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:
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:
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.
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:
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):
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:
(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:
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.