Thursday, December 01, 2005

From The Sporting News, 12-2-1926

From The Sporting News, December 2, 1926.

Just after I posted the 1926 Utah-Idaho League batting less thans, I came across this article, which I will quote in part.  Many of the players were sent there from Coast League, and served as a de facto farm system.  The old California League (1903-1915) served the same purpose in earlier years.  Also in the 1920s, the San Francisco Seals used a club in the independent Humboldt County League was used by as a farm team.  A young Gus Suhr played there before making the Seals.  The following gives an overview of its first season, and reading into it you can see that it turned out to be a struggle to keep it afloat; 1.e., it was a success to be even in shape to continue a second year.

Utah-Idaho Serves Its Purpose As Incubator for Youngsters
New Rookie Rule Adopted Permitting Only One Class A Player
By Les Goates

King Baseball, official entertainer to His Majesty, the great American Public, had a thoroughly successful inaugural season in the Utah-Idaho territory.  The Utah-Idaho started the campaign as an experiment and it proved to be a success from the start.  Class C baseball is this territory was a hazardous undertaking at most, but the enthusiasm with which the enterprise was received by the cities and towns of the Inter-Mountain section more than made up for the natural reaction which followed the removal of the Coast circuit from Salt Lake City, where it had enjoyed a run of some 11 years.  While the Salt Lake fans persisted in staying away from Bonneville [Park] in droves, there is a general spirit of optimism in the largest of the Utah-Idaho cities, regarding prospects for next season.  Experience has shown that whatever a city has been obliged to drop back a notch or two in the caliber of baseball offered its fans, it has taken a year or two for the customers to become accustomed to the drop.

The youngest of baseball leagues under the protecting wings of the National Association of Professional Baseball Clubs started its kindergarten year on May 15 with Idaho Falls, Twin Falls and Pocatello in Idaho and Salt Lake City, Ogden and Logan in Utah.  These same clubs stayed with the pace to the bitter end though it was necessary to cut three weeks off the original schedule to protect the club owners against financial deficit.  This was deemed a wise move as the race was none too exciting and patronage was falling off rapidly toward the flag end of the season.  Moreover, it enabled the clubs to quit their first season in fairly good shape, with spirits running high for next year, and imbued with a determination to make the league a permanent institution.

The dire4ctors of the Utah-Idaho circuit chose to split the season [because the pennant race appeared over early on—cb] and planned a post-season series at the close of the year between the winners of the first half of the schedule and the winners of the second half.  These well-laid plans went blooey, however, when the Idaho Falls Spuds romped in with the championship for both halves.  The Spuds deserved to win the flag for unquestionably it was a great ball club than anybody ever expected would operate in the Class C league.  There have been worse teams than the Spuds in the Coast League in recent years for it was a team well equipped in every department of play and in some departments it was overflowing in talent.

William (Bill) Leard, former Coast League player, piloted the Spuds to the league’s initial championship.  Wild Bill merited the congratulations of his townspeople and the fans of the league generally for his good work in keeping his team out in front throughout the season.  For his reward, Leard was appointed manager of the San Francisco Missions of the Pacific Coast League, thereby following the lead of Nick Williams, manager of the Logan club, who was promoted to the managerial job with the San Francisco Seals.  Thus, the baby Class C league furnished two Coast league managers its first year out.

And so on....


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