News & Notes Western Canada Baseball

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Update :  09 September, 2019

Red Star    It's been about six weeks in the making, but we've finally posted an update to our Player Lists (now featuring more than 60-thousand individual players who suited up in amateur or semi-pro ball, mostly on the prairies).

There's still a lot a work to do in eliminating duplicate entries and in going through to double check spellings on the Player Lists with those on the roster pages but it's a huge task and we're happy to make a little progress.

Red Star    To complement early photos of teams from New Westminster, we've added a 1918 photo of the BC Manufacturing squad, the champions of the New Westminster City League. Names too !.

Skid MarstersRed Star    Concerning 1920s ball in the Kootenay area of BC, we stumbled into photos of a trio of Rossland players of 1924 - Skid Marsters (right), Bill Molisky and Frank "Dutch" Singer

Red Star    From 1927, we've added 16 new individual photos -- from Con Puhan to Camille VanBeneen -- of the Winnipeg Norwoods of the Winnipeg Senior League.

Red Star    In searching for the correct spelling of a player's name we lucked into a story with lots of first names of Winnipeg players of 1928 - now entered on the roster page.

Ed HenryRed Star    Veteran Ed Henry (left), who we first noticed playing in 1930 is still going strong in the 1950s. We've added his photo to the 1950 gallery and note that he continued to suit up until 1957.

Red Star    From the 1953 Western Canada season, we've added a snapshot photo of Saskatoon Gems' Oscar Tesch, Jim Shirley and Johnny Williams.  Tesch, a left-hander, showed brilliance in his early career in Vancouver, but was unable to find much success in the Western Canada League of the 1950s.

Bob LinckRed Star    As part of a recent acquisition, collector Max Weder of Vancouver stumbled into a gold mine of material from the prairies. Just one of the little items is a photo of Bob Linck the manager of "our" (Lloydminster's) first big team, the 1954 Lloydminster Meridians. But, he was injured in a car accident before the start of the season and eventually was moved to the North Battleford Beavers (hence the NB cap).

Max also obtained photos of various New Westminster and Vancouver players of the 1940s. Left below is a player for the New Westminster Royals. Centre and right are players of the Vancouver Luckies of 1947.  The challenge now is the identify the players. All three look kinda familiar !

New Westminster RoyalsVancouver LuckiesVancouver Luckies

Red Star   Thanks to our researcher deluxe, Rich Necker, we have more BC game reports -- for the 1969 season of the Victoria Senior League and a little coverage of 1971 Upper Island ball, with corresponding rosters, 1969, 1971.

Along with the game reports, Rich has sent along a 1969 photo of Dave Morgan, one of the Victoria Senior League players and a snapshot of Victoria's pitcher-first baseman Les Brice.  Also in the 1969 Photo Gallery, a couple of Nakusp, BC, players, high schoolers Glen Rounce and Gord Yolland.

And, for 1973, Rich has dug out rosters for the Team BC Juniors, the Canadian champions.

Red Star   Among the spelling changes throughout the site - Restell for Restall and other versions, and Lino Zanier for Leno. 

24 August, 2019

Red Star    The coverage of baseball in British Columbia extends to the 1959, 1960, 1968 and 1969 seasons while we also stumble upon a photo of two giants of Western Canada ball.

Dave DowlingMarcel LachemannRed Star    A future major leaguer and pitching star of the 1961 Western Canada season turns up in our coverage of 1960s ball on Vancouver Island.

Dave Dowling (left) was a 17-year-old for the Centralia Pavers of the Northwest International League.

And, another who advanced to MLB, Marcel Lachemann,right, (who played with the 1959 Calgary Dodgers of the Southern Alberta League), is in the lineup of the Aberdeen Harborites). The eight-team circuit had one Canadian team, the Victoria Pages.

George BriceOur 1960 additions include game reports, photos (Art Worth, Dave Black, and George Brice, left), snapshots, and rosters.

Red Star    Also for 1960 on the Island, we have coverage of the Victoria Senior Amateur League with game reports and some stats too (Gary Tuttle hit .400 to win the batting crown !  As noted in the rosters, there was a lot of player movement between teams and leagues.

Red Star    For 1959, we have game reports and some photos and rosters for the Fraser Valley League, the circuit a bit east of the Vancouver diamonds. The teams included the Yarrow Ocean Sprays and the Agassiz Loggers.  Our new photos include Norm Chambers, Joe Drdul, Grant Jordan and Gerry Kellington.

Red Star    We're also really pleased to have material on the late 1960s in BC. Rich has dug up information on both 1968 and 1969. 

The coverage includes game reports of the 1968 Vancouver Industrial League Charlie Whiteand the Vancouver Metropolitan League (as noted earlier, that Larry Webster was some pitching star).

There are a couple of new photos, one quite the surprise - Charlie White, right, a former ManDak League player who advanced to the majors, makes an appearance with Vancouver. 

White had previously played in the city with the professional Vancouver Mounties of the Pacific Coast League.   One of the other new pictures is of Don Sweet, who became a star kicker in Canadian football in Montreal.

Of course, the roster page has a list of players for the two leagues.

Red Star    1969 was the year of Larry Webster's perfect game in the Vancouver Industrial League. We have game reports and rosters

We've also expanded our report on the BC tournament to choose the provincial representative for the Canadian championships.

Len TuckerRed Star    In searching for a new photo of Dave Dowling, we happened upon a photo with Canadian baseball star Len Tucker, who made it up to MLB for spring training with Washington, but didn't appear in a regular season game.

Tucker, from the baseball factory at Fresno State University in California, began his semi-pro career in Canada with Kamsack Cyclones back in 1952 and returned in 1957 to hit .394 and lead the Western Canada League in home runs and runs batted in. (Ernie Rodriguez swatted .402 to win the batting crown).

The photo of Tucker and Dowling appears on a 1961 snapshot page.

Red Star    And, this one is a little too current to fit our pattern, but it's the successor league to the old Western Canada circuit. Okotoks has won the title in new WCBL !  The former Western Major Baseball League was renamed the Western Canadian Baseball League for this season.

Tristan Peters(August 16) It’s been 10 years coming, but the Okotoks Dawgs finally won the 2019 Western Canadian Baseball League championship title after closing out the Regina Red Sox in game two of their best-of-three series with a incredible 8-6 comeback effort on Friday night. The Dawgs posted a four-run bottom-of-the-eighth inning to come back for the second time, to not only rip the hearts out of the Scarlet Stockings, but also inflict historical revenge after the Red Sox won the 2012 title on Seaman Stadium soil. Bellevue University commit Liam Rihela opened the scoring with one swing of the bat, albeit on his third try during his leadoff at-bat in the bottom of the second. Okotoks also came out on top in game one, defeating Regina 7-2 at Currie Field in the Queen City. Tristan Peters,(right) an outfielder with the Dawgs, was named the playoff MVP.

18 August, 2019

Red Star    Moving right along. This time it's game reports for the 1966 Vancouver Industrial League and the 1966 Pacific International League both based in BC's Lower Mainland.

Thank you Rich Necker !

Red Star    A couple of photos too - Eric Guthrie (who became better known as a football quarterback including time in US college football) and Joe Smith who won a pro contract and spent just a year in the Giants' minor league system.

Red Star    One of the mysteries coming out of this coverage is the lack of photos of pitching star Larry Webster.

Not once.

Not even once did the Vancouver daily papers of the day (the Sun, the Province) display a photo of Larry Webster during his amazing career in local senior baseball.  From 1966 to 1971, the left-hander fired seven no-hitters, one of them a perfect game. Yet, not one photo.

Larry WebsterLarry WebsterWe do have two pictures on our site (one from a Kelowna paper, the other from Quesnel) from 1962 when a Larry Webster pitched for Merritt Luckies in tournament ball. We are trying to confirm whether this version (1960-1962) is the same Larry Webster.

This Vancouver one (a few of his highlights listed below) went on to became an ace with Canada's 1971 Pan Am team.

May 10, 1966 - Webster put an exclamation mark on the season opener, tossing a no-hitter as the Vancouver Longshoremen blanked CYO 8-0. The left-hander fanned 17.

May 24, 1966 - Webster hurled his second straight Industrial League no-hitter as he pitched the Longshoremen to a 7 to 0 victory over the Astorias. He fanned ten.

June 05, 1966 - Mr. Zero of the Longshoremen fired his third successive shutout, 5-0 over the Regents. He had 12 strikeouts.

June 05, 1967 - Webster fanned 11, with just one walk, in hurling a no-hitter Monday as Longshoremen crushed North Vancouver 13-0.

June 25, 1967 - Webster fired his fourth no-hitter in just over a year Sunday. The lefty fanned eight and walked one in the Longshoremen's 7-0 win over Burnaby.

July 06, 1967 - It was a two-hitter this time as Webster tossed his third shutout in just over a month in the Longshoremen's 2-0 win over Burnaby. He racked up 14 strikeouts and walked none.

May 14, 1968 - It was all Larry Webster Tuesday night as the slick left-hander gave up only two hits and drove in the winning run in a 3-1 win for the Longshoremen over CYO. Webster whiffed 16.

June 02, 1968 - Larry Webster put on another big show Sunday night tossing his fifth no-hitter in two seasons as the Longshoremen blasted the Villas 11-0 in interlocking play. He also was prominent at the dish with a pair of doubles and a single.

June 23, 1968 -  Longshoremen got one-hit, shutout, pitching from Larry Webster in a 3-0 victory over CYO.

July 28, 1968 - At the Powell Street Grounds, Webster was within one out of another no-hitter when Ken MacKenzie of the Merchants beat out a bunt for the only hit against him. The lefty fanned 14 and walking only one.

July 30, 1968 - Just two days after losing a no-hit bid in the seventh and final inning, Webster had a no-hitter into the sixth in an 8-0 victory over Port Coquitlam. He racked up 15 strikeouts.  Jack Tippe's single up the middle was the lone safely against Webster.

May 22, 1969 - Webster pitched a perfect game Thursday night as the Longshoremen edged the Merchants 1-0 in Industrial League action. It was the sixth no-hit gem by the left-hander in four years play in local senior ball.

July 08, 1971 - Webster pitched a no-hitter Thursday to lead Vancouver CYO to a 12-0 route of the Merchants. The lefty fanned six.

July 16, 1971 - Webster fired a one-hitter. with 16 strikeouts Friday, but didn't come away a winner as CYO and Merchants battled to a 1-1 nine-inning draw.

16 August, 2019

Lowell HodgesBill GarnerRed Star   A super job by our Rich Necker in wrapping up play in the 1959 Okanagan Mainline League and the 1959 Victoria Senior Amateur League. You can follow the whole season in the game reports !

Of course, there are rosters for the teams and some photos too !  (New images include Lowell Hodges, above left, Bill Garner, above right), Lyall Cornett, Berlyn Hodges, Ron Karadimas, Gerry Parker and Art Worth).

The Snapshot pages also includes a couple of pics from the Victoria loop.  As Rich notes, several of the Victoria players -- including Worth, Lowell Hodges, Berlyn Hodges and Parker -- had histories in the old Western Canada League.

Red Star   If you are looking below for material from prior to August, it's been shifted (in an annual move) to News 23.

15 August, 2019

Red Star   This 2014 newspaper feature on Max Weder and partner Jennifer Ettinger paints a lovely picture of the pair making a contribution to baseball in Vancouver playing host to young players of the Vancouver Canadians, a short-season farm team of the Toronto Blue Jays. 

What the article fails to note is the role of Weder as one of the country's foremost collectors of Canadian baseball artifacts. He recently made a major acquisition in Saskatchewan, much relating to semi-pro and amateur ball, and has kindly allowed us to reproduce some of the material.

Red Star   Among the delights is a better version of the 1958 team photo of the Lloydminster-North Battleford Combines, my hometown team. It includes guys like Curly Williams and Ed Tanner who were regulars at my dad's restaurant. With the two cities supporting the team, I don't recall who lived where, how the games were scheduled, and how they got back and forth. It's about 138 km (86 miles) between the two.

Red Star   There's also a better photo of what we had posted for the 1971 North Battleford Beavers (by this time the Western Canada League and Lloydminster's participation were long gone).  The Beavers played in the Northern Saskatchewan League with Kindersley, Unity and Neilburg. Access to the new photo also allowed the extraction of individual photos for the 1971 Saskatchewan Photo Gallery.

Red Star   Max's image of the 1950 Carman Cardinals of the Mandak League displayed a big larger than the one we had, so we've replaced that as well. The Mandak League proved to be a refuge to black players from the United States who found baseball jobs increasingly sparse with the collapse of the Negro Leagues following the integration of organized ball by Jackie Robinson.

Red Star   Also courtesy of Max is a "post card" photo of the 1951 Swift Current Indians to go along with the newspaper photo from the Camrose Tournament. So far, just a couple of names to attach to the photograph.

Red Star   Going all the way back to 1928, we've posted a photo of Lucky Lake, the champions of the 1928 Saskatoon Exhibition Tournament, also from Max's collection. Thank you Max !

14 August, 2019

Emile FrancisRed Star    An update of the 1951 Western Canada & Saskatchewan Snapshot pages has been on the to-do list for far too long.

Prompted by a newly discovered photo of Emile "The Cat" Francis from 1951, courtesy of Max Weder, I dove in to tackle the project and ended up re-editing almost all of the photos - most from the albums of former players John Noce and Charlie Beene. More than 60 photos in all.

Red Star   Rich Necker has been a busy beaver checking out the archives from several decades. With our deep thanks to Rich, we have additions from 1916 to 1974. 

In mainly chronological order, let me highlight the changes.

Red Star   1916-1928.  A photo of Dan Cantwell is new to the 1916 Manitoba Photo Gallery. From 99 years ago, 1920 game reports from Saskatchewan Senior Amateur ball and the Long Lake League.

Rich has dug into the newspaper archives for lots of BC baseball in the 1920s. 1922 Game reports on activity on Vancouver Island with stories on Victoria Senior ball, Mid-Island competition, Nanaimo. 1922 game reports on Nelson and Trail City Leagues, West Kootenay and East Kootenay ball.  And all these years later, we have the final statistics for the 1922 Victoria Senior Amateur League. "Deacon" McIlvride was the batting champ with a .442 average.

In the BC Interior, we now had reports for the 1923 Boundary International League, West Kootenay Senior, Intermediate and Junior ball plus the 1924  Boundary International League, the 1924 North Okanagan League, the 1925  Kootenay International League and we have the 1926 Game reports on the Boundary International League.

Just one game, but an interesting one with the famous Regina Balmorals added to the 1926 Saskatchewan game reports - a scoreless tie between the Balmorals and the Calgary All-Stars.

Andy MulliganThe Saskatchewan Snapshots of 1926 now include a newspaper photo of Lincoln "Dodger" Lewis and we managed to find a photo of Andy Mulligan (right) for the 1927 Saskatchewan Photo Gallery.

Back to the Island, we've added game reports for 1927, BC Upper Island ball, Vancouver Island and the 1928 Vancouver Island Baseball League.

Art MinnisThat's Jimmy Dangerfield, not Rodney the comedian, pitcher for Victoria Capitals as a new entry on the 1928 BC Photo Gallery joined by Art Minnis (left) and Eric Whitehead.

Red Star   1956-1960.  Some new photos add to the displays during this period. Pete Bouchier of Rossland is the addition to the 1956 BC Gallery. We've added 1957 Game reports on North Okanagan and Shuswap baseball and tacked on information on the 1959  Prince George tournament.

There's more coverage of diamond news in the BC Interior for 1959  as Rich has a pretty comprehensive look through game reports in the North Okanagan, Shuswap, Central Interior, West Kootenays and East Kootenays and there's news from the Lower Mainland too with reports on 1959  Vancouver ball in the Industrial League and the Dewdney League.

The 1959 Home Page notes perhaps the worst no-hitter of all time - no hits but 16 walks.

We have the 1959 Chetwynd Centennials as the latest team photo on the site. The team was the winner of the Prince George Tournament.

Ab CronieMore new photos in the 1959 BC Photo Gallery, including Ab Cronie (left) , Frank Bencher, Lou DeRosa, Sonny Hackett, Whitey Paugh, Lefty Gould, Bill Geefs, Jack Fowles, Stan Kato and a dozen more.

The 1959 BC Snapshot page now includes some images of Buck Buchanan, Lefty Rolin, Frank Bencher and Len Gatin.

I'm amazed we got this far in getting names to go along with a 1959 Little League photo on the Fred Cardwell Profile page.

With senior ball fading in many centres, coverage in the papers often turned to junior baseball, such as the 1960 coverage of junior baseball in the West Kootenays.

Dave KostenukRed Star   1960-1974.  The hits keep coming !  Dave Kostenuk (left), a fixture in prairie ball over two decades (Kamsack, Moose Jaw, Lloydminster, Neilburg and Edmonton) has a new photo in the 1960 Alberta Gallery.

The 1965 BC Gallery, now includes Murray Gage-Cole and Don McLeod.

We've added 1967 game reports for the Slocan Valley, elsewhere in the West Kootenays, including Junior Baseball. 1967 Tournament page includes the Penticton Tournament. Two additions to the 1968 BC Photo Gallery -- Larry Brandt, Ron Cull. One lone new photo on the 1968 Saskatchewan Gallery, Terry Rak

We're really pleased to have the 1969 Victoria Senior Amateur League game reports. And, the 1970 Tournament page includes a report on the BC Senior Championship. 

Gord StrongmanThe 1970 BC Gallery has the additions of Gord Strongman, Victoria (right) , and Bob Cyca and Bob Gassoff of Quesnel.

Victoria Senior ball gets extended coverage on the 1970 Vancouver Island reports page.

We have a bit of information on the 1970 Quesnel Senior League - standings, awards and stats. There are also game reports on Kaslo and Arrow Lakes baseball.

Joe Zanussi was the batting king in the West Kootenay Senior League for 1970.

Lots of game reports on 1970 baseball on the Lower Mainland with coverage of the Vancouver Industrial League and the Western International League.

The 1971 Home Page has an image of a program from the Alberta Major Baseball League.

The 1971 BC Gallery includes an image of American Jim Chapados who played in tournament ball in Canada & later in a league with the Burnaby Villas.

Big hair was quite the thing back in the '70s. Check out Kit Krieger, the Vancouver pitcher who tossed a no-hitter that season in the Industrial League. Krieger, now known in baseball circles for his jaunts to Cuba to raise money and awareness of the impact of Cuban players, had his day in the pros with the Vancouver Mounties and Tom Hawthorn has penned a wonderful piece on his one-day career in professional ball.

The 1972 Basin League Photo Gallery has some additional pics of players of the Rapid City Chiefs .

In our Snapshot section in 1974 coverage we've include a photo of a few members of the Trail Selkirk Selects who were competing in the Trail International Tournament. You'll note our own Rich Necker, as a coach with the squad. There's also a bit more information on Edmonton hurler Perry Lychak.

In his travels in the Archives over the last few months Rich has presented rosters including 4,457 players !  Among the roster page updates are 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1967, 1970 and 1972.

Fergie JenkinsRed Star     Reminder - this Saturday, the 17th is the big day at the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame ! 

It's the 35th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner, at Battleford, Saskatchewan with none other than Canadian baseball legend Fergie Jenkins as the guest speaker.

Jenkins, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, was a Cy Young Award Winner who won at least 20 games seven times.

He rang up 284 career wins in the major leagues.

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