Twenty-One Greats to be Enshrined in PCL Hall of Fame
|PCL HALL OF FAME TO ENSHRINE 21 IN 2003|
|April 3, 2003 - Twenty-One Greats to be Enshrined in PCL Hall of Fame
Pictured: Joe DiMaggio is one of 21 former Pacific Coast League luminaries to be enshrined in the PCL Hall of Fame this year. This photo was taken during DiMaggio's last year with the San Francisco Seals in 1935
For the first time in fifty years, the Pacific Coast League will enshrine new members to its Hall of Fame, as 21 ex-players, managers and umpires will be inducted in 2003. The PCL Hall of Fame, originally founded and operated by the Helms Athletic Foundation in Los Angeles, California, has been on hiatus since 1952, but will be permanently resurrected for the Pacific Coast League's Centennial Celebration this season. The Hall of Fame announcement is the first in a season-long series of events commemorating a century of PCL baseball.
Headlining the Class of 2003 is Joe DiMaggio, who played for the San Francisco Seals from 1932-1935. In his first full season of professional baseball in 1933, the 18-year old DiMaggio led the League with 169 runs batted in, hit for a .340 batting average, and had a 61-game hitting streak. Two years later, DiMaggio led the PCL in runs scored (173), triples (18), RBI (154), and had a .398 batting average before joining the New York Yankees in 1936.
Another Major League Hall of Famer to be added to the Coast League Hall is Ernie Lombardi, who book-ended his career with two tours in the PCL. Lombardi broke into professional baseball with his hometown Oakland Oaks in1926, but wouldn't see consistent playing time until 1928, when he hit for a .377 average. The following year, the catcher hit .366 with 109 runs batted in and three stolen bases, as many bags as he would swipe in his first five Major League seasons.
Second baseman Jimmie Reese, who was Babe Ruth's roommate with the New York Yankees in the early 1920s, also receives induction for his 14-year career that spanned three decades. Reese, who played for three teams throughout his PCL career, hit .311 with 14 stolen bases for the 1934 Los Angeles Angels, the squad widely believed to be the best Minor League team ever assembled.
Another former Angel to be admitted to the PCL Hall of Fame is first baseman Steve Bilko, who won three consecutive League MVP awards from 1955 to 1957, a span during which he led the League in homers three times, RBI and runs scored twice, and hitting once.
The 2003 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.
Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame: Class of 2003
Steve Bilko (Inducted as a player) 1955-59 Los Angeles, Spokane
Ike Boone (Inducted as a player) 1926, 1928-30 Mission, Portland
Cece Carlucci (Inducted as an umpire) 1950-61
Joe DiMaggio (Inducted as a player) 1932-1935 San Francisco
Truck Eagan (Inducted as a player) 1903-09 Sacramento, Tacoma, Fresno, Oakland, Vernon
Oscar "Ox" Eckhardt (Inducted as a player) 1929, 1931-35 Seattle, Mission
Brick Eldred (Inducted as a player) 1916, 1918-28, 1930 Salt Lake, Sacramento, Seattle
Tony Freitas (Inducted as a player) 1929-33, 1937-42, 1946-50 Sacramento, Portland
Sam Gibson (Inducted as a player) 1931, 1933-45 San Francisco, Portland, Oakland
Dick Gyselman (Inducted as a player) 1931-32, 1935-47 Mission, Seattle, San Diego
Fred Haney (Inducted as a player)1919-20, 1929-34 Los Angeles, Hollywood
(Inducted as a manager) 1949-52 Hollywood
Clarence "Cack" Henley (Inducted as a player) 1905-15 San Francisco, Venice-Vernon
Smead Jolley (Inducted as a player)1925-29, 1934-35, 1938-39 San Francisco, Hollywood, Oakland
Ad Liska (Inducted as a player) 1936-49 Portland
Ernie Lombardi (Inducted as a player) 1926-30, 1948 Oakland, Sacramento
Hugh Luby (Inducted as a player) 1938-43, 1946-48 Oakland, San Francisco
Ted Norbert (Inducted as a player)1935-42, 1944-46 San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, Seattle
Jimmie Reese (Inducted as a player) 1920,1924-29,1933-38,1940 Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego
Hal Turpin (Inducted as a player)1927, 1929-35, 1937-46 San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento
Max West (Inducted as a player) 1935-37, 1947, 1949-54 Sacramento, Mission, San Diego, Los Angeles
Artie Wilson (Inducted as a player) 1949-56 San Diego, Oakland, Seattle, Portland
Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame Previous Inductees:
Russell "Buzz" Arlett
"Kewpie" Dick Barrett
Charles "Spider" Baum
James "Doc" Crandall
Frank "Cap" Dillon
J. Cal Ewing
James "Truck" Hannah
Wallace "Happy" Hogan
Wade "Red" Killefer
Harry William Lane
Frank "Lefty" O'Doul
Arnold "Jigger" Statz
Bernard "Frenchy' Uhalt
The Helms Athletic Foundation: 1936-1982
Created in 1936 in Los Angeles, California by Paul H. Helms, the Helms Athletic Foundation operated Halls of Fame not only for the Pacific Coast League, but also Major League Baseball, Golf, College Basketball, Tennis, Swimming, Auto Racing, Professional Football, Track and Field, and College Football. The foundation was also responsible for selecting the College Football National Champion until 1982. After Paul Helms' death in 1957, United Savings & Loan became the Helms Foundation's benefactor. When United Savings & Loan merged with Citizen Savings in 1973, the Athletic Foundation became known as the Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation until 1982, when First Interstate Bank assumed sponsorship for the foundation's final year.