Classic PCL Teams
Described here are some of the most famous and greatest single season PCL teams between 1903 and 1957.
1903 LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Record: 133-78 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Cap Dillon.
The Angels in their first PCL season started off 15-0, still a league record for most wins at the start of a season. They were led by William Ellsworth (Dummy) Hoy, a deaf mute who was finishing a long and distinguished pro baseball career. Among other notables was Dillon, who besides being the manager, also led the league in batting average [.364]. The Angels had one of the best four-man pitching rotations in PCL history in left-handers Eustace (Doc) Newton [34-12, 2.43] and William (Dolly) Gray [23-20, 3.55], and right-handers Warren (Rusty) Hall [32-19, 2.31] and Joe Corbett [23-16, 2.36].
1906 PORTLAND BEAVERS
Record: 114-58 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Walt McCredie.
The Beavers were led by player-manager McCredie [.305] and Mike Mitchell [.339] and pitchers Elmer Califf [34-14] and Ben Henderson [29-10]. In spite of playing the league's fewest games of any team that season, Portland led the PCL in batting with a .269 team average and led the league in runs (740), hits (1,521) and homer runs (16) and tied for the lead in stolen bases (323).
1909 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS
Record: 132-80 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Danny Long.
The Seals led the PCL with a modest .245 team average, and also led the league in runs (836), hits (1,685), doubles (292) and stolen bases (349). They were led by Henry Melchior who batted a league-high .298, third baseman Rollie Zeider who hit .289 and led the league in runs (141) and stolen bases (93), and Ping Bodie who hit 10 HR. Pitching leaders included Frank Browning [32-16] and Cack Henley [31-10].
1922 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS
Record: 127-76 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Dots Miller.
The 1922 Seals led the league in batting (.298), runs (1,085), triples (79) and team fielding (.964). They were led by third baseman Willie Kamm [.342-20-124], center fielder Jimmy O’Connell [.335-13-92], left fielder Joe Kelly [.333-5-68], and pitchers Death Valley Scott [25-9 2.22], Ollie Mitchell [24-7, 2.91], and right-hander Bob Geary [20-9, 2.52].
1925 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS
Record: 128-71 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Bert Ellison.
One of the greatest minor league teams ever assembled, the Seals had four 20-game winners and 10 players on either the first or second PCL all-star teams. Paul Waner led the team and the league with a .401 average. 17 of the 25 team members eventually wound up in the Majors.
NOTE: This team was ranked #10 on the list of greatest all-time minor league teams selected by historians Bill Weiss and Marshall Wright in 2001.
1928 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS
Record: 120-71 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Richard "Nick" Williams.
The Seals featured an all-league outfield of Earl Averill (178 runs), Smead Jolley [.404-45-188, 516 total bases], and Roy Johnsohn. They won the regular-season title by eight games over Sacramento and Hollywood and then beat Sacramento in the PCL playoffs. The Seals led the minors in attendance (414,854) by a wide margin and in fact, outdrew six major league teams.
1929 MISSION REDS
Record: 123-76 [Mission finished first in the regular season, but lost in the playoffs to Hollywood.]--Manager: Red Killefer
The Mission Reds of San Francisco had a .319 team average to lead the league. All but one regular hit .300. The team was led by the legendary minor league hitter Ike Boone [.407, 55 HR, 218 RBI], and Fuzzy Hufft [.379, 39 HR, 187 RBI]. The best pitchers were Bert Cole [24-12 with a .326 batting average] and Herm Pillette [23-13]. The Missions early in the season ripped the league apart, and the league owners decided on a split-season hoping to maintain fan interest throughout the 202-game schedule. Hollywood won the second half by a game over the Reds, and then beat them in the playoffs four games to three.
1934 LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Record: 137-50 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Jack Lelivelt
Many believe the '34 Angels were the best minor league team in history. They won the pennant with the best record [.733] in PCL history and during the 26-week season won 23 of 26 series with the other teams. Since LA won both halves of the season there was no playoff, but the owners devised a postseason series between the Angels and an All-Star team from the other seven clubs, which was selected by fans voting through newspaper ballots. Los Angeles won 4 of the 6 games. The Angels were led by triple crown winner Frank Demaree [.383, 45 HR, 173, RBI], Jigger Statz [.324, 61 SB] and three twenty-game winners: Fay Thomas [28-4, 2.59], Lou Garland [ 21-9, 2.67] and Mike Meola [20-5, 2.90].
NOTE: This team was ranked as the best minor league team of all-time on on the list of greatest all-time minor league teams selected by historians Bill Weiss and Marshall Wright in 2001.
1935 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS
Record: 103-70 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Lefty O'Doul
In Lefty O'Doul's first season as Seals' manager and Joe Dimaggio's (.398, 34 HR, 154 RBI, and 173 runs) last with the Seals, they ended the LA Angels' two year championship run. Other notable players included pitchers Sam Gibson (22-4) and Win Ballou (18-4). While the Angels had most of the same players from the season before, they sagged badly in the second half of the season and lost to the Seals in the playoffs.
1942 SACRAMENTO SOLONS
Record: 105-73 [Won the regular season title, lost to Seattle in the playoffs.]--Manager: Pepper Martin
The Solons' only pennant-winning team was led by Buster Adams [.309, 27-107], league MVP and catcher Ray Mueller [.297 and 102 RBI] and pitcher Tony Freitas [24-13]. They won the title on the last day of the season, but then lost to Seattle in the opening round of the playoffs.
1943 LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Record: 110-45 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Bill Sweeney
The 1943 Angels were an unusual team, being one with numerous players having both major and minor league experience, at a time when most able bodied ballplayers were off to war. They were led by outfielder and league MVP Andy Pafko who led the league in batting (.356), RBI (118), hits (215), and total bases (326). He was second in the league in HR (18). The Angels also had outfielder Johnny Ostrowski, who led the league in HR (21). Another notable player was was shortstop Bill (Broadway Billy) Schuster who hit .275-5-67, playing every game. He led the league in doubles (42) and runs (117), led the shortstops in fielding (.955), putouts (361), assists (555) and double plays (109), and was voted the Angels’ Most Valuable Player. The Angels' most notable pitcher was Japhet Monroe (Red) Lynn, [21-8, 2.47] who led the PCL in victories.
1946 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS
Record: 115-68 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Lefty O'Doul
The team has a footnote in the book Great Baseball Feats, Facts & Firsts for being the "Most Recent Minor League Team That Staked a Legitimate Claim As a Major League Team."
The reason for this being that Paul Fagan chose to treat his team like major leaguers. The 1946 Seals took spring training in Hawaii, the minimum player salary was set at $5,000 (the major league minimum). Many players made more playing for the Seals than they would have earned in the majors. The Seals also became the first minor league team to travel regularly by plane. This all paid off as San Francisco won the 1946 pennant and set a minor league attendance record. They were led by Larry Jansen [30-6 with a 1.57 ERA, lowest in league history], who led the PCL in victories, winning percentage, complete games, innings and ERA, and was the league's last 30-game winner, Ferris Fain [.301], who later became a Philadelphia Athletic, and Hugh Luby, PCL MVP that year.
1948 OAKLAND OAKS
Record: 114-74 [Won the PCL title.]--Manager: Casey Stengel
Led by Catfish Metkovich (.336), and Charles Gassaway (15-8, 3.09), the "Nine Old Men" won the pennant by two games over the Seals. Stengel mixed aging major league veterans (among them Ernie Lombardi, Cookie Lavagetto, Nick Etten, and Metkovich) with PCL veterans like Dario Lodigiani and newcomers like Billy Martin to form a winning team. Stengel was later hired to manage the New York Yankees.
1952 HOLLYWOOD STARS
Record: 109-71 [Won the PCL title] -- Manager: Fred Haney
Hollywood won the pennant in 1952, with a team that had a speedy offense and strong pitching. Left fielder Carlos Bernier [.301 with 65 steals] brought the first of five consecutive stolen base titles to Hollywood. The PCL's Most Valuable Player in 1952 was Hollywood's Johnny Lindell [24-9, 2.52, 190 SO], who led the league in victories, winning percentage and strikeouts.
1956 LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Record: 107-61 [Won the PCL title] -- Manager: Bob Scheffing
Led by Triple Crown winner Steve Bilko (.360, 55 HR, 164 RBI), infielders Gene Mauch (.348), George Freese (.291, 22 HR, 113 RBI), Bob Speake (25 HR, 111 RBI), and outfielder Jim Bolger (.328, 28 HR, 147 RBI), the Angels batted .297 as a team and hit 202 home runs. In fact, six players on the team hit 20 or more home runs. They breezed to the pennant by 16 games over second-place Seattle.
1957 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS
Record: 101-67 [Won the PCL title] -- Manager: Joe Gordon
This final edition of the Seals won the pennant by four games and was led by future Red Sox players Haywood Sullivan, batting champ Ken Aspromonte (.334), and Frank Kellert (.308), Albie Pearson (.297, and was the 1958 American League rookie of the year), left fielder Bill Renna, and pitchers Bill Abernathie (13-2) and Leo Kiely (21-6). All but one of Kiely's victories came in relief.