News & Notes Western Canada Baseball

News Archive - 01  (to Mar 2001)  
News Archive - 02  (to Sept 2001)  
News Archive - 03  (to Mar 2002)  
News Archive - 04  (to Aug 2002)  
News Archive - 05  (to Oct 2002)  
News Archive - 06  (to Aug 2003)  
News Archive - 07  (to Oct 2003)  
News Archive - 08  (to July 2004)  
News Archive - 09  (to May 2005)  
News Archive - 10  (to Mar 2006) 
News Archive - 11  (to May 2007)  
News Archive - 12  (to June 2008)  
News Archive - 13  (to Aug 2009) 
News Archive - 14  (to Aug 2010) 
News Archive - 15 (to Aug 2011) 
News Archive - 16 (to Aug 2012) 
News Archive - 17 (to Aug 2013)  
News Archive - 18 (to Aug 2014)  News Archive - 19 (to July 2015)     
News Archive - 20 (to July 2016)   
News Archive - 21 (to July 2017)  


Update :  06 August, 2017

Red Star     The Giacomuzzi brothers, Amelio, known as Moose, and brother Pedro were among the combatants who popularized baseball in the Crow's Nest area in the 1930s, 30s and 50s. At least we thought there were just the pair of Giacomuzzis.  However, in the 1938 game reports, just updated as a result of research by our Rich Necker, there's note of a J. Giacomuzzi. One more mystery to solve. 

GiacomuzziWe've tried to track down photos of the brothers, without much luck. The best we could find was a picture in the Lethbridge Herald in 1944 when the pair joined the Navy (just a guess, but Moose is at the right). .

With Rich's work, there are now game reports, sketchy as they may be at times, for nearly all the games of the 1938 season.  The loop had entries from both Alberta and BC -- Blairmore (the Canucks and the Cardinals), Natal, Hillcrest, Elk Valley and Lundbreck.    

05 August, 2017

Red Star    A consequence of coverage of the recent London Reunion has been renewed interest in the history of amateur and semi-pro ball in Southern Ontario.  We've been a beneficiary with the addition of all the recent postings, mainly on the London teams of the Intercounty League.  And, we've been reminded of an area of history not given much attention of the years -- the success of black baseball in the province, at the team and individual level.

Boomer HardingEarl ChaseIn 1934, the Chatham Colored All-Stars pulled a major surprise in winning a provincial championship.  Two members of that team -- Wilfred "Boomer" Harding (left) and Earl "Flat" Chase (right) -- have subsequently gained some well-deserved recognition. (In 2002, the Toronto Blue Jays wore replicas of the Chatham uniforms to salute the All-Stars).

Red Star   Paul Allen, who grew up on the diamonds of Chatham and then played in the Intercounty League with London Majors, had that in common with Chase, just two decades later. Paul is well aware of Chase's contributions :

By all accounts Earl "Flat" Chase was the most versatile of players who could pitch, catch, and play all infield positions with equal adroitness. His name also became legend around the province as a long home-run hitter and he came to hold records for the longest balls hit in Sarnia, Strathroy, Welland, Milton and Chatham.

In 1934, he led the City League in hitting with a .525 average and that same year in the finals against Penetang, out pitched Phil Marchildon, who later starred with the Philadelphia Athletics in the American League.

In a 1985 interview, the late Kingsley Terrell of Chatham, a star athlete in his own right, talked about his friend and team mate. “He got the name Flat because he walked as though he had flat feet, but boy could he run,” said Terrell. “There was not a better second baseman around, he was a good pitcher and God knows there was nobody around the country that could hit a ball any better or farther than he could . . . he could have been in the major leagues but he was the wrong colour at the wrong time.”

Dresden resident Bruce Carter also recalled Flat Chase and noted that he often watched him play in Dresden. He was a major league quality player,” said Carter, who recalled seeing Chase hit a ball at the west side of Jackson Park in Dresden that cleared the roof of the town’s library, a significant distance to the east. “He hit balls they still haven’t found.”

“If you were in Welland today and told anybody you were from Chatham, the first thing they’d tell you would be about the home run Flat hit there one day. It was one of the greatest moments because I was on first base when he hit it. The ball not only cleared the right field fence, it cleared a building way behind the fence. People in Welland later said the ball ended up downtown. Flat was the most gifted hitters I’ve ever seen. There’s no question in anybody’s mind who ever say him that he would have been a major leaguer had it not been for the colour barrier” -- Boomer Harding (Miller, "Boomer Harding--One Great Guy," London Free Press, September 7, 1978).

Earl "Flat" Chase was born in 1910 in Buxton, Ontario but moved to Windsor when quite young. He lived across the street from a ball park and all his spare hours were spent there, participating and learning the skills of the game at which he became very proficient. From the 1920's to the 1950's, inspired by Babe Ruth, baseball was king in North America as every city and town had a men's baseball league and every city and town played other communities. Chatham was no exception. "Flat" was a very versatile player as he could catch, pitch, and play all infield positions. Although he led many leagues in batting in his career, he became renowned as a long home run hitter as he held records for the longest balls hit in Sarnia, Strathroy, Aylmer, Welland, Milton, and Chatham” (Chatham Sports Hall of Fame).

“The Stars this year are favored by a strong four-man pitching staff. Flat Chase, smoke-ball king of the City League, has been the mainstay of the pitching staff most of the season and has come to be recognized as one of the hardest hitters in amateur ball” ("Stars Begin O.B.A.A. Playdowns Thursday," Chatham Daily News, September 5,1934).

“’Flat’ Chase, hard-hitting shortstop for the Stars, supplied the biggest thrill of the afternoon when he drove a mammoth drive far over the right field fence in the sixth for a home run. It was the longest drive in the history of the local park” ("Stars Even Round with Clever Win," Chatham Daily News, September 24, 1934).

“Flat Chase, who was the first to face Shupe, nailed the Welland moundsman’s first delivery on the button and the crowd sat fascinated as the sphere threatened to vanish into the heavens. When last seen, the ball was disappearing over the large sheet metal shed outside the right field fence. Chase was given a standing ovation by fans for his performance. It was easily the longest hit ever made in the park” ("Bits About the Stars," Chatham Daily News, September 25, 1934).

More on Earl "Flat" Chase

Red Star   Wilfred Harding was an all-around athlete, who seemed bound for stardom in baseball or hockey. He had one major roadblock, especially in the time period of the 1930s and 1940s. Read Mary Caton's piece in the Windsor Star from 2016.

Red Star    The Harding and Chase photos are the first to grace our new 1934 Ontario Photo Gallery.  And, we've added the team photo of the Chatham Colored All-Stars.  Also from 1934, we've added the standings for the Intercounty League.  A side note - the London team, known as London Winery in 1934, became London Silverwoods (Dairy) in 1937. From booze to milk !

Red Star    There's also a 1943 Ontario Photo Gallery with pics extracted from the London team photo. Thanks to Barry Wells and Barry Boughner for digging out the names for the 1943 London squad.

Red Star   A re-check of material from our Henry Ropertz found rosters for 1934 for the Vancouver Commercial League missed earlier, now posted.  

03 August, 2017

Red Star    If you've previously scanned our 1951 home page, you know that was quite the baseball season on the prairies. We've now made a substantial addition to the 1951 pages, filling in some blanks in Alberta coverage with game reports for six provincial leagues - Chinook, Big Six (with five teams), Foothills, Sunshine, Boundary and Crow's Nest Pass (which, of course, also had BC teams).

Along the way, the news pages had results for elsewhere so there are also other game report updates, regarding the Edmonton Oilers, Manitoba-Saskatchewan ball , the ManDak League, the BC Interior, and Vancouver Island.

Reg ClarksonThere's details on a dozen tournaments, rosters and stats.  Two big success stories in the Chinook League were veteran Reg Clarkson the power-hitting second baseman of the Calgary Buffaoes, who put up such strong Bentley MacEwennumbers that while he left the team in July to go to football camp, he still had enough of a margin to win the batting title.

Young lefty Bentley MacEwen, just 18, was unbeatable, finishing with a 10-0 record, a league-leading 136 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.35.

Former Negro Leaguer, Hubert Glenn suited up for Claresholm, Alberta and obviously was a bit too talented for the opposition as he rapped the ball at a .535 clip with 30 of his 53 hits going for extra bases. But, it was his pitching which got the most attention. 17 wins, 4 losses, 207 strikeouts in 166 innings.

Red Star    There are new faces in the 1951 photo galleries with Bert Olmstead and Roy Schappert in the Saskatchewan file, and Ralph Vold, Joe Connors, Frank Deak, Bob Fink, Walt Pashuk, Bill Thederahn in the Alberta gallery. We're happy to add a picture of Charlie White to the 1951 ManDak gallery and Leon Day to the 1950 ManDak pictures.  There's also a 1951 Alberta snapshot page now showing Doad Tufteland and Dick Noon

In searching for a better photo of Walt Pashuk, we ended up re-doing the Magrath individual photos in the 1956 Alberta gallery.

Red Star    There is no evidence this actually happened, but it appeared some of the touring black players began to really like small town Alberta.  August 3, 1950, THE HANNA (Alberta) HERALD and EAST CENTRAL ALBERTA NEWS, carried the following item.

Colored Ballplayers Want Jobs in Hanna

Three members of the Muskogee Cardinals baseball club which played here Tuesday evening are very much interested in securing jobs in Hanna, and of course plying the baseball talents as well. It would be quite an acquisition to the Hanna Club's roster with two first class pitchers and a catcher. The boys being "jacks of all trades" in the baseball game can play any position.

Leroy Haskins, who played first base in the game here is a left-hander and in addition to duties on the mound can perform very capably in the field. Leroy hails from 2405 - West 10th St., Texarkana, Texas, but gives his forwarding address as C/O Bishop College Trade School.

Ernest Locke of 709 Flood Street, Wichita Falls, Texas, in his role as short stop in Tuesday's game took the eye of most of the baseball critics, with his uncanny ability to cover second base and his own position. Ernie also states that he can play any position and there are few in these parts who will doublt his word. He can be contacted at the above address until this spring.

Tall, Ulysee Patrick, catcher, would be a most welcome player on any man's ball club, and when not on the receiving end can take a turn on the mound, likes the outfield and in general states he is an "all around man." Ulysee had few chances to show his throwing ability to second bases, but on the throws he did make was in a class by himself. He can be found at 3943 N. 33 St., Kansas City, Kansas.

What a ball club the Hanna Cubs could have with the three above gentlemen in the lineup. A battery, a spare pitcher, first baseman, outfielder. Guess just about a whole ball team !

Red Star    Wow. You don't find many of these. Home movies of local baseball in the 50s.  Barry Wells, whose been terrific in helping to add to our Intercounty file, especially material from London (see the London Reunion page), points out a little gem (just 1:37) now on YouTube. It shows a couple of teenagers (maybe 16-17 at the time) playing catch. They would go on to be legends in London ball - Roy McKay and Bob Deakin. Victor Aziz Sr., the photographer for most of the London team photos we've posted, filmed the pair and the convertible, and the dog, in 1950.

Gord BradshawRed Star    Catching up on past heroes - check out the line on George Bradshaw, catcher in the Intercounty League in the 1930s with the Galt Terriers. 

A batting average of ... .698 !  He's in the Cambridge, Ontario, Sports Hall of Fame.

Red Star    One more Ontario team photo - the 1944 Toronto District Champions, Mahers.  The London Majors went on to win the Canadian title, and in the process place six players on the first team All-Stars of the Canadian playoffs (Dunc Galbraith C, Tommy White P, Hank Biasatti 1B, Russ Evon SS, Clare Van Horne LF and Wally Dippel CF).

Red Star    A treat for ol' friend Jack Altman, likely still flingin' a few this summer, we've posted a photo of the 1961 Humboldt, California, Crabs, one of the consistently good semi-pro teams in the west which, over the years, featured many players who had experience in Western Canada. On this edition, Jack, Bert Dollar and Bobby Doig had roots in Canada.

02 August, 2017

Red Star    I was certain the 1956 Granum photos had been posted years and years ago. Maybe they're already hidden on some other page, but they've been re-done nonetheless. Good quality photos of most of the members of the powerful 1956 club, including such stalwarts as Jim Lester, Bentley MacEwen, Joe Weremy, and Earl Ingarfield.

In re-checking my re-checking of the spelling of MacEwen (so often spelled McEwen or MacEwan or McEwan) I was helped by extended family of the famous Delisle Bentleys. Bentley MacEwen's story appears to have been a sad one in later years.  I know I had great difficulty in trying to track him down.

Wonder if anyone has information of what became of Bentley after baseball.  It's believed he died young, just 48. He is so prominent in 1951 in Calgary ball as I try and wrap up coverage of that season.

Red Star     Rich Necker has some bits and pieces from 1938 BC & Alberta ball (which has helped to finally figure out that "Tosin" Krall and John Krall were the same guy, with all the other Kralls performing in Crow's Nest baseball (Wally and Tommy Krall might be the most recognizable).  The main new coverage occurs in the Crow's Nest Pass circuit.  There's also new information on the BC Interior page and the 1938 tournament  and roster pages.

Red Star    From the London Major reunion, Barry Wells keeps the hits coming !  One is a link to a marvelous little film from about 1950 showing a pair of future London legends.  And, he's sent along a photo of the 1966 London Pontiacs to go along with our recent collection of team pics.  Lots of familiar names (at least to Southern Ontario fans of a certain age) - Stan Anderson, John Ambrose, Roy McKay, Dave Lapthorne, Barry Boughner, Russ Evon, Paul Allen.  

01 August, 2017

Red Star    You know the routine.  It's the day of the game and you have work blocking your day of enjoyment at the ballpark. Well, there's always that sick day.  "Sorry boss, not feeling well, must be the 'flu." And, yet, there you are in the TV shot of the outfield, reaching to nab a home run ball, beer in one hand, old glove on the other. 

Walter FrinkWell, Walter Frink of the Calgary Bronchos, the leading hurler in the professional Western Canada League, took a sick day and turned up in the lineup of Langdon in the Gleichen Tournament.  He tossed two complete game victories in two days to lead his new mates to top money.  It was all part of the shifting allegiances in baseball in the 'teens in Alberta and elsewhere.

Rich Necker has dug up more on early ball on the prairies with 1913 Alberta game reports, Saskatchewan game notes, tournament summaries and, of course, rosters (a very impressive list for that early in our baseball history).  He's even found some stats for one of the Manitoba clubs in the Mountain League and a photo of the Edmonton City Dairy team from their 1913 season. And, we've discovered a photo of the 1913 Moose Jaw champions, Allan-Cummings.

And, skipping ahead a year, Rich has a few notes on the Vancouver City championship of 1914.

Red Star    A couple of individual photos added, 1922, Ira Colwell of the Calgary Bronchos of the old Western Canada circuit and, 1933, "Shorts" Henderson, a mainstay of the Revelstoke club of the BC Interior.

Doug GostlingRed Star    And, on the 1950 home page we've made note of Doug "Goose" Gostlin, a top hurler in Toronto in 1949, who made it out to Saskatchewan to star for the famous Delisle Gems of the Bentley brothers the following season.

The Globe and Mail newspaper out of Toronto stated Gostlin, then just 20, had compiled a pitching record of 20-4, outstanding for the short season on the prairies. He turned pro the following season, going 17-9 and 18-11 in the first two of his six seasons in the Brooklyn and Phillies organizations.

Red Star    The London Reunion page has a couple of new additions and we've added a team photo of the 1958 London Majors.. Thank you Barry Wells !

31 July, 2017

Red Star    In adding more information and photos to the London Reunion page (thanks to Paul Allen and Barry Wells) one thing led to another to another ... and we now have a few more pictures of the London championship teams beginning with the 1925 club, in their first season in the Intercounty League of Southern Ontario. (The league itself was born in 1919).  No names yet, but we are hopeful !

Then, seeing a photo of the 1943 London Army team, it reminded me Stanley JonesStan Jonesof an old photo sent to us many moons back but filed away for future use. Yep, it's another picture of the 1943 team, but WITH names. (Turns out though that they may have had them backwards.) The July 22nd reunion in London featured, among others, Stanley "Tubby" Jones, (above, left and right) now in his mid 90s, who was the catcher on that 1943 squad.

The 1944 London Majors photos have been posted for years, but we've now added some names for the bottom picture (and, our ace correspondent Rich Necker will likely be able to fill in some more).

The 1945 and 1948 team pages are unchanged, but we've now added three new ones -- the championship teams of 1956, 1969 (in colour too !) and 1975 (also in colour).

One of the big highlights of the London club over all these years, was the 1948 season when the Majors won not just the Intercounty championship, the Ontario AND Canadian titles, but, in a tough, seven-game series, captured the North American sandlot championship downing a talented Fort Wayne, Indiana team, loaded with ex-pros, including former major league hurler Bill Brandt and major leaguer to be, Chuck Harmon.  In the seventh and deciding game, London legend Tommy White fired a five-hit shutout as the Majors won 5-0. It was his third win of the series and his 15th consecutive mound triumph. 

There's not much talk about another aspect of that 1948 title - the manager, Clare Van Horne. It was a sordid tale of spurned romance and murder.

30 July, 2017

Labatt ParkRed Star    Quite a weekend in London, Ontario, a week ago, as the city's London Majors of the Intercounty League held their inaugural Alumni Reunion.

Paul Allen, who suited up with the Majors from the early 1960s to the early 1970s, was among the attendees at the gathering and sends along a report of the event - London Reunion.

Jack Fairs & Paul AllenThat's Paul, at the right, with legendary college coach and teacher, Jack Fairs, the last surviving member of London's 1948 team which won the Intercounty League title, the provincial and Canadian championships and to top it all, the North American National Baseball Congress title defeating a tough team from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Jack FairsFairs, now in his 90s, taught and coached at the University of Western Ontario for more than fifty years.  Right - that's Fairs in 1942 as a member of the football team at Western.

Red Star    Good to hear from ol' friend Bill Guenthner, whose dedication and talent has helped to preserve the history of the Minot Mallards of North Dakota.  His wonderful web site now has a home here.  Bill sends word of a special report in the Minot Daily News on the Mallards and Bill's efforts to keep the memories alive. Congrats Bill !!

10 July, 2017

San Diego ChickenRed Star    Chances are you are familiar with the character at the left.  Yep, the famous San Diego Chicken, the long time mascot of the major league Padres. And, a featured guest at the London Majors (Ontario Intercounty League) reunion at London the weekend of July 22-23.  Ted Giannoulas, the man in the outfit, was born and raised in London and used to change the old manual scoreboard at Labatt Park in the mid 1960s. 

Former London second sacker Paul Allen, who will be at the reunion, has kindly offered to bring back some news and photos of the event. You might recall that Paul has provided our site with some very interesting material on the Intercounty League and his time as a teammate of Fergie Jenkins in Chatham.  We look forward to Paul's report.

Red Star    Thanks to our old friend Jack Altman for sending along the newsletter of the Pacific Coast League Historical Society. A very newsy, eye-catching publication (with Bill Swank and Dave Eskenazi among the advisory committee). Lots of familiar names in the articles.

Red Star    A nice surprise to hear from Steve Brossard, grandson of Revere Augustus "Babe" Brossard, a star of Saskatchewan ball in the 1920s and 1930s. Babe had a home in Vancouver and also had a large cattle ranch in the Ashcroft area that Steve and his siblings (a brother, two sisters) would visit in the summer. And it seems the family had the baseball gene. Steve and older brother Brian both took the game to heart. That's Babe and "grandma" arriving home from a trip to Hawaii.  And, on the right, the big guy is Brian (who went to the Pony League World Series with his Victoria team) and Steve who continued to play baseball and fastball until he "got too broken to play".

Babe & wifeBrian & Steve Brossard

Red Star    Happy to help out Ken McWilliams of Regina with a historical project on the Royal Canadian Legion. They're working on a video and one of our photos caught their attention.  It's one of a set of pictures of the 1948 wedding of Saskatoon Legion catcher Bobby Sasseville and his lovely bride Doreen Duffus.  The photos came to us nearly ten years ago thanks to Jules Swick, a baseball and fastball star in Saskatoon in the 1940s and 1950s. We've taken this opportunity to enlarge and improve the quality of the photos. We have recently been informed that they are photos by noted prairie photographer Leonard Hillyard and available through the Saskatoon Public Library, Local History department.

Red Star    In our search for a good photo of Irvin Castille (Brandon Greys, 1952) we managed to hook up again with Bill Plott, who is wrapping up a book on the Birmingham Black Barons of Negro League baseball. You might already be familiar with Bill from his publications for SABR and book on the Negro Southern League. Looking forward to the latest publication! 

Red Star     We overlooked this one earlier, but it's now added to the 1906 roster page, the names of the players on the club from Anacortes, Washington which toured in Alberta that summer. Important not just for the games but for William F. "Deacon" White who was the playing manager of the American team and was so enamoured by Edmonton that he decided to remain and quickly established himself as the area’s first promoter of big-league sport by helping to build baseball, football and hockey organizations in the thriving Capital city.

Red Star    From our effort to dig up some news of baseball in Ontario we now have the 1949 rosters to go along with the game reports posted earlier. Included are the Intercounty League, West Toronto League, Viaduct League, plus the Japanese teams in Hamilton and Montreal.

Red Star    While he awaits knee surgery, our Rich Necker keeps pumping out the material, this time concentrating on the 1913 season on the prairies.  Among other things, he's come up with game reports for Alberta (note all the suspensions and weird injuries), BC Interior (including the Okanagan, Arrow Lakes & East Kootenays), Vancouver, and Vancouver Island, and even a bit from Saskatchewan.  A 1913 Tournament page has also been established. His sleuthing through the early newspapers has resulted in a huge expansion of the 1913 roster page with names of players for teams from Estevan to Yorkton to Calgary, Bow Island, Lloydminster, Vancouver, Nelson, Cranbrook and dozens of places in between.

30 June, 2017

Red Star    Hobbled, on the DL, but still punching out the reports - our Rich Necker adds to our understanding of early baseball on the prairies and the West Coast.

In this edition, Rich has game reports and rosters for the 1913 Winnipeg Senior Amateur League and another, called simply the Semi-Pro League in Manitoba. 

One 1913 game report popped up for Saskatchewan ball (noting the fighting, but not much else) so we add a new page anticipating we'll add more over time.

On the 1914 Vancouver page, we add a report on a touring Japanese university team, no-hit, but managed a tie.

Red Star    Rich has more for our photo display as well.  First there's the 1912 Kelly-Douglas Nabobs the champs of the Vancouver Wholesale Baseball League.

Hap SollowayAnd there's the 1914 National Biscuit Company squad, including Harley "Hap" Solloway (left) (one of three Solloways on the team) the Commercial League and Vancouver City champions. From the photo we were able to update the team roster.

Red Star    On the 1955 Ontario Photo Gallery there are a few addition pics, including Bill Andrescik, John Krycia and Sam Lima of the West Toronto Senior League. 

Red Star    As we begin to dig into some clippings from the 1951 summer in Alberta, we've undated some rosters (Lethbridge Miners and Cubs) and stories for the Tournament page.  There are a few additions to the game reports.

News Page - 21