Programs of the Far West League

I own just one FWL program, a Redding program from 1951.  But SABR member and collector of northwest baseball memorabilia Dave Eskenazi owns a few from Oregon teams that he allowed me to look at, scan, and share here.  The cover of a Klamath Falls program from 1950 was mostly a photo of Bob Rittenberg that I included in my most recent post.  But here are the covers of the other FWL programs I’ve seen:

A Medford Nuggets program from 1949

A Eugene Larks program from 1950

A Larks program from 1951...note there are stamps and a postmark on the cover, the areas where the cover shows damage must be where the mailing label was attached

The 1951 Redding Browns program from my collection

None of these publications show what ticket prices were…with the exception of the 1949 Medford program, which says that on designated Ladies Days women would be admitted for 25 cents general admission or 30 cents with a reserved seat.  But at least Eugene lets us know what concession prices were at the ballpark…first from 1950:

I’m curious as to what was considered “Eastern Beer” and what was “Western Beer” and why the Eastern stuff cost a nickel more.  At any rate “Eastern beer” was gone in 1951:

Cracker Jack has been added to the menu, and prices for most other items have gone up.

I’m sure nobody was making much money in Class D baseball in those days, certainly not the team owners…that’s why both the 1950 programs include incentives for fans to return foul balls.

From the 1950 Eugene program

From the 1950 Klamath Falls program...much the same language, but the Gems were twice as generous as the Larks

Players had a chance to add to their income with prizes that made it worth their while to play nice with fans…Medford’s most popular player in 1949 won a gold watch:

In Klamath Falls in 1950, the most popular guy got a $50 suit:

In Eugene in 1951, the prize was a watch:

In Medford in 1949 you could earn money by hitting a home run…at least if you hit it to the right place:

Home runs could also be a boon to fans in Medford in ’49:

Eugene offered an even more substantial prize for fans in 1951, when a local refrigerator dealer held a drawing for a free refrigerator!  You could enter as many times as you wished…but you had to go to the dealer to drop off your entries (and be lured by those marvelous machines):

The 1949 Medford program advised fans to go easy on the umpires:

I’ve seen a number of references in The Sporting News to fines and rowdiness related to umpires’ decisions in the FWL…a little more research into those will result in a future blog post.  But it would appear razzing and belittling was considered acceptable behavior.

“Lucky numbers” are still part of sport programs, in minor league baseball and many other low-budget forms of sports entertainment…the FWL had them too:

From the Medford program, 1949

From the Redding program, 1951

(An aside:  I’ve been very fond of lucky numbers since I won a thermos and an insulated cooler bag at a baseball game in Syracuse in 1980 thanksto my lucky number.  How great is that?)

Of course, the vast majority of the content of these programs is advertising, in an attempt to generate the revenue to keep the teams in business.  The Eugene team made that point rather gently in 1950:

In Klamath Falls in 1950, they were willing to provide an unidentified “souvenir” to encourage close reading of the ads:

Now let’s skim through just a few of the ads to get a flavor of the time…

From Eugene, 1950...old car prices are always fun to see

From Klamath Falls, 1950

From Medford, clothes was clearly women's work

From Eugene, 1951

From Eugene, 1950...4 Corners Garage breaks through the clutter with a "made-you-look" ad

And I’ll wrap this up with Eugene’s home schedule from 1951, which I’m including primarily for the clip art:

If you have any Far West League programs or other FWL items you’d be willing to sell, lend or share scans of, please drop me a line.

5 thoughts on “Programs of the Far West League

  1. Ian

    Cool stuff. Those old program designs are charming.

    That “eastern” and “western” beer thing piqued my curiosity. I did a Google News archive search and found an interesting 1948 Safeway ad from a Washington state newspaper. It lists Rainier, Olympia and Acme as examples of “western” beers, and Hamms, Schlitz and Blue Ribbon as “eastern” beers. The “eastern” list has the comment “Brands that mean quality” next to it, which could imply that the “western” beer was considered second-rate (though their owns ads touted its superiority).

    A semi-related piece of information I came across is that there was once an embargo on eastern and California beers in the Pacific Northwest. The head of the Teamsters wouldn’t allow them to ship their product into his region because their workers belonged to a different union. It apparently began sometime in the mid-1930’s and ended around 1946. Evidently the western and eastern breweries had a long history of seeing themselves as separate factions.

  2. Judy Kuhn

    I’m writing a children’s story about the first major league night game (Reds-Phillies, 1935). I’d like to mention the cost of concessions at the game. Your site is the only one I can find that mentions costs of food in the past. Do you have any information on costs in 1935? If you can help, I’ll give you a credit on the copyright page.
    In my story, the kids will go on a field trip not realizing they are going back in time.The story will not only discuss the players and new technology of lighted baseball, but also teach about the Great Depression.


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