Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Today's Cap Stadium Trivia

The P.A. announcer at the new Cap Stadium in 1951, according to Jack DeLong's column in the Vancouver Sun of July 18th that year, was Luke Moyls.

There's kind of a cool connection here. I was the P.A. announcer at the same stadium 30 years later. On top of that, Luke was sports editor for the Ubyssey in the mid 40s. That's when my dad attended UBC and was on the table tennis team. So Luke wrote about my father in his pages (January 27, 1945, for one).

OK, I thought it was cool, anyway.

He had graduated from UBC by the time he was doing the P.A. but what happened to him after that, I have no idea. In fact, the city directories of the late 40s and early 50s don't even mention a Luke Moyls, though they have three other Moyls listed as "student" and, later, as employees at UBC. So, he's a complete mystery.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Clancy Goes to Spring Training

When I started this blog, it wasn't my intention to examine Western International League spring training games. After all, it's spring training. The media makes the contests out to be vital and important—and then the season starts and all is forgotten. Spring training means meaningless games featuring players who don't cut it and are never heard from again. However, I've done spotty coverage of it in a couple of the year's blogs and will likely go back and do it for other years when I complete the scores.

I don't have 1946 spring on this blog, so I'm going to post some late spring stories and a column by Clancy Loranger. Baseball fans in Vancouver may know there is a Clancy Loranger Way that leads into Nat Bailey Stadium (I thought it was part of old Robsart Avenue). He's in the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, so you can read his bio there.

Clancy was still watching hockey and baseball when I first started appearing in press boxes in 1979. Clancy had his own spot in the box at Nat Bailey (right side, first seat, next to the announce booth) and his own chair in the Molson Lounge at the Pacific Colesium. It wasn't really "his" but everyone respected Clancy and no one would sit in his chair, and Robo and Jim who ran the lounge made sure no rookie media types did (like Pat Karl of CJVB).

His columns in the Province were loved by all. One of his ways of getting into a topic was to write a thoroughly-invented conversation with his neighbour across the fence. But Clancy still did game stories when it came to his favourite sport, baseball. He had been an official scorer during the Vancouver Mounties days (leaving a Mountie pitcher with a one-hitter, though everyone else said it should have been ruled an error). He covered the Mounties, and the Capilanos before that. He had been Sports Editor at the Vancouver News-Herald, the puny also-ran paper in town, though at the time these pieces were written, Carl Robertson was Sports Editor. The News-Herald had some good writers, generally people who had been, or would end up at, the big dailies. Copies of the News-Herald were bound and placed in stacks at the Vancouver library. Unfortunately, when it was decided to photograph the papers and put them on microfilm, the dough-heads didn't unbind them, so one side of each page is in the gutter and unreadable. However, but for a few words, these stories are complete.

By the way, Clancy's still with us, but the stair-climb at Nat Bailey would fix that. So he hasn't been to a ball game in some years. I'm sure he's still with us in spirit up there, growling under his breath and puffing on his cigarellos.

P.S.: The Tacoma and Salem stories aren't Clancy's; they're wire service previews that were in his paper that I include for interest's sake. The News-Herald, being as inconsistent as it was, didn't publish them for all the teams in the league.

It Says Here
[Vancouver News Herald, April 23, 1946]
SUNNYSIDE, Wash.—Even Nick the Greek, the famous gambler who used to carry a million bucks in cash in his pocket, wouldn’t have done any better than break even here.
By now, you may have gathered from Carl “Bullpen” Robertson’s earlier observations from [Caps’ spring training] this isn’t exactly the wildest town in the world.
The principal amusement I have found to my sorrow, is watching the pinball machines in the lobby of the Planter’s Hotel. We have three of these robbers and two of them are out of service. That leaves one. It’s not out of order—it’s just hungry.
It says here they make it very simple for you to lose your dough.
All you have to do is put a nickel in the slot, then things start happening. The whole machine lights up brighter than Broadway at midnight, numbers flash off and on, two small boys come out of the innards and shoot off firecrackers, Kate Smith sings a few bars of the Star Spangled Banner, then bingo, you’re confronted with the number three.
At least it always seem to be the number three, for me.
Oh yes, I forgot to tell you—numbers two and seven are out of order, too. Anyway, you’ve got your number—three—and all you have to do is shoot the little round ball into the number three hole. Numbers one, four, five and six are as simple, but all you get from the machine is a cold stare if you sink these.
I think the OPA should be informed about that number four, because it has no ethics at all. Even when number three yells “I got it,” it calmly reaches over and grabs the ball.
But really, Ma, I was driven to playing this thing. The only other alternative is listening to the ball players talk and, well—I’ll give you an example of that.
The other night George Bogdonovich, the Vancouver kid who came down here with Bob Brown to see how the pros perform, thought he’d heckle Alex Palica a lot.
“What’s your nationality,” says he.
Well, this seemed like a waste of time to me, because Palica is quite dark, and with a name like Palica, he seemed almost a cinch to be an Italian, but “I’m a Slav,” said Palica, right quick as it he was sure of it.
“A Slav,” echoed George, who is a Slav from way back and resented Alex trying to cut in on his territory. “If you’re a Slav, I’m an Indian.”
“How,” said Alex. Then, “Sure, I’m a Slav. All the best ball players are Slavs. There’s Johnny Pesky, Andy Pakfo, George Metkovich, Alex Palica. It’s Palovich, really.”
“You a white Slav?” asked George, incredulously. “If you’re a white Slav, I’m Santa Claus.”
“I want a doll for Christmas,” answered Alex, “about five foot three, with blonde hair.”
“But I can tell by looking at you you’re just a black Slav. One of those Serbs who live up in the hills. But don’t worry, maybe you’ll live it down.”
At this point, Lou Janicek, Texas gift to the Capilanos, wandered within range. “Now, there’s another Slav,” said Palica.
“Man, I’m no Slav,” drawled the Texas Terror. “Mah folks were white people from Czechoslovakia.”
“Oh, yes,” said George. “That’s the country on the border with Germany.”
“What you mean, boy? Germany’s on the border of Czechoslovakia. Ah dropped in and saw mah folks when ah was over there helping show the Germans where their bordah was. They don’t let none of those Slavs in there.”
Jimmy Estrada shuffled in at this crucial moment and I thought sure we had Palica. Jimmy is a full-blooded Indian who comes from the Mission tribe that produced Chief Myers, the old New York Giant star.
But I saw that look in Palica’s eye. And that, kiddies, is how I became a gambler.

[Vancouver News Herald, April 23, 1946]

SUNNYSIDE, Wash.—Aside to Bob Brown, “What were you saying Bob about the Vancouver Capilanos fielding before you left for home Monday. Something like: “One thing I’m sure of, we’ll have a topnotch fielding club.”
Well Bob, you should have seen your boys against Bremerton Blue Jackets here Monday, or maybe it’s a good thing you didn’t.”
The Caps confined their trouble to one inning, the fourth, but they really made a job of it while they were at it, they did everything but bury the ball in the sand, and they couldn’t find any sand. When they were through Bremerton had eight runs, enough to win almost any ball game.
It just wasn’t enough, as Sylvester Johnson’s W.I.L. lads came back busting to pound Bremerton’s Bill Kostenbater for 13 hits and almost pull the game out of the fire, but the final tally was Bremerton 11, Vancouver 10, and the tying run died on third in the ninth.
That fourth inning was something which isn’t likely to happen too many times this summer. The Caps are, as vice president Brown said, a top notch fielding club. Al Kretchmar started it off by throwing to second on a double play, then Watts Guland [sic] tossed two wild ones and Catcher Ray Spurgeon neglected to tag a man coming home, thinking it was a force out. Veteran Frank Volpi wrapped it up for the Blues by rapping out a homer to right field with two on.
CUFF NOTES—Big Doug Ford was the victim of his mates misdemeanors up till then, he had done very nicely holding the opposition to one hit in three innings if he’d have allowed 100 runs after that, nobody would have blamed him, except maybe the scorekeeper.
Ron Bryant finished up for the Caps, who windup their Spring training schedule against Bremerton again today.
Sad Sam Gibson’s Blue Jackets have, besides old friends Frank Volpi and Walter Bliss, young Vern Hill playing shortstop. Vern was with Bellingham last year, you’ll recall . . . They also have perhaps the best second baseman in the league in veteran Al Wright, late of Oakland . . . Wright is really smooth . . . he also powered out three hits in four tries . . . Third sacker Watts Gulan led the Caps at bat making up for his two miscues with four hits in six tries, one a triple . . . Frank Mullens stayed with the hot pace maintained by his outfielding by banging in three runs with two safeties.
Ray Orteig is expected to join the Caps in Spokane . . . he’ll be out of the Coast Guard momentarily . . . He should give Vancouver the toughest corps of right handers in the loop, with Alex Palica, who looks very impressive . . . Ford who looks likewise . . . Bryant who won 15 and lost six in ’42, his last year, and Bob Snyder, who also went well against Tacoma last week.
It’s been discovered that Cleve Ramsey, the rookie hitting star, also plays the infield. He may get a spot at first base if big Frank Gosney, whose play has been in and out, fails to click.
Bremerton . . . . . 000 811 010—11 16 6
Vancouver . . . . . 200 210 212—10 13 4
Kostenbater, Curran (9) and Volpi; Ford, Bryant (5) and Spurgeon.

Capilanos Break Training Camp; Open Season In Spokane Friday
By CLANCY LORANGER, News Herald Sports Writer
[April 24, 1946]
SUNNYSIDE, Wash.—That long, loud sigh (maybe you heard it) emanating from the Vancouver bench following the Capilanos 3-1 loss to Bremerton Blue Jackets here Tuesday was a sigh of relief. The spring training grind was over.
For Manager Sylvester Johnson and some of his boys, who started working with the Seattle Rainiers in San Fernando, it wound up nine weeks of kink-chasing. That’s not a lot of weeks, but there’s not a kink in sight.
Today the lads pack up their crisp new uniforms, the white home jobs and the grey travelling set and pile into their special bus for Spokane, where they open the season Friday. They plan to get in a couple workouts under the lights before the umps yell “play ball” for the first time at Ferris Field.
Manager Johnson will herd 21 ball players, including himself (and his old Major League soup bone is feeling pretty good) to Spokane where Ray Orteig will probably join the club.
Syl is well satified with his crew. Tuesday’s loss was number four in ten starts here, but he’s not too concerned about wins and losses—yet.
He is somewhat concerned about one spot on the club, though. That’s first base, big Frank Gosney who is none too strong around the bag, hasn’t been hitting lately either, although he did get hold of a double yesterday. Down in San Fernando Syl says, Frank was knocking the cover off the ball, but he hasn’t even looked like a hitter as of late.
Johnson isn’t exactly unprotected if Gosney doesn’t come out of it. He’s got Jimmy Estrada, who has been playing well, and he also figures he could use Orteig, who is at home in the infield, at the initial sack.
But the ace-in-the-hole is one Bill Wright, who, you’ll remember covered the spot in 1941-42. Bill is supposed to be getting out of the service soon—and he’d look mighty good out there.
The rest of the club goes like this:
Catchers: Ray Spurgeon and Dick Zender. Young Carl Brannum was returned to Seattle Tuesday. A promising boy, he’ll be placed where he can get steady work.
Infield: Art Bonnell and Al Kretchmar at second and short are as good as any keystone corps in the league. Watts Gulan at third has been a little erratic afield the last couple days, but he should do. His antics will kill the folks, too.
Bill McCloskey and Estrada are both capable utility men. Orteig can also help out, and then here is Vancouver’s Andy Clovechuk waiting to break in.
Outfield: Four top notch performers in Earl Silverthorn, centre; Frank Mullens, right; and Cleve Ramsay or Sid Van Sindern in left. Jim Youngman and Reg. Clarkson are also available.
Pitchers: Six right handers, including Johnson and Orteig, topped by Alex Palica and Doug Ford. One of the latter two will start in Spokane Friday, with Palica the probable choice. Alex looked very good in three innings Tuesday, allowing just one blow. Bob Snyder, who also went well Tuesday and Ron Bryant, complete the right side staff.
The three left handers, Lou Janicek, Jim Hedgecock and Dick Conover have all run into a little grief here lately, but all three know what they’re doing on the hill. The pitching staff is the least of Johnson’s few player worried.
While we’re on pitching worries, we might mention that Gene Holt, who played a couple times for Norvans last summer, gave the Caps some uneasy moments yesterday. Southpaw Holt handcuffed the boys with two safeties the six innings he toiled on the Bremerton mound. That was the ball game Tuesday.
Bremerton . . . . 000 021 000—3 10 0
Vancouver . . . . 000 000 001—1 6 2
Holt (6), Medeghini and Paglia; Snyder (3), Hedgecock (6), Palica and Spurgeon, Zender.

Salem Will Have Good Pitching; First Sacker Is Club’s Standout
SALEM, Ore.—Leo “Frisco” Edwards, who used to see things from the umpire’s point of view, will be learning how the other half lives this year.
Frisco now is the manager of the Salem Senators of the Western International League, and will be calling his decisions from the bench and the coaching lines.
The Senators, a farm club for the Portland Coast Leaguers, appear to have a strong pitching staff, an outstanding first baseman, a weak keystone combination and a fair outfield. Their catching has weakened by the departure of Roy Younker, who didn’t like the salary terms.
Edwards will probably catch a 200-pound salmon, by name of Woody Salman, who will alternate with George “Red” Daniels behind the plate. Both have shown this spring, whenever weather conditions permitted practice. The Senators are somewhat behind in their training program because of dripping skies.
The mound staff includes one hometowner—Lee Fallin, tall gangling right-hander who has played with Portland. Another prospective ace is Steve Gerkin, who was with the Philadelphia Athletics before being traded to Portland. Then there’s Ed Kowalski, portsider with plenty of steam, who whiffed 14 in a recent 10-1 victory over Pogland University.
Two more southpaws are Carl Gunnarson and Jack Schafer of California. Paul Soderberg, Henry Newman, Clyde Janeway, Jimmy Foster, Andy Adams and John Nolan complete the mound hopefuls.
George Vico, a six-foot-three first baseman, is expected to be a standout. The only thing that kept him off Portland’s first sack was that the Beavers have Larry Barton. Vico hits well and is excellent defensively, with his “splits” on low throws drawing admiring oh’s and ah’s.
Al Pristo and Henry Bartholomi [sic] are competing for second base, and Ray Malgradi and Sam Tosti seek the shortstop berth. Jim White appears to have third base cinched. There’s suspicion the club may be weak down the middle but it’s a bit too early to verify this.
Dick Wenner, a Fresno State product, Bob Cavinett of the University of Oregon and the Portland Beavers; Frank Lucchesi from Portland, Ralph Arnott of San Francisco and Duane Crawford complete the outfield. Crawford will also do relief work at first base.
A squad of 18 to 20 players will leave for Yakima April 25 to open the season the following day.

Angels Aid Tiger Crew
TACOMA, April 24—Tacoma’s Western International League Tigers will have excellent catching, an infield which figures to be as good as any in the circuit, and an entirely adequate outfield—but Manager Luther “Red” Harvel doesn’t like to dwell on his pitching prospects.
Fortunately, assistance in the elbowing department has been promised by the Los Angeles club of the Pacific Coast League.
Right-handers Warren Martin, Richey Colombo, Gene Clough and Jack Jimmink and southpaws Cy Greenlaw and Kenny Dupuis are the club’s pitchers now but at least one or two of that sextet will be replaced before the gong rings April 26.
Martin, a one-time Chicago farmhand who saw service in the Texas, East Texas and Three-Eye Leagues and Colombo, a 17-year-old Boston youngster reportedly handed a good sized bonus to sign with the Chicago Cub organization, are flingers on option from Los Angeles.
Jimmink, formerly a Michigan State Leaguer, was signed as a free agent after getting a trial with the Angels. Greenlaw, a Boston Red Sox chattel until he drew his release a fortnight ago, twirled for Vancouver in the W-I before the war, and Clough and Dupuis are locals without previous professional experience.
Catchers are Dick Kemper on option from the Angels, and Earl Kuper, former Pioneer Leaguer signed as a free agent. Both are nifty receivers.
[remainder of story unavailable]

By CLANCY LORANGER, News-Herald Sports Writer
[April 25, 1950]
SPOKANE.—There’s nothing like a good bus ride to shake a ball club down. Pardon, make that “up.”
Well, anyway, we all got here, with no bones broken. A few of us thin fellows were vibrating a bit, but otherwise the Vancouver Caps’ trip from Sunnyside, Wash., was uneventful.
Peppery Watts Gulan, the club’s unofficial court jester, kept things moving nicely by making cigarettes disappear, and everything was dandy until Jim Hedgecock, the left-handed ex-Marine, tried to lead the boys in song all the way from Walls (or is it Halls?) of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.
But another southpaw, Lou (Tex) Janicek, broke that up by suggesting we render “Deep in the Heart of Texas” or as a second choice, “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You.”
By the time they got that ironed out, the eyes of Spokane were upon us, and with native son Jim Youngman serving as guide, harbor was safely reached.
After deciding that Spokane was a pretty nice town, the lads went out to look at Ferris Field, where they open their W.I.L. season against the Indians Friday night.
They had nothing but praise for the ball park, too. It is a nice park, with good lighting, an excellent infield, a comfortable mound, lots of fresh green grass, and some bright new signs on the fences. Sylvester Johnson’s crew put in a couple of hours under the lights, and they’re going back for another workout. Then they’ll sit tight and worry a bit until Friday night’s first ball.
The Spokane team, which is bossed by ex-Pittsburgh and Brooklyn shortstop Glenn Wright, isn’t worried a bit about the opening game. Tradition is on their side. Ever since they’ve been in the W.I. loop, they’ve won every other opener, and this is their year.
As for manager Johnson and his Caps, well, they kinda figure tradition is about due to take a beating.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Here's What's Happening

The library strike is over here, meaning the painfully-slow process can resume of going through reel upon reel of newspaper microfilm and fill in some blanks for the 1949-50-51 seasons that are on the various pages. (blanks meaning scores and linescores; stories are not available for some games in the newspapers I can access).
On top of that, you'll notice the results for 1953 games at the beginning of this blog start in mid-season, then jump to the beginning. It wasn't planned that way; the blog was actually going to be done differently until I changed my mind (not realising it would create a huge project in the process). So I'm setting up a 1953 page and once I weed through all the pre-season stuff, I'll move the 1953 posts from this page over there so everything's in chronological order.
As I work full-time for a living and am heavily involved in fraternal groups at night (and weekends), the process won't be a fast one. But there's lots of reading to do here now, anyway.

I have also changed my e-mail address you can click on to write. To make a long story short, my ISP doesn't have a recycle box for deleted web mail. And it marks all kinds of useful mail as spam. When I log out, it's gone forever. It turns out someone wrote me about Leon Mohr, the ex-Vancouver and Spokane infielder. However, I never got to read the mail; the ISP marked it as spam and killed it before the subject line dawned on me and I could open it. So, I have a gmail address where this won't happen. And, no, I don't know what happened to Lee. If anyone knows, let us all know by writing here.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Highs and the Lows

There's something bittersweet about seeing the names of former major leaguers on the rosters of Western International League clubs over the years. It was great for fans in those pre-TV days; how else would they see anyone who had a major league uniform? Probably the most famous one was Bill Bevens, who will be forever known as the guy who came within an out of pitching a no-hitter in the World Series. His arm went bad and he eventually landed in his home town of Salem. Pitcher Joe Orrell was another. And Vancouver outfielder Charlie Mead was another. Their best days were behind them. But there was one whose best days were yet to come. Well, and some bad ones, too.

He was Steve Gerkin. He was the ace of the Lancaster Red Roses, which won the Class 'B' Inter-State League championship in 1943, ended up in the military, and then was signed by the Philadelphia A's. In 1945, Gerkin lost 12 games. He didn't win any, although he came close a few times. He was sent back to Lancaster in August and that ended his major league career. A deal was announced at the minor league meeting:

COLUMBUS, O., Dec. 5 —(AP)—The Philadelphia Phillies gave up Pitcher Steven Gerkin and Outfielder Mayo Smith to Portland of the Pacific Coast League for Pitcher Wendell Mosser.

But Portland assigned him to the farm in Salem in the spring and then he was released in July, only to be picked up hours later by the Tacoma Tigers.
However, it was evident he had talent. And he was on the move up:

Millers Sign Up Athletic Hurler
MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 15 [1947]—Bill Ryan, general manager of the Minneapolis American association baseball team said today the club had signed Steve Gerkin, a right hand pitcher formerly with the Philadelphia Athletics.
Gerkin, a free agent, was signed for an undisclosed bonus. Ryan said. Gerkin won 19 games and lost 16 for Salem, Ore., in the Western International league last season.
He pitched 20 games for the A's in 1945, finishing with a 3.42 earned run average before he went into the service.

A man solely assigned to relief pitching was a fairly new concept in those days; newspapers insisted on spelling the title "reliefer" for a good 20 years. That's what Steve became and he had a huge season:

Millers' Relief Star Chalks Up 75th Game
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 21 — UP — Slim Steve Gerkin, whose heart is considerably stouter than his pitching arm, may never find himself in baseball's hall of fame, but it appeared today his relief twirling record may stand for many a year.
The 29-year-old right hander has appeared in 75 games for the Minneapolis club in the American Association, a mark no modern moundsman has even approached. Most of the reliefers, barely have hit the 60-game circle.
Gerkin, a lanky Baltimore product, spends his off-season as a garage mechanic. Sometimes he hurls only an inning or two, but his record of 10 victories and only two losses is tops on the faltering Miller mound staff. He has started only one game all year, but he has pitched 159 innings.
“I'll probably pitch in seven or eight more games,” he said. “Maybe more if we get in the playoffs.”
Gerkin's best ball is a sinker, but he also is well fortified with slow balls, curves and knucklers.
“I don't mind the pressure,” he said. “In fact I like it. It's sort of a challenge, and I always feel a lot better after I've met it.”

Gerkin Chosen Most Valuable In Association
COLUMBUS, Sept. 5—(INS)—Steve Gerkin, rubber-armed pitcher of the Minneapolis Millers, was proclaimed the American Association's most valuable player today by the league's baseball writers chapter.
Gerkin, who has shattered all records for number of pitcher-appearances in a season, pitched in his 82nd game of the season Wednesday.
The competition for this year's most valuable title was the keenest in years. Close behind the lanky ex - Philadelphia Athletic hurler wore Don Lang, Columbus third sacker, and Cliff Mapes, outfielder for the league leading Kansas City Blues.
Until Gerkin started working overtime in the association, Johnny Podgajny of the Boston Braves, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and other points held the record for greatest number of appearances. Podgajny appeared in 66 contests for the Orioles in 1945.
Gerkin, a skinny 30-year-old right - hander known as “The Sliver” — has a record of 10 victories and two defeats as a relief hurler.
He spent part of 1945 with the Athletics, then played with Salem and Tacoma of the Western International League. Last year, the Baltimore, Md. native appeared in 52 games for a new league record.
Other American Association stars who finished high in the balloting included Heinz Becker and Alvin Dark of Milwaukee, Mike Natisin and Ira Hutchinson of Columbus.
Ed Stewart of Kansas City, Phil Haugstad of St. Paul and Andy Gilbert of Minneapolis.

And he got in some Winter Ball in 1947 as well:

Noted Ball Player Here
Mr. and Mrs. Steve Gerkin and their three year old daughter, Judy, are visiting his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Miller of 824 Chester avenue, Eastport.
The Gerkin family flew up from Havana, Cuba, to attend the funeral services of Mrs. N.J. Miller. Mr. Gerkin is a professional baseball player and has been in Havana since Oct. 4. He played for Minneapolis, of the American Association during the season and set an all time high record by taking part in 83 games. He was voted the most valuable player in the American Association by sports writers and also won Sporting News Award for being the most valuable player.
He pitched for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1945 and was in the Coast League in 1946.
Before he started playing professional ball he pitched for the Eastport team against Annapolis in the 1937 series.
The Gerkins will return to Havana by airplane.

[Evening Capital, Annapolis, Md., Dec. 4, 1947]

You'd think a major league team - even one as dismal as the Philadelphia A's - would sign the ace reliever. But they didn't. Instead, Steve kicked around in Triple-A in 1948...

COLUMBIS, O., June 24 - (INS)—Pitcher Steve Gerkin, who set an organized baseball record last year by appearing in 83 games for Minneapolis, has been sold outright by Columbus of the American Association to Rochester of the International League.

...and the following year was hurling for a semi-pro club, and did something really dumb.

Steals Cash From Police
ESTHERVILLE, July 27 (AP) — A former Minneapolis baseball pitcher was fined $100 in justice of peace court here Wednesday after he pled guilty to a charge of petty larceny.
Steve Gerkin, with the Minneapolis American Association team, admitted taking $19 from a metal cash box at police headquarters. The money was from parking meters.
Gerkin said he had stopped at police headquarters about 3 a.m. Wednesday to see Chief of Police Gene Morris, who manages the local baseball team for which Gerkin pitches. No one was in the office, so Gerkin said he called Morris and told him: “Say, there's no one here. I could walk away with a typewriter.”
Morris advised him to go home, but Gerkin said he found the cash box key and took $19 first.

It wasn't viewed as a big deal and the "string bean hurler of the Ewell Blackwell type" was back with the team the next season. However, like many minor leaguers, he kept his suitcase handy.

Royals Ink 2 Pitchers for '52 S-M Campaign
Two more pitchers have been signed by the Rochester Royals for the 1952 Southern Minnesota league baseball campaign.
Contracts were returned by Dick Fischer, the hard-luck pitcher with the Royals last season, and Steve Gerkin, former star with the Minneapolis Millers a few years back.
Gerkin is a familiar name to most Minnesota baseball fans. The 36-year-old righthander was the sensation of the American Association with the Minneapolis Millers in 1947 as a relief specialist. He appeared in 83 games and had a 10-2 record that season.
He played with Columbus and with Rochester of the International league in 1948. With Rochester he posted a 4-4 record and had an earned run average of 3.35.
Last year, the former professional had a 15-6 record for Lake Dennison, Iowa.
Gerkin will probably be used exclusively as a relief pitcher, according to present plans of manager Clint Dahlberg.
[Austin Daily Herald, Austin, Minn., Jan. 30, 1952]

He was one of only four pitchers on the staff to start the season(one was not Fischer).

Steve had another crack at pro ball:

Gerkin Named ...
VETERAN STEVE GERKIN, a member of the Rochester pitching staff last season, has been named manager of the St. Petersburg, Fla., entry in the Class B Florida-Internationa1 Baseball League. Gerkin will leave Rochester Sunday. He says he plans to do some relief pitching “whenever my young pitchers get in trouble”.. Gerkin has played in this section of the country since leaving professional baseball. In 1947, with Minneapolis, Gerkin set a record by appearing in 88 games as a relief pitcher. . . St. Petersburg offers a challenge to the "thin, man". For the Florida city is considered as being a “manager's graveyard” with its rapid turnover of pilots. . . Gerkin is well along in years and once hurled in the major leagues for Connie Mack's then hapless Philadelphia Athletics. Last season he had an 0-1 record in the Southern Minny and was released shortly before the season ended. . .
[Evening Tribune, Albert Lea, Minn., February 27, 1953]

But we find him later that year as a relief pitcher for the Duluth Dukes in the Class 'C' Northern League. He finished the year back in semi-pro. The only references I can spot after that are to his fine season with Minneapolis and his less-than-fine career with Philadelphia.

Steve's grandson supplied the picture of the scorecard you see above.