News & Notes Western Canada Baseball

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Update :  15 October, 2018

Mark FisherRed Star    Mark Smith, one of Manitoba's all-time stars, led the Manitoba Senior League in just about every hitting category in 1979.

The talented outfielder won the Triple Crown, running away with the batting championship with a .513 average, hit 8 home runs and had 28 runs batted in. He also tied for the lead in doubles and triples, and was tops in hits.

Smith, who started his senior baseball career as a lefty hurler with Riverside at age 15, played one season of professional ball in the Detroit Tigers organization. Over his 23 year career, Smith was an all-star in 17 seasons and twice was the league's Most Valuable Player.

The 1979 season also saw the accession of a new league to challenge the domination of the Manitoba Senior League as the best in the province. The Red-Boine League all-stars defeated the MSBL stars to represent Manitoba in a national competition.

John PiconeRed Star    Rich & I have dug into the archives to try and paint a picture of Manitoba senior ball in 1979 - game reports, photos, snapshots, rosters, final statistics and tournaments.  The photo gallery includes more than 75 individual pics, including import catcher/pitcher John Picone (left) and the game reports include what we George Leduchowskicould find on the Red-Boine League.

One of the key members of the Teulon Cardinals, the Red-Boine League champions, was 48-year-old George Leduchowski (right), who won four of five pitching decisions. We also managed to fins a photo of the 1979 Teulon team. (We need a better quality version, but this will do for now.)

Red Star    The Manitoba Photo Galleries of 1974, 1977 and 1978 also sport some additions.

Red Star    A few other bits & pieces have been added to the site, including game reports from the 1920 Alberta playoffs, 1919 Alberta baseball ,and some BC snapshots of Leo Solloway and Jimmy Ralston, also 1919. Pretty poor quality, but, as we say, at least placeholders for the time being while we chase better ones.

Rich NeckerRed Star   And from the 1964, Fresno State University yearbook (left), a handsome devil by the name of Richard Necker ! Yep, that's our Rich.

Red Star    Thanks to Terri Lefebvre Prince of the Yorkton Archives for trying to chase down a photo of the 1920 Yorkton baseball team. We were hoping for a good quality version of the one now posted. No luck so far, but Terri got our attention in noting her research into the Ligon All-Stars, a barnstorming team which traveled far and wide across Western Canada in the late 1940s and early 1950s. We hope to get a copy of an article she's writing on a Ligon's trip to Shaunavon, Saskatchewan in 1948. Terri still has the scorecard of the game

21 September, 2018

Red Star    They're updated !  The Western Canada roster pages, 1900 to 1979.  With these additions we're up to more than 55-thousand individual players listed for teams in Western Canada.

Red Star    As usual, Rich Necker has been busy and productive. Among the information he's managed to dig out are game reports from 1920 in Alberta - including the Edmonton City League, Central Alberta League, Calgary City Amateur League, Lethbridge City League, plus a couple of dozen notable exhibition games. We're still awaiting the resumption of service of a University of Calgary newspaper web site to add details to some Calgary games, but we'll just update those when the service is back on-line.

Dodger LewisThe Lewis brothers - Dodger, Earl, Frank and Stiffy Lewis - were among the notable players.

Lincoln "Dodger" Lewis (left), just 18 years of age, was both a pitching and catching star for the Calgary club.

Red Star    Also from 1920, we've added a few game reports from West Kootenay ball, Northern Saskatchewan, and a pair of tournaments.

Of course, the 1920 roster page sees a pretty big expansion and we've added a separate Alberta Photo Gallery.

Red Star    1918 baseball in Calgary (along with an inter provincial series) gets covered with game reports for the Alberta page. No surprise that the Lewis boys (Lincoln would be just 16 this season) and Lester "Slim" Haynes would be among the stars.

Red Star    Holy cow. Rich notes 1922 in Vancouver as the year of the no-no. We've tracked at least seven no-hit, no-run games in the Lower Mainland that season.

Red Star    Other additions include game reports for 1916 Victoria, BC, 1919 Okanagan Valley, 1920 Victoria Amateur League and rosters for the Victoria Amateur League, 1949

Red Star    We're pleased to have uncovered photos of two teams from Lacombe, Alberta. We're guessing a bit on the years, but believe we have the 1920 and 1921 teams. The 1921 team is thought to have won the provincial championship.

Red Star   A 1920 independent team from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, had quite the season (going 43-8, with four ties, in 55 games). The team photo is hardly acceptable, but will, at least, perform a role as place-holder for when we manage to dig out a better version of the picture. Game reports for Yorkton have been added to the 1920 Saskatchewan page. One of the key players for Yorkton was lefty hurler George "Lefty" Kaye who had suited up in Winnipeg earlier and later would turn up in game reports in Vancouver.

Red Star   The photo of the 1967 Peace River (Alberta) Stampeders has been on site for awhile, but without names. Thus, what a nice surprise to hear from former colleague (CKYL Radio in Peace River) Ken White who provided IDs for the 13 players in the photo. Mention of names John and Pete Czuy, for example, brought back good memories of my time up in the Peace country.

Red Star   The photo of the Trail, BC, old-timers of the 1930s has been slotted in at 1939 after our research pointed to '39 as the most likely year for the photo.  IDs still needed for several of the players.

Red Star   In 1921 the famous Vancouver Asahis made a barnstorming trip to Japan. But, it's never been clear precisely who made the trip.  Well, with help from Yobun Shima, in Tokyo, we've managed to complete the list.  We continue to work with Yobun on a complete roster of Asahi players (1914 to 1941).

Al KuligHugh OrphanEd GittensTed AlexanderRed Star    Some major photographic additions are for Minny ball, the Southern Minnesota League of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

(Far left - Al Kulig, Near left - Hugh Orphan / Near right - Ted Alexander, Far right - Ed Gittens)

Several dozen new or improved individual pictures grace the Minnesota Photo Galleries of 1949, 1952 and 1953.  The 1949 Minnesota Snapshot page includes photos of Negro League veteran Ted Alexander along with teammates Sonny Dahl and John Michalowski. The new 1952 Snapshot page for Minnesota ball features a half-dozen photos. And, we add the team photo of the 1952 Winona Chiefs.

Red Star   Happy to help out Curtis O‚ÄôReilly of minor league ball in Moose Jaw with names of Moose Jaw teams over the years. We managed to dig out dozens from Delphics, Strathconas, Mintos and the Gray Campbell Cats to the more recent Steelers, Regals, Canucks and Robin Hoods.

Red Star   Ace Negro League researcher Gary Fink has helped to clarify the records of former Western Canadian players Pee Wee Jenkins and Barney Morris.  Turns out we likely had two Pee Wee Jenkins in Canada one summer. Morris had been credited with a season in Winnipeg for which we could find no documentation.

Red Star    Pleased to offer our Steve Wylie profile to be used by the Clarksville, Tennessee, Convention and Tourists Bureau as part of its campaign to promote the community. Wylie, who played several seasons in Canada after the fall of the Negro Leagues, was a native of Clarksville.

Red Star    Interesting to note that the Western Major Baseball League (see below) is changing its name. Yep - it;s to be the Western Canada Baseball League. Back to its roots.

19 August, 2018

Red Star    Medicine Hat Mavericks captured the 2018 Western Major League title downing Regina Red Sox 8-2 Thursday in the deciding game of the best-of-five final before a capacity crowd of 2,200 fans at Athletic Park. It was the third WMBL title for the Mavericks who also won in 2003 and 2014.

Medicine Hat posted the best regular season record (38-9) in winning the Western Division pennant. Regina finished third in the Eastern Division with a 26-21 mark. Red Sox advanced to the final defeating Swift Current, the defending champions, and Weyburn Beavers.

Corey WheatonKaleb WardenCorey Wheaton (left) of the Weyburn Beavers was named the leagues Most Valuable Player. The product of Scottsdale, Arizona, had an outstanding summer batting .372 in 45 games. The outfielder led the circuit with 30 stolen bases and produced 11 doubles, three home runs and 15 runs batted in. Wheaton came to Weyburn from the University of Mobile.

Kaleb Warden (right) Lethbridge Bulls infielder was selected as the Rookie of the Year.  Warden, who attends the University of Arkansas at Monticello, had a highly impressive first season in the WMBL. He registered a .369 average with eight doubles and seven home runs along with 38 runs batted in.

Jaret SemeniukRiley MacDonaldCatcher Jaret Semeniuk, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, showed poise both with his glove and bat in being selected as the top Canadian Rookie. Semeniuk, a freshman with the Prairie Baseball Academy, played in 30 games with the Lethbridge Bulls compiling a .371 average with seven doubles.

Riley MacDonald (right), catcher of the Brooks Bombers, was honoured with an Outstanding Achievement Award after setting a single season home run record with 20 circuit clouts in just 138 at bats.

Craig SmithMacDonald topped the previous mark of 18 by Jesse Sawyer of Lethbridge in 2011. The slugger is a product of North Vancouver baseball and suited up for the Waldorf University Warriors this spring before lining up with Brooks.

Right-handed reliever Craig Smith (left) closer of the Okotoks Dawgs was an Honourable Mention after setting a Western Major Baseball League record for saves. Smith registered 15 saves in the Dawgs' 35 wins this summer.

Andrew Murphy of the Mavericks was named Coach of the Year.

The Okotoks Dawgs led the WMBL with seven first team all-star selections.

Colton Wright of Medicine Hat claimed the first team catching slot with an infield of Warden at first, Nolan Rattai, Medicine Hat, at second, Nate DeChaine, Okotoks, at the hot corner, and Carson Johnson of Medicine Hat at shortstop. Collin Ridout and William Hollis of Okotoks joined Wheaton in the all-star outfield. Three starting pitchers were selected - Cody Ebert,Okotoks, Ryan Johnson, Weyburn, and Owen Steele of Yorkton. Dustin Schorle of Okotoks won a slot in the bullpen and Smith, with his record-setting 15 saves, is the closer.

18 August, 2018

Red Star    In the completion of the game reports for the BC Interior in 1958 Rich Necker has come up with some leagues I never knew existed. Along with reports from the key Okanagan Mainline League, we've now posted results from the North Okanagan League and another known as the Shuswap-Okanagan-Monashee League.

These new reports add to the previously posted game stories from the West Kootenay, East Kootenay, Arrow Lakes/Slocan, Central Interior League and the Prince George & District League.

All together there's the equivalent of about 60 letter sized pages of game reports.  Of course, the roster page has been updated to reflect the new material.

Red Star    Thanks to Rodney McLean for a link to the famous Saskatchewan baseball program at Marysburg, marking its 100th year.

Red Star    We've managed to dig up a few more stats sheets - a near final report from the 1966 Manitoba Senior League, Eastern Division posted within the game reports.

Final batting stats for the 1951 Atwater Senior League in Montreal are posted on the 1951 stats page.

Haley JacksonAnd, we've entered the final stats for the 1923 Victoria Senior Amateur League.

Haley Jackson of the pennant winning Victoria C.P.R. was the runaway winner of the Victoria Senior League batting title, leading in just about every important category. He finished with a .411 average and six home runs in 14 games.

Nakusp slo pitchRed Star    And ... now the reports on the 32nd Annual Nakusp Mixed Slo Pitch Tournament.

A former news reporter thrown back on the saddle to fill in for the Arrow Lakes News (got beaned too).

Because of the deadlines of the weekly paper, the tourney got full page coverage (and more) in two editions.

The Zac Attack story covered the events up to the final day.

The, this week, the paper again gave the event a lot of coverage with pretty well a full page (with ad) on the final day of the tournament.

With 20 teams and games from 7 ayem to midnight, it was quite the event to cover. Quite a blast, but a little too much for an old, retired guy !

15 August, 2018

Red Star    These latest British Columbia game reports and rosters go back to 1923 and feature communities on Vancouver Island, from Campbell River down to Victoria. 

Lefty KayePitcher George "Lefty" Kaye (right) is among the stars, here at the beginning of his career in Nanaimo before establishing himself over on the Mainland with teams in Vancouver.

As usual there's a name challenge - Nanaimo with a Gartner and a Gardiner, which in a few newspaper items comes out as Gardner.

Vancouver Island has a surprising number of leagues for the early 20s - Victoria Senior League, Victoria Commercial League, Nanaimo City League, Comox & District League and Mid-Island League. We also include the provincial playoffs for senior ball supremacy (with a Mainland team, the Vancouver Young Liberals walking off with the trophy).

Red Star    Also from our Rich Necker, a couple of photos from 1909 BC ball when Victoria hosted a semi-pro team, the Kolts. We've posted the larger newspaper photos in the Snapshot section and extracted head shots for the Photo GalleryJohn Harmony

Red Star    A couple of additions to our Quebec material - the beginning of a 1951 Photo Gallery and a photo (albeit of lesser quality) of the Mount Royal Cardinals celebrating their Atwater League championship in Montreal in 1951. Unfortunately no names available.

Right - John Harmony of the St. Ann's Saints, one of the top hurlers in Montreal's Atwater Senior League in the 1951 season. 

We also have a line on some final batting statistics for the circuit.

Dave SkeelsRed Star    Happened upon a newspaper photo of former Western Canada player Dave Skeels (1910, 1913) who had a cup of coffee in the majors with Detroit Tigers at age 18 after going right to the show from Regina and Moose Jaw of the Western Canada League.

There's an Interesting story on the American Native athlete in the Tribal Tribune, a monthly publication of the Colville Confederated Tribes of northern Washington.  (I'd guess they may have used Brian Morrison's in-depth piece on Skeels at Diamonds in the Dusk as a source for the story.) 

The Colville Confederation has a connection with my home region as most of the Sinixt who used to live in the region now reside on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington.

The Sinixt are trying to regain status with the Canadian government after having been declared extinct by the federal body in 1956.

01 August, 2018

Red Star    Baby steps, yes, but progress in an area which has been awfully difficult to cover from afar - Quebec, more specifically, Montreal.

It's been a headache trying to find material on the Montreal City League, but we have now come up with a start on the Atwater Senior League of Montreal which began in 1927 and ran through the 1954 season. If the 1948 coverage is a fair indication, the Montreal Gazette has done some wonderful reporting on local senior baseball.

Our start includes the full team rosters for 1948 (and there was a player named Walkoff, at least that's what showed up in the box-score), photo galleries for 1947 and 1948 and a team photo of the 1948 champion Montreal Postmen.

Doug HarveyRed Star    One of the young recruits for the 1947 Mount Royal entry was 22-year-old Doug Harvey. a third baseman/right fielder who you would get to know as one of the best defencemen in National Hockey League history.

Harvey was selected as the NHL's top defenceman seven times. He was an NHL All-Star 11 consecutive seasons and hoisted the cup on six Stanley Cup winners. He was a unanimous selection to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Harvey played baseball in the Montreal Atwater Senior League (1947) and professionally with Ottawa in the Border League (1947-1950).

There is pretty good evidence he could have had a solid baseball career. In his two full seasons in the Class "C" Border League Harvey had outstanding offensive number. He hit .340 with 22 doubles, 16 triples and four home runs in 1948, then the following season did even better hitting the ball at a .351 clip with 27 doubles, 10 triples and 14 home runs.

Red Star    Among the stars of the Atwater circuit was a player familiar to Vancouver fans, Kaz Suga of the legendary Asahi. After his internment during the war, Suga moved to Montreal and was a mainstay in local ball for another decade.

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