Eureka Humboldt Standard from Eureka, California on April 7, 1962 · Page 36
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Eureka Humboldt Standard from Eureka, California · Page 36

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Eureka, California
Issue Date:
Saturday, April 7, 1962
Page:
Page 36
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Will Expansion Yes, say some experts, but any decline in the quality owners act wisely as the game becomes truly TTTHEN THE first ball of the W 1962 season is tossed out this week, baseball also will throw out its chest. For the first time in its long history, the game will lay a legitimate claim to its reputation as the national pastime. Until five years ago, when the game was played mainly in the East and Midwest, big-league baseball was something less than national in its representation. Then in comparatively rapid succession, the baseball map was extended in three directions. The West Coast attained status with teams in Los Angeles (now two) and San Francisco. The Minneapolis Twins brought in the North Central area. And now, with the launching of the brand-new "The major-league expansion should not be confused with progress," Chandler warns. "To measure accurately the health of the game, you must also consider the plight of · the minor leagues. The Southern Association, after 61 consecutive years of operation, has suspended operation. The Three-I League, the oldest Class-B organization in baseball, has collapsed. Others are tottering. Where we once had 59 minor leagues operating, we now have 19. "Without these training grounds for the big-league stars, baseball faces an inescapable bankruptcy of talent. Expansion of the major leagues only compounds the problem, spreading an already thin line of playing talent even thinner." Chandler wonders if the fans will support the game if its high standards of play, on which the great rec- National League proceeded at a slightly slower pace, but it used the same method of forming its two new teams : a draft of castoff or over-age players, particularly pitchers. Ted Williams, one of the game's greatest hitters and the last player to post a .400 batting average, believes that the inevitable decline in big-league pitching could lead to some further shattering of the home-run and other hitting records. "-rrou'LL never get me to belittle JL the present-day ball player," Ted says, "but the expansion to 10 teams is bound to help the hitter. It stands to reason. You've got 22 pitchers or so in the majors who wouldn't be there except for the addition of the new teams. Sure, it helped Maris hit 61 homers last year. It had to, and that's not taking anything away 4u3^^^BK*mmw^^^Hi^H v^ateaaaiaipii«y»ww«ig«i»»»»»TM»«"iiM«TMi»«TM» · -»···- Harry Craft, manager, and Paul Richards, general manager, will gel a new ball park (center) and a veteran pitcher, Bobby Shantz (right), to launch Houston Colts-but not much more. It'll be their job to build stronger team quickly. Houston Colts in Texas, the Southwest, is included in the lineup. The new alignment gives the game an entry in each of the 15 major U.S. population centers. Let's not forget, either, that National League baseball returns to our largest concentration of population, with the New York Mets under Casey Stengel's talented management. All of this should add up to a greater over-all interest in baseball, a bigger incentive for more hero- worshipping youngsters to play the game, and the promise of continued growth and wider expansion. But does it? There are many, including those close to the complex baseball structure, who say no. One of these is Albert B. "Happy" Chandler, the former commissioner of baseball. ords of the game are based, should deteriorate. Already fan interest seems to be slackening. The Associated Press, for example, polled 215 sportswriters and broadcasters and found that most believed pro football would replace baseball as the top sport in fan interest in a decade or so. The fact that major-league expansion is ruining the minor-league training ground hasn't seemed to bother the club owners. They plunged ahead haphazardly, critics say, regardless of losing prestige and damaging the game. Why? Initially, it was the threat of a third major league--the Continental League--that propelled them into action. The American League expanded to 10 teams in 1961, making the move almost overnight. The from Roger's talent at all." Baseball Commissioner Ford C. Frick does not agree with the critics of expansion or with the prophets of doom. "Getting New York and Houston into the National League was a good move," Frick declares, "and it's going to help increase attendance and interest throughout the country in 1962. And we're not through with expansion. "I'm not alarmed that pro football may take baseball's place. We did have a slight decrease in attendance in 1961, but don't forget that 30 million watched professional baseball and that the game is being played in more high schools and colleges than ever before. Altogether, there were between five and six million youngsters playing baseball on organized, uniformed teams." NEW Thrifty Size Saves You «t over 39c size Family Weekly, April S, 1362

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