1955 . . . Last again, but wait 'til next year

1955 Stats
1955 Rosters
1955 Tournaments
1955 Saskatoon Royals (Fastball) 
1955 Lexington Minute Men 

WESTERN CANADA LEAGUE      
Saskatoon Gems 46 20  
Edmonton Eskimos 42 23 3.5
Moose Jaw Mallards 34 29 10.5
Regina Braves 30 36 16.0
North Battleford Beavers 23 43 23.0
Lloydminster Meridians 19 43 25.0
1955 Game Reports
1955 Playoffs/Global Series 
1955 Photo Gallery 
1955 Snapshots
1955 Lloydminster Team Photo
1955 Edmonton Eskimos
1955 Saskatoon Gems
1955 Moose Jaw Mallards
1955 Canada's Global Series Team

SASKATCHEWAN
SOUTHERN LEAGUE
     
Regina Red Sox 20 6  
Assiniboia Aces 15 10 4.5
Weyburn Beavers 13 13 7.0
Notre Dame Hounds 13 13 7.0
Moose Jaw Lakers 12 14 8.0
Avonlea Arrows 6 8 8.0
Regina Royal Caps 10 15 9.5
Estevan Maple Leafs 8 18 12.0
1955 Game Reports 
1955 Photo Gallery  
1955 Snapshots 
1955 Regina Jr. Cardinals  
1955 Notre Dame Hounds

NORTHEASTERN SK LEAGUE
NESBL History
       
ALBERTA
FOOTHILLS-WHEATBELT LEAGUE
Vulcan Elks 15 3  
Granum White Sox 11 7 4.0
Picture Butte Indians 6 12 9.0
Lethbridge Miners 4 14 11.0
1955 Game/Tournament Reports
1955 Photo Gallery
1955 Snapshots
1955 Vulcan Elks
1955 Granum White Sox
1955 Nanton-Stavely Combines
       
NORTHERN ALBERTA
1955 Beverly Edmonton Drakes
       
MANITOBA      
MANDAK LEAGUE      
Bismarck Barons 47 31  
Williston Oilers 41 37 6.0
Minot Mallards 38 40 9.0
Dickinson Packers 30 48 17.0
(Minot over Dickinson 4-0 in the playoff final)
1955 Game Reports/Playoffs
1955 Photo Gallery
1955 Snapshots
1955 Williston Oilers
 
GREATER WINNIPEG SENIOR LEAGUE  
St. Boniface Native Sons, Transcona Railroaders, C.U.A.C. Blues, RCAF Buffaloes
1955 Game Reports 
1955 Snapshots      
1955 Manitoba Photo Gallery 
1955 St. Boniface Native Sons  
1955 Brandon Cloverleafs
       
BRITISH COLUMBIA       
VANCOUVER SENIOR LEAGUE
White Spots
16
8
Lucky Royals
14
11
2.5
Collingwood
11
15
6.0
Marpole North Stars
9
16
7.5
Lucky Royals captured the City Senior League title downing North Stars in the playoff final.
       
VANCOUVER INDUSTRIAL LEAGUE
Boilermakers, CYO, Firefighters, Longshoremen, Nisei, Western Bridge

Nisei won the league championship
downing Western Bridge in the playoff final.
 
NORTHWEST SEMI-PRO LEAGUE
Bellingham, Blaine Air Force, Blaine Boosters,, Burnaby, Deming, Whalley
 
DEWDNEY LEAGUE
Chilliwack Monarchs, Haney-Hammond,, Maillardville Athletics, Mission Aces, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody
 
LOWER ISLAND SENIOR AMATEUR LEAGUE Duncan Athletics, Victoria Capitals, Victoria Eagles, Victoria Farmer’s Construction
 
MID-ISLAND SENIOR AMATEUR LEAGUE 
Alberni Athletics, Chemainus Red Sox, Nanaimo Sport Centres, Parksville Loggers, Port Alberni Cubs
 
COMOX DISTRICT BASEBALL LEAGUE 
Campbell River Cougars, Cumberland Cubs, Comox RCAF Knights, Comox Valley Tigers, Courtenay Legion
 
OKANAGAN MAINLINE LEAGUE
Oliver OBCs
15
5
Summerland Macs
14
6
1.0
Kamloops Okonots
12
8
3.0
Penticton Red Sox
10
10
5.0
Kelowna Orioles
5
15
10.0
Vernon Canadians
4
16
11.0
       
BC INTERIOR LEAGUE      
Kamloops Jay_Rays
13
2
North Kamloops Mohawks
10
5
3.0
Revelstoke Spikes
8
6
4.5
Rutland Adanacs
8
7
5.0
Vernon Silver Stars
4
10
8.5
Head of Lake Bluebirds*
1
14
12.0
* Bluebirds dropped out of the league after a 1-7 start (teams were automatically given a win for a scheduled start against the Bluebirds for the rest of the summer).
       
BC CENTRAL INTERIOR LEAGUE
Prince George Athletics,  Prince George Canadas,  Quesnel Clippers,  Quesnel Lumbermen,  U.S.A.F. Yankees,  Willow River Red Sox
1955 Vancouver Game Reports
1955 BC Interior Game Reports 
1955 VCR Island Game Reports     
1955 BC Photo Gallery  
1955 BC Snapshots
1955 North Kamloops Mohawks     
1955 Courtenay    
1955 Haney    
       
ONTARIO
INTERCOUNTY LEAGUE  
Oshawa Merchants 33 17  
Kitchener Panthers 26 24 7.0
St. Thomas Elgins 26 24 7.0
London Majors 24 26 9.0
Brantford Red Sox 24 26 9.0
Galt Terriers 17 33 16.0
1955 Game Reports  
1955 Photo Gallery
 
SOUTH DAKOTA / NEBRASKA
BASIN LEAGUE
Huron Elks 27 15  
Yankton Terrys 25 17 2.0
Valentine Hearts 23 19 4.0
Watertown Lake Sox 23 19 4.0
Winner Pheasants 19 23 8.0
Pierre Cowboys 18 24 9.0
Chamberlain Chiefs 17 25 10.0
Mitchell Kernels 16 26 11.0
Yankton defeated Valentine in the playoffs to win the league title. 
1955 Game Reports  
1955 Photo Gallery 
1955 Snapshots  
1955 Valentine Hearts
       
MINNESOTA      
SOUTHERN MINNY LEAGUE
Fairmont Martins
33
15
Faribault Lakers
31
18
2.5
Rochester Royals
29
19
4.0
Albert Lea Packers
29
20
4.5
Mankato Merchants
20
28
13.0
Winona Chiefs
19
29
14.0
Austin Packers
17
31
16.0
Waseca-Owatonna Twins
15
33
18.0
1955 Minnesota Photo Gallery    
1955 Minnesota Snapshots   
1955 Fairmont Martins   
1955 Albert Lea Packers   
1955 Winona Chiefs   
       
       
       

 

Schedule 1955
Lloydminster overcame the doom and gloom from the 1954 season and charged ahead with an entry in the revised loop for 1955.  

Edmonton and Regina were in, Indian Head and Rosetown out, and the loop became the Western Canada Independent Baseball League.

There was an added incentive this season. The league champions would represent Canada at the inaugural Global World Series in Milwaukee.

The Edmonton Eskimos would win the league championship with a thrilling 5-1, 13 inning victory over the Saskatoon Gems in the deciding game of the best-of-seven final.  

The Eskimos, however, didn't make the trip to Milwaukee.  Apparently, the Eskimos didn't want to go along with an agreement to add other players to the roster.  Thus, the league decided upon a combined entry, with Saskatoon Gems as the core. 

The Gems finished third in the global event.  However, Cliff Pemberton walked away with the trophy as the best hitter of the tournament.  Pemberton also won the batting crown during the regular season.

The Meridians would again finish last -- with a worse record than in their debut season of 1954.

Don StewartThere was considerable turnover at the top. Only one of the managers from '54 was back at the helm -- Ralph Mabee of Saskatoon. The Meridians brought in Don Stewart (left).  The Beavers went with Ken Nelson, Moose Jaw turned to Roy Taylor, Regina brought in Pete Beiden, and Edmonton had Jim Ryan (who took over after Roy Carlson left for a teaching job in Germany).

Charlie BoganDale BloomSouthpaw Charlie Bogan (left) of Saskatoon was the league's top winner with 12 wins.

Edmonton righthander Dale Bloom (right) captured the ERA title with a mark of 1.72. Bogan was third at 2.38.

Pemberton bat king

Cliff PembertonJim ShirleyCal BauerMario Herrera

Saskatoon 3B Cliff Pemberton (left), in his first full season in the league, won the batting title with a .360 average.  It would be Pemberton's first of three Western Canada batting championships. 

Jim Shirley (2nd from left) the Saskatoon catcher finished second at .337 and Edmonton outfielder Cal Bauer (3rd from left) was third with a .336 average. Bauer led the league in homers with 10. Mario Herrera (right) of Saskatoon was tops in stolen bases with 30.

Barney BrownBarney Brown said he was 42, but the records indicate he was really 47.  Still, the long time star of the Negro Leagues had an incredible season. According to the official statistics he made 10 starts for the Meridians -- all complete games.

Brown finished with an ERA of 2.90, fifth best in the league.  However, the officials stats are incomplete.  One game not registered was a season-ending 11 inning, 12 strikeout performance in a game that ended in a 2-2 tie.  So, 11 starts, 11 complete games, an ERA under 3.00.  Not bad for a slim lefty just shy of 50. And, he'd return for another season. (Photo courtesy Chuck McGuigan)

There were some pretty good teenagers too.  

18-year-old Charlie Bogan led the league with twelve wins. Ted Ellis won nine and finished with an ERA of 2.50.

Kirby PainThe season also featured Kirby Pain's (left) no-hitter and Pain's scoreless streak of 30 2/3s innings.

Edmonton pulled off a triple play.  Art Worth hit for the cycle. Saskatoon's Cliff Pemberton and Regina's owner, Denny Evenson got into a punch up during a game.

North Battleford played games in two different cities the same day, and lost both. The Gems won 14 in a row. Lloydminster and Regina hooked up in a contest which produced 24 hits, 24 walks, 9 errors and 28 runs.


Superstitious?  Not Saskatoon.  In early July, Gems punched out 13 hits for 13 runs to beat Lloydminster for their 13th straight win, 13-7. 

A pitcher's best friend.  Meridians' catcher Dick Barry picked off six baserunners during a double-header at Lloydminster.

Lou Hague of Moose Jaw had eleven straight hits.

And, the losing team got to represent Canada at the Global World Series.


The Meridians traded their best pitcher for a hitter.  In fact, the club ended up moving both Max Weekly and Darrell Martin to Moose Jaw in a deal which brought Collins Jones, Bill Duft and Kirby Wyllie to Lloydminster.  

Ironically, Weekly and Martin finished with a higher, combined batting average than Jones (.300 to .285) .  On the hill, the California hurlers each won seven games. 

At the end of the season it was reported that Weekly had signed a contract with the New York Yankees and was to report to Quincy of the Class B, Three-Eye League. 


Denny CochraneOutfielder Denny Cochrane (left) of the Regina Red Sox became the new batting king of the Southern League, edging out Assiniboia Aces' versatile Gord Skjerven by a marginal .006 percentage points in winning the 1955 title with a .398 average. Cochrane also led or tied for the lead in 4 of the 5 offensive categories. The Crimson Hose fly-chaser cracked out the most hits, 35, scored the greatest number of runs, 31, and tied for the lead in doubles and triples.

Another Red Sox player, righthanded pitcher Tom Leverick, topped the league's hurlers in winning percentage with an unblemished 5 - 0 record.

The youthful Reginans won the regular season battle by a comfortable four and a half game margin and extended their dominance into the playoffs by knocking off the Notre Dame Hounds in straight games in a semi-final set and then coming back from a two games to none deficit to defeat the Weyburn Beavers to take the post-season spoils.


No-hitter          2nd no-hitter

Some of the local kids did OK too. The paper may have had some trouble with the name, but Dick Doekper had no trouble with the hitters.  A month after this one, he did it again.  The Saskatchewan junior won a spot on the club at Roy Taylor's College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA and later would suit up with Pete Beiden's Fresno State Bulldogs.  (Saskatoon Star Phoenix, July 15, 1955 & August 16, 1955)

" ... Dick Doepker played for me [at COS] and was outstanding, one of our top pitchers. He went on to Fresno State and three years of pro ball.  Then they didn't move young kids up. They didn't trust them and if they were college kids they hated them ... he came back to school ... became a principal of one of the biggest high schools in Visalia ... very, very outstanding …  one of the top educators in the whole area".  -- Roy Taylor, 2001


It's almost over !
August 23rd, 1955. It was nearly over for the "hapless Meridians".

In spite of the headline, there was a final game to go and, while the Meridians didn't win the finale, they didn't lose either!


In a replay of 1954,  Jack Altman and the Vulcan Elks won the pennant in the Foothills-Wheatbelt League only to be beaten by Granum in the playoffs.  The White Sox went on to capture their second straight Alberta title downing Cold Lake in the provincial finals.  Granum also won the Lacombe tournament and came second, to the Foothills-Wheatbelt All-Stars, in the Lethbridge Rotary tourney.


Greg Seastrom : "Jack called and had convinced them (Vulcan) to add another player.  The worst part was he told them they needed a third pitcher and he let them know I could pitch. I was not a pitcher.  I had pitched enough to know how to step on the mound and not to balk, but I certainly didn't have any ability at it.  But, that didn't bother me at the time."

"We got room and we got two-hundred dollars a month, cash.  Twice a month we would report to the bank and we would get a one-hundred dollar bill ... a full-course dinner was one-dollar."

"We would dress at home. The little ballparks didn't have facilities. It was not uncommon to see, at a dance after the game,  ball players still in their uniforms out on the dance floor."

In the early years, there was an expectation that the "imports" would also have some "real" jobs in the community.

Jack Altman :  "One of the jobs I had was lifting big, heavy boulders into a pickup truck.  I did that a day or two and said I don't think I can pitch well if I keep doing this.  So I didn't have to do it anymore ... Once, several of us had jobs driving tractors from Vulcan to Lethbridge."

Greg Seastrom :  "I learned quite a lot about grain elevators as the manager of the elevator had a few jobs he didn't like to do.  


Workers at the Wesley Ranch
John Pederson (left), Al Malarchuk (centre) and Willie Walasko (right) worked on the Wesley Ranch when not playing ball for Wesley's Granum White Sox.  

"George had us painting the farm buildings, maintaining the ball park in town, hauling building materials for the hired carpenters that were adding new barns, cattle and hay sheds. I did this for two summers and went to school in the winters. 

It was a good experience and it kept us fit and busy.  We dressed like the workmen we were on the ranch and ate in the cookhouse with the cowboys." (Bill Walasko, February 2001.  Photo courtsey of Bill Walasko)


Roy WeatherlyThe ManDak League became an all-American circuit with the loss of Carman and Brandon.  Bismarck and Dickinson were the new entries.  Bismarck, which finished on top during the regular schedule, was upset in the final as Minot won the title in four straight games and took the championship for the fourth consecutive season. 

Roy Weatherly (right) of Williston punched out three hits on the final day of the regular season to win his second straight batting title with a .371 mark.  He also led the league in homers, setting a ManDak record with 21. 

Preston Elkins of Williston finished with a 7-0 mark and 2.34 ERA but was five innings short of qualifying for the ERA title.  Minot's Sugar Cain claimed the honour with a 2.94 mark and had 92 strikeouts to lead the league for the second straight season.

Were they THAT obvious?  The Minot Daily News of August 5, 1955 reported : " A crowd of 950 fans, plus 99 Canadian guests ... ". 


Right-hander Mel Duncan, who joined Minot in mid-season, had quite a time in the Negro League before jumping to the ManDak loop.  June 30th he fired a no-hitter for the Detroit Stars at Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Stars topped Memphis Red Sox 4-0 in a Negro American League contest.  Later, Duncan would start for the East All-Stars in the 23rd annual East-West All-Star Classic.  Satchel Paige was on the hill for the West.