Monday, April 5, 2010

Van Fletcher, pitcher (1924-2010)

Van Fletcher joined the Vancouver Capilanos in 1952. He's shown here in a rare card distributed in boxes of popcorn sold at Capilano Stadium. Courtesy the David Eskenazi Collection. BELOW: After baseball, Fletcher became a building contractor and tobacco farmer in his native North Carolina.

By Tom Hawthorn
Special to The Globe and Mail
April 5, 2010

Van Fletcher pitched a no-hit, no-run game for the Vancouver Capilanos baseball team in 1953.

The no-no, as such displays of excellence are known in baseball parlance, came just three days afternoon teammate Clarence Marshall achieved the same feat. The August no-hitters were the first in the entire Western International League that season.

Mr. Fletcher came close to throwing a perfect game, as he issued no walks. The only Yakima (Wash.) Bears baserunner came in the first inning when the pitcher bobbled a ground ball. Yakima batters managed to hit only five balls to the outfield.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-hander had two strong seasons with the Capilanos, recording 12 wins against 10 losses in 1952. He went 17-13 in the following campaign.

In 1955, the Detroit Tigers of the American League used the North Carolina product in nine games in relief. He gave up four earned runs in 12 innings.

Mr. Fletcher began his professional career in his home state with the Elkin Blanketeers of the Blue Ridge League. (The Class-D team took its name from a local textile mill known for its blanket making.) In nine pro seasons, he also threw for the Tyler (Tex.) Trojans, the Amarillo (Tex.) Gold Sox, the Little Rock (Ark.) Travelers, the Charleston (W.V.) Senators, the Birmingham (Ala.) Barons, the Buffalo Bisons, and the Seattle Rainiers.

An older brother, Guy, whose nickname was Grumpy, pitched in the minors for 21 seasons.

Van Fletcher retired from baseball to become a building contractor. He also farmed tobacco.

Alfred Vanoide Fletcher was born on Aug. 6, 1924, at East Bend, N.C. He died on March 17 at Yadkinville, N.C. He was 85. He leaves his wife, Rilla; two sons; and, four grandchildren. He was predeceased by a sister and three brothers.

2 comments:

Moonpea said...

Hi, do you happen to know whether Grumpy Guy Fletcher had a son also called Guy Fletcher (who would be about 70 now)? He went to Berkley and was a pharmacist and had a son called Brian (now about 40)? Any information would be gratefully received.Thank you!
P P-G

Cosqui said...

I've heard wonderful stories about this dude. Thanks for share the information I'll read more about him. Keep sharing.

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