The Western League was a class "A" league in 1952. In 1952 the Pacific Coast League was classified as an "Open" league in anticipation of it becoming a third major league. Of course the moves of the Dodgers to Los Angeles and the Giants to San Francisco stopped the move of the PCL to major league status. There were two "AAA" leagues, two "AA" leagues and four class "A" leagues in 1952.
Western League 1952 Standings
President: Senator Edwin C. Johnson
|Denver Bears||88||66||--||Pittsburg Pirates||471,419||Andy Cohen|
|Colorado Springs Sky Sox||87||67||1||Chicago White Sox||170,041||Don Gutteridge|
|Omaha Cardinals||86||68||2||St. Louis Cardinals||137,378||George Kissell|
|Sioux City Soos||83||71||5||New York Giants||103,004||Ray Mueller|
|Pueblo Dodgers||81||73||7||Brooklyn Dodgers||122,746||William McCahan|
|Wichita Indians||67||87||21||Cleveland Indians||116,703||Ralph Winegarner|
|Lincoln Athletics||67||87||21||Philadelphia Athletics||61,483||Les Bell|
|Des Moines Bruins||57||97||31||Chicago Cubs||62,597||Harry Strohm|
Denver beat Sioux City 3 games to 1.
Omaha beat Colorado Springs 3 games to 1.
Denver beat Omaha in the finals 3 games to 0.
Runs: Ken Landenberger, Colorado Springs, 112
Hits: Ken Landenberger, Colorado Springs, 183
RBI's: Ken Landenberger, Colorado Springs, 133
HR's: Bill Pinckard, Denver, 35
Wins: Alberto Osorio, Denver, 20
SO's: Connie Johnson, Colorado Springs, 233
ERA: Jim Singleton, Sioux City, 2.73
Eddie Phillips led Omaha and the league in batting in 1952. The 20 year old split time between the outfield and third base for the Cardinals in 1952. He was not named to the All Star team because the votes for him were split between the two positions.
Earl Weaver was an all star at second base for Omaha in
1952. He averaged .278 in 97 games. My personal favorite Earl
Weaver quote is:
The Omaha Cardinals for 1952 under manager George Kissell wound up in third place. Kissell was a 1993 "King of Baseball" award winner for his many years of minor league success. He was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. He spent 10 years as a minor league infielder. From 46-58 he was a manager, coach and scout for the Cardinals. 2003 marked his 63rd year with the Cardinals organization. If you go to Busch stadium for a Cardinals game you look up the plaque outside the stadium honoring this great teacher of the game of baseball. A great article on the man and his history was in the Ithaca College Quarterly, his alma mater. He managed Winston Salem to a league championship in 1950, was promoted to Omaha and led the Cards to a league championship in 1951.
Under Kissell's leadership the Cards beat Colorado Springs in the first round of the playoffs but lost to Denver in the finals.
|Image courtesy Dan Bretta|
Bobby Slaybaugh was a 20 year old prospect for the
Cardinals in the spring of 1952. The lefty was struck in the eye with a
line drive in March while in Florida for spring training. He was a 17 game
winner in 1951 with Goldsboro. He made his debut in Omaha on June 22. He
allowed 2 hits and one run in over 6 innings of relief work. In his first
start a week later, he pitched a four hit shutout of Des Moines.
Unfortunalty, that seemed to be the highlight of his year as he finished
with only 31 innings of work.
Western League All Star Earl Weaver held down second base for the Cardinals. He averaged .278 in 97 games. Of course he went on to be one of the best baseball managers in the game. In addition to Earl, Killinger was on second for 21 games and Barczewski held down second for 21 games.
The 1952 Western League batting champion Eddie Phillips held down third base for the Omaha Cardinals in 1952. He averaged .320 while splitting his time between third base and the outfield. Joseph DiMartino played third for 41 games and 81 games at catcher and averaged .268.
Short stop for 1952 saw another Western League All Star in a Cardinals uniform. Sherwin Dixon was an ironman at short, playing in 147 games and averaging .249 and had 34 stolen bases.
In addition to DiMartino, Jay Drake put on the mask for 71 games and played in 94 games overall. He averaged .233 for the season.
Louis Ciola played in 78 games and averaged 242, and Eli Russo averaged .238 in his 33 games.
Richard Atkinson had a 2.14 ERA for 1952. He appeared in 19 games and had a 10-4 record.
Louis Ciola was 15-1 and appeared in an amazing 65 games. He was a 30 year old veteran who had a brief appearance in the show in 1943 with Philadelphia.
Gary Blaylock was a future major leaguer who was 13-9 in
30 games. The 20 year old Clarkton Missouri native had four shutouts in
1952. He made it to the
majors in 1959 with St. Louis and pitched in 26 games with St. Louis and
15 for the Yankees.
Willis McDonald was 6-5 in 29 games.
Walter Montgomery was 8-16 in 38 games. He had 6 shutouts. He returned to Omaha in 1953 and led the Western League in pitching that year.
Thanks to the generosity of Walter's brother Gary, here are some stories by Walter during his time in the minor leagues.
From Miserable to Memorable
Spring Training 1950
The Other Joe D
Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter
Homer Head, Dick Cordell
And Then There Was the Mick
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