News & Notes Western Canada Baseball

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News Archive - 22 (to July 2018)


Update :  11 December, 2018

Red Star    Back in 2013, thanks to Bud Guenther (son of Albert Gunther) we made a huge step forward in sorting out Lanigan, Saskatchewan, baseball and the Gunther family in particular. The Gunthers had their own family team with seven boys and three girls. At the time we were at a full stop trying to differentiate between and among A. Gunther, A. Gunther and A. Gunther !  Turned out it was Art, Albert and August Gunther (better known as Lefty).

Now, thanks to Bill Postlewaite of Saskatoon, we have additional IDs for members of the 1928 and 1930 Lanigan teams. The latter team won the 1930 Saskatoon Exhibition Tournament, the big Walter Guntherbaseball event of the summer in that era. Bill notes we had incorrectly identified Dick Overton (left) and he's provided additional names, including Eddie HillWalter Toews and Wellington Mitchell.  Bill's father and uncle -- Ted Postlewaite and Rollie Postlewaite -- played on the Lanigan team as did two uncles, Bruce Hill and Ed Hill (right). 

In one note, Bill has noted the spelling "Postlethwaite" for the family name. I've listed that spelling on the one page while I await confirmation from Bill whether to make corrections throughout the site.

Thank you Bill !

Red Star     And, finally confirmation of the spelling of Kubicek, Alf Kubicek, an all-star catcher and playing manager in Victoria in the 1940s and 1950s. Son Blair Kubicek checked in with a prompt from Lou DeRosa. We've looked over the years for a photo of Alf, with no success.

We're hoping Blair will be able to find some photographs as he searches through the scrapbooks.  Blair, who played in Dauphin in the late 1960s, then in Victoria in the mid 1970s, also prompted us to search out a correct spelling for one of his teammates in Dauphin. Up to now we've had it as Gerry Verbuski (as shown in newspaper stories of the day).  The evidence points to Verbiwski as the correct spelling.

Claude WilliamsRed Star    My "To Do" list is overflowing. Among the items is a note to think about revising many, if note most of the Snapshot photographs -- finding better quality photos and presenting them in a larger form. Well, we've gone a bit nuts in working through some of the Snapshot pages and re-doing just about every photo. The 1958 and 1959 Western Canada Snapshot pages are pretty good examples of the changes. Still lots to do, but I think we've made a good start. The tiny photos were a product of the early days of the internet when folks were on dial-up systems, many at very slow download speeds.

Also, Photo Galleries have received the same treatment. That's import Claude Williams of the 1950 Regina Caps at the left in a revised photo. The big first sacker came to Canada with a number of touring clubs (including the Ligon All-Stars, California Tigers and Muskogee Cardinals) before setting down in Regina for a summer and winning the batting title in the Southern League with an impressive .413 mark.

At the same time, we decided there were too many Saskatchewan photo and snapshot pages. Thus, we've consolidated the yearly Southern Saskatchewan League material with the Northern Saskatchewan and General pages into one. Didn't realize the complexity of the job until it was well underway, so if you find the odd link not working or a missing page, please drop me a line.

Now to tackle a huge To-Do list of marvelous research materials from our Rich Necker !

Red Star    Now here's a long, longshot. Russell Latham is chasing photos of the Latham Hardware teams of Moose Jaw of the era of 1915 to the early 1920s. Russell's great grandfather operated the hardware store which sponsored the club.

Red Star    More ID difficulties.  Sam Sprague suggests we may have the wrong player identified as Sammy Beer in this 1914 team photo of the Saskatoon Quakers (check out the bottom photo). Beer was Mr. Sprague's grandfather. 

Comparisons with other known photos of Beer seem to confirm Sam's contention. But, it's interesting to note that the two big baseball annuals of the day, the Reach and Spalding Guides both have the same photo of Beer (as in the 1914 team photo) and identified as Beer. We guess that the Reach Guide simply made an incorrect ID in its 1914 edition and Spalding, a year later, in highlighting Beer's performance (23-7 in 267 innings pitched) just copied the photo and ID. We'll get to this in our next update. (I'd guess Beer is the guy second from the left in the middle row).

Red Star    Here's a list of some of the stuff that's changed over the last couple of weeks.

Barnstorming   More "recycling" of player photos (see Greene Farmer, Clarence McMullin Robbie Robinson)

1928   Improved photo, names for the Lanigan team

1930   Names for Lanigan

1930  Addition of Walter Toews, Gunthers to Saskatchewan Photo Gallery

1937  Wilcox Cardinals (including Mets brothers) and Gunthers added to Photo Gallery

1937  Revised Wilcox team photo

1940  Wilcox players added to Photo Gallery

1940  New Saskatchewan Snapshot page, Wilcox players

1942  Nick Metz added to Photo Gallery

1944  Al Rittinger added to BC Gallery

1944  Nick Metz add to Photo Gallery

1946  ID of Joe Kanik in team photo.

1946  Bob, Don and Nick Metz

1946  Revised Wilcox team photo

1948  Metz - Don, Bob, Nick - added to Gallery

1949  Ken Terry

1949  Adds to the Saskatchewan Photo Gallery, Richard Werthern, Jack McPherson)

1949  Bob, Don and Nick Metz

1950  California Mohawks, Jake Abbott, Wally Kincaid, Don Wilson, Jack Welton

1950   Revised Snapshot page with additions of Art Cartmill, George Anderson, Bert Olmstead, Brick Swegle

1950  Revised Saskatchewan Snapshot page with additions of Coney Williams, Don Kielman, Grant Warwick with Claude Williams and Joe Searcie, Harold Allan

1950  Photo Gallery additions, Harold Allan, Walter Powell, Coney Williams, Ken Charlton, Art Frolick

1950  Addition of photo of Joe Kanik & Casey Jones

1951  Don & Nick Metz, Father Athol Murray to Photo Gallery

1951  Ken Hughes, Ted Zack to Western Canada Photo Gallery

1951  Photo Gallery improvements to all Dauphin players

1951  Revised team photo of Dauphin

1952  Tournament page updates, esp. Lethbridge Tournament

1953  Revised, pic of Beiden, Clevenger, Bennett added

1954  Snapshots revised, enlarged, Roy Williams add

1955  Eddie Barrack, Lefty Arnold, Bob Linck add to Photo Gallery

1955  Revised Snapshot page, with addition of Smoky the mascot photo

1955  Revised Snapshot photos

1955  Revised, with addition of Jim Harney bunt, Joe Pedrazzini & Cal Bauer, Kirby Pain & Smoky, Ralph Mabee and pennant winning trophy, pic of league executives, and pic of Len Karlson, Gary Jackson & Len Farrell

1955  Photo Gallery addition of Richard "Dixie" Walker

1956  Revised, addition of Cyril Ing homer picture

1956  Bob Lasko photo update

1956  Revised, addition of Curtis Tate, Tuck Halsey, Tom Shollin photos

1957  Western Canada Snapshots re-done, with several new additions (4 pages)

1958  Addition of Tom Satriano homer pic to Snapshot page

1958  Western Canada Snapshots pages (5), all re-done with additions of arrival of Don Biasotti, Bruce Gardner, Pat Gillick, Tom Satriano homer, Roland Jones & Bob Mistele, pic of John Aldridge, Art Schirmer, Butch Dollar.

1959  Western Canada Gallery, Len Gabrielson, Miles McWilliams (page 2), Ralph Vold (on page 3)

1959  Saskatchewan gallery, Harvey Flaman

1959  Western Canada Snapshots, all re-done with additions of James Withers, Werhas slide, Joe Fischer, Larry Exel, Wayne Tucker out at home, Art Ersepke at first, Roy Taylor & Stan Charnofsky

1963  Addition of Harold Barnes, Bill Powell to Saskatchewan Photo Gallery.

1965  Angusville, Manitoba, Cardinals

1971  Continue to chase ID of Team Canada catcher

21 November, 2018

Jim LesterRed Star   The thought occurred yesterday when I learned of the death of Chuck McGuigan.

I wondered how Jim Lester was doing at the care facility near his home in Peoria, Illinois. I hadn't had a phone call from Jim in many weeks. I was too afraid to search for news.

I did today. As feared - James Allen Lester passed away a month ago, October 21, 2018, at the Heritage Health in Chillicothe. He was 83.

Jim LesterFor several years he had suffered through painful back problems which had left him bedridden for the most part. His beloved golf game no longer an option.

I met Jim in 2000 in Lethbridge as he was a main organizer of the reunion of Granum and Lethbridge players of the 1950s and 1960s. He became a major contributor and great friend to our little project with photos and information on the Southern Alberta Leagues.

Lester was among the dozens and dozens of stars from Fresno State University to grace the fields of Western Canada and was an All-Star third sacker for teams in Granum and Lethbridge. He'll be missed by many both in the United States and Canada as he kept up contact with many of his old colleagues going back to the 1950s.

20 November, 2018

McGuigan batRed Star    Charles Bernard "Chuck" McGuigan, from the University of San Francisco, was one of my first hometown baseball idols.

He had arrived in our little prairie community in 1954 to suit up with our new entry in semi-pro ball on the prairies, the Lloydminster Meridians.

Not only was he to be an infielder with the local team, he could get me autographs of the famous basketball stars of the University of San Francisco, Bill Russell and KC Jones (McGuigan was on the USF baseball team). And, he would begin his stay in our town, residing in our house, just a half block away from the arena and the dressing room of the ball club. Chuck McGuigan had just turned 20 when he first suited up with the Meridians.

His early promise was well recognized in the Bay area. 

New Star Uncovered

Baseball scouts should keep an eye on Chuck McGuigan, 16 year old shortstop for Pomona Tile.

It’s too early to determine whether he could make a go of it in professional baseball, but McGuigan has the old hustle. That attribute is a big selling point when a youngster gets ready to sign a contract.

Chuck is 16 years of age, about five feet eight, and scales 140 pounds. He knows how to bunt and run bases, demonstrates good speed and fielding ability, and (most important) LIKES to play ball.

Last Saturday in the Pomona New Pisa Juniors game at Big Rec, McGuigan started the winning rally by beating out a bunt. When Don Becker was given the old heave-ho, manager Grove Mohr sent Chuck in to catch. He has had almost no experience, but McGuigan looked good at that position.

Chuck McGuiganThe scouts also will be glad to hear that he isn’t the type of youngster to get swell headed.
(Carl Reich, The San Francisco Examiner, January 22, 1952)

McGuigan returned to Lloydminster for the 1955 season, then played semi-pro ball in the San Francisco area for several seasons and began a long coaching career while he established his family accounting firm -- McGuigan & McGuigan -- in Burlingame, his home town. He was a Certified Public Accountant, for over 50 years.

I am downhearted to learn he died April 30, 2017 at the age of 82.

Red Star     Most of the additions and updates this time are photos (many of them the result of new papers added to one of our on-line services,  Access to the Edmonton and Calgary papers especially (also Montreal and Ottawa papers were included) has been a boon for us. The updated pages, In chronological order, below.

Red Star    These are among the new(er) images now posted :

Lee MurphynettLefty BelterCurly WilliamsWayne DyeJerry Reimer

Left to right - Lee Murphy, Barry Arnett, Eddie "Lefty" Belter, Curly Williams, Wayne Dye, Jerry Reimer.

CatcherRed Star    This is one guy on the 1971 Team British Columbia we have had some difficulty in identifying. And, we've had a little trouble chasing down the history of this team. Seems BC (Victoria) was scheduled to host the Western Canadian Championship but lack of funding forced organizers to move the games to Saskatchewan. Only five teams participated and BC wasn't among them. Anyway, hoping we can sort this out before long.

We believe he (left) was a catcher, who might have played ball at Yakima College in Washington. If you can help with a name, please drop us a line.

Thanks to Clark Inglis, Don Archer and Lou DeRosa for the names we have so far.

* And already an update on the update - Don Archer helps us with a couple more names, including Mr. Mystery above - turns out it is catcher Norm Caig !

Red Star    These are the latest additions/changes :

1939 - Alberta Game Reports - Details on Lefty Belter's no-hitter

1939 - Alberta Photo Gallery - Eddie "Lefty" Belter

1940 - some additional names for the photo of the 1940-41 Vernon baseball nine.

1944 - Alberta Photo Gallery - John Carpenter

1947 - BC Photo Gallery 1 - Bob Burtwell (finally uncovered a photo of the basketball star who played a little baseball, although the photo was published in the 1050s, posted in the '47 gallery)

1947 - Alberta Photo Gallery - Jack McGill

1948 - Alberta Photo Gallery - Dave Brockie, Jack Stover

1948 - Alberta Snapshots - Ernie Choukalos

1948 - BC Photo Gallery - Barry Robertshaw

1949 - Alberta Photo Gallery - Ken Samis, Cliff Johnson, Ernie Choukalos

1949 - Alberta Snapshots - Ernie Choukalos, Walt Gully, Mike Johnson, Barry Robertshaw, Les Edwards, Doug Stewart

1951 - Alberta Photo Gallery - Barry Robertshaw

1953 - WCBL Snapshots 1Ivory Long of the Ligon All-Stars with a no-hitter at Lacombe, with catcher Percy Howard (Ivory as first named confirmed) and presentation to Indian Head Rockets

1955 - Home page - Don Stewart, Lloydminster playing manager

1955 - WCBL Photo Gallery 1 - Dale Bloom (Edmonton) 

1955 - WCBL Snapshots 1- Meridians' "Murderers Row" (including Curly Williams), Bob Bayless, Chuck McGuigan, Dick Barry, Bill Duft, Ralph Mabee, Naotaka Makino, Cal Bauer, Don Stewart injured

1955 - WCBL Snapshots 2 - whole page re-done, Chuck McGuigan, Tom Feldstein, Don Stewart, Scotty McNeill, Bob Bayless, Dick Barry, Bill Duft, Kirby Wyllie, Jim Valentine slide, Stan Kulka homer, the Lloydminster Meridians pitching staff (including Barney Brown), colour photo of Chuck McGuigan

1955 - WCBL Snapshots 3 - owners/operators of the WCBL teams

1956 - WCBL Photo Gallery 2 - Lee Murphy

1956 - WCBL Snapshots 1 - additions and improvements (including the photo of Cyril Ing's homer for Edmonton and the picture of Lloydminster's Stan Karpinski and Slim Thorpe).

1956 - WCBL Snapshots 2 Roger Gray, Mark Cameron, Lloydminster Quartet, Gary Ball, Curtis Tate, Dale Zeigler, John Doucette, Tom Shollin, Tuck Halsey, Pony Leaguers to Global Series, Lloydminster Little League, Stan Karpinski

1957 - WCBL Snapshots 1 - the Western Canada snapshot page has a half-dozen changes (including photos featuring Ron Fairly, Tom Haller, Ed Tanner, Ed Stefureak, Bill Vanderlaan and the WCBL All-Stars)

1957 - WCBL Snapshots 3 - Ken Guffey, Curtis Tate

1957 - WCBL Photo Gallery 3 - Jerry White

1957 - BC Photo Gallery - Jerry Reimer

1958 - WCBL Snapshots 1 - a revised photo of Curly Williams

1958 - WCBL Snapshots 3 - Roger Tomlinson, Jon Tatro, John Kellner and Jerry Zubak.

1958 - WCBL Snapshots 4 - Jerry Zubak, John Aldridge, Bruce Gardner, Roland Jones and Bob Mistele

1959 - BC Snapshots - Clark Inglis begins baseball career as batboy

1960 - WCBL Photo Gallery 1 - additions of  Barry Arnett (Lloydminster) & Doug McChesney (played for Calgary & Lethbridge)

1960 - names for the photo of the 1960 Vernon Luckies (thanks again to Clark Inglis for the Vernon photos).

1960 - WCBL Photo Gallery 2 - addition of Dave Turnbull (also Calgary and Lethbridge) & Kelly Searcy

1961 - WCBL Photo Gallery 1 -  George Banda, John Carbray

1961 - WCBL Photo Gallery 2 - Curly Williams, Jim McDonald

1961 - WCBL Snapshots 1Casey Jones, Ed Beard, Ray Barboza, Bob Milano, Herb Goodwin, Al Dyck, Bill Fennessey

1961 - Rosters - Peace River Stampeders, Donnelly Cubs, Dawson Creek

1961 - Tournaments - Ponoka Tournament and Peace River Tournament

1962 - Alberta Photo Gallery - Jim Ryan, Bill Fennessey

1968 -  Snapshots - Lloyd Haddon of Beaverlodge, six homers in ten at bats in tournament play

1968 - Alberta Photo Gallery - Lloyd Haddon

1969 - BC Snapshots - Wayne Dye

1969 - BC Photo Gallery - Wayne Dye, Clark Inglis, Jerry Reimer

1969 - BC Interior Game Reports - beginning of the '69 page with Wayne Dye pitching gem

1970 - Tournaments - Kamloops Tournament

1970 - BC Snapshots - Clark Inglis, Joe Watson

1970 - BC Photo Gallery - Clark Inglis, Joe Watson

1971 - Alberta Snapshots - Al Herback, John Elick

1971 - Tournaments - Lacombe Tournament

1971 - Team British Columbia - names added, still some unknown IDs

1973 - BC Snapshots - photo of Clark Inglis of Vernon

1973 - Alberta Photo Gallery - Clint Fystro

13 November, 2018

Red Star    The way he's churning out the reports, I'm not sure our Rich Necker is getting any sleep !  The latest batch of game reports cover BC mainland ball in 1922. There are game reports for the Vancouver Senior Amateur League, the Terminal League, the Twilight League, the Dewdney League, the Westminster League, the Howe Sound League, the Upper Fraser Valley League, plus all the provincial playoffs. Of course, complete with new and updated rosters.  

Red Star    On the 1922 home page we've added a little advertisement just to show how inflation has taken hold over the years. The ad is for a baseball uniform. Cost - $7.50

Red Star     Thanks to Lou DeRosa of Trail (who tracked down former colleague Clark Inglis) we have team photos of the Vernon Canadians of 1952 and the Vernon Luckies of 1962. Lou and Clark also have some names for the photo of the 1966 Luckys/Luckies.

A neat newspaper photo of Clark trying to score from second is our first snapshot on the 1970 BC Snapshot page.

A few names still missing. More photos still to come.

Red Star     Another new snapshot page is for BC in 1979 with a pic of Gordie Dumont of Nanaimo sliding into third.

Red Star     The 1951 Tournament page now includes the amateur Brandon tournament and the 1975 home page has a photo of the cover of the 1975 Trail Tournament program.

Al HillRed Star    National Hockey League centre Al Hill of the Philadelphia Flyers relaxed in the off-season donning his baseball gear to help out the hometown team, Nanaimo.

This summer of 1979 it was the Nanaimo Discosport A’s of the Mid-Island Senior Baseball League. Hill, a left-hander, played some first base and also took a turn on the mound. He's the initial entry on our new 1979 BC Photo Gallery.

Red Star    One new photo added to the 1979 BC Snapshot page, featuring Gordie Dumont of Nanaimo.

09 November, 2018

Lynn BerridgeRed Star    Lynn Berridge (right, in a 1968 photo) had quite the offensive outburst in a 1979 Calgary Baseball League contest belting a pair of grand slam homers as the Odeons clobbered the Broncos 16 to 3.

Berridge went 5 for 5 and drove in eleven runs. The outfielder had a long career in Calgary, from the mid 1960s to at least 1979. This August 1st game is among the reports in the 1979 Alberta game reports now posted thanks to the dogged research by our Rich Necker.

Keith Van de KeereThe 1979 rosters include the Calgary League and Northern Alberta teams, including Barrhead, Red Deer and Edmonton.

One of those players is (left) Keith Van de Keere. We are delighted to have Gary Piconediscovered a better photo of the lefty hurler, buried in Lou DeRosa's memorabilia !  Another is (right) Gary Picone, another Trail alumnus, who, like Van de Keere suited up with the Barrhead Blue Jays in 1979.

Red Star    Our BC coverage continues to expand with 1979 game reports for the Prince George/Quesnel area and out on the Island with reports on the Mid Island League and NanaimoRosters also updated, along with the Tournament page which has additions from tourneys in both BC and Alberta.

Clint McKerlieRed Star    Happy to have stumbled across a team photo of the 1951 Central Manitoba champions, the Neepawa Farmers.

Clint McKerlie (right) , who had a brief trail in the ManDak League the previous season, was a pitcher for the champs. His brother Almer McKerlie was a long-time catching star for the Carman entry in the ManDak League.

Red Star    We also travel back to 1919 and 1920 for additions to West Kootenay baseball.  The 1920 roster page has additions for the West Kootenay teams.

30a October, 2018

Red Star    With thanks to former Team Canada hurler Keith Van de Keere we have names (a few with question marks) for the 1980 team photo. Now if we could just confirm the probables ...

Monty HollandRed Star    William M. "Monty" Holland, up from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, had an extremely short Canadian career - just three games - but he made his mark.

In the 1978 season, pitching for the Hamiota Red Sox in the Manitoba Senior League, the 6'5", 230 pound right-hander racked up 21 strikeouts in an eight inning game. He had a chance for a league record (23 in a nine inning contest) but darkness forced the game to be shortened.

After losing his first start when a ninth inning error led to an opposition rally, Holland fired a four-hitter, then a three-hitter and that was it. Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 19th round of the 1980 draft, Holland had just a 10-inning career in pro ball.

30 October, 2018

Red Star    Now that's a comeback.   

In 1978 in the finals of Manitoba's South West League (sometimes called the South Central League) the Waskada Orioles nipped the Deloraine Royals 32-3 in the opening game of a best-of-three final.

Royals bounced back to win the second contest 13-3 and won the title with a 10-6 victory in the deciding game.

Gerry FalkThinking of numbers, Gerry Falk of Binscarth threw 231 pitches in 16 innings on July 2nd at the Birtle Tournament going the distance in both a semi-final and the final as the Orioles took top money.  In the final he faced the Riverside Canucks which boasted a TEAM batting average of .356.

These are among the stories our Rich Necker has discovered in his dive into the archives of 1978 Manitoba baseball. Just one more superb effort by our Chief Correspondent ! 

Along the way you'll find game reports for the 1978 Manitoba Senior Baseball League, and a new paragraphs on the Eastern Manitoba League and the South West League. The 1978 Manitoba photo gallery and the snapshot page sport many additional pictures and, as usual, the roster page and the tournament page have been updated with the latest finds. There's even a short summary of the final batting statistics for the South West circuit.

The game report page also shows a map of the league communities to provide a little more context. The map was first posted for the 1979 game reports of the Manitoba Senior League and the Red-Boine League.

Red Star    Our finds have not been restricted to the 1970s.  We go back to 1923 for a team photo of the Nakusp, BC, baseball nine and have extracted a couple of individual pictures for the photo gallery.

Among the updates is a 1952 photo of Manitoba pitcher and manager George Leduchowski, who continued to play into the late 1970s and early 1980s. There's a half-dozen new entries, including Shanty Clifford and Jimmy Wilkes, for the 1953 Ontario photo page.

Tony DeRosaThe game reports for 1959 in BC are coming up soon, but in the meantime Rich has provided more than a dozen new individual pics for the photo gallery, including Tony DeRosa (left), and such luminaries as Vern Dye and Curly Jellison (also see note on Jellison below). The snapshot page also features a group of new images (including Ron Miciuk and Jim Tooley).

The 1976 Manitoba gallery adds several Binscarth Orioles, including Garth Neville and Lyle Robinson.

Bill DerlagoA familiar face turns up in the 1977 Manitoba photo gallery, former hockey star Bill Derlago (right) a summer diamond star with Binscarth Orioles.

And we have some new snapshots for 1979 Alberta (featuring Calgary's one-armed pitcher Pat Jarvis) and 1979 Manitoba, including Todd Jensen and Marty Mason.

Red Star    Team photos ?  There's a dozen additions from the quirky 1958 Nelson Outlaws photo (showing the advertising on the backs of the uniforms) to a re-do of the 1953 Brantford Red Sox of the Ontario Intercounty League.

Unfortunately, a lot of the team photos do not have names to go with the faces. But, perhaps the posting of the photos will prompt some memories and we'll luck into some IDs.

We've added the ... 1926 Winnipeg Arenas ... Rimbey, Alberta, team of the 1930s ... from Ontario, the Brantford Universals of 1934 ... the 1947 Virden, Manitoba, Oilers ... 1947 Halifax, Nova Scotia, All-Stars ... 1948 Halifax All-Stars ... 1957 Chatfield, Manitoba ... 1973 Glenboro, Manitoba, Canucks ... 1974 Glenboro Canucks.

Mary BakerRed Star    A little catch-up (thanks to ol' friend Rodney McLean). In Toronto, October 18th, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame held its induction ceremony with former Toronto Maple Leafs star Dave Keon, quarterback Damon Allen, Olympic great Alex Despatie, Paralympian Jeff Adams, and cross-country skier Chandra Crawford among the chosen.

What got our attention was the selection of Mary Baker, catcher Mary Baker, the Regina woman who helped inspire the Geena Davis character in the movie A League Of Their Own the film on the women's baseball league of the war years. 

Mary "Bonnie" Baker worked at the Army & Navy store in Regina and played ball for the store's Bombers baseball team. She was enticed to join the All-American Girls Professional League in 1943 and went on to be a three-time all-star catcher (appearing on the cover of Life Magazine in 1945).  She was the catcher for the South Bend Blue Sox in Indiana and the Kalamazoo Lassies in Michigan.

Baker has has a spot in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and is part of a special exhibit on the Girls Professional League in the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York.

Body BreakRed Star    Oh my. Rich will be jealous too. Lou DeRosa reports in ... from Fenway!  Yep, Lou took in World Series action watching the Red Sox top the Dodgers.

Thanks to Lou and Keith Van de Keere for adding some names to the 1980 photo of Team Canada.   If you can help out with some IDs please get in touch.

Keith adds an interesting tid-bit - Harold Johnson the Team Canada infielder of 1980 is well known to Canadian television viewers, as Hal Johnson, for his Body Break videos (with partner Joanne McLeod). They've been on the air for 30 years.

22 October, 2018

1929_bruno_medallionRed Star    Isn't this classy?

From the 1929 Saskatoon Exhibition Tournament it's the medallion awarded to players on Bruno's championship team.

This one was for Bruno's catcher (and pitcher) Mike Hofbauer.

Hofbauer was knocked unconscious when beaned by a pitch in the opening game but quickly recovered and remained in the game.

This marvelous find comes from Joe Sanders, of whom I now chase more information on how this came about.

Red Star    Always fascinating what turns up in various searches. In trying to locate photos of Gary Picone, a pitching & catching star of the 1970s and 1980s, we turned up a photo of the 1969 Babe Ruth team from Trail, BC, playing at a regional Babe Ruth Tournament in Casper, Wyoming.

Yep, that's our Rich Necker as the team manager (at the back right).

The Casper paper gave great coverage to the tournament, with three "snapshot" photos on the sports page.

Red Star    Another half-dozen individual photos have been added to the 1979 Manitoba Photo Gallery - there's Randy Clayton, Garry Davidson, Don Hurton, Tony Kalechyn (revised), Keith Kontzie, Ken Vertz and Cam Walker.  And, an addition to the 1978 Manitoba Snapshots.

Red Star    The 1979 Alberta Photo Gallery has a couple of new pics - Gary Picone, Dale Tilleman and Keith Van De Keere. The latter is from a 1980 team photo of Team Canada provided by Adam Morissette Baseball Canada.  Adam had a photo to me in minutes after making a request out of the blue. Wow.

We are still hunting for sources to help ID the players in the 1980 Team Canada photo.

Red Star    We stumbled upon another new team photo, the 1960 club from Osoyoos. Turned out that the player we were trying to locate -- Bud Englesby -- wasn't present when the photo was taken.  In the process, we've consolidated the Inglesby/Englesby listings under Englesby -- Bud Englesby. Bud, who passed away in 2012, had settled down in the Slocan Valley not far from my home base. Wife Karen explained that it was always just "Bud" as he was not too fond of his given name Philo Harrison Englesby ! Turns out Bud also played in Williams Lake and Quesnel (softball) and in later years in Merritt.

Curly JellisonRed Star    We've untangled the Jellisons of the Okanagan.  We have had two listed -- Curly Jellison a player and then manager and a Jerry Jellison, mainly a pitcher.  But, on a couple of occasions we tied them together, as in Jerry "Curly" Jellison. Not so.

Curly turns out to be John G. (Curly) Jellison (right) who began playing in 1932 in Penticton, spent the war years in uniform fighting in Europe and returned to play in the Okanagan until the late 1940s when a workplace accident ended his playing days. He continued to be involved as a manager and league president into the 1960s. His eldest son, Jerry began playing for Vernon (where Curly was reassigned) in 1954 and was in the lineup through 1958.

Bob LaskoRed Star    Found an interesting photo of Vancouver product Bob Lasko at Spring Training, 1962 with the Yankees in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There is Lasko with Bob Turley and Ralph Terry looking on.

Red Star     Nearly forty years ago Terry Jones, then of the Edmonton Journal, penned a pair of columns on the famous Lacombe Tournament . An interesting read all these years later. Jones, by the way, is still writing for ... the Edmonton Journal ! 

Red Star     The new poster boy of our mantra "do not make assumptions" is a player from the 1979 Binscarth Orioles of the Manitoba Senior Baseball League. Last name Kilimnik, which turned up as Kiliwnik in several newspaper reports. So K-i-l-i-m-n-i-k or K-i-l-i-w-n-i-k ?  My initial thought was a typo, somebody had just typed a "w" instead of an "m". Upside down "m" ! Could there be any doubt this is the same player ? 

Turns out, yes. The first one, a pitcher, turned out to be Gerry Kilimnik. The other, a catcher, Terry Kiliwnik. It's not known if they were from branches of the same family.  A few years later, Binscarth had Gerry Kilimnik and Jim Kilimnik plus Terry Kiliwnik and Tim Kiliwnik. No idea of the pronunciations.

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’Reilly 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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