The Far West League Record Book: Part 3, Team Batting and Fielding

There were no published team pitching statistics for the Far West League. In fact, the Sporting News Baseball Guides from those years don’t have team pitching stats for any minor league, and they can’t be accurately recreated from the individual stats because the Guides used a 45-inning minimum for individual stats to be printed. A quick glance through my bookshelf shows team pitching stats don’t show up for the high minors until the 1959 Guide, covering the 1958 season, and not for the low minors until the 1962 Guide, covering the 1961 season. The only team pitching stat published for the FWL was Opponents Runs, as part of the batting table, and for some reason those didn’t appear in the 1949 season stats.

Let’s start with the league-wide stats for each of the FWL’s four seasons:

R/G H/G HR/G BB/G SO/G SB/G BA OBP SLG E/G DP/G
1948 6.68 8.99 0.38 6.01 6.11 0.92 .264 .381 .367 2.76 0.70
1949 6.96 9.94 0.60 5.60 5.83 1.02 .278 .382 .396 2.62 0.75
1950 6.76 9.48 0.56 5.90 5.73 1.01 .274 .385 .393 2.37 0.83
1951 6.97 9.64 0.31 6.23 5.42 1.03 .278 .393 .381 2.52 0.76

On-base percentage was not an officially published stat…I calculated it using hits, walks and hit-by-pitches.  Sacrifice flies were not published and may not have been kept as a separate category that would result in a plate appearance without a time at-bat.  At any rate they are not included in these numbers.

By the way, based on these numbers I feel comfortable saying the quality of play in the FWL was at its highest in 1950, because that season saw the fewest errors per game and the most double plays per game.  You wonder what happened in 1951, when the league saw a sharp drop in home runs per game; individual league leader Ray Perry hit only 18, he had at least twice as many in each of the previous three seasons.  Willows and Marysville had dropped out of the league after 1950; while I don’t have any home/road breakdowns, Willows had been first or second in the league in HR/G in each of its three seasons, so that may have been a good hitters park.  But Marysville was well below average in HR/G in each of its three seasons, so the two parks could well have canceled each other out.

Now let’s take a look at the team records…most of these are on a per-game basis because of the varying lengths of the season, but in some categories I skipped that because the record was held by a team playing in one of the shorter-length seasons.

RUNS PER GAME
Most: 8.38, Klamath Falls, 1949 (1039/124)
Fewest: 5.50, Pittsburg-Roseville, 1948 (616/112)
OPPONENTS RUNS PER GAME (not published for 1949)
Fewest: 5.72, Marysville, 1948 (703/123)
Most: 7.58, Reno, 1951 (895/118)*
* Pittsburg allowed 7.63 R/G in 1951 before dropping
out of the league after 48 games (in first place!)
HITS PER GAME
Most: 10.89, Klamath Falls 1951 (1405/129)
Fewest: 7.87, Pittsburg-Roseville, 1948 (881/112)
HOME RUNS PER GAME
Most: 1.15, Redding, 1950 (161/140, the only team
in FWL history with HR/G>1)
Fewest: 0.17, Oroville, 1948 (21/121)
WALKS PER GAME
Most: 6.89, Reno, 1951 (813/118)
Fewest: 4.56, Willows, 1949 (574/126)
STRIKEOUTS PER GAME
Fewest: 4.68, Klamath Falls, 1950 (855/140)
Most: 6.73, Pittsburg-Roseville, 1948 (754/112)
STOLEN BASES PER GAME
Most: 1.48, Klamath Falls, 1949 (183/124)
Fewest: 0.47, Klamath Falls, 1948 (59/126)
BATTING AVERAGE
Highest: .302, Klamath Falls, 1951
Lowest: .242, Pittsburg-Roseville, 1948
ON-BASE PERCENTAGE
Highest: .409, Klamath Falls, 1949
Lowest: .362, Pittsburg-Roseville, 1948
SLUGGING PERCENTAGE
Highest: .448, Redding, 1950
Lowest: .318, Pittsburg-Roseville, 1948
DOUBLES
Most: 250, Klamath Falls, 1948 (126 games)
TRIPLES
Most: 96, Klamath Falls, 1948 (126 games)
SACRIFICE HITS
Most: 99, Marysville, 1948 (123 games)
ERRORS PER GAME
Fewest: 1.94, Medford, 1950 (the only team in FWL
history with E/G<2)
Most: 3.30, Medford, 1948 (one of only two teams in
FWL history with E/G>3)
DOUBLE PLAYS PER GAME
Most: 1.04, Santa Rosa, 1949 (the only team in FWL
history with DP/G>1)
Fewest: 0.49, Medford, 1949

Klamath Falls set at least one offensive team record in each of the league’s four seasons!  The city’s elevation of 4,105 feet was the highest in the league in 1948 and ’49, and second to Reno (4,498 feet) in 1950 and ’51.  The next highest elevation was Medford (1,382 feet), followed by Redding (555 feet).  At the other end, Pittsburg is at 26 feet above sea level; Marysville and Vallejo are both below 100 feet.

The Pittsburg-Roseville franchise of 1948 (the team moved on August 5) was clearly the worst offensive team in the FWL history. Based on what’s printed in the 1949 Baseball Guide it appears those stats don’t include 10 games for which official box scores weren’t submitted. Runners-up in the “worst” categories in which Pittsburg-Roseville was the worst: Runs per game, Medford, 1949, 5.78; hits per game, Willows, 1948, 8.45; batting average, Willows, 1948, .251; on-base percentage, Marysville, 1948, .366; slugging percentage, Marysville, 1948, .336.

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2 thoughts on “The Far West League Record Book: Part 3, Team Batting and Fielding

  1. Joe Brown

    I’m really starting to find this fascinating. There is so much fun history in minor league baseball from the 20s thru the 6os that I like. Imagine fans leaving dollar bills stuck into the backstop for players. Some really incredible stuff and stories.
    Thanks JG

    Reply
    1. prestonjg Post author

      Hey, thank YOU, Joe! I would much rather spend my days hunched over the microfilm readers at the California State Library than doing my job…but I like what I do, I like the people I do it with, and the Far West League won’t pay the rent, so I’ll continue this project slowly but surely…

      Reply

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