Protest Chiefs Move To Tri-City Area
Wenatchee Group Takes Case To Heads
TACOMA, Sept. 19—Projected transfer of the Wenatchee franchise to the Pasco-Kennewick-Richland area was expected to precipitate a lengthy debate as Western International Baseball league directors opened their annual post-season meeting here today.
Robert B. Abel, league president, said the first item of business would be the presentation of a formal request for permission to transfer the Wenatchee club, with Dick Richards and associates; present owners of the franchise, proposing to continue operation at the new location.
Before the directors take action on the petition of the Richards group, however, Abel said they would hear arguments against the move from a delegation headed by Joe Brownlow, former Wenatchee newspaperman and business manager of the Chiefs in 1947 and '48 when the club was owned by Sacramento of the Pacific Coast league.
Not until the Wenatchee situation is clarified will another proposed switch — Bremerton to Eugene, Ore. — come before the meeting, Abel explained.
ON THE LOCAL SCENE
In Kennewick, Les Babcock, president of the Tri-City Athletic association that is financing the construction of the baseball stadium for the new home of the Chiefs, said the move by Wenatchee came as a surprise to him.
"Naturally they are upset about losing the Chiefs," Babcock continued, "but a glance at last year's attendance records will show that the fans up there gave scant support to a team that was in the first division. It seems odd that now they should
suddenly decide that they want the Chiefs. It looks like a dog-in-the-manger attitude to me."
Dick Richards, general manager of the Chiefs, was unavailable for comment. He and Urban Keolker, mayor of Kennewick and Pat Owens are in Tacoma today to attend the league meeting. However, yesterday Owens told the Herald that work of grading and filling the new field, between Kennewick and Richland was to begin this morning. Last week the field was cleaned and stripped. Should Wenatchee succeed in preventing the move of the Chiefs, it would involve considerable financial loss to the Tri-City association, it was felt.
W.I. Franchise for Tri-Cities Gets Tentative Loop Support
Loop Leaders Give Blessing
TACOMA, Sept. 19—Transfer of the Wenatchee baseball franchise to the Pasco-Kennewick-Richland area was given the conditional blessing of the Western International league directors Monday.
Robert B. Abel, league president, said the switch will be formally approved if the Tri-City region shows "good faith in the next 30 days" toward construction of a suitable ball park.
V.L. Keolker, Kennewick mayor, presented the application for a WIL franchise in behalf of Tri-City boosters. The club, if moved, will be operated by the present Wenatchee owners, Dick Richards as associates.
The directors took no action before adjournment on another procosed change that would shift the Bremerton franchise to Eugene, Ore. However, W. W. Shepherd, president and principal stockholder of the Bremerton club, notified the board he would not operate a team in that city next season.
A request for the franchise transfer to Eugene was made by Frank Burrell Jr.. of San Jose, Calif.—hinging on his success in closing a deal for the majority interest in the Bremerton club.
Will Stay In WIL
Though the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast league have hung the for sale sign on their WIL farm club at Salem, Portland business manager William Mulligan told the directors that the Beavers have "every intention" of operating a team in the WIL next year.
A Wenatchee group interested in retaining WIL baseball in that city, talked with individual directors but did not appear before the board. In the delegation were Mayor Arthur Philman; Collis Musson, president of the Wenatchee Junior Chamber of Commerce, and Joe Brownlow, former president and business manager of the Wenatchee club.
Abel notified the directors at their adjournment they would be on call for another meeting, probably in the near future.
WI League Turnstile Way Down
TACOMA, Sept. 19—Western International League teams played to a total of 793,996 customers during the 19-59 season, it was announced today by Robert B. Abel, president of the circuit, following the official compilation of attendance figures.
This year's turnstile total was 86,415 shy of the 880,411 count for the previous season, despite considerably better weather.
Here is a comparison of attendance figures for the eight clubs last year and 1949:
Club 1948 1949
Yakima ...... 73,600 133,917
Vancouver .. 116,722 137,611
Spokane .... 216,974 186,648
Tacoma ...... 96,200 49,673
Bremerton ... 75,195 35,440
Victoria ... 143,081 114,544
Salem ....... 77,659 67,495
Wenatchee ... 81,880 68,668