The Pacific Coast League has unveiled its 2018 Hall of Fame class, featuring historian and collector Dick Dobbins and outfielder Marv Gudat. The two newest members receive the illustrious honor in the 75th anniversary season of the League’s first Hall of Fame Class. Dobbins, the third historian enshrined, and Gudat are two of the 110 total members.
Dobbins’ involvement with the Pacific Coast League began at an early age. The California native began photographing PCL players in the late 1940’s, and through the next decade, his collection of baseball memorabilia continued to grow. The San Francisco Seals entrusted him to put together a pictorial history of their franchise that was featured in their publications. Dobbins’ showcased his passion for the PCL and sports collecting by hosting a weekly show at the high school he taught – Acalanes High School in Lafayette, California – for over a decade.
The graduate of University of California-Berkeley continued to share his interest in the Pacific Coast League through numerous exhibits and the authoring of two books, Nuggets on the Diamond: Professional Baseball in the Bay Area from the Gold Rush to the Present and The Grand Minor League: An Oral History of the Old Pacific Coast League.
Dobbins also organized PCL player reunions in Northern California. Following his death in 1999, the reunions were renamed Dick Dobbins’ PCL Player Reunion. The majority of his collection has since been donated to the California Historical Society in San Francisco, which will allow many others to benefit from Dick’s passion for the game.
Gudat played professionally for 20 seasons, the last 13 of which were divided among four PCL teams. The Texas native was a key contributor on three Los Angeles Angels championship teams. After a 69-game stint across two seasons in Major League Baseball, Gudat’s distinguished PCL career began in 1933. He hit a PCL career-best .333 over 183 games for a Los Angeles club that won their first of back-to-back titles. The following season, Gudat played in all the Angels’ 188 games and hit 14 triples; both totals matched the League-best for the 1934 campaign. The Angels would win 137 games that year, the most ever in organized baseball for a single-season; over eight decades later, that team is still widely regarded as one of Minor League Baseball’s best-ever.
In 1935, Gudat again topped the League in games played – playing in 176 contests – while hitting over .300, a feat he accomplished for seven of his seasons in the PCL. Two years later, in his final full season with the Angels, Gudat hit .332, a mark that was third-best in the League. He began the next campaign with the Angels, a team that would go on to win another PCL Championship, before joining the Oakland Oaks later in the year.
Gudat would play for Oakland, the Hollywood Stars and the San Diego Padres over the following seven and half seasons, hitting .291 in that time while playing an average of 129 games each season.