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1. 1934 Los Angeles Angels
Record: 137-50
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)

By Bill Weiss & Marshall Wright, Baseball Historians

Jigger Statz

In the 1930s, one Pacific Coast League team rewrote the minor league record book. Finishing with a record amount of wins, this team knew no peer. To top it off, the club dominated a unique post-season series, cementing its reputation as the best minor league team ever. That team was the 1934 Los Angeles Angels.

It was Los Angeles’ ninth championship since the league was organized in 1903. The Angels were pennant winners in the inaugural season. The early history of baseball in the city and the formation of the PCL were detailed in the report on the 1903 champions, Top 100 team number 29. The Angels were also victors in 1905, 1907 and 1908 under the direction of manager Cap Dillon. There was an eight-year drought until Frank Chance led Los Angeles to the pennant in 1916. After contending the next four years, Wade (Red) Killefer piloted the team to the title in 1921. That year also brought a historic change in the ownership of the club. On August 29, William Wrigley, Jr., majority owner of the Chicago Cubs, purchased the franchise from John F. Powers for $150,000. The Angels were owned by Wrigley personally, not by the Cubs. When he died in 1932, ownership passed to his son, Philip K. Wrigley.

Wrigley decided that his new team deserved a new home to replace Washington Park in downtown Los Angeles. In August, 1922 the Angels purchased a tract of land south of downtown on what was then the southern edge of the city. Plans were drawn for a ballpark patterned after Cubs Park in Chicago, to be double-decked all the way around from left to right with bleachers in right field. The fans’ entrance was behind home plate and just to its right a nine-story office tower would be constructed. Outfield distances would be 340 feet to left field, 412 to center and 338 feet to right. The power alleys would be a relatively short 350 feet. Seating capacity would be 21,000. Construction was completed in 1925 at a cost of $1,300,000 and the new Wrigley Field opened on September 29. A near-capacity crowd of 18,000 was on hand. Appropriately, Los Angeles defeated the San Francisco Seals 10-8, with center fielder Jigger Statz, the Angels’ most popular player, hitting for the cycle. His home run was the first for an Angel in the new park. Paul Waner of the Seals had hit the first homer in the new facility earlier in the game. The Angels finished the 1925 season in fourth place, 22-˝ games behind a Top 100 Seals team.

In 1926, their first full year at Wrigley Field, the Angels, managed by Marty Krug, won the pennant by 10-˝ games over Oakland. Los Angeles fell all the way to the cellar in 1927 and remained in the second division until the second half of the 1929 season when Jack Lelivelt replaced Krug. In 1930, the Angels won the first half, finished second in the second half, then lost the playoff to their Wrigley Field tenant, the Hollywood Stars. They next won a flag in 1933. The PCL abandoned the split season format after the 1931 season. The ’33 Angels posted a 114-73 record, 6-˝ games in front of Portland.

For 1934, there were few roster changes among the position players. Right fielder Tuck Stainback had been purchased by the Cubs, but was replaced by 1933 Cub regular Frank Demaree. The Cubs also sent down their second string catcher of 1933, Gilly Campbell. He replaced Hugh McMullen, traded to San Francisco. Second baseman Jimmie Reese, who had missed almost half of the ’33 campaign because of illness and injury, was in good health again. The biggest change was in the pitching staff with 20-game winner Fay Thomas the only holdover. Buck Newsom, 30-11, 3.17, had been drafted by the St. Louis Browns. Dick Ward, 25-9, 3.25 was sold to the Cubs along with Stainback. Leroy Herrmann, 16-9, 4.59 until he broke a finger on his pitching hand, and Win Ballou, 12-19, 3.59, were traded along with McMullen to San Francisco in the deal that sent Augie Galan to the Cubs. To replace the departed hurlers, the Cubs sent lefty Roy Henshaw, who had pitched for Chicago in 1933, and the Angels traded for three other pitchers. Los Angeles sent outfielder Jim Mosolf, who had played for Chicago in 1933, to Kansas City for Lou Garland, catcher Bill Cronin to Jersey City for Mike Meola and pitcher Hal Stitzel to Albany for Millard (Whitey) Campbell. In his book, “The Los Angeles Angels,” Dick Beverage writes: “There was some speculation that Los Angeles would have trouble defending its crown. Thomas had been just so-so through much of 1933 until he won his last seven games, and the newcomers had all had average years with their former teams.” The quartet combined for only 27 wins against 33 losses in ’33.

The distinguishing feature of the 1934 Pacific Coast League pennant race was that there was none - race, that is. The league played its customary 188-game schedule of 26 week-long series, from April 3 to September 30, with Mondays, except Labor Day, off for travel. The Angels played their first four series at Wrigley field, although in one they were the “visiting” club against Hollywood. When they went on their first road trip, to San Francisco to play the Missions, they had a 23-5 record and were six games in front. Starting in mid-May, Los Angeles won 20 of 22 games, increasing its lead and early in June, the PCL directors voted to return to the split season with the first half ending June 24. By that time, the Angels were 18-˝ games ahead of the second place Missions with a record of 66-18, .786. Hollywood took an early lead in the second half as Los Angeles slumped to just over .500. The Angels finally regained the lead July 30, battled briefly with Seattle, then took off again. Starting August 14, they won six of seven games from San Francisco at Seals Stadium. Los Angeles clinched the second half flag two weeks before the season ended and finished with a 71-32 record, 12 games ahead of Hollywood. For the full season, Los Angeles won 137 and lost 50, setting PCL records for the most wins and best percentage (.733) in a season. The Angels won 23 of the 26 series and 29 consecutive series from late 1933 until they lost one at Seattle, July 3-8.

Fay Thomas
(photo courtesy of Baseball Hall of Fame)

At the time the season was split, the directors decided that if the Angels won both halves, they would play a post-season series against a PCL All-Star Team selected by a vote of the fans. That squad included five of the top eight batters in the league and the three pitchers leading in wins (not counting Los Angeles players). The Seals’ Joe DiMaggio could not play because of a knee injury. All the games were played at Wrigley Field. The Angels won the opener 6-4, then the All-Stars took the next two games 5-2 and 9-7. Los Angeles won three in a row to take the series, 4 games to 2. In game four, the first half of a double-header, the All-Stars took an early 4-0 lead, but Angels’ shortstop Carl Dittmar hit a three-run homer in the fourth and LA went on to win 13-7. In the nightcap, Fay Thomas pitched a 3-0 shutout. In the sixth and final game, Dittmar’s ninth-inning home run won the game for Emmett Nelson, 4-3. Dittmar’s pair of home runs in the six games almost matched his total of three in 151 games in the regular season when he batted a respectable .294.

Beverage says, “They took some of the TNT out of the ball in 1934, and averages throughout the league went down somewhat; but the Angels showed a lot of punch, hitting .299 to easily lead the league and socking 127 home runs to lead in that department also.” Los Angeles also led in runs (1,118), hits (1,935), doubles (326), total bases (2,762), stolen bases (195) and RBI (991). Beverage continues, “Defensively, the club was superb, leading the league in fielding (.970) and turning in 212 double plays. The pitching was deep and strong. The staff turned in 108 complete games and none of the seven regular hurlers had an ERA higher than 2.90. There were virtually no weaknesses on this club.”

The domination by Los Angeles had a negative effect on attendance. The PCL went over the two million mark for the first time in 1924 with a record 2,235,510, a mark that stood for 20 years. The league topped two million again in 1928, was down 4% in 1929 and another 15% in 1930-31. The Great Depression really took its toll in 1932 when attendance fell almost 50% from the previous season. In 1933 it bounced back a little, then plunged another 22% in ’34 to 794,397, the lowest since World War I. In general, the economy was no worse in 1934, but there was no suspense over a pennant race. It was said that even in Los Angeles the fans got tired of seeing the Angels win with so little competition. Their attendance fell from 222,416 in 1933 to 129,672 in 1934, a drop of a whopping 42%. Oakland, Portland and Sacramento averaged about 700 a game. Seattle, Los Angeles and Hollywood were the only teams to draw more than 100,000 for the year. Attendance in the PCL rose by almost 50% in 1935, 20% in Los Angeles although the Angels were not as successful on the field as they had been in ’34.

Jack Lelivelt
(photo courtesy of Baseball Hall of Fame)

The Angels’ manager was 48-year-old Jack Lelivelt who was in his sixth year at the Los Angeles helm and his 29th in baseball. A native of Chicago, the 5’11”, 175-pound left-handed hitter started his pro career as an outfielder with Lake Linden, MI, in the Class C Northern-Copper Country League in 1906. He reached the majors during the 1909 season when his contract was purchased by Washington from Reading (Tri-State). He was with the Senators through 1911, batting .292, .265 and .320. He was sold to the Yankees who sent him to Rochester in 1912 where he hit .351 in 125 games, fourth in batting in the International League, and was recalled by New York, batting .362 in 36 games. He was used sparingly in 1913 and was traded to Cleveland. In 1914, Lelivelt started the season batting .328 in 32 games, then was sent down to the Indians’ American Association team. He didn’t have to move out of the city, just change uniforms. To forestall a Federal League invasion, the Indians had transferred the Toledo franchise, which they owned, to Cleveland. It was in 1914 that he switched to playing first base. He spent the next five years in the American Association, with Kansas City in 1915-16-17, Louisville in 1918 and Minneapolis in 1919. In 1915, Lelivelt led the league in batting (.346), hits (199), total bases (279) and doubles (41) and tied for fourth in home runs (9). He also led first basemen in chances accepted (1676). In the war-shortened season of 1918, he hit .325 and led the league in triples (11). Lelivelt began his managerial career at Omaha in 1920 and was a player-manager in the Western League for six years. In 1921, he was replaced as skipper by owner Barney Burch on May 3, but remained as a player. He led the league in batting (.416), hits (274) and doubles (70). His hits total was a league record that was never broken and his average was the second highest in league history. In 1922, he moved to Tulsa and hit .369 as he led the Oilers to the pennant after they had finished in the cellar the previous year. Tulsa then claimed the Class A championship by defeating Mobile, 4 games to 1, after the Southern Association champs had beaten Fort Worth (Texas) for the Dixie Series title. He remained at Tulsa two more years. In 1923, the Oilers finished second, two games behind Oklahoma City and in 1924 they were third. In that season, Lelivelt batted .384, just one point behind the league leader, Charles Miller of St. Joseph. In 1925, he switched to St. Joseph, finishing fifth, and hit .320 at the age of 39, his last year as a player.

Lelivelt wanted to move up the ladder, so he attended the National Association convention, held in January, 1926, at Catalina Island. While there, he told Lou Nahin, Milwaukee business manager, of his ambition. The Brewers were looking for a new manager and Nahin recommended him to Milwaukee owner Otto Borchert. Borchert said he intended to hire ex-Detroit star Sam Crawford who would be a big name in Milwaukee. When Joe Cantillon, for whom Lelivelt had played at Minneapolis heard this, he told Borchert that while Crawford had no managerial experience, Jack had been successful in the Western League and would make a far better choice. Apparently with some reluctance, Borchert took the advice and signed Lelivelt. In 1925, under Harry Clark, Milwaukee had finished seventh in the American Association. In 1926, the Brewers set a league record by winning 21 consecutive games from May 25 to June 16. Milwaukee was in contention for the pennant most of the way, finally finishing third, a half-game out of second. In 1927, Lelivelt led the Brewers to second place, just two games behind Casey Stengel’s Toledo Mud Hens. Milwaukee finished third again in 1928. They got off to a poor start in 1929 and were only 21-37 in seventh place when Lelivelt was fired June 21. He returned home to Chicago and was going to take the rest of the year off, but a couple of weeks later, The Sporting News reported, he received a telephone call from American Association President Thomas J. Hickey. Hickey said that William Wrigley, Jr., on a trip to Los Angeles, had discharged Angels manager Marty Krug and that he, Hickey, had recommended Lelivelt for the post. Lelivelt was signed on July 12. Los Angeles had finished the first half in fifth place, 17-˝ games behind Mission.

The Angels got off to a good start in the second half under their new skipper and led the league for a time, but finally finished tied with Portland for third place, four games behind champion Hollywood. Los Angeles won the first half in 1930, finished second in the second half and lost the playoff to Hollywood. The Angels were fifth in the first half in 1931 and second in the second half. Lelivelt finished fifth in 1932 (there was no split season) and finally tasted victory in 1933. Following the great 1934 season, the Angels got off to a good start in 1935 even though they had lost several of their stars to promotion to the majors. They were in first place with a 41-18 record when the PCL directors, wary of another runaway, again voted to split the season. When the first half ended June 26, Los Angeles was 46-25, five games ahead of San Francisco and Oakland. In the second half, the Angels tailed off to 52-51 and wound up fourth, 10-˝ games behind San Francisco. The Seals won the playoff, 4 games to 2. For 1936, the PCL abandoned the split season once and for all, adopting the increasingly popular Shaughnessy Playoff format with the first four teams participating in a post-season series. The Angels floundered at the outset, 9-20 for the month of April, and finished the year at 88-88, tied for fifth place with Mission. At the end of the season, Lelivelt resigned. His tenure was the longest in the Angels’ 55 years in the PCL and his record of 800-599, .572 was the best of any Los Angeles manager.

Lelivelt scouted for the Chicago Cubs in 1937. Late that year, the Seattle club was purchased by local brewer Emil Sick, whose product was called Rainier Beer. Sick changed the name of the team from Indians to Rainiers. Seattle, with a dissension-ridden team, had finished a poor sixth in 1937 and hiring a new manager was the first order of business. From a host of applicants, Sick narrowed the field to three - Lelivelt, former major league outfielder Kiki Cuyler and Seals manager Lefty O’Doul. According to The Sporting News’ Seattle correspondent, Lou Karnofsky, Sick asked his fellow brewery magnate and Yankees owner Col. Jacob Ruppert for advice. Ruppert’s selection was Lelivelt and Jack was hired. There was an immediate improvement in the team’s fortunes. In 1938, the Rainiers jumped to second place, 3-˝ games behind Los Angeles. In both 1939 and 1940, the Rainiers finished in first place, making them the official PCL champions, winning the Governor’s Cup playoff in 1940 as well. As the team’s performance improved, so did its attendance. Sick built a new ballpark, Sick’s Seattle Stadium. Attendance soared from 145,000 in 1937 to a league-leading 310,000 in 1938 and 356,000 in 1939. Karnofsky wrote: “Lelivelt had access to heavy sums of money to expend for new players, yet he guarded his employer’s greenbacks zealously. He once told the writer: ‘Unless I am sure that a player offered me is superior to the one I now have, I’m not making any new deals just to see new faces.’”

Lelivelt died of a heart attack on January 20, 1941. He was attending a basketball game in Seattle that evening and complained of feeling ill. He was rushed to a hospital where he passed away just before midnight. It was later revealed that Lelivelt had been contending with heart problems for several years. Karnofsky wrote: “During Jack Lelivelt Night last season (1940), President Emil Sick of the Rainiers announced that the quiet-mannered pilot had been signed to a new three-year contract at an increase in pay. Lelivelt, it is believed, not only was the highest paid manager in the league but one of the top-salaried men in the minors. On the day of his death, Jack had mailed out 32 contracts and a day earlier had completed the club’s spring training schedule.”

In his 20 years as a manager, his teams won 1,861 and lost 1,439 for a .564 percentage, capturing five championships. As a player, he hit .301 in 381 major league games and batted .331 with 2,671 hits in 2,164 games in the minors.

Frank Demaree
(photo courtesy of Baseball Hall of Fame)

Leading the Angels’ attack was right fielder Frank Demaree, the Pacific Coast League’s Triple Crown winner and a near-unanimous choice as the PCL’s Most Valuable Player. Demaree batted .383-45-173 in 186 games, also leading the league in runs (190), hits (269), doubles (51), total bases (463) and slugging percentage (.660). The 45 homers were a team record at the time. In addition, he stole 41 bases. Demaree, a 24-year-old, 5’11 ˝ “, 185-pound right-handed hitter, was born and grew up in Winters, CA, near Sacramento. He was signed by the PCL Senators in 1930, getting into 41 games, batting .228-1-18. In 1931, he hit .312-16-104 in 180 games. Frank was even better in 1932, hitting .364-12-84 in 109 games when he was purchased by the Chicago Cubs in July. Sacramento owner, Lew Moreing, not wanting to take a chance on losing Demaree in the draft at the end of the season, accepted the Cubs’ offer even though it hurt the Senators’ pennant chances; they finished third, ten games behind Portland. Demaree hit .250-0-6 in 24 games for the Cubs and went 2-for-7 in two games in the World Series. When Kiki Cuyler broke his ankle in a 1933 exhibition game, Demaree opened the season in center field and when Cuyler returned to the lineup in mid-season, he moved to left. In 134 games he batted .272-6-51. The Cubs decided Frank could use another year in the PCL. Under Lelivelt’s tutelage, he became more aggressive at the plate with spectacular results. Demaree returned to Chicago in 1935 and batted .325-2-66 in 107 games. He hit .250-2-2 in six games in the World Series which the Cubs lost to the Tigers, 4 games to 2. He was the only Cub to hit two homers in the series. Demaree had his two best seasons in 1936-37, playing in all 154 games each year. He hit .350-16-96 in ’36, fourth in the National League in batting and third in hits, and .324-17-115 in ’37, second in RBI and fourth in runs (104). He played in the Major League All-Star game both years, starting in right field in 1936 and playing the entire game in center in 1937, and went 2-for-8.

In 1938, Frank dropped to .273-8-62 in 129 games and hit .100 in three World Series games. On December 6, he was part of a six-player trade that sent him to the Giants. With New York he batted .304-11-79 in 1939 and .302-7-61 in 1940. He was never a major league regular after that. The Giants sold him on waivers to the Boston Braves in July, 1941. Boston released him near the end of the 1942 season. He was signed by the Cardinals, batted .291 in 39 games in 1943 and pinch-hit in one World Series game. Demaree played briefly with the Browns in 1944, finishing the season with Portland. In his book, “Pacific Coast League Stars.” John Spalding writes: “He had ballooned to 225 pounds and hit .260 in 35 games, leading one writer to say that on the ball field Frank was, ‘big as a house and twice as useless.’ The Beavers employed him again in 1945 largely because no club wanted to let any able-bodied and experienced man go when the player pool had been reduced drastically by World War II. To everyone’s surprise, Frank showed up in camp weighing 190. He batted cleanup most of the time and his potent bat (.304 with 78 RBI) and outstanding glove helped the Beavers bring the first pennant (to Portland) since 1936….The Philadelphia Athletics thought he might still have a few major league games left and took him as the first pick in the draft for $7,500. He was on the A’s spring training roster (in 1946), but was cut before the season began.” That was the end of his playing career. In 1,155 major league games over 12 seasons, Demaree batted .299-72-591. If he’d had just one more hit in his 4,144 times at bat, his career average would have been an even .300. Demaree started 1948 as manager at Fresno (California), but was released early in the year. He scouted for the White Sox in 1949. He began 1950 as manager of San Bernardino (Sunset), but was released in July. Demaree worked at one of the movie studios in Hollywood until his death in 1958.

“The Greatest Angel of Them All.” That was the headline in the Los Angeles Times when Arnold John (Jigger) Statz died at Corona del Mar, CA, March 16, 1988 at the age of 90. Statz covered center field for the Angels in 1934 as he did as he did for so many years, batting .324-6-66 in 183 games. He led the PCL in triples (13), was second in runs (168) and stolen bases (61) and third in hits (246). On September 16, he became only the second player in PCL history to steal six bases in one game. Statz played for Los Angeles for 18 years, the most for any player with one team in minor league history. He was with Los Angeles in 1920-21, 1925-26 and from 1929-42. He did not play for any other minor league team. Statz holds all of the longevity records in the PCL: Most games, 2,790; most times at bat, 10,657; most runs (1,996), most hits (3,356), most total bases (4,405), most singles (2,564), most doubles (595), most triples (137); and for outfielders, most putouts (6,872), most assists (263) and the most chances accepted (7,135). He had more 200-hit seasons (11) than any other player in minor league history. Among all minor league batters he ranks fourth in career runs and sixth in career hits. His best year was probably 1926, when he batted .354 in 199 games, leading the league in hits (291), doubles (68) and triples (18) and tying for second in runs (150). He led the outfielders in fielding (.997) and putouts (577), making only two errors in 604 total chances. The Angels’ outfield had a phenomenal record that season. The four outfielders, who played more than 115 games each, made only 11 errors in 1,462 total chances, an average of .992. With his speed and an uncanny ability to position himself in just the right spot, Statz played a shallow center field. He cut a hole in the palm of his glove to get a better feel for the ball. Spalding writes: “For years after he left the game, Los Angeles fans remembered his spectacular defensive work, shouting , ‘Jigger would have had it!’ whenever another Angels’ fly chaser botched a play.”

Statz was a native of Waukegan, IL, just north of Chicago and was a contemporary of famed comedian Jack Benny. He was 5’7 ˝ “ tall and weighed 150 pounds. Originally a right-handed batter, he began to switch-hit after he came to Los Angeles. There are differing opinions as to the origin of his nickname. Statz was considered to be the best golfer among ball players and one theory was that the nickname came from a golf club called a “jigger.” However, Spalding says: “Statz told The Sporting News publisher J.G. Taylor Spink in 1940 (that) because of his diminutive size as a child, he was compared to the tiny chigger bug, only the name was misspelled.” In 1919, he was signed off the Holy Cross College campus by the New York Giants and went directly to the majors, hitting .300 in 21 games. He batted only .133 in 16 games at the start of the 1920 and was claimed on waivers by the Red Sox. He had played only two games for Boston when he was traded to Los Angeles. He batted just .236 in 101 games for the Angels the rest of the year, but improved to .310 with 52 stolen bases in 153 games in 1921 and was traded to the Chicago Cubs at the end of the season for third baseman Charley Deal and cash. He hit .297-1-34 in 1922, then had his best year in the majors in 1923. Statz batted .319-10-70 with 29 stolen bases, led the National League in times at bat (655), was second in hits (209) and fifth in runs (110) and total bases (288). Among outfielders, he tied for the league lead in double plays (7) and was second in putouts (438) and assists (26). He dropped to .277 in 1924 and was batting .257 in June, 1925 when he was released to Los Angeles. After his outstanding 1926 season with the Angels, Statz was traded to Brooklyn in February, 1927 for outfielder Dick Cox and pitcher George Boehler. He batted .274 in 130 games, but hit only .234 in 77 games in 1928. That was Jigger’s last year in the majors. His big league career average was .285 in 683 games. He played in 3,473 professional games with 13,242 times at bat, the most in baseball history. His total of 4,093 hits is surpassed by only Ty Cobb and Pete Rose.

In 1929, Beverage writes: “Old favorite Jigger Statz was back in the PCL to stay. After a couple of so-so years with Brooklyn where he did not get along well with Manager Wilbert Robinson, Statz was purchased from the Robins during the winter. He was 31 in the spring of 1929 and it was anticipated that he would play two or three years before hanging up his spikes for good. Who would have thought that Jigger would roam the Angel outfield until he was 44 years old?” During his tenure with Los Angeles, he led the PCL in runs four times, stolen bases three times and triples twice. He was the PCL’s Most Valuable Player in 1932, the first year the award was made, when he hit .347-6-93 with a league-high 153 runs. Starting in 1929, Statz had more than 200 hits in eight consecutive seasons and, from 1931-36, scored more than 130 runs in six straight years.

Following the 1939 season, when Los Angeles finished third, just five games out of first place, Manager Truck Hannah was dismissed by a very demanding club president David Fleming. On October 31, Statz was signed to a two-year contract to manage the Angels, a move that was very popular with the fans. In 1940, the Angels finished second and won the first round of the playoff, but lost the finals to Jack Lelivelt’s first-place Seattle Rainiers. Statz had not planned to play regularly, but his designated replacement, Paul Carpenter, batted only .216 and Jigger wound up appearing in 144 games, hitting .289. The 1941 season was a disaster for the Angels. Everything seemed to go wrong and Los Angeles finished seventh, escaping the cellar by only .001 point when they won a double-header on the last day of the season. At the end of the year Fleming retired and was replaced by Cubs scout and manager of the 1917 champion White Sox, Clarence (Pants) Rowland. In 1942, Statz’s Angels were in first place going into the last week of the season as they traveled to Sacramento to play the final seven-game series against the second-place Solons. Los Angeles won the first two games, then dropped five in a row and Sacramento won the pennant by one game. The Angels beat San Diego in the first round of the playoff, but again lost the finals to Seattle, which had finished third in the regular season.

In “The Los Angeles Angels,” Beverage writes: “The day after the playoff ended, Jigger Statz resigned as manager of the Los Angeles club. He issued a statement which indicated that his decision was voluntary and that it was for the good of the club. The Los Angeles press did not accept this explanation at face value, and writers Al Wolf and Paul Zimmerman made their feelings known. There was an undercurrent of criticism throughout the 1942 season which appeared to originate with the Angel and Cub management and focused on Jigger’s handling of the pitchers as well as his overall strategy. Perhaps Pants Rowland wanted his own man as manager. Certainly the disappointing loss of the championship did not enhance Jigger’s position. Zimmerman’s column in the Times probably said it best, ‘Statz was slated to go a long time ago. As it was, the finish was so close that Jig had to resign to make the thing look good. If the Angels had won, chances are the Angel management would not have had the fortitude to fire Statz.’ So ended one of the more remarkable careers in American sports.” Statz later scouted for the Cubs from 1947-52. In both 1948 and 1949, the Cubs sent Jigger to their Visalia (California) farm club during the season to fill in as temporary manager.

The left-fielder, batting third in the lineup, was 29-year-old Marvin Gudat, a left-handed hitter and thrower. He was a line-drive hitter, fast and had an excellent arm. In 1934 he played in all 188 games, batting .319-4-125 with 43 stolen bases. He hit 13 triples, tying for the league lead with Statz and was second among all outfielders in fielding (.985). Gudat, a native of Goliad, TX, started in pro ball as a pitcher in 1926 at Monroe in the Cotton States League. After going 16-6 for Dayton (Central) in 1928, he was drafted by Cincinnati. He was with the Reds all of 1929, but got into only nine games with a 1-1, 3.38 record, pitching 26-2/3 innings without ever striking out a batter. He broke even in his only two starts, both complete games. He was optioned to Peoria (Three-I) in 1930, then released to Columbus (American Association). In 1931 he pitched (4-4, 4.31 in 30 games, mostly in relief) and played the outfield and first base, batting .343-4-34 in 102 games. Gudat was drafted by the Cubs and hit .255-1-15 in 60 games, almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter, and was 0-for-2 in pinch-hit appearances in the ’32 World Series. He was released to Los Angeles and in 1933 batted .333-10-113 in 183 games for the pennant-winning Angels. He also pitched in four games, going 2-0. He hit over .300 for six straight years with the Angels and scored 429 runs in his first three seasons. Although Gudat was frequently injured because of his aggressive style on the field, he managed to play in every game in 1934-35 and set what was then a team record for most consecutive games, 393. He suffered a broken leg in 1936 and played in only 102 games. In 1938, he injured a knee and was unable to play every day. In August, he was traded to Oakland for Red Van Fleet. Gudat played seven more years in the PCL, with the Oaks through 1942, with Hollywood and San Diego in 1943 and the Padres through 1945. Spalding writes: “In 1940, Gudat came to the plate with two outs in the ninth and the Angels’ Jesse Flores on the verge of pitching a no-hitter (against the Oaks). Gudat said later that he was looking for a screwball that he could punch just over the infield for a hit. That’s exactly what he got and that’s exactly what he did.” He missed several weeks in 1942 after fracturing a rib in a collision at second base. Gudat retired after the 1945 season. His minor league career average was .306 in 2,103 games with 2,211 hits and 214 stolen bases.

Holding down first base was Jim Oglesby, a 28-year-old, 6’, 190-pound left-handed hitter who batted .312-15-139, playing in all 188 games. Oglesby, who regularly batted fifth, was second in the league to Demaree in RBI. A native of Schofield, MO, he was in his ninth year of pro ball. In 1932, he had played 3-˝ years with Des Moines (Western) and was hitting .385-9-86 in 99 games when he was purchased by Los Angeles on August 1 to replace the veteran Earl Sheely. Sheely was hitting well, but, at 39, had slowed down considerably in the field. Another consideration leading to his release was that his salary was much higher than Oglesby’s and in the depression year of 1932 this was very important. Oglesby hit .323-5-61 in 64 games the rest of the season. In 1933 he batted .313-20-137 for the champion Angels. He had another fine season in 1935, hitting .350-24-132 in 173 games with a PCL-high 56 doubles, and led the league’s first basemen in fielding (.994). In October, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1936, after playing the first three games of the season for Philadelphia, hitting .182-0-2 he was sidelined with what was first described as an infected hand. Unfortunately, this became a serious case of blood poisoning and Oglesby was out for the season. During the next winter he was sold to Kansas City and never returned to the majors. He played one season for the Blues and two for Buffalo, hitting over .300 all three years. He was with Albany (Eastern) in 1940-41 and Memphis and Little Rock (Southern) in 1942.

While with Albany on June 15, 1940, Oglesby hit one of baseball’s more unusual home runs. In a home game against Scranton, he had hit a two-run homer in his first time at bat. In the fifth inning, he blasted a pitch to deep right field. The ball cleared the fence at Hawkins Stadium, 365 feet from the plate, and kept on going. While the fans were still cheering, the Senators’ office received a phone call. It came from the manager of a neighboring clothing store, located beyond the right field fence. Oglesby’s drive had crashed through their front window and landed on the cash register, ringing up a sale.

Oglesby served in the Army during World War II. He was 40 when the war ended and retired as a player. He managed Sioux Falls (Northern) in 1947-48, Janesville (Wisconsin State) in 1949 and Miami (K-O-M) in 1950, then left baseball. He was working as a guard at the Douglas Aircraft plant in Tulsa, OK, in 1955 when he was hospitalized. On September 1, shortly after his release, apparently despondent over ill health, he used a shotgun to end his life.

Jimmie Reese
(photo courtesy of Baseball Hall of Fame)

It is highly improbable that anyone was ever in baseball longer than the Angels’ 1934 second baseman, Jimmie Reese, whose career spanned 78 years. Reese, who was born James Herman Soloman in New York City, October 1, 1901, but grew up in Los Angeles. He was a left-handed hitter, 5’11˝ “ tall, weighing 165 pounds. He became the Angels’ batboy in 1917 and held that job for six years, with time out for one year in the “service.” A 1918 photo of the team from the United States Navy Submarine Base at San Pedro, CA, that included such players as Harry Heilman, Bob Meusel, Howard Ehmke and Lefty O’Doul, shows Jimmie, identified as the “mascot,” in the front row in a sailor’s uniform. He made his pro “debut” during the Angels’ road trip to Seattle in the last week of the 1920 season, when he played one inning at second base, but did not bat. Just before the end of the 1924 season Reese was signed by Oakland and played eight games. He played 136 games at second and short in 1925, batting .248 in 138 games. Jimmie became the Oaks’ regular second baseman in 1926 and paired with shortstop Lyn Lary to form a sparkling double play combination that became known as “The Gold Dust Twins.” In 1927 he hit .295-2-83 in 191 games with a league-leading 17 triples, and led PCL second basemen in fielding (.984) as the Oaks won their first pennant in 15 years. During the 1928 season, Reese and Lary were purchased by the New York Yankees for $125,000, Lary to report in 1929 and Reese in 1930. In ’29 Jimmie had the best year of his career, batting .337-1-56 with 24 stolen bases in 190 games and leading the second basemen in fielding (.979) and putouts (622). Unfortunately for Reese, when he arrived in New York in 1930, Tony Lazzeri was firmly entrenched at second base. He got into only 77 games but hit .346-3-18, 19 of his 65 hits going for extra bases. On the road, he roomed with Babe Ruth or, as he later joked, with the Babe’s suitcase. In 1931, he played in only 65 games, batting .241-3-26. The Yankees released Reese to St. Paul in 1932, but after batting .197 in 25 games, he was purchased by the Cardinals, to fill in for an injured Frankie Frisch, and hit .265-2-26 in 90 games.

The Angels purchased Reese’s contract from St. Louis in February, 1933. He hit .330 in 104 games, missing almost half the season because of illness. In 1934, batting second behind Statz, Jimmie batted .311-5-85, was third in the league in triples (12) and once again led PCL second basemen in fielding (.972) and putouts (541). He remained with the Angles in 1935-36, then was traded to San Diego for veteran pitcher Archie Campbell. In 1937, Reese hit .314 and helped lead the Padres to victory in the Governor’s Cup playoff. He played one more year with San Diego. His PCL career average was .289 in 1,673 games over 13 seasons. He holds the PCL record for second basemen for most putouts (4,771) and most assists (5,119). In 1957, the Helms Athletic Foundation named him the second baseman on the All-Time Pacific Coast League Team.

In 1939, he went to the Western International League, replacing Ken Penner as manager of Bellingham on June 8, but couldn’t get the team out of last place and was released August 17. He finished the season playing for Spokane in the same league. From 1940-42, Jimmie, no longer playing, was an Angel coach under his old teammate, Jigger Statz. During World War II, he managed the Army team at Fort Campbell, KY. After the war, he scouted for the Boston Braves for two years, then returned to San Diego where he coached from 1948-1960. On July 23, 1960, with the Padres in seventh place, he was appointed manager to replace George Metkovich. Under Reese, San Diego won 34 and lost 18, finishing in a tie for fourth. He started 1961 as the Padres skipper, but resigned July 6 with the team in fifth place. He felt he was not cut out to be a manager, taking the job only because he was asked to do so. In an interview some years later, he said “I’m best suited as a liaison man, as a coach. I just am not suited to give a guy hell.” From 1963-70 he coached in the PCL for Hawaii, Seattle and Portland, then scouted for Montreal for two years.

At the age of 71, when most men were retired, Jimmie Reese started a new career as a major league coach for the California Angels. In a newspaper interview, Reese said that the Angels called him before the start of spring training in 1973. “When (GM) Harry Dalton asked me to join the staff, that was an easy question to answer. I guess I had an answer before the question was finished.” Jimmie remained an Angels’ coach until his death, July 13, 1994 at the age of 92. The 1994 Angels media guide listed him as the conditioning coach and, undoubtedly, he was the oldest man ever to wear a uniform in an official capacity in baseball history. His specialty was hitting fungoes during practice. He made his own fungo bats by taking a regular bat, splitting it half lengthwise, then sanding it in his woodworking shop until it had the proper weight and finish. Numerous players commented on his uncanny ability to place a fungo drive precisely where he wanted it. He could even “pitch” batting practice with the fungo bat, standing on the mound and hitting the ball right over the plate.

Reese was known as “the nicest guy in baseball.” In countless interviews with old PCL teammates and former Angels players, all referred to him in that way. He was especially close to Nolan Ryan when the Hall-of-Fame pitcher was one of his pitching charges through the 1970s; Ryan even named one of his sons after Jimmie. For many years, he lived in Westwood, near the UCLA campus. His hobby was making wood picture frames that he gave away. Jimmie Reese never will be enshrined at Cooperstown, but he will always be a “Hall-of-Famer” to those who knew him.

The Angels’ youngest regular was 20-year-old third baseman Robert Eugene (Gene) Lillard, a 5’10˝”, 180-pound right-handed hitter. In 1952, Gene recalled that, “In 1930, my father took the entire family to Wrigley Field in Los Angeles for a game. During infield practice my father asked me if I thought I would ever be at third base where Fred Haney was. I didn’t think so, but in 1932 after I signed with L.A. and had been farmed out to Wichita (Western), I was recalled the latter part of the season and Fred Haney was released so that I could play third base. Quite a coincidence!” Lillard was born in Santa Barbara, CA, and was a three-sport star at Santa Barbara High. He was signed by Jack Lelivelt during spring training in 1932. Lillard batted .283-19-108 at Wichita, then hit .312-5-28 in 40 games for the Angels. In 1933, he batted .307 with 149 RBI in 183 games. He hit 43 home runs, leading the PCL and setting a team record. He was third in the league in RBI. In 1934, a rather painful growth developed on Gene’s left hand and while he was able to play in 171 games, his ability to grip a bat comfortably was affected. He fell off to .289-27-119 while Demaree was breaking his team home run record. Off-season surgery corrected the problem, and he was at full strength in 1935. Lillard had his best year, batting .361-56-147 in 170 games. He regained his Angels’ home run record (tied by Steve Bilko in 1957), with the second highest total in PCL history. He was second in the league in RBI, runs (157) and total bases (439). Gene was promoted to the Cubs in 1936, but, unfortunately, 26-year-old all-star Stan Hack had a firm hold on third base. Lillard got into only 19 games all season, just three at third, batting .206-0-2. Taking advantage of his strong arm, the Cubs decided Lillard should be a pitcher. In 1937, he was optioned to San Francisco where he went 14-10, 4.41 and hit .326-4-38 in 87 games, pinch-hitting and playing 17 games at third. The Cubs farmed him to Los Angeles in 1938 and he had a 16-10, 3.50 record. He was with the Cubs all of 1939, going 3-5, 6.55 in relief and was traded to the Cardinals in December. He pitched only twice for St. Louis in 1940 (0-1, 13.50) and was released to Rochester. With the Red Wings, Lillard went back to playing the infield. Late in 1942, the Cardinals sent him to their Sacramento farm club and he hit .340-3-20 in 29 games. He said his greatest thrill as a player occurred during the last week of the ’42 season. The Solons were playing at home, battling the Angels for the pennant. With three games remaining, Sacramento was two games behind Los Angeles. With the score tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Lillard was sent in to pinch-hit and blasted Red Lynn’s second pitch over the left field wall. Sacramento won the double-header the next day to capture the flag.

Lillard did not play the next three years. During World War II anyone engaged in the production of food was deemed by the government to be in an essential occupation. Gene owned a spread, Ellwood Ranch, near Goleta, CA, north of Santa Barbara, and that’s where he remained until the war ended in 1945. He returned to Sacramento in 1946 and played for Oakland in 1947 and part of 1948. He spent most of the ’48 season with the Oaks’ farm club at Phoenix, leading the Arizona-Texas League in batting (.364-20-92 in 90 games). He started to catch after the war and that is where he played most of the time during the rest of his career.

Lillard started managing in 1949 at Tucson (Arizona-Texas), a Cleveland affiliate. He batted .342-34-126 in 138 games, leading the Cowboys to third place. He was closer to home in 1950-51, managing Ventura. In 1950, he hit .327-23-104 in 110 games, piloted the Braves’ farm club to the California League pennant and was named the league’s All-Star second baseman. In 1952, he managed Bakersfield in the same league, a Cleveland farm club, and finished fifth. He went north to the Class A Western International League in 1953 to manage Calgary, an independent club. The Stampeders came in tenth in the first half, sixth in the second half. He returned in 1954, but the club folded on June 21. Lillard finished the year playing for Fresno (California). He retired to his ranch after that season. He returned to baseball in 1962 to manage the Mets’ farm club at Santa Barbara, appropriately named the Rancheros, who finished in fifth place in the California League. Lillard then retired from baseball permanently. In 2,142 minor league games, he hit .303 with 2,094 hits, 345 home runs and 1,414 RBI. Lillard was an expert in the almost lost art of calligraphy and anyone who ever received one of his beautifully handwritten letters or envelopes always remembered them. He created the template for the certificates presented through the years to members of the California League All-Star Teams. His younger brother Bill, a shortstop, played for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1939-40, and for San Francisco, Hollywood and San Diego in the PCL.

The Angels’ shortstop was 33-year-old Carl Dittmar, the only 1934 regular who never reached the majors. In 1934, Dittmar batted .294-3-73 in 151 games and had an 18-year career average of .288. He was considered a good fielder with a fine arm and was a keen student of the game. He probably was one of those players who would have reached the majors had there been as many big league clubs as there are now. Beverage wrote: “Along with Statz, he was the bulwark of the Angel defense (for several) years. He had the misfortune to be playing at a time when Woody English and then Bill Jurges held down the shortstop position for the Cubs, and Dittmar never got the big league chance he richly deserved.” Dittmar was born in Baltimore and was one of the few good young players from that city who did not wind up with the Orioles. He started with Crisfield (Eastern Shore) in 1922 and after moving up through Muskogee (Western Association) and Augusta (South Atlantic) reached the PCL with San Francisco in 1927. He hit .268 in 164 games and was third among shortstops in fielding, but became expendable in 1928 when the Seals got Hal Rhyne back from Pittsburgh and was purchased by the Angels. Dittmar remained with the Angels for 11 years, the last season as a player-coach. His best year at the plate was 1930 when he hit .310-14-125 in 166 games. From 1939-41 he managed the Angels’ farm club at Bisbee in the Arizona-Texas League. Bisbee won the second half in ’39, but lost the playoff to Albuquerque. The Bees finished last in the four-team circuit in 1941, but Dittmar was named the league’s all-star manager. That was his last year in baseball.

Bobby Mattick

The youngest player on the team was 18-year-old rookie Bobby Mattick, who played 53 games, all at shortstop, batting .277. Mattick is one of two surviving members of the ’34 Angels and is still in baseball, 68 years later, as Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays. His father, Walter (Chink) Mattick, was an outfielder for the White Sox in 1912-13 and the Cardinals in 1918. Bobby was born in Sioux City, IA, when his father was playing for the Western League team there. He grew up in St. Louis, MO, and was signed by the Cubs in the fall of 1933 after graduating from high school and playing semi-pro ball. In 1935, he missed much of the season because of a fractured wrist. On April 23, 1936, he was seriously injured during a special morning batting practice. Mattick was standing to one side of the batting cage when he was struck over the left eye by a foul tip. The blow fractured the frontal bone and injured the optic nerve. He returned to the lineup later in the season, batting .278-1-30 in 78 games. In 1937, Bobby took over from Dittmar at short and batted .279-2-66 in 167 games. He was promoted to Chicago for 1938, then optioned first to Indianapolis and then to Syracuse, but he was able to play in just 34 games, batting only .108. Deteriorating vision because of the eye injury two years earlier resulted in his being placed on the Voluntarily Retired List and he spent the rest of the year under treatment by doctors. Mattick returned to baseball in 1939. He was optioned to Milwaukee and after hitting .286 in 68 games was recalled by the Cubs and batted .285-0-23 in 51 games. In 1940, he played 128 games at shortstop, but hit just .218-0-33. He was traded to Cincinnati in December. Eye problems continued to bother him and he played only 20 games for the Reds in 1941 and six in 1942 before retiring as a player at the age of 26.

Mattick was a coach for Cincinnati’s farm club at Birmingham (Southern) in 1944-45. He scouted for the Yankees from 1945-47, then returned to the Cincinnati organization in 1948 as a scout, managing Ogden (Pioneer) during the second half of the season. He scouted for the Reds through 1951, for the White Sox in 1952 and the Reds again from 1953-60. He continued scouting for the next 17 years for Houston, Cleveland, Baltimore, Seattle, Montreal and Toronto. Players he was instrumental in signing included Frank Robinson, Curt Flood, Vada Pinson, Tommy Harper, Rusty Staub, Darrell Porter, Don Baylor, Gorman Thomas, Bobby Grich and Dave Stieb.

In 1978-79, Mattick was Toronto’s director of player development. He was appointed manager of the Blue Jays in 1980, becoming, at 64, the oldest major league rookie manager to start a season. Toronto finished seventh in the American League Eastern Division in 1980 and both halves of the split 1981 season, with a record of 104-164, .388. Since then he has performed various executive duties for the Blue Jays, centered around player personnel and development. He has been a vice president of the team since 1984. Mattick was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 and was honored by the Scout of the Year program at the 2000 Winter Meetings at Dallas. He makes his home in Surprise, AZ.

The Angels’ number one catcher was 27-year-old left-handed hitting William Gilthorpe (Gilly) Campbell who batted .305-17-97 in 145 games. Campbell broke in with Monroe (Cotton States) in 1927, then caught for Beaumont, Shreveport, El Dorado and Memphis through 1930. He was purchased by the Cubs and was one of seven players turned over by Chicago to Los Angeles for pitcher Ed Baecht. Campbell hit .306 for the Angels in 1931 and .319 in 1932. He was the Cubs’ backup catcher to Gabby Hartnett in 1933, batting .281-1-10 in 46 games. He was sold to Cincinnati after the ’34 season and was with the Reds through the early part of 1937 when he was released to Syracuse. Campbell returned to the majors with Brooklyn for the second half of the 1938 season. He was reunited with Lelivelt at Seattle in 1939 and was with the Rainiers until June, 1941, when he was traded to the Angels for catcher Bob Collins. He was with Los Angeles again in 1942, then played for Louisville, Memphis, Portland and Oakland in 1943-44 before retiring. During his last tour of duty with the Angels, he had a small role in the movie, “Pride of the Yankees,” playing the catcher on the opposing team during ball game scenes.

One indication of the strength of the 1934 Angels is the fact that, with one exception, each of the seven pitchers who won more than 12 games had the best year of his career. The PCL’s top winner was 29-year-old Fay Wesley (Scow) Thomas with a 28-4, 2.59 record. His .875 winning percentage is a league record for pitchers with 20 or more decisions and he led the league in strikeouts (204). He won his first 15 decisions, one short of the PCL record. He had won his last seven games in 1933 and the 22 consecutive victories over the two seasons is a league record. The 6’2”, 195-pound right-hander combined an outstanding fast ball with a blazing, sinking fork ball, a pitch not often seen at that time. Thomas, a native of Holyrood, KS, resided in the Los Angeles suburb of Chatsworth all of his adult life. He was a star athlete at the University of Southern California and was the first USC player to make the majors. He was a tackle in football and was a teammate of Marion Morrison - later famous as actor John Wayne. Thomas told James Skipper, author of “Baseball Nicknames,” that as far as he could remember “Scow” was a putdown term for athletes which a fraternity brother called him when he was a pledge at USC and that Los Angeles sportswriters picked it up.

Thomas’ introduction to professional baseball was unusual. During the summer of 1925, as recounted years later by The Sporting News, he and a college friend decided to drive from the West Coast to Michigan. They ran out of money in Ottumwa, Iowa, where there was a team in the Class D Mississippi Valley League. Thomas worked out with the team and was signed using the name Peter J. Collins to avoid losing his college eligibility. He had a 3-3 record when a scout for Oklahoma City (Western) bought his contract and told Thomas to report to his new team. Instead, when Thomas got his paycheck from Ottumwa, he and his friend got in their car and headed for Michigan. He pitched for USC in 1926 and was signed by the New York Giants. He was optioned to Toledo, then to New Haven where he was 15-4 with an Eastern League-leading 2.29 ERA. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City was carrying “Collins” on its Suspended List for failure to report. Thomas went to spring training with the Giants in 1927 and was optioned to Buffalo, then recalled in mid-season. He got into nine games with New York, going 0-0, 3.38. Thomas was the starting pitcher on July 19, a day of celebration for the Giants. It was the 25th anniversary of John McGraw’s first game as New York’s manager and a special day was held in his honor. He received many silver gifts during the pre-game ceremonies. In addition to a crowd of 25,000, those on hand included politicians, many of McGraw’s show business cronies and celebrities such as the pioneer aviators Charles A. Lindbergh and Commander Richard Byrd. Unfortunately, the Giants lost to the Cubs 8-5, but Thomas did not figure in the decision.

When Oklahoma City owner Jack Holland realized that Thomas and Collins were one-and-the-same person, he protested to Commissioner Kenesaw M. Landis. Thomas was returned to Oklahoma City and placed on the Suspended List for one year and he was ordered to return $2,500 to the Giants. He was eligible to play again late in 1928, went 0-2 in 7 games for Oklahoma City and was purchased by the Yankees. In 1929, he was optioned to Baltimore, then released outright to the Orioles, who then optioned him to New Haven. In January, 1930 Baltimore assigned Thomas to Sacramento where he went 18-20, 3.96, leading the PCL in strikeouts (228). That season, Sacramento was the first PCL team to install lights and Thomas was especially hard to hit at night. In one game, he struck out 19 Hollywood batters in 13 innings, and in another he fanned 17 Los Angeles batters in nine innings. In mid-season, John Spalding wrote in “Pacific Coast League Stars”: “Thomas became a pawn in a complicated deal involving Sacramento, the Yankees and Senators outfielder Myril Hoag. There was a dispute over whether the Yankees had a legal option on Hoag’s services. Sacramento owner Lew Moreing claimed the Yankees had never filed the Hoag option to disguise the fact that they had sent Thomas to the PCL team, rather than having Baltimore sell the pitcher to the Senators for $5,000 as had been announced. When Moreing threatened to ship Thomas back to the Orioles, Scow wrote to Landis asking to be made a free agent. Before long, the dispute was resolved, the Senators sold Hoag to the Yankees and Moreing bought Thomas from Baltimore. At year’s end, Moreing sold Thomas to Cleveland for $10,000 and two players.”

In 1931, Thomas was 2-4, 5.14 for the Indians, then was sold to Oakland. With the seventh-place Oaks in 1932 he was only 12-19, but had a 3.25 ERA and led the PCL in strikeouts (196). Brooklyn bought him in September and he went 0-1, 7.41 for the Dodgers. Los Angeles bought Thomas from Brooklyn the next winter and in 1933 he went 20-14, 3.75 for the champion Angels. In October, 1934, Thomas was drafted by the Browns and had a 7-15, 4.78 record in 1935. St. Louis traded Thomas back to the Angels for right-hander Mike Meola and he had his last 20-game winning season in 1936, 23-11, 3.21. He remained with the Angels through 1941, then retired. With teams short of pitchers in 1943 because of the war, he attempted a comeback, but after going 0-3, 5.40 for Portland and Hollywood he quit for good. His minor league career record was 214-163, 3.53 with 2,027 strikeouts in 3,180 innings. In the majors he was 9-20, 4.95. In 1957, the Helms Athletic Foundation named him to the All-Time Pacific Coast League All-Star Team.

The Angels had two other 20-game winners. Lou Garland, a 29-year-old, 6’3”, 205-pound right-hander from Archie, MO, was 21-9, 2.67 with a 12-game winning streak in mid-season. He was tied for second in the PCL in shutouts (4) and was sixth in ERA. He was in his tenth year in pro ball, with his 11th team. His only major league experience was at the end of the 1931 season when he went 0-2, 10.26 in 7 games for the Chicago White Sox. In 1933 he had a 9-10, 5.67 record for St. Paul and Kansas City. Garland pitched one more year with the Angels, going 19-11, 3.48 in 1935, then was sold to Toledo. He was back with Los Angeles at the end of 1937, going 0-1 in 12 games in relief. He pitched for Tulsa, Tacoma (Western International) and Lewiston (Pioneer) in 1938-39-40. Garland was the business manager of the Idaho Falls Russets in the Pioneer League from 1940-49, and also was the playing manager in 1942.

Emile Meola
(photo courtesy of Baseball Hall of Fame)

The other 20-game winner was 28-year-old right-hander Emile (Mike) Meola who went 20-5, 2.90 and was second in the PCL in winning percentage (.800). A native of New York City, he started in pro ball in 1928 with Chambersburg (Blue Ridge) and was with Charlotte (Piedmont) in 1931, Top 100 team number 56. Meola was out of pro ball in 1932, then was signed by the Red Sox in 1933 and was 0-0, 23.14 in 3 games before being released to Jersey City. He was with the Angels again in 1935, going 19-8, 3.00, leading the PCL in ERA and ranking third in winning percentage (.704). He was traded to the Browns for Fay Thomas and was 0-1, 7.30 for St. Louis and the Red Sox in 1936 before being released to Syracuse. He was with Syracuse and Toronto through 1939, but never won more than 10 games in a season. After he left baseball in 1940, he became a demolition contractor in New York.

J. Millard (Whitey) Campbell (not related to Gilly), a 26-year-old, 6’1 ˝ “, 185-pound right-hander from Washington, DC, was a workhorse for the Angels. He went 19-15, 2.63, working in 48 games, 243 innings, both starting and relieving. He pitched 17 complete games and finished 17 in relief. His major league career consisted of one shutout inning for Washington in July, 1933. The rest of that season he pitched for Albany with a 9-10, 3.25 record, fifth in ERA in the International League. Campbell was 13-19, 4.15 for the Angels in 1935 and 4-10, 6.73 for Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle in 1936. He pitched for six clubs in the next two years, then left pro ball.

Roy Henshaw, who had a 16-4, 2.75 record, and like Garland was tied for second in the PCL in shutouts (4), was the smallest pitcher on the staff, 5’8”, 152 pounds, and its lone left-handed starter. Henshaw, 23, grew up in Chicago’s South Shore district and was a graduate of the University of Chicago, the last major leaguer to come from that school. He was an All-American in 1931 and that season he pitched and won three double-headers on successive Saturdays, striking out 23 in one twin bill against Indiana. He went directly from the campus to the majors in 1933 and had a 2-1, 4.19 record for the Cubs in 21 games, all in relief. Henshaw returned to Chicago in 1935 and went 13-5, 3.27 with three shutouts, all against fourth-place Pittsburgh, whom he defeated six times.

P
1934 Los Angeles Angels batting statistics
BATTER POS GP AB R H BI 2B 3B HR BB SO SB BA
Jim Oglesby 1B 188 725 102 226 139 44 4 15 11 .312
Jimmie Reese 2B 180 733 123 228 85 31 12 3 14 .311
Carl Dittmar SS 151 517 75 152 73 33 2 3 7 .294
Gene Lillard 3B 171 592 104 171 119 27 6 27 10 .289
Marv Gudat OF 188 758 150 242 125 36 13 4 43 .319
Frank Demaree OF 186 702 190 269 173 51 4 45 41 .383
Jigger Statz OF 183 760 168 246 66 39 13 6 61 .324
Gilly Campbell C 145 459 90 140 97 22 2 17 14 .305
Bob Loane (Portland) OF 68 183 20 39 10 8 2 1 8 .213
Walter Gobel C 60 148 16 44 29 12 1 2 0 .297
Bobby Mattick SS 53 127 10 38 10 5 1 0 2 .277
Mike Gazella INF 51 116 16 22 13 4 1 1 0 .190
Whitey Campbell P 48 89 7 19 14 1 1 0 0 .213
Louis Garland P 42 92 6 19 12 3 0 0 0 .207
Mike Meola P 42 85 10 16 4 1 1 0 0 .188
Fay Thomas P 41 113 9 29 18 4 0 1 0 .257
Roy Henshaw P 38 74 5 11 4 0 0 1 0 .149
Emmett Nelson P 29 61 7 12 4 0 0 0 0 .197
Ken Richardson 3B 24 54 6 15 3 4 0 0 1 .278
Art McDougall P 24 21 2 6 2 2 0 0 0 .286
Dick Ward P 22 58 6 11 9 0 0 1 0 .190
Truck Hannah C 20 50 5 11 9 1 0 0 0 .220
Ivan Crawford 19 25 6 3 1 0 0 0 0 .120
Dee Moore (Portland) C 8 25 2 6 .240
Cliff Ograin OF 6 17 1 2 2 0 0 1 0 .118
Charles Lightfoot P 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Stephen Mesner 3B 5 12 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 .250
Lynn South OF 4 11 1 2 2 0 0 1 0 .182
Ed Lipanovic C 3 8 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .125
Art Shoap 2B 2 6 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 .333
Ralph Buxton P 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Newell Kimball P1,PR 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .500
Elmer Donovan 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Oscar Judd P 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Charles Davenport P 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
D.C. Moore PH 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Bill Prince P 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Ted Pillette P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
Totals 188 6462 1118 1935 991 326 60 127 195 .299

1934 Los Angeles Angels pitching statistics
PITCHER W L PCT G GS CG SH SV IP H BB SO ERA
Fay Thomas 28 4 .875 41 24 3 295 246 118 204 2.59
Louis Garland 21 9 .700 41 16 4 249 246 80 91 2.67
Emile Meola 20 5 .800 42 14 2 248 235 90 93 2.90
Whitey Campbell 19 15 .559 48 17 2 243 254 80 80 2.63
Roy Henshaw 16 4 .800 38 11 4 196 149 90 120 2.75
Emmett Nelson 14 5 .737 29 12 3 171 157 57 72 2.53
Dick Ward 13 4 .765 20 13 2 137 136 53 54 2.63
Art McDougall 4 2 .667 23 1 0 60 70 32 17 4.63
Elmer Donovan 1 0 1.000 2 1 1 0 10 9 2 5 0.00
Bill Prince 1 0 1.000 1 0 0 0 2 2 2 0 13.50
Ralph Buxton 0 2 .000 2 2 2 0 13 8 1 5 0.69
Charles Lightfoot 0 0 ---- 6 0 0 0 9 14 7 4 13.50
Oscar Judd 0 0 ---- 1 0 0 0 4 3 0 4 0.00
Newell Kimball 0 0 ---- 1 1 0 0 4 2 1 0 0.00
Ted Pillette 0 0 ---- 1 0 0 0 2 3 3 0 27.00
Charles Davenport 0 0 ---- 1 0 0 0 1 5 3 0 81.00