Card: 1949 Remar Bread
The nucleus of a formidable Oakland Oaks team that captured the 1948 Pacific Coast League title was commonly referred to in the media as “the nine old men.” The roster included such notable ex-major leaguers as 40-year-old Ernie Lombardi (who was Les' best man at his wedding), Cookie Lavagetto and Billy Raimondi — both past 35. Relative youngsters (at 34) included Jim Tobin, Nick Etten — and first baseman/outfielder Les Scarsella, whose modest big-league career had ended in 1940.
Leslie George Scarsella (November 23, 1913 – December 16, 1958) was born in Santa Cruz, Ca. He was an American professional baseball player of the 1930s and 1940s. A first baseman and left fielder, he was the two-time Most Valuable Player of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and appeared in 265 games in Major League Baseball over all or part of five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (1935–37; 1939) and Boston Bees (1940). He was voted into the Pacific Coast league Hall of Fame in 2017.
Scarsella hit .313 in 1936 for the Reds as the everyday first baseman. However, he was reduced to a part-time role thereafter and did not thrive. Additionally, Les' MLB career was interrupted in 1940 as, enroute to Spring Training in Florida, his car collided with a coal truck killing his wife and slightly injuring him and his two year old daughter.
Scarsella returned to the West Coast in 1941 and launched a successful nine-year tenure in the top-level Pacific Coast League, hitting over .300 six times and winning MVP honors in 1944 (when he was the league's batting champion) and 1946. Scarsella spurned the opportunity to return to the majors during the World War II manpower shortage, saying he preferred to remain in his native California rather than return to the East or Midwest to play in the majors.
After retirement from baseball, Les ran a popular tavern across the street from the Oakland Oaks ballpark. Scarsella died from a heart ailment in San Francisco nine years after his career ended. He was 45 years of age.
Daily Review sports writer Sid Hoos succinctly expressed the following sentiment regarding Les’s passing: “In his time and place, Les Scarsella was a big man, now he’s gone and an era with him."
Les is part of the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Les is also part of the Cincinnati Reds Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See all of Les’ baseball cards at TCDB
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