My Heroes:
Complete Records Of Pacific Coast League Stars From The '30s, '40s And '50s
By James Rebollini
 

Introduction

There have been many books published that have the life records of baseball players. This edition, unlike those others, doesn’t record the “star” players, but the players who made up the Pacific Coast League in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s. This book is a record of more than 430 of these players from the start of their careers to the last season that they played in organized baseball.

Many of these players “made it” up to the “bigs,” many didn’t. Some became stars in the Major Leagues but had to travel the path back down to the Minors. There were the many who didn’t have the last ingredient to make it up or stay there, and thus were relegated to a long career in the minors. This is their story. The ones who loved baseball and played the game just as hard as some of the more talented players—this book of records is in memory of them.

This is why when I tabulated their career records, the totals included the PCL, major and minor leagues. For a pitcher, a game won is a game won, period. For a position player, a hit is a hit. Whether it was in the PCL, majors or other minor league teams, sweat is sweat—sore arms and aches are the same. They all played for the love of the game.

The first game I attended was about 1943 at Seal Stadium. I was born and raised in the Mission district of San Francisco and the stadium was located in the Mission at 16th and Bryant streets. I was brought to the game by a cousin. We played baseball on the streets first to learn the rules, and then when the big guys were through playing at Rolph Park in the Mission we would get to play on a real baseball diamond. All were pick up games and an eight-year-old didn’t stand much of a chance, especially if he didn’t own a glove.

Sitting in the stands at a real ballpark was pretty awe-inspiring for an eight year old. These were men playing my game. The Seals were playing a team from Los Angeles; they called themselves the Angels and had gray uniforms. I thought the Seals looked better because they wore sparkling white uniforms with pinstripes.

Their names were foreign to me. I’d never heard of the Seal players like Harry Steinbacher, Bernie Uhalt, Will Enos, Bob Joyce, Oggie Ogrodowski, Gus Suhr, Del Young, Don Trowler and others. The Angels had guys like Andy Pafko, Johnny Ostrowski and Billy Schuster. All I wanted was for the Seals to win. They did, 6-2! To me, all the players were idols, but where did they come from? We heard about the major leagues, but did these players also play there?

Baseball back then was a lot different than baseball today. First, there was a war on and many of these players were 4-F or on the verge of being called into service. Thus, there were a lot of “older” players who were well into their 40s and still playing the game. The rosters were constantly changing. Where did these players come from? Where did they play before coming into the PCL? Without stardom, there weren’t too many career records to look up in those days.
This is why I decided to research and create this book. First, I did it for the Seals only. I joined SABR (The Society for American Baseball Research), a baseball research organization. I even did the research and statistics for a book published by Brent Kelly called “S.F. Seals 1946-1957”—a book that was devoted to my team.

I became insatiable—I wanted more individual records. After the Seals, I did the dreaded Oakland Oaks, and then the entire PCL. Mind you there are plenty of players I’ve missed, but I’ve only got one lifetime and there will be mistakes here even though I tried very hard to be accurate. All along, I’ve been constantly going back into the raw materials and changing and updating numbers.

What did I use for my research? Let me count and acknowledge the publications: Sporting News Baseball Annuals, 1942 to present; Reach & Spaulding Baseball Guides 1901-1941; Who’s Who in Baseball, 1928-present; Sporting News Baseball Register, 1940-1956; Baseball Encyclopedias from Nett, Cohen and Deutch, McMillan, McFarlands Pacific Coast League, American Association, International League, Southern Association, Coast League Cyclopedia by Carlos Bauer, Coast League Baseball News, PCL Historical Society, Goodwin Goldfaden, Robert Crestohl, Brent Kelly, John Spaulding’s PCL Stars and Always on Sunday, John B. Old’s 1948 PCL Yearbook, The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, Dick Dobbins’ The Grand Minor League and lastly, appropriately, “Baseball Necrology” by Bill Lee. There are probably more, but I can’t think of them now. To all the authors and publishers: thank you.

When reading this book, if you find any errors please notify us so that we can make changes to our records. The people who can remember the names are vanishing quickly, so enjoy.

Jim Rebollini
June 2004

 


 

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1. Introduction
2. Sample Page


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