PCL Enshrines Hall of Fame Class of 2004
|PCL ENSHRINES HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2004|
|April 8, 2004 - The Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame has grown, as the League will bestow its highest honor on 12 PCL legends in 2004. This year's class, led by Major League veterans Gene Mauch and Frank Crosetti, represent over 50 years of the League's storied history.
Mauch starred for the Los Angeles Angels from 1954 to 1956, hitting for a career .310 average and leading the team to a PCL Championship in 1956. During his three-year career, Mauch became known as one of the best defensive second basemen ever to play in the PCL, a distinction that led to his selection at the position to last season's All-Centennial Team (1903-57). His baseball career came full circle as Mauch ended a 27-year Major League managerial career with the California Angels, where he won two American League West titles.
Longtime New York Yankees shortstop Crosetti, another member of the League's All-Centennial Team (1903-57), receives induction to the Hall of Fame for a four-year career with the San Francisco Seals during which he hit for a .320 batting average and twice led the circuit in runs scored. In 1930, he scored 171 runs for the Seals while hitting .334 with 113 RBI and added 141 more runs scored the following season before beginning a 17-year career with the Bronx Bombers.
Also inducted this season is outfielder Frank Kelleher, who was a fan favorite for the Hollywood Stars for 10 years, hitting 226 home runs and winning three League titles. Kelleher led the PCL in homers twice, hitting 29 in 1944 and 40 in 1950, and drove in 100 runs or more three times.
Kelleher's one-time Hollywood teammate and fellow outfielder Carlos Bernier also earns a place in the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame after stealing 408 total bases in 11 years. He led the League in stolen bases three times, including swiping 65 and scoring a PCL-high 105 runs in 1952. Bernier also won a batting crown in 1961, hitting .351 for Hawaii, becoming the first Islanders player to earn induction to the Hall.
Other inductees include turn-of-the-century stalwarts such as pitchers Vean Gregg and Roy Hitt, as well as outfielder/manager Buddy Ryan. Outfielders Brooks Holder, Earl Rapp, and Paul Strand also earned enshrinement, as did former Angels greats first baseman Bill Sweeney, and pitcher Fay Thomas.
The 2004 inductees to the Hall of Fame were selected by the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame Committee, a blue-ribbon panel composed of Minor League Baseball, Coast League, and National Baseball historians.
2004 Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame Inductees:
Carlos Bernier - OF 1952, 1954-59, 1961-64 Hollywood, Salt Lake, Hawaii
Frank Crosetti - SS 1928-31 San Francisco
Vean Gregg - P 1910, 1922-24, 1927 Portland, Seattle, Sacramento
Roy Hitt - P 1903-06, 1909-16 Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vernon/Venice
Brooks Holder - OF 1935-51 San Francisco, Hollywood, Oakland, Portland
Frank Kelleher - OF 1938, 1940, 1944, 1946-54 Oakland, Seattle, Hollywood
Gene Mauch - 2B 1954-56 Los Angeles
Earl Rapp - OF 1948-51, 1953-57 Seattle, Oakland, San Diego, Portland
Buddy Ryan - OF 1908-11, 1914-18, 1920-23, 1925, 1935 Portland, Salt Lake, Sacramento
Paul Strand - OF 1920-23, 1926-27 Seattle, Salt Lake, Portland
Bill Sweeney - 1B 1936-42 Portland, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Fay Thomas - P 1930-34, 1936-41, 1943 Sacramento, Oakland, Los Angeles, Portland, Hollywood
About the PCL Hall of Fame: The Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame was created in 1936 by the Helms Athletic Foundation located in Los Angeles, California, which at the time also operated Halls of Fame for Major League Baseball, Golf, College Basketball, Tennis, Swimming, Auto Racing, Professional Football, Track and Field, and College Football. In 1952, the PCL Hall of Fame ceased operation, but was brought back in conjunction with 2003's Pacific Coast League Centennial Celebration. The Hall currently consists of 57 members and includes such luminaries as Joe DiMaggio, Ernie Lombardi, Lefty O'Doul, and Steve Bilko.