Saturday, August 11, 2007

Don Ferrarese

Today, not an awful lot of players get called up to the PCL from the Northwest League. How different things were in the 40s and 50s. The Western International League was, in part, a feeder for PCL clubs and you'll read stories of guys going from, say, the Vancouver Capilanos to the Seattle Rainiers (and vice versa). So, when Vancouver joined the PCL in 1956, Mounties fans (and it's remarkable there were any after that dreadful season) would see former WIL players dotting various Coast League rosters.

One of these was Don Ferrarese, who appeared in a Wenatchee Chiefs uniform in 1950. He was 9 and 12 with an ERA of 5.21 that year, giving up 123 runs (107 earned) on 121 hits and 209 walks. He struck out 154 and tossed 18 wild pitches that year (the 16 March 1951 newspaper photo to the left is when he went to spring training with Oakland). Ferrarase also pitched for the Vancouver Mounties, as he was sent down from the Baltimore Orioles on May 16, 1957 (the baseball card you see to the right and above is from that year). He won his first start for the Mounties ten days later against the Rainiers, and reeled off three straight victories, then five straight losses, then eight straight wins to finish the season. Don had a remarkable string of four straight four-hitters and even beat Tommy Lasorda who was with a Los Angeles team that wasn't the Dodgers on August 28th. He struck out 15 in his final start for Vancouver on September 14 and finished with an ERA under 3.00 (why aren't minor league career stats before 1978 available on-line anyways?)

I write this because I occasionally stumble upon what former WIL players are doing now. Don had a charity web site with a broken URL, but THIS will give you an idea of what it's about. It's great to see someone helping others.

And HERE is an interesting article about his career in the Texas League and what happened after he left Vancouver.


powderblue2knit said...

Great site. Appreciate the research you've done. Found it via a search for my grandfather, Morry Abbott, a WIL vet for several years.

WIL fan said...

Thanks, PB. I haven't gotten to the season where Morry set the record; I'm doing the post-war seasons game-by-game and it is very slow going. I won't be doing 1937-1942 any time in the foreseeable future.

Thanks for clarifying the spelling of his name. I've seen it three different ways in various newspapers.

My grandfather used to watch the WIL games here in Vancouver back then. Likely he would have seen your grandfather pitch for Tacoma.