The Marysville Giants defeated the Colusa Prunepickers to win the 1916 Trolley League. Nine major league ballplayers competed in the final including some who would become involved in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. The 1916 Giants would be considered as the greatest team in Yuba-Sutter baseball history. See >> In 1925, the Marysville Giants joined the Sacramento Valley League. Other teams in the league included the Colusa Prune Pickers, the Woodland Vets, Willows Tigers, Chico Colts, and the Dixon Firemen.
1926 MARYSVILLE GIANTS--15-4 (17-5) "Pop" Arlett was a one-man wrecking crew as he hit and pitched the Giants to an SVL and Northern California championship. He pitched nearly every game for Marysville, compiling a 14-3 league record and 16-4 overall. "Pop" also led the Giants in hitting with his .403 average. The Giants hit .338 as a team. (Powell .377, Esola .375, W. Hall .360, Francis Hall .309, Robeke .307, McLean .304). Woodland's Claude Rohwer won his 2nd SVL batting title in a row with his .442 average. Rohwer, from Davis, Ca. averaged. 290 in four years as a pro including two years with the PCL's Sacramento Solons--1923 (.295) and 1924 (.284). Vet's center fielder and future New York Yankee Myril Hoag hit .366. In a best 2-of-3 Northern Calif. championship called the Little World Series, Marysville defeated the Isleton Grasshoppers 5-4 before losing game two 6-4 and taking the final 10-0. Arlett battled Isleton pitcher Henry "Lefty" Hampton in games one and two. Hampton from Susanville, Ca., spent the 1922 season with the AA Sacramento Senators of the PCL winning 3 of 8 games with a 3.57 ERA. Thirty-six-year-old Alexander "Pop" Arlett from Elmhurst, Ca., had previously spent eight years in the minor leagues with a career 46-43 record (1911-1919), including parts of six years in the AA Pacific Coast League with the SF Seals and Oakland Oaks where he combined to go 12-12 with a 2.86 ERA. He also played 2nd and 3rd base and averaged .238 over eight seasons.
1934 MARYSVILLE GIANTS--Manager Stan McLean and his '34 Giants won the 1st half of SVL play with a 9-2 record, thus earning a spot in the leagues' championship series. The team was led by the pitching of lefty "Chub" Ohleyer and the hitting of center fielder Clyde "Tub" Perry, both from Sutter City (Sutter, Ca.). After a 15-8 loss to Roseville, the Giants improved to 12-3 with 17-5, 15-12, and 9-5 victories over Redding, Roseville, and Woodland. Perry launched a booming home run against the Oaks of Woodland at Marysville's 3rd Street ballpark (now Hust Bros.), then considered a "Crackerbox" with its short right-field fence. (After a violent windstorm destroyed the park in 1937, Bryant Field was built in the north part of the city). Marysville finished the 2nd half with a 5-4 mark (14-6 overall) and met the Grass Valley Miners (2nd half winners) in the playoffs. In game one, Perry homered and Ohleyer picked up the 4-3 mound victory in front on 1,500 Marysville onlookers. The Miners evened the series with a 4-2 win at Grass Valley with John Manger picking up the win and Elmer Newman taking the loss. In the final, Grass Valley took a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th inning before the Giants loaded the bases on an intentional walk to Perry with two outs. Number 5 hitter "Babe Burdick" singled in two runs to tie the game with the stocky Perry hustling his way to 3rd base. Giant shortstop Barry, who led the SVL in hitting, then laid down a perfect squeeze bunt that won the game 3-2 and Marysville claimed her 2nd SVL championship in 10 years. Newman got credit for the win after relieving Ohleyer in the 9th. Nineteen-hundred fans saw the final with gate receipts at $664.85.
1936 MARYSVILLE GIANTS--Among the lone bright spots for the '36 Giants during the 1st half of SLV play was Sacramento's Norman Coad's 4-0 no-hitter against Grass Valley. The left-handed 19-year-old's gem was the 1st no-no in SVL history as Marysville finished the 1st half at 4-6. After losing 5 in a row the Giants closed out the regular SVL season by winning 8 of their next 9 games including an 18-10 shellacking of the Yuba City Bears and Coad's 10-2 win over the Chico Colts. On August the 3rd, the Giants closed out the 2nd half at 8-2, (12-8 overall) earning a spot in the playoffs with Dion Coe's 5-2 win at Woodland. Coe was earlier released by Yuba City. Four of the five Giant runs were scored on suicide squeeze bunts ordered by Marysville skipper Dolly Gray. In game one of the playoffs, Woodland's Deputy Sheriff Cliff Garrison shutout the Giants 2-0 before Coad and the Giants rebounded with a 4-2 win in game two. Marysville center fielder "Tub" Perry arrived at the game packing heat due to riotous conditions at Woodland and bad blood between the two teams. In the final, before a capacity crowd at Marysville, Jack Gaddy, Babe Burdick, and Lee Boylan each homered as the Giant's and Coad coasted to a 9-2 win and Marysville's 2nd SVL title in three years.
1957 MT. SHASTA
Bill Heath, a native of Yuba City, California attended Downey High School in Modesto, Ca. before accepting a scholarship from the University of Southern California. Heath, along with Chico's Pat Gillick, was a member of Rod Dedeaux' Trojan team that won the 1958 College World Series. That summer, Dedeaux sent 15 of his Trojans to the prairies of the Western Canada Baseball League, 9 of which, including Heath, suited up for the league champion 30-23 Williston, North Dakota Oilers. Heath hit .378, third-best in the WCL behind teammate Jerry Adair's .404 average. Immediately following the championship game, Adair was flown to Baltimore where he signed a contract with the Orioles and on September the 2nd made his major league debut.
The following year at USC, Heath was named team captain, led all Trojans with his .396 average, was All-Conference, and was selected as a collegiate All-American. That summer, Heath returned to the Western Canada League where he was a league All-Star and hit .321 for the league champion and pennant-winning 39-29 Edmonton Eskimos.
Twin Cities began Placer-Nevada League play by besting the Lincoln Tigers 12-2 before topping the Grass Valley Braves 6-3. Charlie Becker picked up his 3rd win without a loss, all in relief, while Dave Francis went 3x4. Francis tripled and Webster doubled in the Giants 6-1 win over the Roseville Merchants. Jerry Vick, the team's ace pitcher, logged his 3rd win of the year. During the week, the Lincoln Tigers quit the league after claiming that Grass Valley was bringing in illegal players from out of their region. On June the 5th, Hap Ritchie homered and went 3x3 as newcomer Bob Aaberg shutout the undefeated Placerville Outlaws ten to nothing. Twin Cities ended the first half of PNL action with a perfect 6-0 record and 10-0 overall after a 9-5 victory over the Roseville Merchants. Jerry Vick picked up his 5th win without a loss while John Rice and Hap Ritchie went 3x5. The win guaranteed a spot in the league's best of three championship series.
The hot streak came to halt when the Galt Rebels tagged Charlie Becker for 14 hits and a 12-7 non-league loss. After Vick upped his record to 6-0 with a 4-3 win over the Sacramento Rural League Chuckers, the 11-1 Giants proceeded to lose 5 of their next 10 regular games including a 12-12 tie and 1-4-1 2nd half league mark with Jerry Vick absorbing 4 of the loses. Pitching became the main problem with 8-6, 11-3, 7-6 and 5-3 PNL losses. Manager Hap Ritchie provided some pitching relief with a 2-1 win over the Lodi Guild Wine and a 9-2 victory versus the Concord Rebels. He also went 4-5 at the plate against Concord.
Jerry Vick started the 1st game of the PNL Championship Series with the defending champion Placerville Outlaws. He needed relief help from Bob Aaberg to preserve a 9-8 victory in a game that featured hitting displays by former major leaguers Ray Webster and Placerville's Jim Westlake. Both drove in four runs apiece. Webster and "AAA" star Hap Richie each collected three hits for the Giants. Al Montna drove in what proved to be the winning run. In the final, Bob Aaberg pitched a masterful 3-hitter without allowing an earned run in Twin Cities' 4-2 clincher. John Rice drove in two runs with a 2-4 performance including a triple. The Giants finished the year at 9-4-1 in league play (including the playoffs) and 16-6-1 overall with a .727 winning percentage, 5th best in Yuba-Sutter semi-pro history.
Bob Aaberg had recently finished his collegiate career at Sacramento State where he and pitcher Jim "Spider" Thomas led the Hornets to back-to-back Far West League titles and a Regional Championship. Aaberg spent the previous summer with the Eureka Humboldt Crabs where he logged a successful season including an impressive 5-hit, 2-1 victory over the powerful Alaska Goldpanners in Fairbanks. Aaberg and the '64 Crabs finished tied for third place in the National Baseball Congress semi-pro World Series held annually in Wichita, Kansas. (See Humboldt Crabs, 1964).
1967 YUBA SUTTER TWINS:Manager Ray Webster's '67 Twins began their non-league exhibition season with a 4-2 loss to the Lodi Guild Wine before rebounding with a 4-3 win over Yuba College and ace pitcher Danny Wright. Wright, 5-5 with a 2.30 ERA at Yuba, set a school record for most strikeouts in a season when he struck out 107 batters (5th best in school history) in just 88.67 innings pitched (10.86/ 9inn., 2nd best in school history). Yuba-Sutter winning pitcher Jim Whisman from Reno, Nevada had just completed his first year at the University of Nevada at Reno where he went 7-2 with a 2.0 ERA. He had spent the '66 season at Yuba College where he set a school record for most wins in a season when he won eight games while losing two with a 2.02 ERA. The Twins ended the pre-league season with a 3-2 record after an 11-1 victory over the Nevada Copperkings, an 18-1 thrashing of the Davis University British Cars and a 7-1 loss to the Elk Grove Smokies of Sacramento.
The Twins opened the Placer-Nevada League with a 5-2 win over the Marysville Giants with Whisman tossing a 3-hitter and once again getting the best of Danny Wright, now the ace of the Giants. Yuba-Sutter upped her record to 6-2 and 3-0 in league play before Auburn Cub pitcher Eddie George stopped Whisman and the Twins 1-0. In a rematch with Marysville on June the 21st, Harold "Hap" Richie homered and Jim Wisman won his 5th game with two loses as a Twin by tossing a no-hitter with 13 strikeouts as he bested Dan Wright for a third time. William Daniel Wright would later get drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 38th round of the 1967 MLB Amateur June Draft but did not sign. Yuba-Sutter ended the first half of the PNL with a 6-1 record (tied with the Auburn Cubs) by adding University of the Pacific pitcher John Strohmayer who promptly shutout the Oroville Olives 6-0.
The Twins wrapped up the 2nd half of PNL play with a 5-2 record (11-3 for both halves) and 14-6 overall. In a playoff match to determine a first-half champion, John Strohmayer bested Auburn's Freddie George 5-4 to set up a best of three PNL championship series against the same Cubs who won the 2nd half with a 6-1 record. In game one, Auburn's George defeated Yuba-Sutter 2-1 even though Strohmayer didn't allow an earned run. George would end his lengthy semi-pro career in a Twin Cities uniform with the 1969 Giants. In game two, Strohmayer pitched a complete game 7-1 victory as the Twins pounded out 15 hits. Center-fielder John Rice led the attack with a 3-6 performance while playing/manager Ray Webster drove in 3 runs. Yuba-Sutter won the championship with a 5-2 win as Strohmayer pitched all three games in the series. The Twins ended PNL league play with an 11-4 record, 2-1 for the playoffs and 18-7 overall. Ray Webster led the '67 Twins in batting with his .371 average followed by shortstop Sal Balderrama at .365 and John Rice at .315. Jim Whisman compiled a 6-3 record while Strohmayer posted a 5-2 record with a 1.8 earned run average. He struck out 64 batters in 49 innings pitched. The league championship was the Yuba-Sutter area's 3rd PNL title (1959, '65, and '67).
Jim Whisman, from Claremore, Ok., signed a contract with the KC Royals organization in 1969. He spent 5 years in the minors posting a career 34-34 record with a 3.02 ERA. In 1970, he led the San Jose Bees of the Class-A California League in victories (13-8) including a fine 2.65 ERA. A year later, Whisman went 9-9 with a 2.38 ERA for the AA Elmira Royal of the Eastern League. Shortstop Salvador "Sally" Balderrama from Yuba City, Ca., played three more seasons with the Twin Cities Giants before attending a KC Royal Acadamy tryout camp in Sarasota, Florida and signing a contract in 1970. Balderrama, who hit .298 at Yuba College in 1968 spent 1 season with the Gulf Coast Royals (Rookie League) where he hit .235 with no home runs in 33 games, mostly as a 2nd baseman.
1965 TWIN CITIES GIANTS--First year manager Harold "Hap" Richie and his Giants reeled off 10 consecutive victories to begin the 1965 season, bested only by the 1953 Marysville Giants who started with 11 straight wins, the area's best start in Yuba-Sutter semi-pro baseball history. The 1964 Twin Cities Giants started the season by winning 9 straight games. The '65 Giants started the year by out-slugging Lodi Guild Wine 13-10 as ex-major-leaguer Ray Webster blasted a 3-run homer while going 3-4 at the plate. Twin Cities followed by edging the Elk Grove Smokies of the Sacramento Rural League 9-8 and crushing Yuba College 15-4. Webster blasted a grand slam during the team's 7-0 white-washing of the 4-time Nevada state champion Fallon Merchants. Jerry Vick tossed a 5-hitter for the shutout as the Giants ended the preseason schedule with an unblemished 4-0 record.
1913 TROLLEY LG. PRESIDENT
'59 PLACER-NEVADA LEAGUE
TWIN CITIES GIANTS
GRASS VALLEY BRAVES
NEVADA CITY LUMBERJACKS
BOB GALLAGHER VIC ACEBO DICK SPERBECK CHARLIE BECKER KEN GALBRAITH MICKEY RISBERG
HAROLD "HAP" RICHIE
McCOOK BRAVES AT 18
THE FIFTIES FANTASTIC FREDDIE AND THE 1953 MARYSVILLE GIANTS
The cast of characters hadn’t changed much from the previous year--Vint Spencer at first, Merle “the Rabbit” Anthony at second, Glen Williams at third, Ken Galbraith at short, Wendell Moe or Jim Warren in left, Primo Santini in right, Garry Gledhill in center, Al Seabrooke behind the plate and the left-handed fire-balling Fred Besana from Lincoln, California on the hill. Manager Jim Perry called the shots although the lineup was set with Besana pitching every Saturday night under the lights with most of the games being played at Marysville’s historic Bryant Field, a pitcher's ballpark. Anthony, a Marysville native, spent 1946 with the Ogdensburg Maples of the level-C Border League where he hit .252. In 1948, he combined to hit .204 for two teams -- the Eau Claire Bears of the "C" Northern League and the Pawtucket Slaters of the "B" New England League. He later became an umpire in the California and Pacific Coast leagues (1960-'69) and a major league ump in the American League from '69 to 1975. He umpired the American League Championship Series in '73 and MLB's All-Star game in 1974.
The Giants' management opted for playing an independent schedule for the ’53 season competing against most of the top semi-professional teams from Northern California. The Yuba City Bears with Chet Ashe doing most of the pitching and Bob Gallagher patrolling center field, would compete in the Sacramento Valley League. The Giants opened the year in style with a 13-0 trouncing of Folsom and followed up that victory with a 5-1 win over the Lincoln Potters, six-time and perennial champions of the Placer-Nevada League including the last three in a row. On April the 6th, the Giants shut out Roseville Happy Hour 11-0 and then Besana followed with two impressive victories; a 4-0, one-hit shutout over Northern California powerhouse Lodi Wine Guild and a thirteen strikeout, 5-2 win versus the Taloa Red Sox from Oakland. After Marysville’s 8-1 win against the Auburn Cubs, Besana hurled another shutout, this time a nifty two-hit, 4-0 whitewashing against the Oakland Teamsters Union, even though he issued ten base-on-balls. The Giants started the season with eight straight victories when Besana struck out fifteen in an 8-1 win against the collegiate Gaels of St. Marys. Marysville made it nine in a row when Lello Carnasecca picked up his first win of the year, 8-2 against the local Yuba College Forty-Niners. On Sunday, May the 11th, Besana capped off the first third of the season by blasting a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth while striking out seventeen in an impressive 1-0 shutout against one of Northern California’s best teams, Hatzell Radio from El Cerrito. It was Fantastic Freddie’s sixth straight win without a loss including ninety strikeouts in just fifty-eight innings while allowing only three runs with three complete-game shutouts. The Giants were on a roll as they started the ’53 season with a perfect 10-0 record, scoring sixty-seven runs while allowing only seven including five shutouts.
The following year, Fred Besana signed a five thousand dollar contract with the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League and was first sent to Texas where he pitched for the Sweetwater Swatters of the class D Longhorn League. After winning three of four games, Besana was promoted to the class C Albuquerque Dukes of the West Texas-New Mexico League. There he won fifteen games while losing eleven with a 5.23 earned run average. In his first full season of professional baseball, Fred Besana combined for an 18-12 record with a 5.14 ERA. He gave up 211 hits and walked 145 batters in 205 innings pitched. In 1956, at age 25, Besana made his major league debut with the Baltimore Orioles. He spent one season with the O's and pitched in seven games where he went 1-0 with a 5.60 ERA. He also logged eight years in the minors where he won 58 games while losing 67 with a 4.33 ERA. Fantastic Freddie had a blazing fastball but often couldn’t hit the broad side of his father’s barn as he averaged more than six free passes per every nine innings pitched. Besana joined the Air Force during the Korean conflict, eventually winding up at Travis Air Base just outside Sacramento and resumed his baseball career with the semi-pro Marysville Giants.
On Monday, May the 18th, the Giants won their eleventh game in a row by besting Southern Pacific Stores 3-2 in eleven innings. It was Marysville’s best start ever. Fred Besana won his seventh game with a complete game fourteen strikeout performance. The winning streak came to an end the following Sunday when the Giants fell 5-3 to the Sacramento Solons Rookies. Besana pitched scoreless baseball for six innings striking out twelve but reliever Charlie Becker absorbed Marysville’s first loss of the season by coughing up five runs in just three innings pitched. The Giant’s next contest saw Besana hurl a one-hit shutout with eighteen strikeouts as Marysville battered the Oakland Independents 15-0. On June the 15th, he tossed another one-hit shutout, this time a masterful fifteen strikeout performance against the powerful Taloa Red Sox of Oakland. It was Freddie’s third one-hitter and fifth shutout of the season. He improved to 11-0 with 159 strikeouts in 91 innings allowing only four earned runs for an earned run average of 0.40.
On June the 22nd, the Giants beat the Gridley Pelicans 6-4 as the versatile Ken Galbraith picked up the mound victory. Charlie Becker got his first start of the year and beat the Auburn Cubs 10-2 and Dick Lawless beat Pamona Tile of San Francisco 9-2 as the Giants improved to 16-1. On July the 3rd Galbraith picked up his second win in relief of a battered Charlie Becker as the Giants downed the Elk Grove Smokies 10-9. Shortly after the game, Marysville added Chet Ashe from the Yuba City Bears of the Sacramento Valley League as the right-handed pitcher seemed unhappy with his salary with the local club. The Giants improved to 19-1 after beating Hatzell Radio a second time, 3-1, but their eight-game winning streak came to a halt when Charlie Becker and the Giants fell to Richmond 6-5. The team rebounded by crushing the Hollywood All-Stars 20-3 as Besana and Galbraith both homered.
THE 1953 NATIONAL BASEBALL CONGRESS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT --- 1953 marked the first and only year that a team from the Yuba-Sutter area has qualified for the NBC Northern California semi-pro tournament but one could hardly call the team local. The ’53 Maryville Giants received an at-large bid based on the team’s record but only Marysville pitchers Fred Besana and Chet Ashe along with all-around player Ken Galbraith and catcher Al Seabrooke were members of the team. The others were a group of all-stars from the Sacramento Valley League which included catcher Vince Castino and second baseman, Don Van Buskirk. The thirty-five-year-old Castino spent three years in the majors with the Chicago White Sox from ’43-’45 and fourteen seasons in the minor leagues, four of those years at the AAA level including Sacramento of the PCL. Van Buskirk spent the ’52 season with Idaho Fall of the class C pioneer League where he hit .246 and played sparingly for the Sacramento Solons in ’52 and ’53.
Besana Sets Record--On July the 17th, Marysville opened the UBC tournament with a 7-4 win over the district champion Atwater Plumbers. Fred Besana broke an all-time tournament record with his seventeen strikeouts. In other first-round action the Atwater Packers defeated the Oakland Taloa Red Sox 14-0 and the El Cerrito Hatzell Radios shutout the Merced Pepsi’s 9-0. In round two, the Atwater Packers tossed their second straight shutout as they whipped the Vallejo Builders 8-0. On July the 20th, the headlines of the Appeal Democrat read: BESANA HAS SORE ARM. On July 22nd, the powerful Fort Ord Warriors crushed Besana and the Giants 12-0. Besana allowed eight runs in seven innings pitched. Chet Ashe pitched a complete game in the next round with a 6-4 win over the Humboldt Crabs and followed it up with an 8-7 triumph in the semifinals over the potent Atwater Packers setting up a rematch with Ford Ord in the Finals.
The Fort Ord Warriors were the defending California semi-pro state champions. The’53 Warriors were laden with major league and top minor league professionals including outfielder J.W. Porter who spent six years in the majors and catcher Joe Hannah who spent thirteen years as a pro, mostly at class AAA. Outfielder Bill Pinckard spent twelve years as a pro including two in Japan’s Pacific League and briefly with the Minot Mallards of the Independent ManDak League where hit .348. His best year was 1952 when he hit .303 with forty home runs at the class A and B levels. Warrior pitching ace, Bob Thollander pitched seven years as a professional. Pitcher Bob Ross pitched briefly with the Washington Senators in ’50 and ’51. Shortstop Bobby Winkles enjoyed a seven-year career in the minor leagues before managing four years in the majors. Winkles guided the California Angles in ’73 and ’74 and the Oakland A’s in ’77 and 1978.
Joe Hannah, Bill Pinckard, and J.W. Porter all homered as Ford Ord defeated the Marysville Giants 6-1 to capture the Northern California title. Besana wasn’t allowed to play as he was restricted to Travis Air Force Base where he was stationed. Fort Ord went on to defeat the Southern California champion San Diego Air Station Skyraiders 2-1 in a 20 inning marathon to capture the California state semi-pro championship. Marysville’s Besana, Ashe, Castino, Van Buskirk and Seabrooke were all named to the Northern Division all-state team.
While the state tournament went on in Atwater, California, the Giants continued their regular season without their ace pitcher. The Giants began yet another winning streak with victories over Lois Stores of El Cerrito and the McClellan Air Force Peacemakers as Galbraith and Becker picked up the mound victories. On July the 31st, Besana returned to best the Napa Merchants 9-4. Becker kept the winning streak alive when Marysville crushed the Chinese Marauders 19-3. After conquests over Roseville and Mather Air Force Base the Giants upped their regular season record to 28-2 and eight in a row with two weekend victories over the visiting Reno Pioneers as Besana improved to 19-0 on the regular season and 20-1 including the state tournament.
On August the 14th, Besana allowed nine runs in seven innings as the Giants got pasted 10-4 by a prestigious, bearded, long-haired, barnstorming House of David team as Fred Besana suffered his first loss of the regular scheduled season. House of David was a touring semi-pro team that hired professionals which at one time included major league Hall of Famers Grover Cleveland Alexander, Satchel Paige, and Mordecai “Three Fingers” Brown. The Giants lost two in a row when Becker got bested 8-6 by Folsom. On August the 17th, the Giants beat Hatzell Radio for the third time with a 12-1 victory. Besana picked up his 20th win and then, on August the 22nd, Besana fired a no-hitter against the Sacramento Solons Rookies. The 5-0 complete game shutout was his sixth whitewashing of the year and most shutouts in a single season in the history of Yuba-Sutter baseball. Marysville followed up with another shutout beating the Carmichael Firemen 7-0 as Besana struck out thirteen in six innings to pick up the victory.
Fred Besana pitched the last two games of the 1953 season. The "Ironman" took a tough 2-0 loss at the hands of the Mather Air Base Flyers and concluded the year by defeating the Yuba City Bears 8-4. Besana compiled a 23-2 record for the ’53 Giants and 24-3 overall (including NBC tournament games). The 23 victories in a season while pitching for the same team are the most ever by a Yuba-Sutter pitcher. He averaged just over thirteen strikeouts a game, also an all-time Yuba-Sutter milestone as is his .920 winning percentage for a Yuba-Sutter semi-pro team. The 1953 Giants finished the season with a 33-5 record, the most wins in Y-S semi-pro history and the best winning percentage (.868) at any level.
Baseball began to thrive in Northern California shortly after WWII with the re-emergence of the Sacramento Valley League. Enthusiasm and attendance were at all-time highs in the towns of Marysville, Oroville, Chico, Willows, Colusa, and Redding. Rivalries began to form creating even more interest. It didn’t last long. Major League baseball took advantage of the situation and moved in by forming the professional and affiliated class D Far West League in 1948 which included the Marysville Braves, the Oroville Red Sox, the Willows Cardinals, the Redding Browns, the Santa Rosa Pirates, the Pittsburg/Roseville Diamonds, the Medford, Oregon Nuggets, and the Klamath Falls, Oregon Gems. Oroville won the initial pennant with her 67-51 record, was eliminated during the first round of the playoffs by Klamath Falls, and then folded. Santa Rosa was crowned as the new league’s first champion. Marysville finished next to last in 1948 with a 59-63 record, ten games out of first place and out of the playoffs. Not much was mentioned in the local newspaper when Braves’ manager Jim Keller was fired and replaced by Spencer Harris late in the season even though Harris was the minor league’s all-time leader in hits, runs, doubles and total bases. He had spent three seasons in the majors with the White Sox and Senators and was once involved in a trade that sent the great Ted Williams to Boston after the 1937 season. The legendary Harris ended his career at Marysville by chipping in with a .364 batting average in twenty games at age forty-seven. The following year, the Braves wound up in fifth place with a 59-66 mark, twenty-four games behind the front-running 84-43 Pittsburg Diamonds managed by Vince DiMaggio. Marysville lost her affiliation with the Boston Braves due to poor attendance but still performed in the Far West League independently as the Marysville Peaches. The Peaches, not be confused with the 1941 Yuba City Peaches, although they often played like the women’s softball team, ended the 1950 season at 56-82 before disbanding after finishing a whopping thirty and a half games behind the pennant-winning Klamath Falls Gems.
John Strohmayer, originally from Belle Fourche, S.D., attended Central Valley High School in Shasta Lake, Ca., before pitching for the Tigers of the Univ. of the Pacific. After his collegiate 4-5 season in 1967, Strohmayer won 8 of 14 games for the '68 Tigers. He struck out 114 batters (7th in school history) and his team-leading 2.13 earned run average remains as UOP's 6th best all-time. The 32-15 Tigers enjoyed one of their best teams in school history. Their 32 victories remain as the team's 2nd-most and the Tiger's .688 winning % is the school's 4th best. A month later, Strohmayer was taken in the 26th round of the 1968 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Oakland A's and was sent to the Rookie Gulf Coast League where he was 5-0 with 0.66 ERA in 41 innings for the Athletics. That same summer, Strohmayer posted a 3-3 record with a 1.85 ERA for the Peninsula Grays of the Class-A Carolina League. Strohmayer made his major league debut in 1970 and won 3 of 4 games with a 4.86 ERA for the Montreal Expos after stints with the Lodi Crushers of the level-A California League (2-3, 1.36 ERA) and the Birmingham A's (3-3, 3.63 ERA) of the AA Southern League in 1969. He spent four years at the minor league level with a combined 17-13 record and stellar 2.15 ERA. He put in the better part of five seasons in the majors with the Expos and Mets (11-9 career mark and 4.47 ERA) with his rookie year being his best when he averaged 8.8 K's/9 Inn. pitched. His busiest year in the majors was 1971 when he logged a career-high 114 innings with a 7-5 record and 4.34 ERA. Overall, Strohmayer spent seven years as a professional with a 28-22 record and 3.39 ERA.
1959 TWIN CITIES GIANTS--18-12 (12-2): 1959 marked the Giants' initial season in the Placer-Nevada League. Manager Sam Stassi's Twin Cities team began PNL play by reeling off 10 straight league victories including an unblemished 7-0 first-half title before losing the last 2 games of the second half (3-0 to Auburn and 3-1 to Grass Valley). The Grass Valley Braves won the 2nd-half title with a perfect 7-0 record, setting up the best two-out-of-three championship series between Grass Valley and Twin Cities.
The Giants opened the '59 season with a 2-2 exhibition record including 4-0 and 10-1 victories over Nevada City before getting out-slugged 12-8 by Lodi Wine Guild and 8-2 by Lincoln. Vic Acebo and Charlie Becker suffered the loses. In the 10-1 win against Nevada City, Giant's pitcher Vic Acebo got the best of Yuba College pitcher and future pro Gary Aldrich. Acebo and Becker combined for the 4-0 shutout with Becker picking up the win. The Giants concluded the 1st half of the regular season at 10-2 with Ken Galbraith and Bob Gallagher leading the way offensively, both with .434 PNL averages. Charlie Becker finished the half with a 5-0 league mark allowing 8 runs in 35.3 innings and 2.04 earned run average. Vic Acebo was 2-0 giving up nine runs in 20.3 innings for a 3.91 ERA.
The Giants and Vic Acebo began the 2nd half of the season with a tough 4-2 loss to the Drain Black Sox from Oregon. The Black Sox were last year's National Baseball Congress semi-pro champions when they won the NBC World Series held in Wichita, Kansas. Drain's roster was mostly made up of Washington State and University of Oregon players who were provided with jobs at local lumber mills. As a testament to the superior Sacramento Valley League, the Giants proceeded to lose 4 more non-league games to SVL teams, 3 to the Glen County Cardinals and Becker's 10-4 whipping at the hands of the Oroville Olives. On July the 16th, the Giants gained a bit of revenge when Acebo picked up a 5-2 victory over the Olives and his 3rd win in a row which included an 8-3 win over the SVL Chico Colts. The Colt's battery was Clay Dalrymple behind the plate with Jim Westlake making a rare pitching performance and taking the loss. Westlake, normally a 1st baseman, went on to get one at-bat with the St. Louis Cardinals. Dalrymple from Chico who caught at Chico State spent 12 years in the majors with the Phillies and Orioles. His best season came in 1962 when he hit .276 with 11 HRs for Gene Mauch's 7th place Phils.
Twin Cities ended the PNL season at 12-2 and 16-11 over-all after beating the Linda Cubs (winners of the Foothill Amateur League) 7-1 and Dales of Sacramento (winners of the Sacramento Rural League) 12-7. In the rivalry game against Linda, manager Jim McKinney's Cubs scored a run in the 1st inning and had the bases loaded with no outs before Giant's pitcher Vic Acebo entered the game to put out the fire and toss 9 shutout innings for the win. Prior to the Cubs game, Mickey Risberg (son of the infamous and notorious Chicago Black Sox shortstop "Swede" Risberg) was leading the Giants in hitting with his .425 average followed by Ken Galbraith at .367, Brud Perry .350, Gary Gledhill .318, and Bob Gallagher at .307. The Cubs who started the season 9-0 and finished at 9-2 were led by Hill Ross at .509, Bob Dior .436, Harold Swanson .381 and Bill Coleman at .318. Twin Cities' shortstop Clyde "Brud" Perry was the only Giant's player with professional experience. He had spent eight years in the minors (.245 career average) with five seasons at the AA level. His best year was 1952 when he hit .324 for the Amarillo Gold Sox of the Class-C West Texas-New Mexico League.
While local pitcher Charlie Becker who attended the University of California at Berkeley handled the bulk of Twin Cities' pitching during the 1st half of the season, it was all Vic Acebo down the stretch. Becker holds Cal's all-time record for career winning % (12-2), accomplished during the 1947, '48 seasons. The Golden Bears won college baseball's 1st World Series in 1947. Acebo, from Beale Air Force Base, won his last four starts including both wins against the Grass Valley Braves during the PNL championship series. In the Giant's 5-3 first game win over the Braves, Mickey Riseborg drove in four runs with a home run and bases-loaded single while going 3-4. Acebo's 4-3 victory in game two clinched the title. The Giants finished the '59 season at 18-12 overall after Becker took a tough 4-3 loss to the 21-10 Falstaff Brewers from San Jose.
1969 T C GIANTS
BILLY MARTIN, SS
PETER BERENS, 3B
MIKE BEGGS, C/1B
RICK WAGNER, 1B
TERRY BULLARD, C
JIM VOSSLER, 1B/OF
DAN BRAZELL, LF
DANNY GILL, CF
RON HUGHES, 3B
JIM OHRT, RF
GARY HOWARD, C
ART LOPEZ, OF
DENNIS GALLAGHER, 2B
DAVE ROTTMAN 7-1
FRED GEORGE 9-4
JOHN STAM 4-2
JIM MILLER 2-2
1965 TWIN CITIES GIANTS
ED SWARTZ, CF
JIM FRANCIS, 3B
DEMONT SPONSELLER, 2B
HAP RICHIE, 1B, P
RAY WEBSTER, 3B, 2B. SS
DAVE FRANCIS, C
JOHN RICE, RF
BOB DEMPSEY, C
DICK PERRY, SS, LF
LEON OSGOOD, SS, 3B
KEN SLAGLE, 3B
DARRELL MITCHELL, LF
DALE HENDERSON, LF
BOB AABERG 3-0
HAP RICHIE 2-0
JERRY VICK 7-4-1
JOHN ROBINSON 1-0
CHARLIE BECKER 3-2
Webster slides past the great Earl Averill
Vancouver vs LA Angels--PCL--1961
1973 marked the end of semi-pro baseball in the Yuba-Sutter until the Feather River Mudcats entered the Independent Western Baseball League in the year 2000. Historic Bryant Field was torn down and a softball complex was built until a 1.6 million dollar stadium was constructed 17 years later. The 2000 Mudcats finished 3rd in the North Division with a 41-49 record under manager Rex Gonzalez. The team's lone all-star was WBL Pitcher of the Year Jason Olson with his 8-7 record and league leading 2.96 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched. Olsen had spent the previous four years with the Chicago White Sox organization at the A level where he combined to win 32 games and lose 37 with a career 4.40 ERA. During the off-season, the Feather River team was sued by the Carolina Mudcats of the double-A Southern League for copyright infringement and forced the Yuba-Sutter team to change their name to the Fury. Also, team owners Gary Matranga and Scott Mendonsa of Sacramento declared bankruptcy leaving several local contractors who constructed the new ballpark stiffed. The city of Marysville who loaned the Mudcats 450 thousand dollars for the construction of the grandstands and bleachers filed suet and eventually gained possession of the ballpark.
Manager Dolly Gray pitched 11 years in professional baseball (1909-'11) including 3 with MLB's Washington Senators. He only won 15 of 51 games for the lowly Senators however posted a career 3.52 ERA with a 2.63 mark in 1910. He pitched 8 seasons in the Pacific Coast League (130-74 with a 2.20 ERA) including 5 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels (aka the Looloos). In 1907, he led the PCL in wins (32), win% (.696) and ERA (1.71) for the champion 115-74 Angels. He won 20 or more games 4 other years for the Angels. In 1914, he managed the Sherman Lions of the "D" Texas-Oklahoma Lg. and the 1921 Flint Vehicles of the "B" Michigan-Ontario Lg.
Clyde Perry spent half of the 1930 season with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League where he logged a 7-7 record with a 6.02 ERA. He gave up 175 hits and 74 walks in 124 innings while batting .327 in 55 at-bats. He would return to play several more seasons with the Maryville Giants during the 1930s, '40s, and early '50s, mostly as a centerfielder. In 1933, he led the SVL in HR's with 7 and 2nd in batting average at .403. In 1929, he led the Colusa Prunepickers to a Sacramento Valley League championship when he went 16-2 (17-4) including 12 wins in a row, both all-time SVL records.
Inside the front door of Stassi's Fourth Ward, hangtwo autographed pictures of Ray Webster. He's wearing a Cleveland Indians uniform in one photo and a Boston Red Sox uni in the other. Webster began the 1959 season competing against the legendary Billy Martin for Cleveland's starting second base position. Martin got the job and hit .260 for the season with nine home runs in 73 games. Webster got into 40 games and hit .203 with two home runs. Early that winter he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Leo Kiely where he got into seven games without getting a hit in only three at-bats, ending his major league career with a combined .195 batting average. While with Cleveland, Webster would have taken the field alongside major league legends Rocky Colavito, Jimmy Piersall, Minnie Minoso, Vic Power, Tito Francona, Jim Perry, and Mudcat Grant. While with Boston, he would have been at Fenway Park alongside Vick Wertz, Pete Runnels, Bill Monbouquette, and the great Ted Williams. Webster is among only six Yuba-Sutter ballplayers (either born or raised in the area) to reach the major leagues--Mike DePangher (Marysville), Stan Swanson (Wheatland), Bill Heath and Max Stassi (Yuba City) and Darryl Scott (Fresno/Yuba City).
Webster, the son of a rancher, was born in Grass Valley, California before moving to the small foothill community of Browns Valley at age six. He attended Marysville High School and by age 17, was a Sacramento Valley League all-star while playing shortstop for the Marysville Giants. That same year, he got into seven games with the Salem Senators of the class-B Northwest League where he hit .385 in 13 at-bats. The next year, at age 18, Webster hit .253 with two home runs in 462 at-bats for the same Senators where he was a teammate of Wheatland's Harold Swanson. In 1957, Webster was promoted to the Amarillo Gold Sox of the level-A Western League where the all-star shortstop enjoyed his best season as a pro by hitting .284 with 19 home runs and 23 doubles (.427 SLG) in 627 at-bats. In 1958, at age 20, Webster was the starting shortstop for the AAA Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League. He passed up a $4,000 offer from the Yankees to play for the Solons. In 102 games, he hit .244 with 10 home runs before being sold to the Cleveland Indians for $25,000.
In 1960, Webster combined to hit .230 for two AAA teams--the Montreal Royals of the International League and the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association. The next season, Webster returned to the AAA Pacific Coast League where he split time with the Vancouver Mounties and Hawaii Islanders batting .220 with 7 home runs in 119 games as a 2nd baseman. He remained with Hawaii for the 1962 season and hit .206 in just 28 games. Webster ended his professional baseball career at Charlotte of the AA South Atlantic League batting .225 in 104 games including six home runs. He spent a total of eight years in the minors with a career .248 average, mostly at the AAA level. Webster returned to the Yuba-Sutter area as a playing-manager and guided the 1967 Yuba-Sutter Twins to a Placer-Nevada League title.
YEAR WIN% RECORD
1953 .868 33-5
1954 .775 31-9-1
1926* .773 17-5
1970 .763 29-9
1969 .735 25-9
1963 .733 22-8
1965* .727 16-6-1
1967* .720 18-7
* denotes league champion
Nineteen-year-old Dave Rottman from West Linda led the Giants' pitching staff with his 7-1 record, two shutouts, and 1.44 ERA. He also hit .324 on the year. Rottman led the Mex-Am League in winning % (4-0), shutouts, (2), and ERA (0.83). After losing his first start of the season against the San Rafael Braves, the Yuba College right-hander than reeled off seven wins in a row and was leading the Golden Nuggets of Sacramento 5-1 during a playoff game when manager Herb Brown mysteriously replaced Rottman with veteran Freddie George with one out and a man aboard during the middle of the 5th inning. George finished the inning but allowed six runs in the next three innings to absorb the loss. Ex St. Louis Cardinal Jim Westlake got two hits late in the game including the game-winner.
The following season, Rottman led all college pitchers in the nation with his 160 strikeouts while at Yuba before winning three consecutive games without allowing an earned run for Twin Cities. He ended his TC Giants career with a 10-1 record with a 1.39 ERA including 99 strikeouts in 78 innings pitched. His career .901 winning %, 1.39 ERA, and 12.7 K's/9inn are Yuba-Sutter's all-time bests at the semi-pro level. He then agreed to a scholarship with Bob Bennett's Fresno State Bulldogs and was immediately sent to Canada and pitch for the Dauphin Redbirds of the Manitoba Baseball League. There, he was named the MSBL's Top Pitcher with his 8-2 record while his 127 strikeouts set an all-time Dauphin record that still stands. He also struck out 20 batters for an unprecedented 2nd time within two months when he K'd 20 Rolla NoDaks. That fall, Rottman suited up for the Peninsula Twins of the San Francisco Winter League where he went 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA. For the year 1970, at age 20, Rottman compiled a 27-8 record with eight saves at four different levels of competition. He struck out 343 batters in 273 innings pitched (11.3 K's/9 inn.) with a combined 1.69 ERA. The 343 strikeouts is a Northern California all-time record and ranks 3rd to Dick Selma's incredible California all-time record of 404 K's set in 1963 while pitching for Fresno City College and the Salinas Mets of the class-A California League and Larry Jackson's 351 K's while pitching for Fresno of the class-C California League in 1952. Harry Suter struck out 339 batters for the 1911 class-A San Francisco Seals of the PCL and Erick Erickson K'd 307 for those same Seals in 1917.
1969 TWIN CITIES GIANTS--Freddie Georgeand his 1968 Auburn Cubs won and ended the Placer-Nevada League. 1969 marked the beginning of the Mexican-American League which included the Twin Cities Giants and five teams from the Sacramento area including the Gold Nuggets, Cannery Union, and the Sacramento County (Elk Grove) Smokeys. All games were played at Sacramento's William Land Park. After completing the first half of the season with an overall 9-7 record, the Giants proceeded to go on a 16-game winning streak including Fred George's 9-0 shutout over the Smokeys and Dave Rottman's 5-0 four-hitter with 10 K's against L&L. Twin Cities' hitting attacks were led by 1st basemen Rick Wagner, shortstops Billy Martin and Peter Berens, catcher Terry Bullard and outfielder Jim Vossler. The Giants finished atop the Mex-Am 2nd-half season with a 5-1 mark and went on to finish the season at 25-9 overall. It would be Yuba-Sutter's last title of any kind at the semi-pro level. The .735 win % and 25 victories were the area's 4th best at that time.
HAP RICHIE 1962
THE FAR WAEST LEAGUE (1948-1953) level-D
The 1948 Marysville Braves were a charter member of the newly formed professional Far West League. It marked the first time and along with the '49 Marysville Braves, the only years that a team from the Yuba-Sutter area has been affiliated with major league baseball. The '48 and '49 Marysville Braves were associated with and owned by the Boston Braves of the National League.
Frederick Cyril Besana was born and grew up in the small town of Lincoln California, located approximately ten miles south of Sacramento His father Cyril (Cedo) Besana, at age fifteen, pitched the Lincoln Cubs to the 1926 Placer-Nevada League championship. The tall, lanky, port-siding Fred Besana Jr. first learned how to pitch by tossing rocks at the family’s barn. In 1947, the seventeen-year-old Besana led his Lincoln High School Zebras to the Sacramento County League championship by tossing two shutouts against his arch-rival Richie Myers and the Thundering Herd from Elk Grove High School. Both pitchers tossed no-hitters in their initial encounter with Besana and his Zebras prevailing 1-0. Later that year Richie signed a professional contract with the Sacramento Solons while Besana played the next two seasons for Placer Junior College, now Sierra College, where the Spartans finished 8-9 in 1948 and 12-9 in 1949. The ’49 Spartans won the North Division of the Northern California Junior College League and earned a birth in the Leagues’ best two-out-of-three series with the San Mateo Bulldogs. Besana out-dueled future pro BudWatkins in the first game 1-0 but the Bulldogs captured the conference crown with a 3-2 win in game two and a sixteen inning, 3-2 victory in game three. Watkins received a scholarship from Fresno State, joined Pete Beiden’s legendary California Mohawks and barnstormed the northwestern United States and Canada where his catcher was future San Mateo College coach John Noce. Watkins, who a year earlier had pitched for the California State champion Fort Ord Warriors, later pitched for the Sacramento Solons.
As early as 1875, there were the Intrepids, a local base ball team from Marysville who competed against a few other local teams. In 1878, the Intrepids proclaimed themselves as champions of Northern California and traveled to San Francisco to prove it. The result was a 10-0 shellacking at the hands of the Eagles Club. Twenty-year-old Marysville native Mike DePangher was a catcher for the '79 Intrepids and later that year joined the San Francisco Eagles of the Pacific League. In 1883, DePangher suited up with the Peoria Reds and the East Saginaw Grays, both of the Northwestern League. The following year, DePangher joined the Philadelphia Quakers of the National League thus becoming the first and only ballplayer born in Marysville to reach the Major Leagues. DePangher got into four games with the Quakers and hit .200, getting two base hits in ten at-bats. After three seasons with Stockton of the California League (1888-1890), DePangher returned home to Marysville and in 1891 played one final season with the local Intrepids. In 1893, DePangher was part of a managerial group, J. Moore et al, that managed the Stockton River Pirates/Sacramento Senators of the California League.
The 1883 California State League was among the earliest of organized baseball leagues in California. The CSL included teams from Marysville, Sacramento, Napa, and the San Francisco Woonsocket who featured 19-year-old 3rd baseman Jim Fogarty from St. Mary's College and later played seven years in the Majors from 1884-1890, mostly with the Philadelphia Quakers of the National League. In 1900, 20-year-old Jimmy Whalen pitched for Marysville B.B.C. Whalen, from San Francisco, also went 17-16 with a 1.80 ERA that same year for the Stockton Wasps of the independent California League. He went 36-23 (2.08 ERA), and 30-26 for the San Francisco Wasps in 1901 and '02 before logging a 29-21 record in 1903 for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League.
'59 TWIN CITIES GIANTS
TOMMY MORROW, 3B
BRUD PERRY, SS
HARRY BROUMAS, 2B
KEN GALRAITH, 3B
DICK SPERBECK, CF
MICKEY RISEBORG, 1B
MIKE YORE, C
BOB GALLAGHER, CF
GARY GLEDHILL, LF
VIC ACEBO, P
CHARLIE BECKER, P
BUD ADDINGTON, P
MEL ROSE, P
TRISTEN SCOTTEN, RF
John Eugene Brocker, born in Leward, Texas, moved to the makeshift dredging town of Hammonton where he suited up for the Miners, a team which at one time was considered as part of the Sacramento Valley League as a traveling team during the mid-1940s. Brocker, who later played for the Yuba City Bears and Marysville Giants, was the 2nd Yuba-Sutter catcher to sign a professional contract. In 1947, he hit .267 for the Salt Lake City Bees of the class-C Pioneer League. The following year, Brocker hit .310, again with the Bees before batting .278 for the AAA San Francisco Seals in 1949. In 1951, Brocker ended his professional career with the AAA Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League where he hit .171 in just 14 games. Brocker's career .282 average ranks as the best among Yuba-Sutter catchers in the professional ranks.
1967 YUBA-SUTTER TWINS
GEORGE CALKINS, 3B
SAL BALDERRAMA, SS
RAY WEBSTER, 2B/MGR
HAP RICHIE, 1B
GARY ENGELKEN, C
JOHN RICE, CF
GARY HILL, OF
RALPH ANDERSON, OF
JIM WHISMAN, P
JOHN STROHMAYER, P
TED HOWARD, P
BILL PETERS, P
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BASEBALL CALIFORNIA BASEBALL HISTORY
#3 in the Giants' lineup
Hit .445 at Heidelberg Univ.
Infielder (2b, 3b) Stan "Beaver" Swanson was born in Yuba City, California and attended Wheatland High School. In 1963, he was signed as an amateur free agent by the Cincinnati Reds organization. "Swanny" began his professional career at age 19 when he hit .238 for the Rock Hill Wrens of the Class-A Western Carolina League. Swanson gradually made his way through the minor league ranks for the next 8 years playing for such teams as the Peninsula Grays of the level A Carolina League, the Knoxville Smokies of the AA Southern League, the Buffalo Bisons of the AAA International League, the Indianapolis Indians of the AAA American Association, and the Winnipeg Whips of the AAA International League. As he climbed the latter, so did his batting average. He hit .258 for the '64 Grays, .276 with 21 homers combined for the Grays and Smokies in 1965, .281 for the '66 Smokies, .291 with 17 home runs at Indianapolis in '69, and .358 for Winnipeg in 1971. During his 10 years at the minor league level, Swanson hit .270 with 106 HRs and a .415 SLG.
During the 1971 season, at age 27, Swanson got called up by the Montreal Expos and made his major league debut on June the 23rd. He hit .245 in 49 games with 106 at-bats. Swanson ended his pro career in 1972 when he hit .293 with a .417 SLG for the Portland Beavers of the AAA Pacific Coast League.
Doubles in only run of the game-1963
In 1908, the first Trolley League was formed with teams from Marysville, Gridley, Oroville, and Chico competing. The league folded midway through the season with Marysville running away from the rest of the field. In 1911, the Marysville Giants proclaimed themselves as Northern California champions when they defeated the Galt Tigers 5-4 in two straight games of a best 2-out-of-3 series. Nineteen-year-old and future major-leaguer Bill James picked up the clinching victory. James, from Iowa Hill, Ca., pitched for Oroville's Union High School and St. Mary's College before logging four seasons with the Boston Braves where he tallied a career 37-21 record with a 2.28 earned run average. His best year was 1914 when his .788 winning % (26-7) led the National League, and his 1.90 ERA and 27 wins were the league's 2nd best. James also won two games for the Braves in the 1914 World Series. He tossed a two-hit 1-0 shutout in game two and picked up the win in game three by tossing two scoreless innings in relief as Boston swept Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics four games to nil. A second Trolley League began in 1913 with Marysville attorney Richard Belcher acting as the league's first president. Other teams in the Trolley League were from Woodland, Willows, Colusa, Oroville, Chico, and Brooke Realties of Sacramento, all towns linked to the Sacramento Northern Railway. Fans and players traveled by trolley cars, hence the Trolley League. Player salaries were based on a percentage basis with the exception of pitchers and catchers who received more with teams playing a 30-game schedule. The Oroville Olives, managed by Walter Sharkey and led by the pitching of Jay Hughes, were crowned champions in the league's initial season when they shut out the Chico Colts 6-0 on the final day of the season earning $400.00. Chico's Mel French was named league MVP. Hughes from Sacramento, Calif., had previously spent four years in the major leagues (1898-1902) posting a career 83-40 record while with the Baltimore Orioles and Brooklyn Superbas. He tossed a no-hitter in 1898.
Herb Hamilt of the Marysville Braves pitched the 1st no-hitter of the newly formed Far West League when he defeated Pittsburg 14-1 on May 5, 1948. As noted in the Sporting News, Hamilt walked nine in his no-hitter, and Pittsburg’s run came when a man scored from second base on a wild pitch. Walks and wild pitches were a big part of Hamilt’s brief professional career. As an 18-year-old rookie in 1948, he finished sixth in the league in ERA at 3.45 and held opponents to a .229 batting average; but he also walked 132 men in 172 innings, with more walks than strikeouts. He also ranked second in wild pitches (15) and hit batsmen (14). Hamilt returned to Marysville in 1949 and went 15-9 for the Braves.
"I had never heard of Marysville, California. I had no idea that this tiny little town of about ten thousand residents played a major role in the history and the founding of our nation’s 31st state; not a clue that this little berg was once in line to become the state’s first capital. Sutter’s Mill is in the history books as the place where gold was discovered in 1848 and led to the great California gold rush but it was Marysville that became the gateway to the goldfields which lay just a few miles to the east; moreover, and most importantly, as far as baseball is concerned, I had nary a clue that Marysville played such a dominant role in the shaping of Western baseball history. From The Existential Ballplayer
Once, among Northern California's best ballparks, Bryant Field was unique with her subterranean box seats that arced around home plate beneath her towering, canopied grandstand and dark green monster which was an obstacle standing several feet high atop a four-foot berm and 325 feet down the left-field line. It was 406 to dead center where the huge scoreboard loomed. A blast over the right-field wall would splash into Ellis Lake which bordered the majestic park to the south and to the west. Once inside the main gates, you could hear the din from the crowd, the chatter of the players, and that distinct sound from the crack of the bat that echoed throughout the enclosed arena. Straight ahead, upon entering the ballpark, stood the concessions -- sodas were a dime and hot dogs a quarter; free if returning a foul ball. You could smell the popcorn and stale beer--Schlitz and Pabst Blue Ribbon were on tap. Other teams liked to play there while the local players took the grand ol' park for granted. Bryant Field--built in 1937 and named after long-time-running major Daniel E. Bryant--Home of the Marysville Giants, Yuba-Sutter Rebels, Twin Cities Giants, Yuba College 49ers, Marysville High School Indians, and American Legion Post 42 along with several others.
"Hap" Richie (Harold) was born in Nevada City, Calif. As a teenager, he played first base for the semi-pro Linda Cubs and Marysville High School Indians. Shortly after graduation Richie signed a professional contract with the Milwaukee Braves' organization and was sent to the Nebraska State League where he suited up for the McCook Braves. The NSL was a newly formed affiliated short-season class-D league consisting of players with no prior professional experience aged 18-23 with most receiving a $4000 signing bonus, quite a chunk for those days. The league became famous when McCook Brave Pat Jordan later wrote his book A False Spring which chronicles his failed minor league career, especially at McCook.
At age 18, Hap Richie was the youngest member of the McCook team. He led the team in batting (.319), On Base % (.454), RBI's (50), Hits (66), Base On Balls (53), Total Bases (94), and was 2nd on the team in At Bats (207), Runs (62), triples (4), and Home Runs (5). His .454 Slugging % was the team's 3rd best (min. 100 ab's). He was among the league's leaders in all major batting categories. The following year, 1959, Richie hit .290 in 459 at-bats for the Midland Braves of the level D Sophomore League. Richie spent the next two seasons with the Yakima Braves of the Class-B Northwest League where he hit .289 and .320 respectively. 1961 marked Richie's best year as a professional as the All-Star led Yakima in hitting (.320), Runs (94) ,Doubles (26), Base on Balls (87, 2nd in league) and was 2nd in Hits (153), Home Runs (12), RBI's (78) and SLG (.467). On July the 25th, Richie drove in seven runs with a pair of homers and a single against Lewiston.
At age 22, Richie advanced to the AAA Hawaii Islanders of the Pacific Coast League where he hit .257 with 15 home runs in 522 at-bats as the team's starting 1st baseman. He set an Islanders' record when he hit 3 HR's in a single game and 5 during the week. He was named to the Annual March of Dimes benefit game where he hit 3rd in Alvin Dark's Nat. League team made up of major league and AAA players which included Jim Davenport, Jim Fregosi, Stu Miller, Mike McCormick, and Sacramento's Al Heist. Richie ended his professional career in 1963 when he split time with 3 AAA teams. He combined to hit .238 for Portland of the PCL and Toronto and Richmond, both of the International League. While with Richmond, he homered off the great Herb Score. Richie logged a total of 6 years in the minor leagues with a career .285 average including 42 home runs with a .398 SLG. Statistically, Richie could be considered as Yuba-Sutter's greatest hitter of all-time.
YEAR TEAM LEAGUE RECORD
1911--Marysville Giants Nor. Calif. Champs
1916--Marysville Giants Trolley Lg. 19-11* 21-11**
1925--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley
1926--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley 15-4
1928--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley 13-7
1929--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley 7-12
1930--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley 15-5 15-8
1931--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley 7-12
1932--Marysville Giants Ind.
1933--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley 11-8
1934--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley* 14-6 16-7
1935--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley 15-3 16-5
1936--Marysville Giants Sac.Valley* 12-8 16-9
1936--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley 9-11
1948--Yuba City Bears Sac. Valley* 19-6
1948--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley 7-9
1949--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley
1949--Yuba City Bears Sac. Valley 13-9
1951--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley
1952--Marysville Giants Sac. Valley 12-18
Yuba City Bears Sac. Valley 13-17
1953--Marysville Giants Independent 33-5
1954--Yuba-Sutter Rebels Sac. Valley 21-9-1 31-9-1
1955--Yuba-Sutter Rebels Sac. Valley
1958--Twin City Merchants Sac Rural
1959--Twin Cities Giants Placer-Nev. 12-2* 18-12
1962--Twin Cities Giants Placer-Nev. 7-6 22-9
1963--Twin Cities Giants Placer-Nev. 8-4 22-8-1
1964--Twin Cities Giants Placer-Nev.
1965--Twin Cities Giants Placer-Nev.* 6-5-1 16-6-1
1966--Marysville Giants Placer-Nev 8-7 11-12
1966-Yuba City Twins Placer-Nev. 9-6 14-9
1967--Marysville Giants Placer-Nev. 3-12 6-15
1967--Yuba-Sutter Twins Placer-Nev. 11-4* 18-7
1968--Marysville Giants Placer-Nev. 4-11
1968-Yuba City Twins Placer-Nev.
1969--Twin Cities Giants Mex.-Am. 12-4 25-9
1970--Twin Cities Giants Mex.-Am. 11-4 29-9
*DENOTES LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
**DENOTES STATE CHAMPION