The Western League was a class "A" league in 1954. In 1954 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 1954.
Western League 1954 Standings
President: Senator Edwin C. Johnson
|Denver Bears||94||56||--||Pittsburg Pirates||232,686||Andy Cohen|
|Des Moines Bruins||88||66||8||Chicago Cubs||113,691||Les Peden|
|Omaha Cardinals||83||68||11 ½||St. Louis Cardinals||150,131||Ferrell Anderson|
|Pueblo Dodgers||79||74||16 ½||Brooklyn Dodgers||80,768||Goldie Holt|
|Sioux City Soos||78||75||18 ½||New York Giants||69,333||David Garcia|
|Wichita Indians||76||77||19 ½||Baltimore Orioles||87,854||Herb Brett|
|Lincoln Chiefs||62||88||32||Milwaukee Braves||80,660||Whitney Wietelman|
|Colorado Springs Sky Sox||48||104||47||Chicago White Sox||59,606||Mickey Livington|
Denver beat Pueblo 3 games to 1.
Des Moines beat Omaha 3 games to 1.
Des Moines beat Denver in the finals 3 games to 1.
BA: Joe Kirrene, Colorado Springs, .343
Runs: Bobby Prescott, Denver, 137
Hits: Reno DeBenedetti, Denver, 183
RBI's: Rocco Ippolito, Denver, 131br> HR's: Bill White, Sioux City, 30
Wins: Bob Clear, Omaha, 20
SO's: Robert Garber, Denver, 173
ERA: Hy Cohen, Des Moines, 1.88
The 1954 season was going to be the last for Omaha in the Western League. Omaha and Denver move to the "AAA" American Association in 1955.
Manager Ferrell Anderson had played part of the 1953 season with the St. Louis Cardinals. The 36 year old from Maple City Kansas had played for Brooklyn in 1946 and 1954 was his first year with the Omaha Cardinals.
Omaha played in the shortest double header in Western League history when it was defeated by Wichita 1-0 in 1:05 and then beat Wichita in 1:23. A double header in less than twa and a half hours. Some batters take about that long today just preening before getting into the batters box.
Neal Hertweck played 122 games at first base for the Cardinals and 18 for Denver. He averaged .260 for the year. He played for Omaha in 1952. He played for Albany in 1955 and led the Eastern League with 112 RBI's.
Wayne Wallace played 30 games at first and averaged .246.
In the dirt at second base was Byron Elser. He averaged .281 for the Cardinals.
The hot corner was held down by Robert Ries and averaged .291 for the season.
Short stop in 1954 saw Hector Mayer. He averaged .264.
Putting on the mask for the Cardinals was Jay Drake for 83 games. He was a .255 hitter.
Alternating with Drake at catcher was Ferrell Anderson. He averaged .274. The Maple City Kansas native had a short stint with Brooklyn in 1946 and again with the parent Cardinals in 1953. He played in a total of 97 major league games. He died in Joplin Missouri in 1978.
Along with their local all star Jackie Brandt, James King
roamed the garden for Omaha in 1954. The 21 year old led
with a .314 average. The bats left, throws right outfielder from Elkins
Arkansas was traded to the Cubs organization in November 1954. He played
in the majors from 1955 through the 1967 season.
Donald McLennan was a regular in the outfield in 1954. The lefty averaged .262 for the season.
Alfred Viotto was a gardener for the Cardinals in 1954. He averaged .243 while swinging from the port side of the plate. He led the Evangeline league in triples while playing for Baton Rouge in 1952.
Bob Clear led the Western League with 20 wins in 1954. He also led the league by pitching in 267 innings and in walks with 114. He started his career in 1945 with Batavia and played for Omaha in 1950. After stops in Rochester, Columbus and Houston he was back in "A" ball for the 1954 season.
Lou Ciola led the Western League by appearing in 49 games. This was the third time he led the Western League in this category. He had a 7-5 record for the Cardinals. He also averaged .300 at the plate.
Ronald Kump pitched in 30 games and had a 14-12 record for Omaha. He led the club with a 2.28 ERA and averaged .253 at the plate.
Millard Heim was a southpaw who had a 13-8 record in 38 games.
Lewis Swinger pitched in 15 games and had a 3-4 record.
Gordon Jones appeared in 18 games and had a 10-5 record.
The Portland Oregon native was signed by St. Louis as an amateur free
agent in 1949. The 24 year old was promoted to the parent Cardinals in
August. He pitched in the majors for 11 years.
Charles Hollingsworth broke even with a 4-4 record in 19 games.
Melvin Greer pitched in 26 games and had a 1-4 record. He also averaged .429 at the plate (yes that is .429).
Roland Hubbard had a 1-2 record in 13 games.
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