Jackson: PCL's Stars gave Hollywood a show to remember
From Josh Jackson at MiLB.com on December 12, 2017, with mention of SABR members Dick Beverage, Gaylon H. White:
When the Hollywood Stars began playing in the Pacific Coast League, the first talking picture had not yet been released. By the year their last game was played, it was the Golden Era of their namesake industry, with the studio system pumping out films such as The Bridge on the River Kwai, Peyton Place and Jailhouse Rock.
The Stars took the field in front of Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, Bing Crosby, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Gary Cooper, Gene Autry, Jayne Mansfield, Elizabeth Taylor and Cecil B. DeMille, all of whom were at some point involved with the promotion or ownership of the team.
But Hollywood wasn't just a Minor League club with the mid-century equivalent of a calendar full of celebrity-centric theme nights. In fact, there were two separate franchises with the team name, and both of them were a key part of the PCL's own golden age. They won five championships, played for devoted fans and were involved in one of the most notorious brawls in baseball history.
"When I was growing up, the reputation of the [big leagues didn't mean] all that much," wrote Chuck Stevens, who grew up in the West and played for the Stars from 1948-1955. "We heard about the World Series only in the newspapers. Sometimes we went down to the newspaper office to see the World Series played out on a magnetic board, but the [Majors] were far away, and so we cared much more about the Coast League."
Before the Dodgers and Giants relocated from New York City to California, the PCL was, so to speak, the only game in town.
- Related link: "When the Angels and Stars ruled Los Angeles," by Dick Beverage (The National Pastime, 2011)
This page was last updated December 18, 2017 at 12:17 pm MST.