals’ Joe DiMaggio (125) and San Diego’s Buck Leonard (118).
Dick Newsome of the Padres captured the ERA crown, posting a 2.84 mark. Hilton Smith of Sacramento finished second at 3.22 and San Diego’s Wally Hebert was third at 3.23. Smith was the league’s top winner with 26 triumphs, followed by the Seals’ Lefty Gomez, who won 23 games, and the Angels’ Satchel Paige, who won 22. Paige was the strikeout king with 241 whiffs, followed by Oakland’s Luis Tiant (217) and the aforementioned Smith (167).
Thanksgiving is two months away, but right now Los Angeles (85-63) and San Francisco (83-65) are grateful for the schedule that pits the two teams that are chasing them—Oakland and Sacramento (both 80-68)—against each other. The Angels enjoy a two-game lead over the Seals, and while the Seals would like very much to erase that, their main focus is on securing a playoff berth by maintaining their edge (currently a three-game cushion) over the Oaks and Solons. The two front-runners finish their regular-season schedule against teams that have already been eliminated: the Angels face San Diego (72-76), while the Seals take on Mission (68-80). As for the Oaks and Solons, one of them will probably have to win at least five of the six to have any shot at the postseason.
The Player of the Week is Oakland second baseman Joe Gordon. The 23-year-old rookie took advantage of Seattle’s accommodating left-field fence by hitting .542 with 7 home runs and 10 runs batted in. In doing so he doubled his season’s output for homers (14), raised his batting average to .278, and upped his RBI total to 83. A fine fielder, they’re already calling him “Flash” in his first campaign in the bigs.
San Francisco’s Joe DiMaggio hit .538 and drove in eight runs this week, earning himself the Player of the Week award for the second time this season and leading the Seals (80-62) to five straight wins over Seattle (62-80). It was not a perfect week for San Francisco, as they began it by getting swept in a Labor Day doubleheader by Oakland (76-66), but the Seals have taken over second place and closed within a game of Los Angeles (81-61) for the top spot. Sacramento (78-64), who dropped into third place, are now looking up at the Seals and over their shoulders at the Oaks, who trail them by only two games. Five games separate the top four teams now; the Angels lead the Seals by one, the Solons by three, and the Oaks by five. The Oaks, winners of seven straight, still have their work cut out for them; they close out the season against Sacramento but must rely on other teams to help them gain ground on Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Mission (65-77) and Seattle were eliminated this week. San Diego (69-73) remains just mathematically viable but the Padres will have their say on who advances to the postseason: their final eleven games are against Sacramento and Los Angeles.
San Francisco’s Phil Page shut out Sacramento (75-60) 8-0 on August 31, a win which placed the Seals (75-60) just one game behind the Solons for second place. Six days later the 32-year-old righthander tossed an 8-2 complete game victory against Oakland (69-66) to pull the Seals even with the Solons. Page hasn’t exactly been a workhorse this season, starting just seven games en route to a 3-2 record and a 3.81 ERA, but after his Player of the Week performance this week, he may find himself getting more work.
Another “page”, Los Angeles’ Satchel Paige, took a heartbreaking loss on Saturday, falling 1-0 to Portland (55-80) in spite of pitching shutout ball for 11 2/3 innings. The good news for the Angels (78-57) is that it was the only game they lost all week. The Halos’ lead over the Seals and Solons is three games.
With each team having just 19 games left on its schedule, fourth-place Oakland is hanging on to the slimmest of hopes, 9 games out of first and 6 games out of second. San Diego (65-70), Mission (62-73), and Seattle (61-74) are 13, 16, and 17 games back respectively while Portland (55-80) was eliminated yesterday.
Sacramento (73-56) held onto first place in the Coast League for a little over a month, but in losing four straight to San Francisco (71-58) en route to a 2-4 week, the Solons have fallen back into second. Los Angeles (74-56), who kept pace with the Seals by winning four of six, is now on top of the league, a half-game better than Sacramento and 2 1/2 ahead of the Seals. Oakland (66-63) had the best week of all, though, taking five of six. The Oaks are still 7 1/2 games out of first but have a puncher’s chance at the postseason.
Ray Dandridge of San Francisco is the Player of the Week. The 23-year-old third sacker is touted as a defensive whiz, which he certainly is, but he can hit too—.329 over his three-year career. This week he hit a sizzling .577 and drove in eleven runs. His season average this year matches his career average, and he has augmented it with 35 doubles, 18 triples, 82 runs scored and 87 RBI.
Los Angeles’ Wally Berger, who hit five home runs last week to capture Player of the Week honors, made it a two-week-long party by hitting another five this week. He also hit .333 with thirteen runs driven in and seven runs scored. Berger has hit 37 home runs—nine more than anybody else—and driven home 134—a remarkable 35 more than the next closest hitter. At .358 he’s .002 behind teammate Don Hurst for the batting lead. He hit three homers in the nightcap of yesterday’s doubleheader—the final blast a 3-run shot in the bottom of the ninth to give the Angels (70-54) a 16-13 victory over Portland (51-73).
Berger’s one-man show helped the Halos win four of six and pick up a game on Sacramento (71-52) this week, as the Solons split six. Sacramento now leads Los Angeles by a game and a half. Third-place San Francisco (67-56) is keeping the heat on, winning five of six and reducing their deficit to just four games. Oakland (61-62) is in fourth place, ten games back; San Diego (60-64) trails by 11 1/2 games, Mission (58-65) by 13, Seattle (56-68) by 15 1/2, and Portland (51-73) by 20 1/2.
With Turkey Stearnes’ injured thumb sidelining him for what looks to be about two or three months, the mantel of Los Angeles’ top run producer has fallen upon right fielder Wally Berger. This week, he delivered in impressive fashion. Berger hit .467 with five home runs and 17 runs batted in. The Angels (66-52) picked up a game on first-place Sacramento (68-49) in spite of losing four of seven. The Halos trail the Solons, who lost five of seven, by two and a half games. Berger leads the league in home runs with 32 and RBI with 121. His .359 batting average is second to teammate Don Hurst’s .366.
With the Angels and Solons struggling, San Francisco (62-55) had an opportunity to tighten the race, but the Seals, losing three of five, were only able to pick up one game on Sacramento while keeping pace with Los Angeles. San Francisco is six games out of first, 3 1/2 out of second. Fourth-place Oakland (59-58) is nine games out of first and fifth-place San Diego (59-59) is a half-game behind the Oaks. Mission (56-61), Seattle (52-66), and Portland (48-70) all played .500 ball or better this week, but remain in sixth, seventh, and eighth place respectively.
It seems like San Francisco’s Joe DiMaggio has been in the league forever (this is in fact his fifth season) and yet the flashy center fielder from Martinez, California is still only 21. He’s always been able to hit for average (.312 lifetime), but last season he started to hit for power as well, with 18 round-trippers. This is not an easy thing to do in cavernous Seals Stadium, but this season he’s busting fences again, with 15 homers in 110 games. He’s earned Player of the Week honors this week after a .548, 5-homer, 13-RBI onslaught. His season’s average is at is at .324.
None of this hurt the Seals (60-52) any as they took four of seven games, maintaining third place and gaining a game on front-running Sacramento (66-45). They trail second-place Los Angeles (63-48) by 3 1/2. Oakland (56-55) is in fourth place, 10 games out of first, and San Diego (55-56) is a game worse, in fifth place. Mission (53-58) is 13 games out of first and would probably need another big winning streak, like their recent 8-gamer, to get back into contention. Seattle (48-63) and Portland (44-68) are most likely playing out the string.
Sacramento (63-41) continues to roll, winning four of six this week, including Sunday’s showdown with second-place Los Angeles (59-45), the first game of a five-game set featuring the two front-runners. It was the Angels’ fourth loss in six games, so the Solons’ lead is now four games. Elsewhere there are some impressive—and singularly unimpressive—streaks going on: Oakland (54-51) and Mission (50-54) have both won eight straight, while San Diego (also 50-54) has lost ten straight and Portland (41-84) has lost fifteen straight. The Oaks’ winning run has lifted them into fourth place, 9 1/2 games out of first and two behind third-place San Francisco (56-49).
Instrumental to the Acorns’ recent success has been rookie outfielder Willard Brown. This week the 21-year-old Shreveport, Louisiana native hit .467 with three home runs and nine runs batted in. The three homers were the first Brown has hit this year. His season’s average is .347.
The Player of the Week is Oakland’s Harlin Pool, who led the Oaks (47-51) to five wins in seven games by hitting .531 and driving in eight runs. The 28-year-old native of Lakeport, California is hitting .352 with a home run and 54 RBI this season. Now in his sixth season in the Coast League, this is the first time he has been given the opportunity to start regularly, and the left-handed-hitting outfielder is making the most of the opportunity.
The Oaks had a good week but Sacramento (59-39) had an even better one; the Solons, in fact, were a perfect 6-0, and have now won seven straight en route to first place and a two-game lead over Los Angeles (57-41), who lost four of seven. San Francisco (52-46) was nearly as good as the Solons, winning six and losing one, so the Seals are now in third place, seven games behind Sacramento but two ahead of fourth-place San Diego (50-48). Oakland is in fifth place, Mission (44-54) is in sixth, Seattle (42-56) is in seventh and Portland (41-57) is back in the cellar, eighteen games off the pace.
George Scales has been an Angel since 1922, and one of the team’s on-field and clubhouse leaders for just as long. This season the club asked him to utilize his leadership skills in a more official capacity, giving him the title of field manager. The rookie skipper currently has the team in first place. Of no small benefit is the outstanding play of his second baseman, who is hitting .325 with 9 HR and 52 RBI, and has just wrapped up a week during which he hit .481. That second baseman, of course, is Scales himself.
Scales led Los Angeles (54-37) to a 4-2 record this week, which allowed the Angels to slip past Sacramento (53-39). The Solons dropped five of seven and trail the Halos by a game and a half. San Diego (49-42) is five games out, San Francisco (46-45) is eight games out, Oakland (42-49) is 12 games out, Mission and Portland (both 41-51) are 13 1/2 games out, and Seattle (40-52) is 14 1/2 games out.
“If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” may be the motto of a certain veteran Coast League center fielder. That would be Oscar Charleston, who between outfield stints and turns at bat also calls the shots as manager of the San Diego Padres. The 39-year-old Charleston showed his charges—and the rest of the league—how it’s done this week, hitting .526 with two home runs and six RBI. In 50 games this season (the one thing he doesn’t do well anymore is avoid injury) Charleston is hitting .339 with 3 HR and 37 RBI.
The Padres (47-38) were unable to gain ground this week on either first-place Sacramento (51-34) or second-place Los Angeles (50-35), as all three teams battled to identical 3-3 records. Fourth-place San Francisco (42-43) won four of six, so the Seals are nine games behind the Solons. Oakland (40-45) remains 11 games out. Mission and Seattle ( both 37-48) are tied for sixth, 14 games back; the Rainiers are in the maelstrom—16 losses in their last 17 games. Portland (36-49) was a winner four times in six tries this week but Beavers remain in the cellar, 15 games back.
Sacramento (48-31) dropped to a last-place finish last season after a run that included seven postseason appearances in eight years. Was last year a fluke? Sure seems like it; the Solons have won eleven of thirteen and have taken over first place, one game ahead of Los Angeles (47-32). Several Sacramento players are hitting well over .300 and rookie hurler Hilton Smith is 13-1, but their top player is catcher Josh Gibson, who has just been named Player of the Week. Gibson hit .500 with three home runs, eleven runs batted in, and seven runs scored this week. He’s fourth in the loop in hitting at .357 and fifth in home runs with 17.
The now-second-place Angels and third-place San Diego (44-35) have split the first six of ten consecutive head-to-head matchups; San Francisco (38-41) and Mission (34-45) have done the same. The Solons have beaten Oakland (37-42) four times in the first six meetings of their mid-season set. Seattle (36-43) has lost eleven straight including the last six vs. Portland (32-47).
Seattle’s Willie Wells is certainly on a roll; the shortstop has just captured his second consecutive Player of the Week Award by punishing opposing pitchers to the tune of a .433 batting average, a homer, and six runs batted in. He now has 13 home runs on the season to go along with 55 RBI and a .322 average. His teammates, however, did not keep up their end of the bargain this week, as the Rainiers (36-36) dropped five out of seven—including the last four in a row—to fall seven and a half games behind Los Angeles (43-28).
Not that the Angels are coasting. They had a losing (3-4) week themselves and have watched their lead over second-place Sacramento (42-29) dwindle down to just one game. The red-hot Solons dropped their first contest this week then bounced back to win their last five. Third-place San Diego (40-31) won four and lost three and trail the Halos by three games. San Francisco (34-37), Oakland (34-38), Mission (30-41), and Portland (26-45) make up the second division.
The top three teams in the standings last week are still the top three teams this week, but they all took their lumps playing supposedly inferior teams. Los Angeles (40-24) lost three straight to Oakland (29-35) before taking two of three from San Francisco (31-33). Sacramento began the week on fire, taking three straight from Portland (25-40), but then dropped four in a row to Seattle (34-31). San Diego (36-28) won two in a row against the Seals but lost the series finale and then dropped three straight to the Oaks. When the dust settled the Angels held a 3 1/2-game lead over the Solons, a 4-game lead over the Padres, and a 6 1/2-game lead over the Rainiers, who have climbed into fourth place. Oakland is in sixth, 11 games back, Mission (26-39) is 14 1/2 games back and the Beavers trail by 15 1/2 games.
Not too surprising that the Player of the Week wears a Rainiers uniform, since the defending league champs won six of seven. Shortstop Willie Wells hit .394 with four home runs, ten runs batted in, and nine runs scored. Wells is hitting ,310 this season with 12 homers and 49 RBI.
Portland center fielder Cleo Carlyle hit .400 and scored eight runs this week, good enough to earn the 34-year-old flycatcher Player of the Week honors, but not quite good enough to lead the Beavers to a winning record for the week (they went 4-4) or to lift them out of the cellar. They do, however, have company now. A brutal stretch for both Oakland (they went 1-6) and Mission (they went 2-6) left all three teams in a tie for sixth place with a 23-35 record. The trio trails first-place Los Angeles (38-20) by 15 games.
The Angels are four games better than their closest pursuers, but there is now a tie for second place. San Diego won just four of seven while Sacramento took six of seven, so the Solons have caught the Padres; they both stand at 34-24. Fourth-place San Francisco is 29-29, nine games back, and Seattle (28-30) trails by ten.
Turkey Stearnes of Los Angeles has picked up more Player of the Week Awards than any other player since the honor was established in 1921. This time around he earned it for the 27th time by hitting .476 with a home run, six runs batted in, and five runs scored. A .336 hitter in his career, Stearnes is a little below that mark so far this year, hitting “just” .313, but his 14 home runs place him fourth in the league, as do his 40 RBI. His Angels (33-18) fought to a 4-3 record this week, which was enough to maintain their three-game lead over second-place San Diego (30-21).
Two games behind the Padres is Sacramento (28-23), the only other team in the league right now with a winning record. San Francisco and Seattle (both 25-26) are tied for fourth place, Oakland (22-29) is in sixth, Mission (21-29) is in seventh, and Portland (19-31), in spite of a current four-game winning streak, remains in last.
San Diego’s Buck Leonard may not yet be acclimated to his new home at Lane Field, but the parks that are more familiar to him—such as Portland’s Vaughn Street Park and Sacramento’s Moreing Park have been more than accommodating. This week, playing all road games, the Padre slugger hit .412, and while hitting just one home run, he still drove in 14 runs and scored 10. Big Buck’s season average is at .366—fifth in the league—and his 39 RBI are third while his 8 homers have him tied for sixth.
The Padres (26-18) went 5-2 (winning their last two games against Sacramento by a combined score of 41-6), surged into second place and picked up a half-game on the high-flying Angels (29-15); Los Angeles won four of six and leads San Diego by three games. Sacramento (24-20) is in third place, five games out of first, and San Francisco (23-21) is in fourth, six games back. Seattle (21-23) is eight games back, Oakland (20-24) is nine games back, Mission (18-26) is eleven games back, and Portland (15-29) trails by 14.
A couple of Angels stalwarts hit milestones this week. On Saturday George Scales collected his 2500th P.C.L. hit (he’s seventh on the league’s all-time list), but his feat was somewhat overshadowed the following day when Turkey Stearnes doubled in the first inning off Mission’s Boom-Boom Beck for hit #3000. Stearnes is the first player to collect 3000 hits in the major-league P.C.L.
Two teams—Sacramento and Mission—won five games against just one loss this week. It was enough to lift the Solons (22-15) into second place, 2 1/2 games behind Los Angeles (25-13). For the Bells (16-21), it only means a tie for sixth place with Oakland (also 16-21)—for now. Few P.C.L. observers have forgotten Mission’s 8-24 start last season, or the 18-1 run that followed it.
The Solons’ successful week was largely due to shortstop Joe Cronin’s second Player of the Week performance this season. Cronin hit .435 with a home run, scoring six runs and knocking in seven. He’s hitting .370 for the season.
San Diego (21-16) won just one game this week, but the third-place Padres remain one of just three .500+ teams in the league. San Francisco is 18-19, Seattle is 18-20, Portland is 13-24.
The Player of the Week in the Coast League is almost always an everyday player; it’s very difficult for a pitcher to put up statistics that are eye-catching enough to outshine the top hitters when a pitcher typically only makes one or two appearances in a week. One way to make the voters sit up and take notice is to throw two shutouts, and that’s exactly what Mission’s Frank Shellenback did. He stopped Oakland 2-0 last Monday on a five-hitter, then followed that up with a 20-0 four-hit whitewashing of Sacramento on Sunday. The latter victory was Shellenback’s 250th in the P.C.L.; it’s the all-time record. The 37-year-old spitballer is 3-2 with a 3.92 ERA this season.
Shellenback’s twin triumphs helped the Bells (11-20) to a winning record (4-2) for the week, but the club remains in seventh place, ahead of only struggling Portland (10-22). Mission is still looking up at two other second-division teams, sixth-place Seattle (15-17) and fifth-place Oakland (15-16). In the higher-rent section, Los Angeles (21-11) has a one-game edge over San Diego (20-12) and a 3 1/2-game lead over Sacramento and San Francisco (both 17-14).
Shellenback wasn’t the only pitcher making headlines this week. Seattle’s Willie Foster no-hit San Diego 6-0 on Saturday, allowing just one man to reach base (via a base on balls). It is the first no-hitter in the P.C.L. during the loop’s major-league era—a feat that has taken 15+ years to accomplish.
Los Angeles left fielder Wally Berger has hit his share of home runs during his 10-year career; he’s 3rd on the all-time list in the P.C.L. with 341. Just 30 years of age, Berger’s swing is as devastating as ever. This week he hit five home runs and batted .438 as the Angels (17-8) took four out of five to increase their lead over second-place San Diego (16-10) to one and a half games. Berger is currently leading the loop in all three Triple Crown categories, hitting .461 with 9 HR and 28 RBI. He’s won the RBI crown twice in his career and paced the circuit in homers four times, but he’s never won a batting title in spite of a career .332 average.
There is a tight race in the middle of the P.C.L. pack right now, with two teams (Oakland and San Francisco) three games out of first at 14-11 and two teams (Sacramento and Seattle) four games out of first at 13-12. Mission (7-18) and Portland (7-19) are off to difficult starts but the Bells started out even worse last season and still made the playoffs, so nobody’s being counted out yet.
Los Angeles (13-7) has taken over the top spot after a 5-2 week, but their lead is slim: just a half-game over San Francisco (12-7), one game over San Diego (12-8), and two games over Seattle (11-9). The Rainiers, and their pitching staff in particular, had a particularly rough week, losing five of seven and giving up 10, 13, 14, and 12 runs in four losses to the Seals and 20 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Padres. Even after all that, Seattle is just two games out of first.
Sacramento shortstop Joe Cronin is the Player of the Week. Cronin hit .500 with three home runs. seven runs batted in and ten runs scored; he’s now at .338 for the season. The Solons (8-11) were only able cash in that performance for three wins in six games, but it was their first non-losing week this season, so the fiery Cronin may have sparked the beginning of a turnaround. The Solons are a game worse than Oakland (9-10) and a game better than Mission (7-12). Portland (6-14) remains in last place but the Beavers are coming off their first winning week of the young season.
Last season San Francisco’s Ted Norbert was a rookie who failed to show much promise, hitting just .197 with three home runs and 25 runs batted in over 232 at-bats. Perhaps something clicked for the 27-year-old outfielder during the off-season, because this week he hit .324 with five homers and fourteen RBI. The five home runs and his 19 RBI both lead the league, while his season’s batting average sits at a more-than-respectable .314.
Norbert’s heroics led the Seals (7-6) to a 5-2 record this week, good enough to lift them into a fourth-place tie with San Diego (also 7-6). Seattle (9-4) remains in first, but the Rainiers have cooled down, going 2-4 after a 7-0 start; they’ve lost their last three in a row. Los Angeles and Oakland (both 8-5) are a game back. Mission (6-7), Sacramento (5-8), and Portland (2-11) are off to disappointing starts.
Opening Week 1936
The defending league champions have not skipped a beat. Seattle is off and running with a 6-0 record and a two-game lead over Mission and Oakland (both 4-2) after one week of P.C.L. action. First baseman Ray Jacobs, a 34-year-old veteran who was rarely utilized last season, was dominant this week, hitting .440 with three home runs and eight runs batted in. Catcher Biz Mackey also homered three times, and left fielder Max West homered twice. The Rainiers have already hit 11 home runs.
Rounding out the standings, Los Angeles and San Diego (both 3-3) split six games and are tied for fourth place, Sacramento and Seattle are 2-4 and tied for sixth, and Portland, having had the bad luck to play only the red-hot Rainiers, are in the cellar at 0-6.
The Hollywood Stars are no more. Frustrated by their inability to find a suitable site in the Los Angeles area to build their own stadium, and unwilling to tolerate the rent hike imposed on them by their landlords, the Angels, the club has packed its bags and headed to greener pastures.
They will call themselves the San Diego Padres, and will set up shop at the newly-constructed Lane Field at the corner of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway, just across from the West Broadway Pier in the fast-growing port city of San Diego. The ballpark, for now an all-wooden, uncovered structure, seats 10,000.