Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, July 26, 1948

Spokane at Victoria, postponed, rain.
Wenatchee at Vancouver, postponed, rain.
No other games scheduled.

TACOMA, July 26—Indefinite suspension of Spokane pitcher Gene Babbitt was announced today by Bob Abel, Western International League president.
Babbitt was set down for his part in a fracas Saturday night at Spokane in a game with Tacoma. Abel said his information indicated “Babbitt physically kneed umpire Jerry Mathieu in the back with such force that the arbiter was virtually knocked down.”
Length of Babbitt's suspension and amount of a fine will de determined upon further investigation, Abel said.
Full Time Bus Drivers For Minor League Teams Urged As Safety Measure
By Oscar Fraley
United Press Sports Writer
NEW YORK, N.Y, July 26—Twice within two years a bus bearing baseball plavers has become a pyre for minor leaguers struggling toward the top, and major leaguers who sweated through such transportation will tell you it is a wonder there aren't more.
It is about time, many of them suggest, that all minor league teams using busses be forced to hire full-time drivers instead of using players as chauffeurs.
The most recent crash occurred at Minneapolis on Saturday when six men were killed and fourteen injured, two critically, as a bus carrying the Duluth Dukes collided with a truck. The sixth to die was Steve Lazar of Oliphant, Pa., who was driving. Two
years ago nine were killed in an accident to a bus bearing the Spokane, Wash., club of the Western International League.
Not necessarily in these two cases, but all too often, those minor league busses are sent hurtling through the night by young and often reckless players anxious to get home. The situation is this: On many minor league teams, expenses are held down by getting players with drivers' licenses to pilot the bus, the usual mode of travel in the bush leagues. In some cases, the players get omething extra for these added chores.
Consider, then, that, the average minor league jump is 200 miles or more. Practically all of your minor league baseball is played at night. Which means that after a game ending at about midnight the team rushes into a bus and takes off on the
long trip home. Tired after the excitement and exertion of the game, the player turned driver is an invitation to an accident.
Which is why there should be a full time chauffeur. Many clubs have. Why not the rest?
It has even happened that because a young player is a good bus driver it has retarded his baseball progress. That's difficult to believe but it happened to George Kell, Detroit Tigers' third baseman and one of the best in the majors.
Back in 1943, when Kell was burning up the Interstate League with the Lancaster Red Roses, Larry MacPhail heard about his performances and attempted to buy him. The deal was stopped before it could get started.
“MacPhail offered a fancy price.” Kell quotes a Lancaster official. “But Kell is the only guy who can drive our bus.”
Facetious, maybe, and then, maybe not.
For getting the team to and from its games by bus in the minors is more important than having a star pitcher. The teams can't afford pullman travel and in most cases it wouldn't be available anyhow.
But they certainly could afford a full time driver and eliminate the dangerous necessity of a tired player driving through the night with sagging eyballs.

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