Three separate senior level baseball leagues operated in Regina during the summer of 1915: (1) the City League, considered the strongest of the trio, had a semi-pro designation although most of the players received no remuneration for their services; (2) the Commercial League and (3) the Northside League, both of which were strictly for senior amateur baseballers. Teams from both the City and Commercial circuits plied their trade at Dominion Park where the Regina Red Sox of the 1914 Western Canada Baseball League had played their home games. Several players suited up for teams in more than one league.
The City League, a three-team operation, had the lengthiest schedule which began the first week in May. By mid-July, however, the weakest sister within the circuit, the Victorias, disbanded and their better players were then absorbed by the remaining two franchises. Prior to their folding, however, the Victorias had engaged in an exhibition game with a touring female professional team and had been ostracized by the Amateur Athletic Union for doing so. Furthermore, the AAU threatened to impose the same penalty upon members of other City League teams by the lifting of their amateur status for engaging in any game with the Victorias. This virtually sealed the fate of every player in the circuit as far as participation within Saskatchewan senior amateur playoffs was concerned. In order to maintain fan interest, the surviving teams, the Commercial Club and the Leaders, shifted their focus to playing more inter-city competition, sometimes an an all-star aggregation and other times at the club level. When the dust settled after the schedule concluded in August, the Leader team claimed the league pennant by a comfortable margin over the Commercial Club.
The Commercial League was composed of four entries and got underway in mid-May. A tight pennant race ensued between the Y.M.C.A. and Cockshutt Internationals with the “Y” aggregation finally emerging as regular season champions and recipients of the Wood Cup.
A neophyte loop, the Northside League, was the last of the three to get into official action, beginning operations on June 21 with four teams. The late start of the four entries in this loop was somewhat deceptive, however, in terms of their readiness as one of the teams, the Rovers, was known to have played sixteen exhibition games prior to their first league action. Any player who had ever played professionally was barred from performing in this association. Games within this circuit were all played at a renovated facility called McInnis Park. Record crowds of enthusiasts turned out witness action in this newly-formed loop as two of the member clubs, the Fleetfoots and the Whirlwinds battled tooth-and-nail into mid-September, finishing in a deadlock for top spot. A sudden-death playoff victory over the Fleetfoots on September 20 allowed the Whirlwinds to claim Northside supremacy.
From the content of the game reports published in the Regina Morning Leader, the offensive style of baseball played in these 1915 loops can best be described as “station-to-station” smallball. Speed, daring base running and place hitting were the order of the day. Bunting was a real weapon and was used extensively not only to advance runners but as a means of reaching base. The long ball was virtually extinct and it wasn’t until a City League game of August 9 that a home run was finally hit at Dominion Park.
The situation in southern Saskatchewan’s other most populous community, Moose Jaw, somewhat approximated that which occurred in Queen City senior baseball circles. Like the provincial capital, the Mill City had adjusted to professional baseball as played in the Western Canada Baseball League which, in 1915, had been put on hold following the onset of the Great European War.
A City League, composed of three squads. which was tabbed as being of semi-pro status plus a Commercial League, encompassing four member teams of strictly senior amateur players, both got off the ground during the spring. Exhibition Park was the venue used by both circuits for their tussles. Not unlike Regina’s City League, Moose Jaw’s top circuit experienced the sting of the provincial AAU. Following two exhibition appearances by a group of select players from the Moose Jaw City League against so-called teams of professionals from Caron and Mortlach, the Saskatchewan Amateur Athletic Union suspended the group of players from participating in any further amateur play. Further to that penalty, any team or group of players who played in a league or exhibition game with these suspended players would also be painted with the same brush and would have their amateur status revoked. So, in essence, the most talented diamondeers from both Regina and Moose Jaw had been disqualified from seeking any provincial laurels. Like their City League counterparts in Regina, the Moose Jaw City Leaguers continued in-house play with all participants now being tarnished as professionals by the Saskatchewan AAU. As well, all-star squads from both City Leagues intermittently met up with other so-called professional selects. The Kent & Browns team finished the schedule with the best record in league play.
Moose Jaw’s Commercial League played a very light schedule with the C.P.R. and Robin Hood squads performing the best.
The May first, 1915, edition of the Regina Morning Leader carried an advertisement for the Johnny Evers baseball glove (Model 10X for $1.50, the No. 25 for $3.00).
In 1915, Evers played second base for the Boston Braves but his legacy was cemented as part of the Chicago Cubs great double play combination with Joe Tinker and Frank Chance which was immortalized as “Tinker to Evers to Chance”.
The glove was distributed by Goldsmith Sporting Goods and sold in Regina by Canada Drug and Book Co.
The Saskatoon Young Liberals and the Hillhurst Hustlers captured amateur championships on the prairies.
(September 6) A three-run 7th inning carried the Saskatoon Young Liberals to a 7-5 win over Prince Alberta and the Saskatchewan amateur baseball championship. It was the deciding game in the best of three series. Behind 5-4, Brown opened the frame with a double to left and scored the tying run on a single by Hunter who came around to notch the winning run on Pete Houlding's base hit. Houlding scored an insurance run on a steal of home.
After Prince Albert had taken a 3-0 lead, Saskatoon roared by with four markers in the 3rd inning. They loaded the bases on a hit batsman and two walks. Houlding singled in a pair and another two scored on errors.
Thompson, Warren (L) (3) and Taylor
Lyle (W) and Andreen
(September 2) Prince Albert shaded Saskatoon 7-6 to even the best of three series at a game each in a game in which the Young Liberals blew a 4-0 lead. McNab and Clark each knocked in a pair of runs in the 1st inning to give Saskatoon the early advantage. But the northerners bounced back with four in the third as Neubaur drove in two and McEwen and Leitch each knocked in one. Prince Alberta took the lead with three in the 6th. Two scored on Brennan's safety and another came home on Oliver's single. Saskatoon rallied in the 9th with runs on McNab's second double and a hit by Doug Brown. Warren, who had 13 strikeouts, then fanned McKeller and Clark to end the game.
Warren (2) and Taylor
J. Brown (L) and Jones
(August 29) Scoring all six runs in the 3rd inning, Saskatoon Young Liberals downed Prince Albert 6-1 in the opening game of a best-of-three series for the provincial amateur championship. Lyle hurled a four-hitter for the victory. Saskatoon combined two doubles, two singles, two hit batsmen and a walk for their six run outburst. Houlding and Freer each knocked in a pair of runs. Lyle and Skinner drove in the others. All the damage came against Prince Albert starter Thompson. Warren, who relieved in the 4th, allowed just one hit and no runs in his five innings of work.
Thompson (L), Warren (4) and Taylor
Lyle (W) and Andreen
(September 6) At Calgary, the Hillhurst Hustlers captured the Alberta amateur baseball title edging the Edmonton Bearcats 4-3. Before a crowd of 5,500 Ab White pitched a seven-hitter and fanned 13, without a base on balls, to take the win. Patterson allowed just six hits in taking the loss. Down 1-0, the Hustlers tied the count with a run in the 5th and took the lead with the pair into the 6th. Edmonton rebounded with two runs in the 8th to tie but Calgary scored in the bottom of the 8th for the victory. Newt Ward (photo), who had driven in two runs with a double in the 6th, singled to knock in Cal Spence with the winning marker.
Patterson (L) and Dunlop
White (W) and Ward
(September 1) Hillhurst Hustlers used a 14-hit attack to down Borden Bearcats 9-3 in the opening game of the Alberta amateur baseball championship. Ross, with a triple and two singles, and Cal Spence each had three hits for the winners. Earl Lewis, Newt Ward and Stoddard each had a pair of safeties. Iron-man Ab White went the distance for the winners holding the Edmonton club to seven hits. He fanned 11 and walked two. Down 3-1 after four innings, Hustlers took the lead for good with a three-run outburst in the fifth. A single, a walk, a sacrifice and three errors put Calgary up 4-3.
White (W) and C. Ward
Burns (L), Patterson (6) and Dunlop
(August 30) Before 2,500 fans at Calgary, Hillhurst Hustlers won both ends of a double-header, 9-6 and 10-1, over Medicine Hat to advance to the final of the Alberta amateur baseball championship. Ab White was the hero for the winners hurling both games racking up 11 strikeouts in each game while not issuing a single base on balls. He allowed nine hits in the opener and seven in the second game. White had gone into action with a badly injured knee. As good sportsmen, the Hatters allowed the Calgary club to use a runner for White when he reached base. The Hustlers pounded out 13 hits, including a homer by Newt Ward, in the first game and ran up ten stolen bases, five by Cal Spence (photo) who led the offense with three safeties.
In the second game, Hustlers scored four times in the second inning and were never threatened as they whipped Medicine Hat 10-1. Spence, leading off for the Hillhurst nine, had two hits and scored twice. Frank Lewis had a double and triple among the Hustler's 13 hits.
Purdy (L), M. Cory (7) and W. Cory
White (W) and Turner
Hartley (L), Reem (2) and W. Cory
White (W) and C.Ward
(August 27) Down by a run with the game about to be called because of darkness at the end of the 7th inning, Hustlers' captain Newt Ward put on a one-man show to salvage a tie and keep alive the Hustlers' hopes of an Alberta championship. Ward led off the bottom of the 7th inning with his third hit, a single to centre field. On an attempt to steal second he got caught in a rundown but luckily made it safety to second when a throw hit him in the back of the head. He promptly stole third and, after a fly ball out, came home to score when Medicine Hat first baseman Smeaton made an error on a ground ball to first. In contrast to the opening game when Calgary made 10 errors, the Hustlers played error-free.
Hartley, Purdy and W. Cory
Adams, White (7) and C. Ward
(August 25) Medicine Hat scored twice in the bottom of the 9th inning to edge the Hustlers of Calgary 10-9 in the opening game of the semi-finals for the Alberta amateur title. The Hatters capitalized on 10 Hustlers' errors. Calgary had taken a 9-7 lead with four runs in the top of the 8th inning but the Hatters rebounded with one in the 8th and the pair in the final frame for the victory. Clarke and Reem led the attack for the winners each with three hits. Cal Spence had three for the Hustlers. Hartley picked up the win in relief of Purdy.
Adams (L) and C. Ward
Purdy, Hartley (W) (5) and Andrews
In British Columbia, a Japanese team from Victoria copped the provincial title.
(Sept 5, 1915) Victoria Nippons, champions of Island baseball, added the provincial championship to their honours when they downed the Vancouver Braves 8 to 3 Sunday
Kasahara (W) and Fujimori
Hojo (L) and Nuyajaki