1964 Western Canada Snapshots     

1964 Saskatoon Blues 11964 Saskatoon Blues 21964 Saskatoon Blues 41964 Saskatoon Blues 4

1964 Saskatoon Blues of the Western Canada Baseball League. Click any of the above for larger versions. Photos from the Saskatchewan Archives Board StarPhoenix Collection.

Left (Archive photo #S-SP-B 28705-1) left to right - Ray Lamb P, Bill Schmidt 2B, Jim Rupe OF, Fergie Olver OF.

Second from the left (#S-SP-B 28705-2) left to right - Frank Reberger P, Larry McDonald P, Steve Cahoon P, Phil Capka P.

Third from the left (#S-SP-B 28705-3) left to right - Lyle Olsen 2B/MGR, Butch Rounsaville P.

Extreme right (#S-SP-B 28705-4) left to right - Bruce Carmichael SS, Steve Simon P, Tom Brogan 3B, Dick Balestri C .

Lethbridge CardinalsLethbridge CardinalsLethbridge Cardinals

The Lethbridge Cardinals of the Western Canada Baseball League.  Again, click any of the photos for a larger version. Photos from the Saskatchewan Archives Board StarPhoenix Collection.

Left (Archive photo #S-SP-B 28704-1) left to right - xxx. xxx, Gary Johnson, xxx

Centre (#S-SP-B 28704-2) left to right - Bill Schroeder 1B, Roger Sugimoto, xxx , xxx

Right (#S-SP-B 28704-3) left to right  - xxx, Ed White 1B/3B (?), Bill Kagy C/OF, Howard Lowder (?)

Calgary Giants Big FourEdmonton win

Left - Calgary Giants pin their hopes on a big four - left to right - infielder Jim Flammini, playing manager Ben Hines, outfielder Joe Keough and pitcher-outfielder Doyle Lyman.

Right - Edmonton skipper Clark Rex enjoys a win, a playoff victory over the Calgary Giants.  In on the celebration are pitcher George Fowlkes (left) and shortstop Louis Smith (right).

Orville FranchuckLarry McDonaldRichie Johnson

Above left - Edmonton's Orville Franchuk, the Oilers' opening day starter. Middle - Saskatoon's Larry McDonald takes a breather after allowing back-to-back home runs. Right - Richie Johnson, right-hander for Calgary Giants, an import from Mount San Antonio College.

Calgary trio

Calgary pals, Darrell Tatem, Harvey Smith, outfielder Joe Keough

Olsen & BalchMcFadden at bat

Left - Saskatoon's Lyle Olsen puts the tag on Edmonton's Ken Balch at third. Right - Tom McFadden of Calgary at bat, Dick Balestri of Saskatoon is the catcher and umpire Gordon Ross.

Edmonton trioAndrens safe

Left - Anxious to get started - American imports Gail Hopkins and Shelley Andrens arrive at the ball park, suitcases in tow, to join homebrew Orville Franchuk in pre-season workouts. Right - Edmonton's Shelly Andrens slides safely into third base as Ed White of Lethbridge awaits the throw.

Mount San Antonio Jr. CollegeGreg Conger


Left - The Western Canada Baseball League recruited most of its players from California colleges and high schools.  Four members of the Mount San Antonio College squad (of Walnut, California) suited up in Western Canada in 1964 - Darrell Tatem, Mike Steele, Jim Flammini and Rich Johnson.  San Antonio won the Eastern Conference and Southern California championships. 

Front (left to right)  Allyn Ayon, Greg Kritzer, Tatem, Don Bowman, Steele, Flammini, Bill Bryan.  Standing (left to right) - Bruce Young,  Johnson, coach John Arrambide.  (Los Angeles Times, June 21, 1964)

Above right - The Lethbridge Cardinals enticed high school star Greg Conger to join the WCBL squad.  Conger, pitching for Lynwood High School in Los Angeles, had been named the Player of the Year after finishing 14-0 with an ERA of 0.29 as Lynwood captured the city championship.  The left hander struck out 94 and walked just 7. (Los Angeles Times, June 18, 1964)

League execs



Planning for the new season, executives of the four Western Canada League franchises.

Left to right - John Carbray, Calgary, Spero Leakos, Saskatoon, Clark Rex, Edmonton, Dan Royer, Lethbridge.


Saskatoon's Spero Leakos, a mainstay in keeping baseball alive on the prairies, was always on the lookout for recruits for his Commodores. 

May 6, 1964 letter to the coach of the baseball team at the University of British Columbia, Frank Gnup :

The Western Canada Baseball League is going to operate this year with teams in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Saskatoon. 

I am definitely going to operate out of Saskatoon this year.

I am very much interested in this boy John Haar.  If he is interested in playing in Saskatoon I would appreciate hearing from him.

John HaarJohn Haar ended up signing with the Yankees and played for parts of three seaons in the minor leagues while he attended UBC and became an oustanding performer in soccer, football and baseball. 

He was inducted into UBC's Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2002, Haar was appointed as Director of Baseball Operations for the Canadian Baseball League in 2003. He had been head coach of the National Baseball Institute for 13 years, three years as head coach of the Canadian National Youth Team and three as head of the Canadian National Team.