Pacific Coast League

The original six-team membership consisted of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle. During its early years, the PCL battled several outlaw leagues for fan support; by 1909 it had established itself as the predominant Western baseball organization and remained so until the arrival of NL teams in 1958.
Thriving under strong local ownership, the PCL expanded to eight teams in 1919. A 200-game March-to-October schedule was the PCL norm, producing extraordinary season statistics such as Tony Lazzeri‘s 60 home runs and 222 RBI for Salt Lake City in 1925.

In the years following WWII, supported by minor league attendance records set in 1946-47 at San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles during close pennant races, a strong movement developed to grant the PCL major league status. Open Classification, just a step below major league level, was obtained in 1952. However, the transfer of the Dodgers and Giants in 1958 robbed the PCL of its largest cities and ended its major league aspirations.

“Coates,” wrote Jim Bouton in Ball Four of his skeletal former teammate, “could pose as the illustration for an undertaker’s sign. He has a personality to match … [and] was famous for throwing at people and then not getting into the fights that resulted.” Regardless of Bouton’s unflattering portrait, Coates was an effective pitcher for the Yankees in 1959-62, working both as a starter and reliever. He won 39 and lost only 15, with 15 saves. He benefited to an unusual extent from the strong offensive support the Yankees could offer.