Saturday, June 23, 2007

Why Vancouver is Still in Athletic Park

Before and After
By Ken McConnell
[Vancouver Province, Aug. 27, 1947]
Emil Sick, head man with the Rainier Brewing Company of Washington State and its Vancouver subsidiary, “would build a new sports stadium in Vancouver tomorrow,” if he could obtain the materials and the permission of the authorities to proceed with the work.
Earl Sheely, general manager of the Rainiers Baseball Club who is a visitor in the city, told The Vancouver Daily Province of the plans for the new stadium.
“Mr. Sick is eager to build now. He would authorize the work to start tomorrow if he could,” said Sheely.
As a matter of fact the Rainiers themselves want to increase the size of their own ball park in Seattle. They are hoping to make the park’s capacity 20,000. However, the same shortages exist in the Washington city as here and mostly it is the lack of steel which prevents the work being done.
Rainiers, for instance, are certain to see a new attendance mark this year. The present record is 519,000. Already—and they have 14 games at home yet—they have drawn 497,000.
“I think we’ll easily pass the old record,” declared Sheely, “right along we have been averaging between seven and eight thousand fans per game.”
Incidentally, the prices in the Pacific Coast Baseball League are: boxes $1.75; reserved, grandstand, $1.50; general admittance, $1.25 and bleachers 75 cents. The tax is included in these prices.
* * *
Drive for Pennants
Under the present agreement between Rainiers and the Capilanos, there is no obligation on the part of the Rainiers to send players here.
“Naturally we will help as much as we can, but the Capilanos operate independently,” said Seattle’s boss.
The Rainiers have Carpenter, Hall, Mullens, Mohr, Snyder and Stumpf. All of them will get a chance next year and Sheely is particularly interested in Caps’ second sacker Leoo Mohr.
“We will not recall any players until your season is completed,” went on Sheely. “However next year if Mohr does not stick with us—and he has a very good chance—then we’ll send him to a Class AA team.
“If a player is not given a chance to improve himself, he never will. I think Mohr is a fine prospect.”
Los Angeles has the edge at present in the drive for the Pacific Coast League pennant. But Portland’s Lucky Beavers are the hottest club in the league right now, with the best pitching of any club.
“One bad week, though,” cautioned Sheely, “can do any team a lot of harm.”
He was impressed with the possibilities of the Caps continuing their upward thrust in the Western International League.
* * *
He Likes Fishing, Too
Once Vancouver had high hopes of obtaining Sacramento’s franchise in the Coast League. As it turned out, with the fire practically destroying our ball park, we would never have been able to successfully compete in that league.
However it was this same Sheely who went to Sacramento and pulled that club through its roughest season and last year they drew 350,000 fans.
Big—Sheely is six feet, four inches and weighs around 230 pounds—he has been in baseball ever since he was able to walk, back in Illinois. He was a great first baseman.
He started with Spokane, in 1912, suffered a leg fracture and would up with Walla Walla, Wash. He then went to Salt Lake when that city was in the Coast circuit and from there went to the Chicago White Sox in 1920, just after the biggest scandal in baseball’s history nearly wrecked the game and the White Sox as well.
He was with the Sox until 1927 and then went to Sacramento and he was promptly drafted by Pittsburgh. He came back to San Francisco and was drafted by Boston Braves.
Then he played with Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle and ended his playing career in 1934. He was the Boston Red Sox scout for three and now the general manager of the Rainiers.
Yes, he has one other interest outside baseball. He’s a fishing addict.

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