Wednesday, October 24, 2007

We Get Letters!

Let's face it. I wonder if anyone really reads all the stuff I put up here. After all, this blog is about a low minor league that's been dead since for 53 years. It's mostly linescores and a line or two on each game. Search engines don't seem to know about it. But I've gotten a few e-mails, which is really cool.

The latest one is from Angelo Venturelli, Jr. That's his dad on the right. His father pitched in Tacoma in 1948 then was called up to the San Diego Padres, where he spent some time. He had a stop with the Twin Falls Cowboys in the Pioneer League in 1942, from which the Padres bought his contract in 1943, then with the Modesto Reds of the California League in 1947. After his career ended, he went into the banking business in southern California.

Speaking of Modesto, John Holmquist wrote asking about the Sept. 22nd game that gave the Reds the 1954 California League championship versus the San José Red Sox. Now, Modesto wasn't in the WIL, but I did a little digging. It was a great game, the one baseball fans love to see (OK, the kind I'd like to see). It was scoreless until the top of the ninth and the Reds hadn't even put a runner past second base until Red outfielder Russ Derry, who had played for the Yankees, smashed a solo home run over the right field fence. Then came the bottom of the ninth. The Red Sox had the bases loaded on a hit and two walks. Two were out. Up stepped Gary Killingsworth. He hit a slow roller to Jack Holmquist, who "while bent over and still running, threw to first for the final out" to give Modesto the Governor's Cup.
The heroic Holmquist in question was the late father of my correspondent.
Incidentally, Derry celebrated by rushing back to St. Louis where his daughter was showing her prize calf in the 4-H show at the fair. Now, that's old-time baseball! Could Barry Bonds say the same thing today?

A relative of Morry Abbott fired off a short note. Abbott swatted 37 homers for Tacoma in 1939 and spent the next couple of seasons there. I haven't done any pre-war stuff on the WIL so I really don't know much about him, other than Bremerton's Bill Barisoff broke his record in 1946. And his middle initial is "H."

But the best part, so far, is getting a brief e-letter from former Victoria lefthander Jim Propst, who had several good seasons for the Athletics and Tyees. Jim is 80 now and, if the internet is correct, a former steelworker and antique and stamp collector.

Feel free, dear readers, to click on "comments" to leave a note on the site re. the WIL, especially if you're a former player or related to one. Nancy Shapley left a squib about her dad, Carl. I'd even be happy to hear from anyone who went to a WIL game that stuck in their memory.

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