By SID THOMAS
[Victoria Colonist, Aug. 10, 1945]
VICTORIA IS READY FOR PRO BASEBALL
Take it from Robert Brown, Vancouver, one of the best-known and best-versed men on baseball and baseball promotion in the Pacific Northwest. Victoria is ready for professional baseball and could support a club in the Western International League.
The veteran Terminal City baseball [mogul was in the] city yesterday to look things over for President Robert Abel of the Western International Baseball League. He stepped on the Vancouver boat last night convinced that Victoria, a city in which he played ball more than two decades ago, is ready for professional baseball.
“Victoria as a city, and the Royal Athletic Park as a playing field, are both very favourable, and in my opinion, are ready for a team in the Western International League. When I attend the next meeting of the W.I.B.L. early next month and submit my report, it will certainly be very favorable toward Victoria. I shall recommend that this city be granted a franchise,” Brown said last night.
Speaking of the Caledonia Avenue ball lot, Brown said that a few structural changes would be necessary. One thing the Western International League would insist on would be lights, and in this connection the Vancouver baseball mogul noted that Royal Athletic Park would be very easy to light up for night ball.
With a view to lengthening the distance to the centrefield fence, Brown recommended moving back home plate 25 feet and making the distance to the Pembroke Street wall 331 feet. The radio and press boxes would be placed on top of the grandstand, and improved bleacher seating accommodation would be provided along first and third base.
Getting to the required playing strength of a W.I.B.L. team, Brown stated that “for the club to be strong enough to hold its own in this league it would need affiliation with the Coast League, or a major league club, preferably the former. The shorter distance with the head office would be more beneficial,: he added.
The Vancouver mogul favors a six-team circuit, and certainly would like to see Victoria included in the loop which, he is confident, will resume operations in 1946.
As to the Coast League tie-up, Brown felt such a move would be comparatively easy. The only tie-ups at present, according to his statement, are Vancouver with the Seattle Rainiers and Salem with the Portland Beavers.
During his short stay here Brown, in company with Laurel Harney, well-known Victoria player and coach, called on a number of prominent businessmen with the idea of having them finance the club. “The response was very favorable, and at the member a Victoria-owned club looks quite possible,” Brown added.
In the meantime, Harney will carry on the negotiations locally, and when the meeting of the Western International Baseball League is held in Tacoma soon after Labor Day, Victoria will be represented.
All in all, the situation looks very favorable, and at last there appears to be some real action to get Victoria in the professional baseball field. We feel certain Victorians would welcome the move.