Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Spokane Indians 1948 Preview

Indians Have New Talent
SPOKANE, Wash., April 13—The Spokane Indians, only independent club in the Western International baseball league, will field an entirely home owned outfit in 1948.
The Tribe, with new owners and brand new talent, have been working out in California since March 17.
Manager Buddy Ryan, co-owner of the team with J. Lamar Butler, of Los Angeles, has gathered together a veteran outfit that bids well to finish in the upper bracket in the league campaign.
Ryan, who admits that he does not know what the opposition in the league will have to offer, won't make any predictions as to the Indians’ chances of finishing on top.
He will admit however, that this year's outfit is stronger than his 1946 Wenatchee Chiefs which captured the W.I. crown. Ryan believes his team is as strong defensively as the '46 Chiefs both in the infield and outfield and will have a superior pitching staff.
Fine Starters
Ryan has five definite starters in Bill Werbowski, who won 17 for the Indians last year; Frank Nelson and Gene Babbitt, who were purchased from the Birmingham club in the Southern Association, and John Cordell, top ranking pitcher for the cellar dwelling Yakima nine last year. Cordell, only left handed flinger on the club, won 11 and lost nine a year ago.
The fifth starter is John Orphal, who hurled for Seattle and Birmingham last year. He was purchased from the Brooklyn Dodgers. A possible sixth starter, who may also see lots of relief action, is Babe Perry, who toiled for Duluth and Fresno in '47.
Three of the four infield spots appear to be set. Young Gene Petralli, as 18-year-old Sacramento high school flash, holds down first base and Tommy Nelson, former Coast leaguer, is at second. Jim Herrera, who saw three years of duty with the Oakland Oaks before quitting the game two years ago, is at short.
Al Orlando and George Valine are fighting it out for the hot corner with Valine appearing to have a slight edge. Valine played semi-pro baseball in California during the winter.
Played With Rainiers
The veteran Edo Vanni, who saw plenty of action with the Seattle Rainiers in the Coast league, will be the outfield mainstay. He's definitely set in centre field. Bill Wright, former Vancouver Capilano first baseman, is in right field with Al (Spider) Kutz and Jim Changaris battling for the left field post that has been occupied for a number of years by Levi (Chief) McCormack. The Indian front office and McCormack haven't been able to get together thus far although McCormack was asked to report to the Spokane spring camp.
The catching should be the best that Spokane fans have seen. The regular receiver will be Bud Sheely, son of Earl Sheely, the Seattle Rainier business manager. Bud saw Coast league action before the war.
Sheely's catching chores will be shared by Roy Younker, a Western International League veteran with Yakima and later at Hollywood and Portland as a catcher and outfielder.While the Indians have lots of veterans the team will average about 27 years of age with Petralli the baby and 35 year old Cordell the oldest.

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