At the mid-point of the Great Depression, 1934 was the year that Babe Ruth played his last game as a New York Yankee. Ironically, the player who would one day break the Bambino's career home run total, future baseball great Henry Aaron, first saw the light of day in 1934. The St. Louis Cardinals, the "Gashouse Gang" of the major leagues, proved to the baseball world that they could "walk the walk' as well as "talk the talk." A gallon of gas cost but 10 cents as Bonnie and Clyde led lives on the run until they were ambushed in May, just after the onset of the baseball season in southern Saskatchewan.
A format similar to the previous season was set in place for the 1934 Southern League campaign. The loop was to get along with three teams for the first-half with the Moose Jaw All-Stars, the two-time titlist Regina Nationals plus a new Queen City entry, the Young Liberals, replacing the Army & Navy squad of 1933. The two Regina entries used different venues as their home fields this season. The Nationals played twilight games at Park de Young while the Young Liberals hosted late games at Floodlight Park.
The original plan was that, after July 1, the Milestone Sioux would join the mix again, bringing the league's strength to four for the second half. First and second half winners would then play a three out of five series for the championship. Inter-league games with the Estevan, Arcola and Carlyle Lake division of the Border League were a consideration but never acted upon. As July approached, the Milestone franchise decided against entering so the circuit operated with the same three clubs that had begun the initial half.
As it turned out, the two-time Southern League and provincial champion Regina Nationals won both halves of the schedule, negating the need for a league playoff. No challenge was forthcoming from the Border League or any other south Saskatchewan area representative so the Nationals went directly into the provincial playdowns against the northern representatives, the Saskatoon All-Stars.
After five games of the best four out of seven final series had been played, the Nationals held a commanding three games to none lead with two games tied. Rather than make a return trip to Regina to complete the series, the Saskatoon team defaulted and the Nationals were declared Saskatchewan senior baseball champions once more.
There were no inter provincial playoffs arranged in 1934 so the Nationals had to be content with the odd exhibition game appearance while still basking in their success. Near the end of August, it was announced that a barnstorming band of American League players would be making an exhibition game appearance in Regina on October 9 so this gave, not only the players on the Nationals' roster, but also a few of the Young Liberals' players something to look forward to as they packed their baseball gear away and began to concentrate on football and hockey.
Baseball was thriving in Alberta with strong independent teams, including the Pucksters in Calgary, two leagues in Edmonton, and circuits in Central and Southern Alberta along with a league in the Crow's Nest Pass area and a Border loop with teams from Alberta and Saskatchewan. (At this point, Crow's Nest Pass ball did not include teams from British Columbia.)
Below - Photos from Winnipeg baseball in 1934.
The top picture shows the J.J. Kohns barnstorming team playing in Winnipeg in 1934. The advertising sign in left field is for Sweet Caporal cigarettes. The nature of the building behind the sign is unknown, but surely a public building or some sort. It wasn't possible to make out the ad signs in left centre field.
The bottom photo shows the Winnipeg park view from right field. The signs long the first base side are for Wesley Pharmacy, Hurtig's Furs, Unclaimed Clothes and Beefex. (Larger images at the bottom)