The Granum / Lethbridge Reunion, 2000     

Gordie 1956Gordie, 2000

OK.  How did he do it? 

1956 to the 2000 Reunion.  The '56 uniform still fits.  

And, I think he's taller !

Gord Vejprava

Reunion Pictures ! 

Scroll to the bottom for the list of participants and some people we are still trying to track down.

 

Overheard at the Lethbridge reunion :
 
Jack Altman to Jim Lester  "Jim, we have to have an old-timers game!"
 
Jim to Jack  "Jack, there aren't enough paramedics in Lethbridge to handle us."


George WesleyFrom the dirt and stubble fields of southern Alberta four and five decades ago, arose corporate tycoons, airline pilots, educators, businessmen, major leaguers, coaches and scouts, administrators, hockey stars, ranchers, developers, a Provincial Court Judge, a "behind the scenes" film and television star, the owner of a major league club and much more.  

They gathered in the southern Alberta city for three days to salute the leadership of George Wesley (right) who formed those prairie nines in Granum and Lethbridge so many years ago. 

" ... If any man can be singled out as the key figure in bringing about the tremendous improvement in the calibre of baseball in Southern Alberta, this man certainly was George Wesley.

It all started many years ago when he was a ballplayer and then an umpire.  In 1938 he formed his own team in Wrentham, and after moving his business operations to Granum, his name became synonymous with baseball in Southern Alberta.

He had always a soft spot in his heart for good baseball, but it was around 1950 that he decided to form a club that all Alberta would remember and respect.  The result was the famous Granum White Sox, a team that won everything there was to win in Alberta Senior Baseball circles.

George was instrumental in the formation of the Southern Alberta Baseball League and the Granum White Sox were the Foothills Wheatbelt League Champions for many years.  They were the Alberta Senior Baseball Champions in 1954, '55, '56, '57 and '58.  Besides winning the Provincial Championship, they won most of the big-money baseball tournaments played in those years.

1956 was a banner year for the Granum White Sox, when, with power in every department, they were the winningest baseball club in the province.  They won the Foothills Wheatbelt League title and the Provincial Championship for Senior Baseball.  They also won the top prize money in the Lethbridge Rotary Club Tournament, the Worland, Wyoming Tournament, the Lacombe Lions' Club Tournament, the Calgary Buffalo Stadium Tournament, and came second in the Fernie Tournament. Besides the top prize money they were awarded many trophies including the Jack Boyle Memorial Trophy. 

George Wesley insisted that every one of his players hustle on the diamond.  Their uniforms were always clean and their shoes polished.  This hustle contributed much to the entertainment provided by this snappy ball team.

Many of the players were young American college boys and several were Southern Alberta boys noted for their baseball ability.  One thing they all had in common - they must be of good character and always hustle on the diamond."   Bert Kellicut, Early History of Sports in the Granum Area, Leavings by trail, Granum by rail.

Don Pilling on George Wesley, Granum owner : (Lethbridge Herald, 1955)

"White Sox made no mistake about their superiority ... Their march to the crown was impressive and George Wesley, the Granum rancher, is to be commended for taking the time, trouble and money to provide Granum and Southern Alberta fans, in general, with a ball club the calibre of the White Sox.

Wesley has his critics, as does anyone at the helm of a ball club, but at least he has been more than willing to ease the financial strings and, in doing so, provide fans hereabouts with a pretty fair brand of ball during the past three seasons.  Surely no one would be narrow-minded enough to criticize him for that.

Actually, it is unfortunate there aren't a few more men like him in Southern Alberta.  He's in baseball strictly for the kicks.  There's certainly been no personal gain attached to his operation.  It's all been for the fun of it which is slightly a new twist in the money-grabbing sports ventures of today."

Jim LesterJack AltmanA toast to Jim Lester (left), who came from Fresno State University to play for Granum & Lethbridge 1956 and 1957 and 1959, 1960 and 1961, for heading up the incredible effort to organize the event. 

Deep gratitude to all who contributed to my project.  In particular, Jack Altman (right), Jim Garrett (and through Jim, Roy Taylor), and Gord Wesley provided access to a wealth of fascinating material.  

2000 Reunion

Front Row:  Gary Kirk, Steve Odney, John Vaselenak, Gordie Vejprava, Jim McDonald, Stan Busch.

2nd Row: Bob Bolingbroke, Bill Fennessey, Arley Kangas, Lee Murphy, Steve Schott

3rd Row:  Gord Wesley, Jim Lester, Darwin Walkingshaw, Dick Creighton, Jim Garrett

4th Row: Brack Bailey, Earl Ingarfield, Greg Seastrom, Larry Koentopp, Ron Mertus, Dorm Martin (turned), Ray Washburn, Vic Stasiuk, Bob Bourbeau


It was a remarkable achievement of organization that so many attended the event.

Among those in Lethbridge:

Jack Altman, Vulcan 1954-55. Suited up for Granum in the '55 Provincial playoffs and tossed a two-hit, shutout as the Sox won the first game.  Pitched for Fresno State, pro ball with Yakima, U.S. Army in Hawaii and semi-pro with the Humbolt Crabs in Eureka, CA.  Former business manager for Stockton Ports in the California League and Administrator at Humbolt State University.  A part time scout for the Indians and the Mets.  Ashland, Oregon.

Joe Arisman, often in the thick of things in Southern Alberta baseball as an umpire.  Kept up his work behind the plate until 1987!  Calgary, Alberta.

Brack Bailey, Granum/Lethbridge 1958-59. Played in the Dodgers' organization from 1960 to 1966 at Spokane, San Diego and Albuquerque (.321, 19, 100 in '64 in the Texas League).  Retired in 1997 as SE Manager for Pony Express Courier.  Pfeiffer University Hall of Fame.  Bermuda Run, North Carolina.

Bob Bolingbroke, Medicine Hat 1958-59, Lethbridge 1960.  (Also played against Granum in tournaments in 1956-57 while with the Magic City Mustangs in Billings, Montana.)   MBA from Stanford University (after graduating from Washington State).  Assistant baseball coach at Stanford in 1961-62.  Retired as President and CEO of Clorox Corporation in 1992.  Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Bob Bourbeau,  Williston 1955, Dickinson 1956,  Lethbridge 1959-60.  Lengthy stint with Federal Government, including 38 years with HUD. After baseball, a career on the handball courts (won CA and Regional titles, finished 3rd in the Nationals in '67).  Gonzaga University. Sacramento, California.

Jerry Burcher, Vulcan 1955-56, Medicine Hat & Picture Butte 1957, Lethbridge 1961, Unity 60s.  Fresno State.  Fresno, California.

Stan Busch, Lethbridge 1959-60-61.  Fresno State.  Played in 1962-63-64 in Hawaii while in the military.  Retired high school teacher and coach. Clovis, California.

Dick Creighton, Lethbridge, 1959.  Santa Clara University.  Teacher in the Bay area.  One pro season, 1960 (3-0, 2.63 in the Appalachian League).  San Rafael, California.

Bill Fennessey, Granum 1954-1958, Calgary 1959-60 (Southern Alberta and Western Canada Leagues) and another half-dozen years in the Calgary area. Retired in 1993 as Regional Manager, Westinghouse Electric.  Calgary, Alberta.

Jim Garrett,  Moose Jaw 1956, Saskatoon 1957, (stayed home in 1958 after an NCAA eligibility scare), Saskatoon 1959, Calgary 1960, Lethbridge 1961.  High school coach for 38 years (the last 35 at Tulare).  College of Sequoias (Hall of Fame) and Fresno State (Hall of Fame).  Visalia, California.  

Earl Ingarfield,  Lethbridge 1953, Granum 1954-55-56, Lethbridge 1957-58, Granum/Lethbridge 1959-60.  National Hockey League from 1958-59 season through 1970-71 (nine seasons with the New York Rangers). Lethbridge, Alberta.

Don Johnson, Spring Coulee 1954, Granum 1955-56.

Roy Johnson, Granum 1955-56. Magrath, Alberta.

Harold Jones, Granum 1953-54. Cranbrook, British Columbia.

Arley Kangas, USA semi-pro 1959, Lethbridge 1960.  Two years of pro ball, 1960-61. Washington State (captain of the '60 team). Beaverton, Oregon.

Larry Koentopp, USA semi-pro 1956, Granum/Lethbridge 1957-58-59-60 (.330 in '60, third in the league). Gonzaga. Former owner of minor league clubs in Spokane and Las Vegas. Real estate. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gary Kirk, long-time business manager for the Granum/Lethbridge teams. Owns and operates tire stores in Southern Alberta.  Lethbridge, Alberta.

Bill Kucheran, Lethbridge 1949-50-51-52, Granum 1953-54-55, Lethbridge 1956-57.  Lethbridge, Alberta.

Jim Lester, Granum 1956-57, USA semi-pro 1958, Lethbridge 1959-60-61.  Reedley College (Hall of Fame), Fresno State. Financial planner. East Peoria, Illinois.  

Jim McDonald,  Trail BC early 50s, Granum 1955-56-57. Calgary 1958-59. Businessman.  Calgary, Alberta.

Jay-Dell Mah, invited in my role as baseball historian.  Gopher for the Lloydminster Meridians in the mid 50s.  Retired radio and tv reporter.  Toronto, Ontario.

Dorm Martin, Granum 1957.  Fresno State.  Fresno, California.

Ron Mertus, Granum 1957, Medicine Hat 1958-59.  Film studio technician. Chatsworth, California. 

Lee Murphy, Regina 1956-57, Saskatoon 1959, Lethbridge 1960, one pro season with Billings in the Pioneer League.  In '60 led the Western Canada League in homers, with 18 (more than twice as many as the runner-up), topped the circuit in RBI and tied for the top spot in hits.  Teacher. Fresno, California.

Steve Odney,  Lethbridge late 40s, early 50s, Granum 1954-55-56.  Retired in 1996 (real estate).  Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame.  Calgary, Alberta.

Don Pilling, retired Sports and Managing editor of the Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta.

Steve Schott,  Lethbridge 1959.  Santa Clara University.  Residential developer. Co-owner Oakland Athletics.  Santa Clara, California.

Greg Seastrom,  Vulcan 1955-56.  Fresno State.  Retired, English professor, College of the Sequoias.  Visalia, California.

Vic Stasiuk, Lethbridge 1950, (not certain about 1951-52-53) Lethbridge 1954-55-56-57-58, Calgary 1960, Lethbridge 1961.  Lethbridge, Alberta.

Frank Stone, Granum 1954-55, Calgary 1956.  Retired in 1987 from Calgary Transit.  Long-time umpire.  Calgary, Alberta.

John Vaselenak, Lethbridge 1953-54-55-56, Granum/ Lethbridge  1957-58-59-60.  Part-time scout.  Red Deer, Alberta.

Gordie Vejprava, Granum 1954-55-56-57-58.  Calgary 1959.  Pro hockey career from 1954 to 1970.  Retired in 1995 from City of Calgary.  Calgary, Alberta.

Roy Vejprava, long-time umpire in Southern Alberta (continued until 1989).  Calgary, Alberta.

Darwin Walkingshaw, Lethbridge 1952, Granum/Lethbridge  1954-55-56-57-58-59.  Retired in 1987.  St. Albert, Alberta.

Ray Washburn, USA semi-pro 1958, Lethbridge 1959. Pro career from 1960 to 1970, including nine major league seasons and the World Series.  14-8, 2.26 in 1968.  Whitworth College.  Retired as coach and Athletic Director, Bellevue Community College. Snohomish, Washington.

Gord Wesley, Granum/Lethbridge 1952-1961.  Rancher, farmer.  Lethbridge, Alberta.

Lee Wesley, coach with Granum/Lethbridge.  Ranching, farming in the Granum and Fort MacLeod areas.  Retired in 1995.  Fort MacLeod, Alberta.

Willie Walasko, Carmangay 1954, Granum 1955-56-57-58, Pro 1959, Calgary 1960,  Lethbridge 1961, Calgary 1963.  Commercial construction and development.  University of Alberta.  Calgary, Alberta.

Clarence Yanosik, Lethbridge playing-manager from the late 40s through the late 50s.  Judge in Alberta.  Calgary, Alberta.


Among those who sent regrets at being unable to attend:

Terry Banderas, Lethbridge 1961.  Pro career from 1962 to 1966.  Fresno State (Hall of Fame).  Aerospace career.  Escondido, California.

Mountie Bedford,  Regina 1955, Lethbridge 1959, USA semi-pro 1961. Fresno State (3rd in the country in '59).  Met his future wife at the College World Series. Businessman.  Pensacola, Florida.

Dave Biggers, Lethbridge 1959.  Fresno State.  Navy officer for four years.  Plans to retire this year after 30 years with the same company.  Huntington Beach, California.

Tedd Bogal,  Pro 1954, Granum 1955-56.  Ontario's Inter-County League, 1957 on.  Still pays in "huff 'n puff" diamond and hockey leagues.  London, Ontario.

Sam Canner, Lethbridge 1958, Pro 1959, Lethbridge 1960.  Yakima College. Lewiston, Idaho.

Bob Carlson,  Granum 1956-57.  Retired from the US Air Force.  Reedley College. Sun City West, Arizona.

Eddie Ferenz, official scorer and PA announcer.  Semi-retired as traveling secretary for the Philadelphia Phillies.  Philadelphia, PA.

David Gambee, Granum 1957.  All-American in basketball at Oregon State, first round pick in 1958. NBA career included a championship with Philadelphia as a teammate of Wilt Chamberlain.  Portland, Oregon.

Pat Gillick,  Vulcan 1956, Basin League & Granum 1957, Edmonton 1958, pro career 1959-1963 (11-2, 1.91 in '60 in the Triple-I League).  University of Southern California (member of the 1958 championship team).  Quit as a player to begin a career on the administrative side.  General manager in Baltimore, Toronto and, currently, Seattle.  Seattle, Washington. 

Spero Leakos, Saskatoon owner, general manager 1957-1961.  Retired from family-operated restaurant, The Commodore (and you wondered why the club was called the Commodores?).  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Jerry MacDonald, Lethbridge 1961.  Fresno State.  Fresno, California.

Seth Martin,  Granum, 1953.  Renown for his play on Canada's International hockey clubs, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967 (including the Olympic squad of '64).  Hockey career stretched from the 1953-54 season to 1972-73, including a year in the NHL. Trail, British Columbia.

Dick Montee,  Lethbridge 1960 (two prior years of USA semi-pro).  Washington State.  Madres, Oregon.

Arnie Pleasant,  Lethbridge 1960.  US Army pilot 1961-64.  Northwest Airlines pilot 1964-1998.  Washington State. Olympia, Washington.

Paul Sereduk,  USA semi-pro 1954, pro 1955-56-57, USA semi-pro 1958, Lethbridge 1960.  Semi-retired in 1997.  Boise, Idaho.

Len Tucker,  Kamsack 1952, pro 1953 to 1956, Saskatoon 1957, pro 1958 to 1961, Lethbridge 1961, pro 1962-63.  College of the Sequoias, Fresno State (Hall of Fame).  Clovis, California.

Willie "Curly" Williams,  Negro League 1945 to 1950, pro 1950, Negro League 1951, pro 1952, ManDak League and Dominican Leagues 1953, Negro League 1954, Lloydminster 1955 to 1963, Lethbridge 1961.  Sarasota, Florida.

Darrell Wilson, Lethbridge 1959-60.   Yakima College, Idaho State.  Construction company.  Boise, Idaho.

Ed Zemrau, Lethbridge 1952, Granum 1954.  Denver University (hockey scholarship).  Hockey All-American.  Retired in 1994 as Athletic Director of the University of Alberta.  1st Vice-President of FISU the International University Sports Federation and Director of the 2001 World Athletics Championships. Sherwood Place, Alberta.


Remembered:

Ken Burns (deceased),  Granum 1957.

John Bartholomew (deceased),  Lethbridge 1961

Bill Lynn (deceased),  Pro 1950 to 1957 (.386 12 102 in '52, Evangeline League) Williston 1958-59, Saskatoon 1960, Lethbridge 1961. 

Blaine Sylvester (deceased),  USA semi-pro 1956, Edmonton 1957, pro 1958, Regina 1959, USA 1960, Lethbridge 1961.  University of Utah.  Became an outstanding basketball referee.  Died in 2001. 


Located since the reunion :

Jerry Bryson, USA semi-pro 1957,  Granum 1958, Lloydminster 1959, pro 1960.  Pfeiffer University.  May, 2001 inducted into the Cleveland County Sports Hall of Fame.  Bryson, a member of the Gardner-Webb University's Sports Hall of Fame,  compiled a 305-87 won-loss record in 14 seasons directing the Bulldogs. Resides in Boiling Springs, NC.

J.B. Carroll,  Regina 1958, Saskatoon 1960, Lloydminster/Lethbridge 1961. Texas A&M

Tom Jamieson, Lethbridge 1959, pro 1960.  Pfeiffer University Sports Hall of Fame. Recently retired as President/COO of Health Services Corporation of America, Cape Girardeau, MO.  Now resides at the Isle of Palms, South Carolina, near Charleston, SC. 

Bentley MacEwen,  Saskatoon 1954, Delisle & Saskatoon 1955, Granum 1956-57, Calgary 1959, Kindersley 1961.  Edmonton, Alberta.

Bob Milano,  Lloydminster 1960, Lloydminster & Lethbridge 1961.  Fresno College and Cal Berkeley.  Coach of Cal Bears for 22 seasons.  Coach of Team USA in 1997.  Retired.  Walnut Creek, CA.

John Rebelo,  Lloydminster & Lethbridge 1960.  Cal Berkeley All-American 1960. Banker, San Diego. 

Clark Rex,  USA semi-pro 1957,  Lethbridge & Calgary 1960, Edmonton 1961. Ran the Calgary club in the revived WCBL in 1963-64.  Pepperdine.

John Robertson, Granum 1958, pro 1960.  Pfeiffer University.  After a 34 year career in banking,  retired to assume a position as executive director for Stanly County Habitat for Humanity in Albemarle, NC.  

Joe Weremy,  Beverly Drakes 1953-54-55, Granum 1955-56, Lethbridge 1957, Peace River, Falher, Grand Prairie, Dawson Creek, Quesnel to 1975. 


Still trying to find information on : 

Alton Arnold,  Lloydminster 1958-59-60-61, Lethbridge 1961, pro 1962-63. University of Texas.  

Harry Blacker,  Granum 1957.

Don Carlson, USA semi-pro 1958, Lethbridge 1959.

Jim Coggins,  Granum 1958.  Pfeiffer University

Dave Dowling,  Lethbridge 1961, Alaska Goldpanners 1963, pro 1964-68 (included a stint with the Chicago Cubs).  University of California, Berkeley.

Dick Dyer, USA semi-pro 1957-59, Lloydminster 1960-61, Lethbridge 1961. 

Norm Harding, Lethbridge 1961.  Whitworth College.

Ed Hite, Lethbridge 1960, pro 1962 to 1964.  Fresno State.

Tom Ingram, USA semi-pro 1959, Lethbridge 1961. Whitworth College.

Dennis Job, pro 1957 to 1960, Lethbridge 1961.

Pete Kinney,  Lethbridge 1961. 

Bob Laurie,  Granum 1955.

Bobby Lee,  Picture Butte & Granum 19567-57, Lethbridge 1958. Coalinga College. 

Tom McCaig, Basin League 1957, pro & Granum 1958.

Doug McChesney,  Lethbridge & Calgary, 1960.

Jerry McClure,  pro 1955 to 1958, Lethbridge & Calgary 1959.

Ken Mitchell, Calgary 1957-58, Granum 1957 ?

Earl Morris,  Lethbridge 1959.  Tulsa University.

Greg Parks,  bat boy.

Jim Russell,  Lethbridge 1961.

Don Salazar,  Lethbridge 1961.  Cal Berkeley.

Rick Steadman,  Lethbridge 1960

Ray Sims,  Williston 1959, Lethbridge 1960.  Pepperdine.

Steve Strother,  Moose Jaw & Granum 1958, Regina 1959.  Catcher.

Tom Taylor,  Negro League & Saskatoon 1960, Edmonton & Lethbridge 1961, Lloydminster 1962 & 1963.

Harold Thompson,  Lethbridge 1961.

Al Warnick,  Lethbridge 1956-57, Granum 1957 ?

Frank Warren,  Regina 1952, 1954 (?), 1959. Lethbridge 1961.  Fresno State.

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