Deep and playable.Byline: Bob Clark For the 19th century baseball player, see Bob Clark (baseball)
Benjamin "Bob" Clark (August 5 1939 – April 4 2007) was an American actor, director, screenwriter and producer best known for directing and writing the script with Jean Shepherd to the The Register-Guard
Anew member of the Eugene Emeralds The Eugene Emeralds (nicknamed the Ems) are a minor league baseball team in Eugene, Oregon, United States. They are a Class A team in the Northwest League, and have been a farm team of the San Diego Padres since 2001. , who had belted 35 baseballs out of stadiums for his previous team at a lower level of the minor leagues, swung and drove what he assumed would be his first homer in the Northwest League The Northwest League is a class A minor league. The league is the descendant of the Western International League which ran as a class B league from 1937-1951 (with time out for WWII) and class A from 1952-1954. toward the left-field fence and started into a trot toward first base.
Hold it. That was no home run.
`The outfielder caught the ball coming in,' said Mel Krause, an Ems teammate of the young prospect, as he laughed at the memory.
Another former Eugene teammate, Krause recalled, was one of the Northwest League's premier power hitters ... except when he was playing at his home field in Eugene.
`He couldn't wait to get on the road,' Krause said. `When we'd finish a trip and start home, he'd be depressed the whole way back.'
Bethel Park Bethel Park
A borough of southwest Pennsylvania, an industrial suburb of Pittsburgh. Population: 33,100. could do that to home run hitters. The home park of the Emeralds for their first 14 seasons of what this summer becomes a 50-year existence in minor-league baseball is remembered more fondly by the players who pitched there and found it an ally as they toiled on its dusty, windblown mound.
`A great pitcher's park,' said Berlyn Hodges, who pitched for the Ems over a span of four seasons starting in '55. `It was a long way to center, and the ball didn't carry very well there.'
Nothing about Bethel Park was kind to the hitters. There was that prevailing wind prevailing wind
A wind that blows predominantly from a single general direction. The trade winds of the tropics, which blow from the east throughout the year, are prevailing winds. See illustration at wind.
Noun 1. that came in over the fences in left or center and turned baseballs headed out into simple outs. From the the left-field foul line foul line
1. Baseball Either of two straight lines extending from the rear of home plate to the outer edge of the playing field and indicating the area in which a fair ball can be hit.
2. to center is also where the sun set, at varying heights and angles depending on the time of the season the game was played, with Eugene's early years in the Northwest League dawdling from April into September.
Not that once the sun set anybody could see any better anyway.
`At night, (Bethel Park) wasn't exactly a haven for hitters or fielders,' said Terry Maddox, a former University of Oregon The University of Oregon is a public university located in Eugene, Oregon. The university was founded in 1876, graduating its first class two years later. The University of Oregon is one of 60 members of the Association of American Universities. all-American player who logged time with the Ems and Salem in the Northwest League's early years. `Out in right field, there was a huge blackout spot. I played right, so I knew it was there, but you had no hope when a ball hit that black spot.'
It wasn't always a sure thing in the daytime. When the parent Philadelphia Phillies “Phillies” redirects here. For other uses, see Phillies (disambiguation).
The Philadelphia Phillies are a professional baseball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. played an exhibition game against the Ems at Bethel Park in 1964 - now that had to be a sight, a major-league team's first view of Bethel Park - the game ended in a 5-5 tie largely because of runs scored by the Ems when Philadelphia outfielders misplayed windblown fly balls.
The lights. The wind. There was also that tall fence in Verb 1. fence in - enclose with a fence; "we fenced in our yard"
inclose, shut in, close in, enclose - surround completely; "Darkness enclosed him"; "They closed in the porch with a fence"
2. center, itself some 400 feet from home plate.
`It was a pitcher's park, but it had a good background for the hitters ... that mostly green fence in center,' said Wayne Swango, an Ems pitcher for two seasons. `But the fences were pretty deep and it was hard to hit the ball out of there.'
Swango made it hard for hitters to put the ball anywhere in play during his two seasons in the Northwest League. In 1967, he posted a 0.88 earned-run average while striking out 133 in as many innings. He posted a 12-3 record with 11 complete games in 18 starts.
`The thing I remember is that Bob Gilbert used to run the team and every time you'd hit a home run or get a win as a pitcher, he'd give you a free dinner at his steakhouse,' Swango said. `That one year, I ate pretty well.'
Mostly in those 14 seasons at Bethel Park, the pitchers feasted on hitters. Hodges, in four seasons with the Ems that mark him as Eugene's all-time winningest pitcher, went 59-39 from 1955 through '58, and threw a total of 67 complete games. His ERA was never higher than 3.40 and was as low as 2.93 in 1956, when his record was 11-12.
Bobby Bolin Bobby Donald Bolin (born January 29, 1939 in Hickory Grove, South Carolina) is a former right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. He was signed by the New York Giants on November 10, 1956 at the age of 17, and played for the San Francisco Giants (1961-1969), Milwaukee Brewers had that amazing a·maze
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.
v.intr. 1959 season when he won 20 games for the Ems, including a no-hitter and another game in which he struck out 22, on his way to striking out 271 in 225 innings, both still records for the Northwest League.
`He could really throw hard,' Krause said. `He was just wild enough to keep the hitters loose.'
When the league halved halve
tr.v. halved, halv·ing, halves
1. To divide (something) into two equal portions or parts.
2. To lessen or reduce by half: halved the recipe to serve two.
3. the number of games it played, Eugene's Dan Cramer set a short-season record with 108 strikeouts in 1966 and won 10 games, only to see those short-season marks for an Emerald bettered by Swango in his amazing season a year later.
`I had a decent season, and that was an exciting place to play,' said Cramer, an Ohio native who made Eugene his residence when he was done playing baseball. `I remember that even my first year in spring training in Florida, people were talking about getting to play in the Northwest.'
If they didn't set any records at the start, the Ems were a pitching-dominated unit that very first season of Northwest League play in 1955. On its way to a 79-45 record, Eugene had four pitchers win at least 12 games, each with at least 12 complete games.
`The only time we used relievers was if you got in real bad trouble,' said Hodges, Eugene's top winner in 1955 with a 16-5 record, including 16 complete games. `You always completed a game, unless you were really getting pounded.'
Hodges threw a pair of shutouts, and posted a 3.04 ERA. George Storti was 15-6, with 18 complete games and a 2.26 ERA. Francis Chase also had 18 complete games, and 15 more victories with a 3.07 ERA.
Behind that assemblage of pitching, the Ems finished first in the second half of that season's schedule, and then beat Salem 4 games to 2 in the league playoffs to win the Northwest League's first championship. It would be Eugene's only league title in its 14 years with Bethel Park as its home base.
Constructed as the home of the Eugene Larks, who played in 1950 and '51 in the Western International League, Bethel Park had an estimated seating capacity Noun 1. seating capacity - the number of people that can be seated in a vehicle or auditorium or stadium etc.
commodiousness, spaciousness, capaciousness, roominess - spatial largeness and extensiveness (especially inside a building); "the capaciousness of Santa's of 5,000 for baseball - that doubled with additional grandstands for the Eugene Bombers, a minor-league football team that played at Bethel Park for a couple seasons in the late '60s - but seldom did fans fill all the seats. In the good years, attendance averaged around 1,000 and by 1968, three dozen home games drew a season total of 22,169, though that figure topped the Northwest League.
When Eugene's minor-league franchise was elevated to the Pacific Coast League For the high school sports league, see .
The Pacific Coast League (PCL) is a minor league baseball league operating in the West and Midwest of the United States. It is one of two leagues, along with the International League, playing at the Triple-A level, which is one step below for the 1969 season, the Ems moved to Civic Stadium, their current home. No longer the home of anything, Bethel Bethel, in the Bible
Bethel (bĕth`əl) [Heb.,=house of God].
1 Ancient city of central Palestine, the modern Baytin, the West Bank, N of Jerusalem. Park's grandstands, located near where Maple Street intersects with Roosevelt Boulevard The following roads are called Roosevelt Boulevard:
He batted over . , the latter a contributor to Bethel Park's construction.
After the demise of the Larks, the Western International League itself went under in the midst Adv. 1. in the midst - the middle or central part or point; "in the midst of the forest"; "could he walk out in the midst of his piece?"
midmost of the 1954 season. Designated as a Class A level league, it was replaced by the Northwest League at the Class B level of the minors, with the Ems and Salem joined that first season by Wenatchee, Tri-City, Yakima, Spokane and Lewiston, a seven-team circuit causing one team to always be idle. While its predecessor had relied heavily on players completing their careers after playing at higher levels of baseball, the Northwest League was then designed as it is now for young prospects on their way up, with a limit of four `veterans' per team.
`It was what long-season (Class) A is now,' Krause said of a level in the minors above what the Northwest League has become. `Everybody had played a couple of years. ... Very rarely did we get a first-year guy.'
Since a player-manager didn't count against the limit for players with extensive professional experience, Eugene had an immediate advantage with catcher Cliff Dapper Clifford Roland Dapper (born January 2, 1920 in Los Angeles, California) is a former Major League Baseball catcher who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1942. The 22-year-old rookie stood 6'2" and weighed 190 lbs. serving as the manager of the Ems.
`He was a tough guy, and you didn't mess around with him,' Hodges said. `A great manager.'
lawyer’s clerk; swindled into believing himself perfect gambler. [Br. Lit.: The Alchemist]
See : Dupery had the pitchers report to the ballpark in the late morning for their conditioning and fielding drills. The position players showed up later in the day, for fielding and batting practice.
It's not unlike the way minor-league teams operate in this era, but 50 years ago it was a relatively novel approach to the game even with so many players at an early juncture in their careers.
`That's the biggest difference, that (now) they have all these hitting and pitching coaches and instructors in addition to the manager,' said Krause, a seven-year veteran of the Northwest League. `They're getting so much more one-on-one instruction than in our day. ... They weren't really into instructing (in the '50s) so guys either developed on their own, or they didn't. That's why Dapper was so successful, because he was a really good teacher.'
Dapper's team of the first Emeralds was formed during a month of spring training in California. Though listed as an independent without a major-league affiliation to provide players, only Dapper and four other members of the 20-player roster that was used in the playoffs were owned outright by the Eugene franchise. Five other Ems were farmed out on loan from the Boston Red Sox The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox are a member and currently champions of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball’s American League. From to the present, the Red Sox have played in Fenway Park. and one each came from the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates This article is about the baseball team. For the National Hockey League team, see Pittsburgh Pirates (NHL). For the National Football League team (1933–1940), see Pittsburgh Steelers. .
The rest of that first Ems roster was made up of players owned by franchises in the Pacific Coast League, primarily the Portland Beavers The Portland Beavers are a minor league baseball team that, along with the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Oaks, Sacramento Solons, San Francisco Seals, and Seattle Rainiers, was a charter member of the Pacific Coast League, which was founded in 1903. . Other Northwest League teams also relied on players farmed out from franchises in the PCL (Printer Command Language) The page description language for HP LaserJet printers. It has become a de facto standard used in many printers and typesetters. PCL Level 5, introduced with the LaserJet III in 1990, also supports Compugraphic's Intellifont scalable fonts. , which in 1955 also included San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. , Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. , Hollywood, Sacramento, San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden , Oakland and Seattle.
`The PCL was almost like a third major league at the time,' said Hodges, one of the players sent to the Ems by Portland. `The guys in the PCL were either ex-major-leaguers, or guys who couldn't quite make it' to the National or American leagues, then each made up of only eight teams, and with neither extending farther west than St. Louis until the Dodgers and Giants moved from New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of to California in 1957.
There weren't games on television every night and attachments to the distant major-league teams were limited, for the players as well as the fans. And there was little player movement during a minor-league season, since roster spots were so limited at the highest level of baseball.
`It was pretty tough to move up,' Swango said. `A lot tougher than it is now.'
It did lead to continuity and familiarity for the fans, though. And even opposing players became well-known, particularly in the '60s, when the Northwest League dropped to four teams for a few seasons. One year, teams played each of the other three teams 28 times.
Who didn't know the opposing players, much less the hometown heroes?
`You were there for the year, and everybody had the pride of belonging to a city,' Hodges said. `Now, the players could go at any time.'
In Eugene, some players lived with area families in those early seasons, for $20 per month in rent and, as The Register-Guard noted in a 1955 story, `two home-cooked meals at $2 per day. They have their midnight meal elsewhere.'
The Ems paid each player $175 per month that first season, though players on option from clubs at a higher level had their salaries augmented so they might make as much as $500 monthly, a fairly significant amount in that era.
After four years without a major-league affiliation, the Ems linked with the San Francisco Giants The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California that currently play in the National League West Division. New York Giants history
Early days and the John McGraw era for the 1959 season, to be followed in later years by the White Sox in '63 and then the Phillies (jointly with the Cardinals for 1966), the relationship with Philadelphia lasting through the Ems' final season at Bethel Park and on through the five seasons when Eugene had a Class AAA AAA: see American Automobile Association.
(Triple A) A common single-cell battery used in a myriad of electronic devices of all variety. Like its double A (AA) cousin, it provides 1.5 volts of DC power. When used in series, the voltage is multiplied. franchise in the Pacific Coast League.
That '68 and final season at Bethel Park also marked the first time the Emeralds used airplanes to travel on selected road trips, such a rarity in the Northwest League it became a dress-up occasion.
`We all wore sport coats with a big, round patch on it with an EE,' Cramer said.
It was quite a contrast from the other years of the Northwest League, when the Ems traveled in station wagons provided by area auto dealers.
`We had a couple of designated drivers designated driver Public health A person at a social function who volunteers, or is 'volunteered' to chauffeur inebriated revellers chez elles at festivity's end. Cf Squash it. for each car,' Krause said. `There were some guys we didn't trust behind the wheel.'
Probably the pitchers, who would instead rest on air mattresses thrown on top of the equipment bags in the back of the wagons. They always had the best of it, didn't they?
Oh, the Ems had some hitters, a couple of notable ones sent to Eugene by the Giants. Jose Tartabull finished second in the Northwest League in hitting at .344 in 1960 and led the league with 15 triples while also stealing 24 bases. The next year, Jesus Alou also finished second in the league in hitting at .336. In 1967, the Phillies sent first baseman Nick Van Lue to Eugene and he led the league in hits with 97 while batting .302. He also set the then-record for the Ems in a short season of 16 homers, and 77 runs batted in, while playing 86 games.
Some other interesting names came through Eugene, if they didn't post outstanding numbers for the Ems. Dick Dietz
For the Ems, it was more about pitching than catching, or hitting for that matter, in those early years of the Northwest League when Bethel Park was home.
`I do remember one game out there when I went 5-for-5,' Maddox said. `Every one of them was a ground ball through the infield.'
A view from the center-field fence in Eugene's last game at Bethel Park on Aug. 29, 1968, illustrates just how far a ball had to travel for a home run. Thomas Boyd Thomas Boyd may be