The Pacific Coast League has announced its 2017 Hall of Fame class, which includes Dick Beverage and Les Scarsella. Beverage is the founder and president emeritus of the Pacific Coast League Historical Society (PCLHS), while Scarsella logged stints with the Seattle Rainiers and Oakland Oaks.
Beverage served as the Historical Society’s President from its inception in 1987 through 2016 and remains active in the organization. While the Society was originally established to honor the early greats of the PCL, it has since recognized players from all eras. At its peak, the PCLHS had over 700 members, many of whom were former ballplayers. Beverage’s extensive work with the PCL began in the 1980s; he authored books on the Los Angeles Angels and Hollywood Stars franchises, sparking the interest of many fans and prompting the creation of the Historical Society. He since has written two other books on the League’s history.
The Nebraska native’s illustrious career spans beyond the PCL. Beverage also served 13 years on the Board of Directors for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). He was elected to terms as Vice President, Secretary and President. Under his leadership, SABR set a record with 7,195 members in 2006. Beverage received the Society’s highest accolade this year, being named the Bob Davids Award winner, which honors SABR members “whose contributions reflect the ingenuity, integrity, and self-sacrifice of past president, L. Robert Davids.”
The 81-year-old additionally spent 18 years as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Association of Professional Baseball Players of America (APBPA), which, since 1924, has provided financial assistance for professional baseball players (major and minor leagues), coaches, umpires, scouts and clubhouse personnel. Beverage resides in Placentia, California with his wife, Rae.
Scarsella enjoyed a renowned nine-year PCL career, 1941-1949, spending the final seven-plus seasons in Oakland. With the Oaks, Scarsella was twice named League MVP, was a member of the 1948 Championship club and won a batting title. In his second full season with Oakland, 1944, he hit a PCL-best .329, recorded the second most RBI (96) and triples (10) in the League and played in 156 of the Oaks 169 games en route to winning his first Most Valuable Player award. Two years later, Scarsella again accomplished that feat, despite missing the last two months with an injury. He led the Oaks that season, a club that finished as the PCL runner-up, in home runs (22) and RBI (91). Despite being limited to 111 games in 1948, Scarsella helped his team win the PCL Championship, as he finished among team leaders in RBI (72).
The Santa Cruz, California native began his PCL career with the Seattle Rainiers. He played 170 games and hit .322 in his first year with the club, one that culminated with a League Championship. After starting the 1942 season with the Rainiers, a team that went on to win their third consecutive PCL title, Scarsella’s contract was sold to Oakland.
Scarsella enjoyed a five-year Major League career that preceded his PCL time. He hit .284 with six home runs and 109 RBI for the Cincinnati Reds (1935-1937, 1939) and Boston Bees (1940). Major League clubs were again interested in Scarsella’s services in 1944 and 1945, but he opted to stay in the Coast League. Scarsella passed away at age 45 in December 1958.