Intercounty Baseball League     

Logo Intercounty League

The Intercounty League has been a fixture in Southern Ontario since 1919 when four teams - Berlin (now Kitchener), Guelph, Stratford and Galt (now Cambridge) -- formed the new circuit out of the remnants of several professional Canadian League operations.

The initial Canadian League appears to have functioned in 1885 with six teams including the Guelph Maple Leafs, Hamilton Clippers, Hamilton Primrose, London Cockneys, and Toronto. I disappeared after one season, not to return until 1896 for a four-year run to 1899.  The league was back in 1905 for a single season and then popped up again in 1911 (with the Berlin Green Sox, Brantford Red Sox, Guelph Maple Leafs, Hamilton Kolts, London Cockneys, and St. Thomas Saints).

Another version of the Canadian League surfaced in 1912 (Berlin Busy Bees, Brantford Red Sox, Guelph Maple Leafs, Hamilton Kolts, London Tecumsehs, Ottawa Senators, Peterborough Whitecaps, and St. Thomas Saints) and, with a few franchise changes, lasted until 1915.

The war effort forced the league to shut down for three seasons. Activity resumed in 1919 with the formation of the amateur / semi-pro Intercounty League.

1921 Guelph Maple Leafs(The 1921 Intercounty League champion Guelph Maple Leafs)

[Of course, baseball in Ontario goes back to the 1830s and the origin of the game on Canadian diamonds, not Cooperstown.]

The road has often been rocky along the way but the Intercounty circuit has survived and provided a rich history. London, Brantford and St. Thomas, from the early pro leagues, became integral parts of the Intercounty experience and it evolved into perhaps the top amateur circuit in the province. In the early 1930s, league teams captured the Ontario Baseball Assocation championship five straight years.

As with many athletic endeavours during the Second World War, the league limped through but established a foundation for a post-war boom as soldiers began to return home and prosperity beckoned.

Into the 1950s, fans flocked to the local ballparks and crowds of 7,000 were not uncommon. Former big leaguers were hired on as were top stars from the Negro Leagues. Games were played at night under the flood lights and the league brought on John Gillies, a respected London lawyer and former player, to be its first commissioner. At the end of the decade, interest began to fade and by the early 1960s just five teams remained. However, one of the original franchises, Stratford, rejoined in 1964 and the loop began another period of growth, adding Toronto in 1969 as the Maple Leafs of the International League folded.

The Intercounty has had its up and down seasons since, but continues as a force in Southern Ontario.

The 2010 edition welcomed Ottawa (the FatCats) as the league's ninth team, replacing the Oshawa entry which suspended operations after the 2009 season.

September 2, 2009, the Brantford Red sox downed Barrie Baycats 3-2 in 10 innings to sweep the best-of-seven final series in four games. It was the second consecutive championship for the Red Sox. They also won in 2006 and reached the finals in 2007.

A two-out, 10th inning single by Hyung Cho drove in Al Stephens, who had doubled, with the winning run. The Baycats had forced the extra frame with a run in the 9th inning as Donovan Latour knocked in Steve Lewis. Stefan Strecker picked up the win in relief of starter Mike Myers. Brad Bissell went the distance in taking the loss for Barrie.

Burlington
Burlington Bandits
Hamilton
Hamilton Cardinals
 

1945 Game Reports   1945 Photo Gallery  1945 Snapshots  1945 Stats 
1946 Game Reports   1946 Photo Gallery  1946 Snapshots  1946 Stats 
1947 Game Reports   1947 Photo Gallery  1947 Snapshots  1947 Stats 
1948 Game Reports   1948 Photo Gallery  1948 Snapshots  1948 Stats  
1949 Game Reports   1949 Photo Gallery  1949 Snapshots  1949 Stats
1950 Game Reports   1950 Photo Gallery  1950 Snapshots  1950 Stats
1951 Game Reports   1951 Photo Gallery  1951 Snapshots  1951 Stats
1952 Game Reports
  1952 Photo Gallery  1952 Snapshots  1952 Stats
1953 Game Reports
  1953 Photo Gallery  1953 Snapshots  1953 Stats  
1954 Game Reports   1954 Photo Gallery  1954 Snapshots  1954 Stats  
1955 Game Reports   1955 Photo Gallery  1955 Snapshots  1955 Stats  
1956 Game Reports   1956 Photo Gallery  1956 Snapshots  1956 Stats  
1957 Game Reports   1957 Photo Gallery  1957 Snapshots  1957 Stats  
1958 Game Reports   1958 Photo Gallery  1958 Snapshots  1958 Stats  
1959 Game Reports   1959 Photo Gallery  1959 Snapshots  1959 Stats  
1960 Game Reports   1960 Photo Gallery  1960 Snapshots  1960 Stats  
1961 Game Reports   1961 Photo Gallery  1961 Snapshots  1961 Stats  
1962 Game Reports   1962 Photo Gallery  1962 Snapshots  1962 Stats  
1963 Game Reports   1963 Photo Gallery  1963 Snapshots  1963 Stats  
1964 Game Reports   1964 Photo Gallery  1964 Snapshots  1964 Stats  
1965 Game Reports   1965 Photo Gallery  1965 Snapshots  1965 Stats  
1966 Game Reports   1966 Photo Gallery  1966 Snapshots  1966 Stats  
1967 Game Reports   1967 Photo Gallery  1967 Snapshots  1967 Stats    
1968 Game Reports   1968 Photo Gallery  1968 Snapshots  1968 Stats
1969 Game Reports   1969 Photo Gallery  1969 Snapshots  1969 Stats
1970 Game Reports   1970 Photo Gallery  1970 Snapshots  1970 Stats

Roy McKay
 Roy McKay

Russ Evon
 Russ Evon
Stan 'Gabby' Anderson
 Stan Anderson
Ron Stead
 Ron Stead
Tedd Bogal
 Tedd Bogal
Wray Upper
 Wray Upper
Ed Steele
Ed Steele
Jack Fairs
Jack Fairs

Joe Yosurak
Joe Yosurak
Paul Allen
 Paul Allen
Dan Jackson
Dan Jackson
Dick Wright
Dick Wright
Shanty Clifford
 "Shanty" Clifford

Tommy White
Tommy White
Joe Bechard
Joe Bechard
Johnny Ambrose
Johnny Ambrose
Dan Mendham
Dan Mendham
Larry Cunningham
Larry Cunningham

MAJOR INTERCOUNTY BASEBALL LEAGUE
ALL-TIME STANDINGS (to 2006)

Windsor           93   69   24 .742
Oakville          54   39   15 .722
Toronto         1255  823  432 .656
Kitchener       1986 1158  828 .583
Niagara Falls    168   92   76 .548
Barrie           212  114   98 .538
Stratford       1247  668  579 .536
London          1964 1012  952 .515
Brantford       1879  945  934 .503
Guelph          1861  910  951 .489
Oshawa           337  156  181 .463
Listowel         285  134  151 .470
Cambridge       1092  472  620 .432
Waterloo         779  334  445 .429
St. Thomas      1361  535  826 .393
Hamilton        1560  555 1005 .356

Tommy WhiteOne of the league's most storied franchises is the London Majors.  In their most successful season, the Majors captured the North American semi-pro title with a victory over the Fort Wayne (Indiana) General Electrics in a best-of-seven series.  Fort Wayne was fresh from winning the National Baseball Congress title in the United States.  The team featured such stalwarts as Tommy White (right) who won three games in the series and 15 straight over the season, catcher Jack Fairs and outfielder Joe Bechard.  The London franchise has been in the forefront of maintaining the history of the team and its ballpark.

Wilmer FieldsAmong the Negro League stars who suited up in the Intercounty League were Jimmy Wilkes, Barney Brown and Wilmer Fields (left).  During his final season (1955) in the loop, he was called Wilmer (The Great) Fields as he won another batting title (with a .425 mark) and led the league in hits, home runs, total bases and runs batted in.  He led Oshawa to top spot in regular season play.  In 1954, Fields had led the league in batting, .379, hits, doubles and was tied for the lead in homers.  In his first Intercounty season, 1951, he led Brantford to the pennant and was named MVP as he led the circuit in hits, home runs, total bases, runs batted in and pitching (9-1). 


Thanks to Len Hannam for compiling the following lists of Intercounty players who
suited up in Major League Baseball and in the Negro Leagues.

                      IBL Team   Major League Team(s)

Jim Bagby P           Galt       1938-47 - Boston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
Tim Burgess 1B        London     1962 - LA Angels
Rich Butler OF        Toronto    1997-99 - Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Rob Butler OF         Toronto    1993-99 - Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies
Frank Colman 1B       London     1942-47 - Pittsburgh, NY Yankees
George Copeland P     Brantford  1942 - Philadelphia
Conny Creeden OF      Galt       1943 - Boston Braves
Rob Ducey OF          Cambridge  1987-2001 - 6 teams
Harry Fisher P        Brantford  1951-52 - Pittsburgh Pirates
Tom Gamboa COACH      Stratford  Kansas City
Mike Gardiner P       Stratford  1990-95 - Seattle, Boston, Montreal, Detroit
Preston Gomez SS      Brantford  1944 - Washington
Pete Gray OF          Guelph     1945 - St. Louis Browns
Fergie Jenkins P      London     1965-83 - Philadelphia, Chicago Cubs, Texas & Boston
Oscar Judd P          Woodstock  1941-48 - Boston Red Sox & Philadelphia Phillies

Mike Kilkenny P       London     1969-73 - Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, San Diego
Joe Krakauskas P      Brantford  1937-46 - Washington Senetors & Cleveland Indians
Larry Landreth P      Stratford  1976-77 - Montreal Expos
Dave Lemanczyk P      Guelph     1973-80 - Detroit, Toronto & California
Phil Marchildon P     Guelph     1940-50 – Philadelphia
Denny McLain P        London     1963-72 - Detroit, Atlanta, Oakland
Scott Medvin  P       Kitchener  1988-90 – Pittsburgh
Jesse Orosco P        Cambridge  1979 - 2003 - Mets, LA Dodgers, Cleveland, Milwaukee
                                 & Baltimore
Peter Orr 2B          Toronto    2005 - Atlanta Braves
Tommy Padden C        Galt       1932-43 - Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia
Jim Price C           London     1971 – Detroit
Ray Rippelmeyer P     Oshawa     1962 – Washington
Goody Rosen OF        Galt       1937-46 - Brooklyn Dodgers, NY Giants
Pat Serrey OF         Guelph     1943-49 - Cleveland Indians & Chicago White Sox
Chris Speier SS       Stratford  1971-89 - SF Giants, St. Louis, Minnesota,
                                 Chicago Cubs & Montreal
Paul Spoljaric P      Toronto    1994-2000 - Toronto, Seattle, Philadelphia, KC
Buck Tanner P         Brantford  Brooklyn
Nick Testa C          Guelph     San Francisco
Bob Thurman OF        Brantford  1955-59 - Cincinnati
Tom Warren P          Galt       1944 - Brooklyn Dodgers
Bob Whitcher P        Brantford  1945 - Boston Braves
Jeff Zahn P           Stratford  1973-85 - LA Dodgers, Chicago, Minnesota,
                                 California Angels

Negro League Team(s)

Ted Alexander P       London     Homestead Grays, Kansas City Monarchs
Barney Brown P        Brantford  Philadelphia Stars
Luther Clifford P     Brantford
Wilmer Fields OF      Brantford  1939-50 - Homestead Grays
Ray Finch P           Brantford
Ed Finney 2B          Brantford
Doc Glenn C           St. Thomas 1944-50 - Philadelphia Stars
Jeep Jessup P         Galt       1940-49 - Chicago American Giants
Lester Lockett OF     Kitchener  30's & 40's - Baltimore Elite Giants
Lou Louden C          Brantford  1942-50 - New York Cubans
Max Manning P         Brantford  1938-48 - Newark Eagles
Eudie Napier C        Brantford
Tom Parker P          Brantford  1938 - Homestead Grays
John Richardson 2B    Brantford
Ed Steele OF          Galt       Birmingham Black Barons
Bob Thurman OF        Brantford  1955-59 - Cincinnati Reds, 1946 - Homestead Grays
Jim Wilkes OF         Brantford  1945-52 - Newark Eagles, Houston Eagles &
                                 Indianapolis Clowns