As I write this, the temperature has dropped to 46 degrees here in Omaha, Neb., reminding me yet again that the MiLB season is over. But we can always talk baseball. Today I'm starting a series featuring the MVPs of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) dating back to 1946, the first season the league competed in Triple-A.
Oakland first baseman and outfielder Les "Scar" Scarsella led the league in hitting (.332/.403/.558), but didn't win the battling title that season because he missed the last two months of the season due to injury. The left-handed slugger still finished tied for second in the league in home runs with 22 and was third with 91 RBIs, which was enough to earn him MVP honors.
Check out his old school swing in this video:
Scarsella played 265 games in the major leagues from 1936-1940 with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Bees. He had a good year for the Reds in 1936, hitting .313/.335/.412 (OPS+106 in 115 games) but couldn't hold a big league job long-term. He loved the PCL - which was affectionately referred to as the "Coast League" during that era. He loved it so much that later in his career he wanted to stay in the PCL rather than go back up to the majors even though major league clubs came calling in 1944 and ‘45 - a fact that is mentioned in his obituary and on this tribute page to the Oaks.
It should be noted that league president Clarence H. "Pants" Rowland wanted the PCL to become a third major league around this same time (check out this PCL promo video from 1946 in which Rowland says as much), so there probably wasn't as clear of a demarcation between the majors and PCL as we know it today.
The Oaks lost the PCL Championship Series to San Francisco in 1946. But at the age of 34, Scarsella went on to become one of Casey Stengel's "nine old men" who won the PCL title in 1948. Stengel managed the club from 1946-48.
Scarsella retired in 1949 and passed away nine years later at the young age of 44 from a heart ailment.