The San Francisco Seals, 1946–1957

Interviews with 25 Former Baseballers

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About the Book

The San Francisco Seals were members of baseball’s Pacific Coast League from 1903 until 1958. Arguably the most successful minor league franchise ever, the Seals held the minor league attendance record from 1946 until it was broken by Louisville in the 1980s, and remained independently owned until 1956. The Seals were also Joe DiMaggio’s first team and many another major league star was on the team’s roster on his climb up the ranks.
This work is a collection of oral histories of players who took the field for the Seals from 1946 through 1957, just before the Giants came to San Francisco and when the Seals played their final game. Ferris Fain said of the 1946 Seals, “I just think that that was the best ballclub that I’ve ever played on, including major league. I mean, as a team.” Frank Seward, Don Trower, Jack Brewer, Roy Nicely, Neill Sheridan, Joe Brovia, Bill Werle, Con Dempsey, Dario Lodigiani, Lou Burdette, Ed Cereghino, Bill Bradford, Reno Cheso, Nini Tornay, Jerry Zuvela, Leo Righetti, Jim Westlake, Ted Beard, Chuck Stevens, Bob DiPietro, Don Lenhardt, Riverboat Smith, Jack Spring, and Bert Thiel also reminisce about their careers with the Seals.

About the Author(s)

Brent Kelley, a retired equine veterinarian from Lexington, Kentucky, is the author of numerous McFarland baseball books.

Bibliographic Details

Brent P. Kelley
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 299
Bibliographic Info: 68 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1188-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6250-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction     1

1903–1945: The Beginning through World War II     3

1946: The Best Ever?     8

1947: The First Tie     48

1948: Done in by Nine Old Men     75

1949: A New Regime     99

1950: .500 the Hard Way     116

1951: Good-Bye, Lefty     129

1952: Another New Regime     150

1953: Good-Bye, Paul Fagan     166

1954: The Little Corporation and the Kiddie Car Express     182

1955: Where Did Everyone Go?     201

1956: The Red Sox Move In     220

1957: Going Out a Winner     239

The Fans Are Still Here     267

Postscript     276

Appendix: Team and Individual Records     279

Bibliography     280

Index     283

Book Reviews & Awards

“provide[s] a splendid oral history of the Seals”—Sports Collectors Digest; “it was a very different time. And now, perhaps more than ever, it’s rewarding to travel back to that time and, through Kelley’s oral history, revisit men whose baseball lives were blessed even though most of them never made more than a few bucks playing it…chronicles the old-timers’ still-rich remembrances very well”—San Francisco Chronicle.