Update : 27 July, 2014
A little more of the backlog has been cleared with some photos added for the 1955 BC Interior. The pics, in material send by colleague Rich Necker, include Len Gatin (left), the Kamloops workhorse, and Larry Jordan (right) of Penticton Red Sox. We've also added a newspaper pic of Baz Nagle, right-handed pitcher for Kamloops Okonots on the 1955 Snapshot page.
A half dozen photos (the larger ones which come up when you click the small ones) added to the Fresno State section. Among those added - Bill Findley, Roy Lattimore, Jack Hannah, Tony Levaggi, Jim McMahon, JD Peterson and Bill Sheffield.
Faced with a mountain of material to process, what do you do? Oh, stop to improve some existing photos of course. In stumbling upon the 1950-1951 pics of the Claresholm team I was really unsatisfied with the look so took some time to re-do the lot, including hurler Ward MacDonald (left) and the team photo.
Brian Morrison, Diamonds in the Dusk, sends along a newspaper clipping of the 1916 Winnipeg Maroons of the Northern League. Interesting - there are just 11 players in the photo, not unusual for teams of that era. Today minor league rosters normally sit at 25.
22 July, 2014
Ah, what a marvelous surprise to receive material on the Huftys of the West Kootenay region of British Columbia. Previously, we had a particular void here without photos of former Kootenay area stars Les Hufty (left) and brother Frank Hufty (right). Now with those posted, we still chase a photo of Frank Sr. who also played and coached in Slocan and Nelson,
So along with the pics of the Huftys we have the rest of the squad, (including Carl Locatelli, far left) and Al (Swede) Larsen (near left). There are a few more photos from the late 1940s and early 1950s that we're still processing and hope to have those on the site soon.
The Players Lists have been updated! But, after adding up the number of new entries, I am going to have to triple-check. While the update took weeks, adding names and going over the list line by line to try and eliminate duplication, the number of additions seems quite astounding -- more than 15,000 new entries with about 2,000 names deleted because of duplication. Can that be right? No wonder my wrists ache!
There's been a slight change in the format with both the main list and the BC list now simply separated into decades (previously we had a category from 1907 to 1921 to reflect the years of the old professional Western Canada League).
Again, with much thanks to Rich Necker, we have more game report updates, this time for the BC Central Interior League for 1950, Alberta game reports and stats for the 1928 season and some photo additions for BC in 1949 and 1954. I've still a backlog of material from Rich and hope to soon begin delving into the stash.
Over at Diamonds in the Dusk, Brian Morrison carries a detailed report on the 1922 Western International League which included three Canadian teams - Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. The league folded in mid-June but left a lasting impression. Among the craziness, the league president was empowered to alter the standings, albeit in a minor way, which left the final standings with one more loss than wins.
She was one of the Lloydminster Meridians' biggest fans. Lillian McLean passed away June 20th at the age of 101. The wife of prominent lawyer Joseph McLean, she was a nurse who just happened to be on duty in the summer of 1941 when I was born at Lloydminster Hospital and thus one of the first people I'd ever "meet".
Sixty years later, Mrs. McLean provided a major boost to my fledgling web site with the contribution of a thick scrapbook of newspaper clippings of the old Western Canada League. On the phone she helped with details on the players and the times. (She also had questions about a little trouble of mine at Lloydminster Composite High School in the late 1950s and seemed to know a whole lot about the goings-on of our class.) Lillian moved from Lloydminster to Moose Jaw in 1997, when she was 84, to settle near son Rodney and family. While she had a little trouble with the TV remote and new fandangled phones, her memory was acute and her assistance was greatly appreciated. A strong woman, she survived the death of her eldest son, Raymond, in 1968, and husband Joseph in 1975.
29 June, 2014
William Byron "Bill" Findley was among more than 100 baseball stars from Fresno State University to grace the diamonds of Western Canada. The baseball and basketball star at Fresno State University passed away May 22nd at Narrabri, NSW Australia. He was 79.
He was just 19 when he suited up with the Kamsack Cyclones and Moose Jaw Mallards for prairie baseball in 1954. The product of Visalia, California, High School was an outstanding athlete at the College of Sequoias and Fresno State. With a family background in agriculture, Findley began growing cotton on the FSU farm and working on his father's and grandfather's farms. In the early 1960s, the Finleys were among about 20 farmer families from the San Joaquin Valley of California to emigrate to Wee Waa and Narrabri, NSW, Australia, to start their cotton growing operations. Two grandsons continue the family tradition growing cotton in Wee Waa. Last year, Bill and Carolyn marked their 58th wedding anniversary.
Wow. Thank you Gary Fink ! Gary, a fellow member of SABR, the baseball research organization, has put together a spreadsheet of all the players of the ManDak League, 1950 to 1957 showing their year by year stats, positions played, teams, whether they played in organized pro ball and/or the Negro Leagues. What a great addition to our ManDak coverage.
Gary, who lives in Reno, Nevada, has been a SABR member for 40 years. Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, he's still a Tigers' fan although with the move West in 1981 he's also taken a liking to the Giants. He's been very active in research efforts spending countless hours squinting at microfilm readers digging out more and more information from newspaper box scores. He's now working on a project to identify black players in pro ball in the years 1946 to 1956 - the Jackie Robinson years. Already he has some 600 players listed (along with basic hitting and pitching statistics) who most likely would not have been able to play in the Major or Minor Leagues before 1946. Gary has been working with stats guru Ray Nemec to make the compilation which is a boon for other researchers in making the information, like the ManDak sheet, so readily accessible and easy to digest.
Etherlbert "Curley" Christian ? Brandon and Selkirk, Manitoba, 1914ish? Ballplayer?
Thanks to Guylaine Petrin of Toronto for sending along the story of the stretcher-bearer in the First World War who lost both arms and both legs when wounded at Vimy Ridge, yet survived and became a symbol of bravery and determination. Christian apparently had come to Canada from Ohio around 1914 to play baseball in Brandon. Guylaine had read our book on Black Baseball Players in Canada and wondered if Christian should have been included.
The Lethbridge Herald, December 29, 1950, carried a story on Christian's advice to a severely wounded soldier in the Korean War.
"Curley Christian, believed the only quadruple war amputee in the British Commonwealth, took a pen in one of his artificial hands today and wrote a letter of consolation to the first quadruple amputee of the Korean war. He wrote 20-year-old Pte. Robert Smith of the United States army, warning him against overindulgence in sympathy and telling him to have "patience, a sense of humor, and a faith in God." Pte. Smith i is in hospital in Washington. He lost both hands and both legs below the knee as a result of frostbite suffered in fighting around the Chosen reservoir Nov. 27. Christian, 66-year-old U.S.- born negro, lost both arms below the elbow and both legs below the knee while fighting with the Canadian army at Vimy Ridge in 1917. A stretcher-bearer, he was buried 18 hours when a shell exploded in a trench. "You'll have to get a new outlook, he wrote Smith. "It's not a question of bravery but a question of facing the situation It's a matter of looking forward, not back. "You've got to be wary of sympathy and you've got to have patience and a sense of humor. But the greatest secret is to know for sure that God will take care of you. What He has done for others HP will for you'." Christian was a semi-pro baseball player in Brandon, Man., before he enlisted with the 78th Grenadier Guards in Winnipeg. After the war, he got two artificial hands and two new legs and became a cigar salesman. He retired a few years later and has been living on pension since then. He married after his accident, and has one son, Douglas, 25, who served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the second world war."
In 1954 (April 2nd), the Winnipeg Free Press in a note about Christian's passing in Toronto made reference to his baseball activities in Brandon.
" ... Christian ... possibly will be remembered by old-time baseball fans here, he having played for Brandon just prior to the first world war."
Thus, we are searching through copies of the Brandon paper to try and find some confirmation of Christian's baseball days in Brandon and/or Selkirk.
Brian Morrison continues to keep us entertained with wild and woolly tales from the diamond. This one from a paper of June 2, 1922.
Yakima nosed out Victoria in the ninth inning yesterday and won 11 to 10. Yakima tied the score in the eighth inning 8-all. Victoria scored two in the ninth, and Yakima came back with three more in her half of the frame. Manager Blankenship, of the Victoria team, was banished in the ninth for disputing a decision. Following the game, Blankenship came back on the field and started an argument with Held, which ended in a fist fight, the manager striking Held first. Dempsey, Victoria first baseman, joined Blankenship in his attack on Held and according to bystanders, Blankenship struck and kicked the umpire while he was down. A fan took a hand and hit Blankenship over the head with a bat, knocking him out.
And, also from 1922, this published in the Vancouver Daily World :
21 June, 2014
As we began to dig into baseball in the BC Interior, especially in the Arrow Lakes region, Fred Desrochers was one of the more prominent names.
The Nakusp shortstop, along with brother Ed, a pitcher and outfielder, helped form the nucleus of the squad in the 1940s and 1950s (along with players such as Bob Hale, Ken Highland, Kaz Hoshizaki, Otto Yanagisawa, Sam Yano and Barin Yoshida) which competed with Burton, Edgewood, New Denver, Silverton, Slocan, Winlaw and down to Nelson. Last week, Fred passed away at the age of 85.
That's Fred below taking a swing in a game at the Nakusp ball grounds in the early 1950s. The photo and the above left picture are courtesy of the Arrow Lakes Historical Society. The above right photo, taken last year, is courtesy of Sabina Iseli-Otto.
15 June, 2014
We're happy to have cleared more of the backlog, sent weeks ago by Rich Necker, adding BC Interior (mainly the Kootenay Baseball League) game reports for 1932. We had earlier posted the rosters for these teams.
Tom Hawthorn, as usual, presents an A-1 piece on his BENCHED blog, this time the life and times of former BC hurler Gordon Tench who passed away last month at Castlegar. Tench, who pitched for a few seasons in the minor league system of the St. Louis Browns, was 82. He was a native of Trail, BC.
10 June, 2014
Over the last few days we've been digging into the stockpile of material sent previously by Rich Necker. The latest additions are mainly from the 1930s.
- Central Okanagan League game reports of 1931, along with 1931 rosters.
- For 1932, the formatting of the Alberta game reports went wonky so we've corrected that and added a few reports on BC Interior ball in 1932, along with BC roster additions (the game reports are yet to come).
- There are game reports for Alberta leagues and provincial playoffs for 1933 and roster additions.
- I may have mentioned 1934 roster additions previously, but we've also added statistics for the Edmonton Senior League. And, we've standardized the spelling of a Crow's Nest area hurler as Houbregs. We have had it as Houbreggs and a few other variations over the years. But, there now remains a research effort as to whether the first name was Philip or John. Or, were there two Houbregs? John went on to a minor league hockey career and his son Bob became a famous basketball star at Washington State and in the pros. The papers of the day, which usually just noted his last name, did mention both John and Philip in his time with Blairmore. Another mystery to keep us busy.
- More game reports for Alberta are included in the 1935 section along with rosters and an explanation of why Westaskiwin gets an asterisk beside the notation of "Western Canada Champions".
- The 1937 section now has some game reports for the Central Alberta League along with corresponding roster additions.
- And, there are game reports for Alberta leagues and playoffs for 1938, again with roster additions.
Out of the blue we received a note from Gary Fink of Reno, Nevada who has been working on a list with stats of all the players who suited up in the ManDak League, 1950 to 1957. We're just refining an approach as to the presentation of the data and hope to have something posted soon. Thank you Gary !
Finally, we came across a photo of long time Saskatoon Star-Phoenix columnist Ned Powers. Now, if we could find a photo of Hal Pawson of the Edmonton Journal we'd be in pretty good shape on the "Writers" page.
Thanks to Daryl Penn (North Battleford, Lloydminster, Saskatoon in the 1950s and 60s) for material on the Saskatoon Ambassadors championship run of 1960 and a bit on the Saskatoon Optimist Juniors title season of 1957. The Optimists won the championship in spite of being no-hit in the final game. We've also received a copy of a newspaper photo of the 1960 Ambassadors, the provincial champions, but it's been a tough task to improve the quality. We'll continue the search through the archives. From the 1960 Ambassadors, there are a few pics in the Photo Gallery.
In searching for game scores of the 1960 Ambassadors, we came across a Star-Phoenix photo of Saskatchewan stars Ross Stone and Jim Pettapiece suiting up for Roy Taylor's college team at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California.
Again? The name of that pitcher for Pincher Creek, Alberta, in 1930 ... Homer Simpson? Yep.
Brian Morrison sends along details on a 1910 Western Canada League double-header on July 30th in which Moose Jaw Robin Hoods clobbered Edmonton starter Wheezer Dell for eight runs on eight hits and four walks in four innings in the first game. Of course, Dell turned around and fired a no-hitter in the second ! He did issue five free passes and fanned just five. Brian's site, Diamonds in the Dusk, carries so many fascinating stories on interesting people in baseball. And, as you know, he's an expert at digging out photos to illustrate his work. Thank you Brian !
01 June, 2014
It might not seem like much progress, but the addition of the 1931 and 1932 Alberta game reports and 1931 and 1932 rosters is a big step forward. The '32 season was particularly interesting with the charge of the Nacmine Athletics to the Alberta Senior title before they were wiped out by the Regina Nationals (to be inducted this summer into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame) in the prairie championship final. Nacmine rode the superb pitching of Virgil Neis (right) and Cliff Bogstie (below, May 30th entry) to capture the provincial title.
1932 sections also consolidate information on inter-provincial playdowns and the tour of Earl Mack's Major League All-Stars to the prairies, in October no less.
After tracking down the date of a photo from Dusty Rhodes we've now added it to our team collection. It's the 1950 Carmangay nine, winners of the 16-team Brooks Tournament. From the photo we've extracted an individual photo of star hurler Hans Sagstuen (left) (often spelled Sangstuen in the papers of the day) who fired a no-hitter in the championship game of the tourney. Turns out it was Sagstuen's fourth no-hitter of his career.
Our trail through the papers trying to find the date of the tournament led to a few other discoveries, such as Wilf "Lefty" Pennington still competing in senior ball at age 47 with Medicine Hat in the early 1950s.
30 May, 2014
Cliff Bogstie, from the tiny Alberta community of Gleichen, made quite the name for himself on the baseball diamond.
In a notable step forward in 1930, the teenager pitched against then joined the barnstorming Chicago Colored Athletics during a tour of Alberta. On July 8th, the 19-year-old southpaw gave up three runs in the first inning but settled down to pitch Meadowbrook (strengthened with players from Gleichen) to a 6-5 victory over the Athletics. Later in July, it was announced that the Athletics had hired Bogstie "at a good sum" to pitch five games for them in "Calgary, Edmonton and other big towns". On July 20th, in Drumheller, Bogstie was on the hill for the Athletics in the first game of a double-header against another black touring team, the Texas Colored Giants. It would be roughly two decades before Wayne :"Wimpy" Stephenson (1949) and Carmel Risenhoover (1954) would fill a role similar to that of Bogstie.
In June, 1931, Bogstie threw a perfect game, with 14 strikeouts, for Gleichen in a 7-0 win over Cluny. It was the lefty's ninth straight victory. Later, he became a standout hurler with Trail in Southern BC.
Attacking the backlog of good stuff from Rich Necker, we've now posted Alberta game reports for 1930 and the war years of 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944 and, posted previously, 1945 (which included former major leaguer Alex Kampouris, left). There's also a bit on the Crow's Nest Pass League (the Alberta-BC circuit) for 1941. The 1944 Alberta Foothills League had some statistics (yep, there's that Max Bentley again). A photo of pitcher Bud Spiesman has been added to the 1933 snapshot page. And, there are significant updates to the roster pages of 1930, 1935, 1936, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1950 and 1952.
In doing a little roster checking on behalf of colleague Kent Morgan in Winnipeg, I was able to confirm that hockey Hall of Fame goalie Turk Broda was also a baseball star back in the 1930s in Manitoba. Broda, who retired as a player after the 1951-52 season, played for St. Boniface in 1935 and with the Winnipeg Pucksters in 1936 and perhaps other seasons.
With thanks to Brian Morrison ( Diamonds in the Dusk ) some examples of 1939 newspaper comments on baseball :
Brian has also dug out some clippings on baseball in the 1880s & 90s in Canada, including a note in the Manitoba Free Press :
The St. Paul's baseball club has challenged the Kildonan club to play a match in a month for a sack of flour for the Winnipeg General Hospital.
27 May, 2014
With the latest roster additions from Rich's material I believe we have about 2,500 more names on the roster pages! Included are 1922 and 1929 Alberta teams rosters, 1931 BC Interior, 1939 Alberta, Manitoba rosters for 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945, and Lloydminster rosters from 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, and 1950.
There are a few pictures added as well - 1965 Dave Pearson, 1957 Bob Laurie, 1954 Dusty Rhodes, 1947 Clarence Rhodes, 1940 Midi Blacquiere, 1959 Don Kuodis, 1953 Oscar Tesch, 1914 Wave Kesselring, 1914 Porky Ryan.
Elmer Ellsworth "Tiny" Leonard, 6'3", 210 lbs was a right-handed pitcher who got into five games as a 22-year-old with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1911 (2-2, 2.84). Back in the low minors in 1914, something happened early in the season to spark enquiries from other teams.
[The photo is from the San Francisco Chronicle of June 30, 1907 when Leonard was pitching high school ball in his hometown of Napa, California. The story noted he had pitched his first high school contest on May 18th firing a two-hitter over 16 innings with 19 strikeouts. On June 3rd (under the name of Jones) he pitched for Veterans' Home fanning 17 in a win over a San Francisco club. On the 10th of June he fired a shutout with 17 strikeouts. In four games, Leonard rang up 68 strikeouts while allowing just 14 hits.]
The hint might be the beginning of the telegram from William Devereaux of Calgary, "Reams showed me your wire". Reams is Babe Reams, an infielder who started the season with Leonard's Portland squad and moved to Calgary early in the campaign. Seems he might have been promoting the pitcher to other teams.
Ellsworth received three telegrams, all on the 14th of May, 1914 -- from the managers of Calgary and Medicine Hat in the Western Canada League and Winnipeg of the Northern League -- trying to recruit the big right-hander. Thanks to David Eskenazi for copies of the telegrams. Looks as if $175 a month was the going rate for a pitcher of his stature. The previous season he had gone 19-5 with Walla Walla Bears of the Western Tri-State League, a Class D circuit. In 1914 he was with the Portland Colts of the Class B, Northwestern League, a team which ran into difficulties and switched to Ballard, Washington (a Seattle suburb) for the latter part of the season. Leonard, who finished 16-18 in 1914 (but won nine of ten decisions in August and September) set a mark for control by going 74 consecutive innings (more than 8 games) without a base on balls.
24 May, 2014
Rich Necker continues his super sleuthing in digging out more material on local baseball during the war years in Manitoba and Alberta baseball. We've now posted information of the 1943-1944 and 1945 seasons. The photos are far from top quality but, at very least, act as placeholders for better quality versions when they come this way.
Manitoba Game reports 1943, 1944, 1945
Manitoba Photo Gallery 1943, 1944, 1945
Manitoba Snapshots 1943, 1944, 1945
1943 CUAC Blues
1943 RCAF, HMCS Chippawa
1944 CUAC Blues
Alberta Game Reports (with stats) 1945
Thumbing through old newspaper editions of the local paper at the new home of the Arrow Lakes Archives I stumbled upon an answer to one of the many questions about former players' names. One year the paper had noted a Nesbitt playing for Nakusp and then there was a Wignesbitt the following two years. Turns out it was Wilfred "Wig" Nesbitt. Now if we could find a few dozen more like that !
It was a pleasure to put Dusty Rhodes back in touch with former Vulcan pitcher Steve Cottrell. Steve, who is working on a documentary on former major league umpire Steve Palermo (click the link for a preview of the program) well remembered his time up in Alberta.
Steve Palermo e-mailed me last week to say he enjoyed looking at what you have and also emphasized the importance of what we used to call "town team" baseball. Thanks to you and Jack Altman, I recently received phone calls from Dusty Rhodes, who I played against in 1961 when he was with Champion, and who managed the Vulcan team in '62; as well as from Bill Hilz, who umpired in the Alberta Foothills-Wheatbelt League and gave me a job on his farm outside Vulcan after the '62 season working for $5 a week, room & board, and the use of his '51 Merc pickup each Saturday evening after chores. I'd go into town with my $5 bill, blow it on a movie, snookers and dinner, then go back to the farm and work another week for another $5 bill.
Meanwhile, Jack (Altman) is not sure that water tower (noted in a story below) is actually in Vulcan. So, that mystery remains. But, thanks to the smiling assistance of Sharon Lowe, up in Grande Prairie, Alberta we've been able to confirm Bob Laurie's play with Beaverlodge in 1958 and 1959. Sharon was kind enough to copy and send a couple of clippings from the Grande Prairie paper.
Good wishes to Johnny Stoyand of Port Elgin, NB, son of the former Regina Nationals star of the same name. He's just had open heart surgery and might have to miss this summer's Saskatchewan Hall of Fame induction ceremony where the Regina Nationals of the 1930s are to be saluted. But, he reports many of the Stoyand clan of Saskatchewan hope to be there.
15 May, 2014
Onward and upward ! We've added more bits and pieces, from 1922 rosters to 1958 player photos.
Thanks to Rich Necker's hard slogging we've posted rosters for a whole slew of teams in Alberta in 1922 and in the BC interior.
We stumbled upon a report on the 1954 Kimberley Tournament so that too is now posted.
The 1958 photo gallery has several additions of Moose Jaw Mallards, courtesy of David Eskenazi. The ones of Jerry Coody, Homer Garner and Pete Riggs worked out the best.
From Charlotte Lang comes more snapshots (including one of import catcher Louis Green, left, of the 1952 North Battleford Beavers of the Saskatchewan Baseball League).
I hadn't heard from Jim Lester for a couple of months and began to worry a bit, but a phone call from Peoria relieved the concern. Jim has been among our earliest and strongest supporters! It'll be a good day when he can swing the clubs again.
Thanks again to Dusty Rhodes of Champion for help in a variety of areas, including digging out a certificate from the National Baseball Congress in the USA noting his selection as an All-Star with the Vauxhall Jets in the Big Five League. It's posted in the 1956 Alberta Snapshots. And, he's sent along the team photo of the 1956 Vauxhall Jets. And from the latter, we've extracted individual pictures for the 1956 Alberta Photo Gallery (Roy Cleland, above left), Doug Stevenson (right).
Another of the Bob Laurie mysteries solved - the team photo, recently confirmed as from Beaverlodge, Alberta, now has a year too, 1957. And, Peter Martin of the Beaverlodge Historical Society has provided the names. Thank you Peter !
11 May, 2014
Now there are just about a dozen! Rhodes that is.
Well, we started with many, many more but thanks to contact with Merlin "Dusty" Rhodes (left) of Champion we've managed to whittle it down considerably. Dusty himself was listed under Dusty, Merlin, Mervin, Marvin, M.Rhodes, and, even an S.Rhodes. Then there was a C.Rhodes (which turned out to be his father, Clarence, above right) and numerous uncles and cousins on the ball diamonds of the prairies. It turns out Clarence Rhodes was pretty unusual for the day, a lefty throwing shortstop! Check out the photo (yep, sure likes like a cigarette in the left hand, glove for the right) - 1947 BC Snapshots.
We even discovered the correct first name (Albert) and nickname (Stoddy) of the Prince George Rhodes, (rather than Scottie or Stottie or Scotty). As you know by now, the newspapers of the day didn't pay too much attention to getting the names correct or to even provide first names.
Through Dusty and Sev Pasolli, former players with Champion and Carmangay and other clubs in Alberta and BC, we have begun tracking down photos and information on baseball in the 1940s and 1950s in these communities, especially Champion. Our thanks to Kathy Perley in Champion for organizing and preparing the material. Sev is working on a history (with game reports and statistics) of Champion ball from the mid 40s on.
Already, Dusty has sent along a team photo of a Vulcan team from the early 1950s. We still need to pin down the exact year. There's the picture of the 1924 Stavely club of Slim Haynes (names to come) and the 1962 edition of the Champion Red Sox. In the Remember section, we've include a bit of Dusty's thoughts on former Negro League and prairie star Hubert Glenn.
He has also solved one of the mysteries about Bob Laurie and that "Royals" team from the mid 50s. Yes, says Dusty (who played with Laurie) that was Beaverlodge. And, Dusty has sent along an aerial photo of Vulcan showing a water tower near the ballpark which could have been the setting for a photo (left) we've been trying to place. That's Danny Laurie posing for a picture with the structure in the background. I've sent a note to Jack Altman the former Vulcan star to try and confirm the setting.
Through Dusty wanting to get in touch with one of his former players, Steve Cottrell (a California import to the prairies), we've learned of Steve's campaign to raise funds to produce a sports documentary on Steve Palermo, the former major league umpire who was seriously wounded in a shooting in Dallas in 1991. Take a look at the video, looks like a fascinating project.
David Eskenazi, bless his soul (and his great photo collection) has sent along a team photo of the 1921 Moose Jaw Millers (with names too!) and photos from the 1958 Moose Jaw Mallards program. And, as usual, there's knowledge to be gained from little snippets of information. I've worked with just one of the photos so far, Jerry Coody (right). And, the program notes confirmed that he's the same Jerry Coody who played football with the Calgary Stampeders in 1954, at Baylor University and with the pretty well-known Alpine Cowboys of Herbert Kokernot in the early 1950s. Coody, an ordained minster, was drafted by the Washington Redskins, but made it known he wouldn't play on Sundays.
That 1947 BC Snapshot page also includes a photo of Trail's Joe Monaldi. The photo, as it appeared in the Nelson newspaper showed the pitcher as a southpaw, but Monaldi was a righty. So, we just have to assume the paper reversed the negative or something.
I've made more progress dealing with a ton of marvelous material from Rich Necker, mainly game reports and rosters from Alberta and BC baseball.
- I'm happy to report a major addition to the 1934 Alberta game reports (including provincial playoffs) and rosters.
- There's the 1947 BC Interior game reports and rosters.
- The 1948 Foothills League with game reports, rosters
- Champion game reports for 1948, 1953
- Rosters for the 1951 Crow's Nest Pass teams
- Crow's Nest Pass rosters 1948
- Rosters 1962 Vulcan Elks
Rich also brought our attention to a tragedy on a prairie diamond in mid-June, 1922.
BRANDON, June 16 -- Alex Falconer, a member of the Brandon Greys amateur baseball team, dropped dead during the progress of a game here last night with the Leeds N.D. club. A member of the visiting team drove a fly to the right field which Falconer attempted to capture. The ball touched his glove and was seen to drop to the ground as he reached for it. He called out to the first base- man to “get it” and fell on his face. It is thought that death might have been due to the accident which occurred while returning from Minot N.D. on Monday when a car carrying Falconer and six other members of the Greys, while travelling at a rapid rate, turned turtle.
Thank you Charlotte Lang for some lovely photos from the North Battlerford Beavers of 1952 including this one of a crowd at a North Battleford game (an estimated 5,000 in attendance).
Charlotte also provided a team photo of the Beavers of 1952 a club which featured such local area stars as Kenny Nelson, Art Stone, Emile Francis, Les and Roy Dean.
And there's this snapshot (left) of pitcher Johnny Coleman in a crowd at the ballpark.
There are other pictures of Bob Herron and Louis Green and Curtis Tate which I am still working on. Great snapshots of prairie ball ! Thank you Charlotte!
Another of the items send along by Kathy Perley from Dusty Rhodes was a group picture of former members of the Champion teams from the 1930s onward at the ballpark named in honour of former playing manager Shorty Bouzyan (I believe his real first name was Ferris). The photo was taken around 2008.
Standing (left to right) - Alan Pasolli, George Deley, Terry Rhodes, Dale Groves, Gordon Rhodes, Bob Shearer, Grant Wolfe
Sitting - Sev Pasolli, Merlin Rhodes, Robert Fath, Walter Rhodes, Dale Keenan, Don Buchan, Keith Groves
26 April, 2014
There's more from the David Eskenazi photo collection. We've posted pictures of Western Canada players on the 1920 snapshot page (including Elmer Leifer, Nick Williams and George Swartz) and 1921 page (including Mark Koenig, Karl Schnell (left) and Junk Walters). Individual pictures have been extracted for the 1920 and 1921 Photo Galleries.
The photos, one which clearly identified George "Lefty" Swartz of the Moose Jaw Robin Hoods, led to a correction in that we had the wrong Swartz (Monroe) listed.
David noted the newspaper photo below of Levi McCormack, long-time star and fan favourite in Seattle and Spokane and offered to send along a copy of the original photo from 1937 It's now posted. Thank you David !
There are more updates from the Rich Necker material :
- Rosters, 1909 East Kootenay
- Rosters, 1912, Okanagan Valley
- Alberta Photo Gallery, 1917
- Rosters, 1920 Grand Forks
- Rosters, 1933 East Kootenay International League, BC Interior (Okanagan, Similkameen)
- Rosters, 1939, Alberta teams
- Rosters, 1946, Champion Red Sox
- Rosters, 1951, Champion Red Sox
- Rosters, 1962, Champion Red Sox
In searching for material on the old Champion club of Alberta, we came across the now old news of the passing of A.L. Bud Siler, pitching star of the Champion Red Sox of the 1940s and 1950s. His dad had also been a mound star of the Champion and Stavely teams. Bud died in November, 2008.
Team records from Sev Pasolli, show Bud Siler with a 14-3 won-lost mark in 1946, 20-3 in 1947 (there are no stats for the team in 1948), 23-2 in 1949 and 17-1 in 1950.
22 April, 2014
Yes, that display (see below) at Safeco Field in Seattle is the work of and shows the artifacts from David Eskenazi (right). The Vancouver-Victoria exhibit shows a bit of the history of baseball in the lower mainland and Vancouver Island. Normally, the display is used for exhibits of Seattle and Washington baseball history. David not only designed it, but installed it (with the help of his good friend Jason Barber) and provided all the artifacts and images. What a great contribution !
Our old friend Tom Hawthorn (left) did the text for the display case. So if you're at the ballpark, please check it out.
These two guys, David and Tom, do some amazing work. Tom, in addition to his writing for the Globe and Mail, keeps pumping out material for his blog and his new(er) site Benched. David's Wayback Machine is focused on the Pacific Northwest. The fairly recent piece on Gene Conley is a must-read. His collection of photos and baseball artifacts is nationally known and admired.
Already in the mail, some new material from David. Great stuff from the 1920s. And, I'm not sure I've mentioned this previously, but many of the photos coming here do get digitally altered to enhance their appearance for the internet. For example on the photos below, there was writing on the photos (names of the players) which has been removed along with a few blemishes here and there on the old prints. And, if it isn't obvious, photos do get resized to fit various slots on the pages.
A glance at just two of the coming additions. Below left is a photo from 1921 showing three Moose Jaw players, Bell, Mark Koenig, and Nate Shandling, left to right. While the name "Bell" is clearly shown on the picture, we have no Bell listed for Moose Jaw that season. We do have a Roger Beall, a catcher. (So another mystery to be solved!). On the right, the Millers' playing manager Elmer Leifer. On July 23, 1921, Leifer's contract was purchased by the Chicago White Sox for $1,200 and he went on to play in nine games in the majors, getting three hits in ten at bats. Koenig advanced to the majors in 1925 and spent 12 years in the big leagues mainly with the Yankees.
A few additions here and there ... Curtis Tate on the 1957 Snapshot page ... Spokane's Jim Presley on a 1946 Photo Gallery page (he's in the BC section as the Washington teams were regular combatants with the Kootenay teams)... individual pics of Henry Hinrichs and Monte Woods posted on the 1909 photo page ... and, from Rich Necker's adventures in the newspaper stacks, some notes of early ball in BC. All the way back to 1905 !
20 April, 2014
So neat to hear from Murray Lang, the bat boy of the 1970 Souris Cardinals of Manitoba Senior baseball. They're being inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame and Murray went looking on the internet to see if anybody had anything on the team. To his surprise, we have posted the photo of the club and individual pictures, even of the bat boy ! He was all of eleven at the time.
Sometimes I think Brian Morrison (who's got a ton of great stuff on his Diamonds in the Dusk site) knows what I am looking for before I even begin to think about it.
A few weeks back, Brian sent along a clipping he had found of long-time Seattle and Spokane star Levi McCormack from the 1930s and 1940s. The attraction for the paper of the day was that McCormack, a Native American, the son of a Nez Perce Chief, was now playing for the Seattle INDIANS. I didn't have any connection with McCormack until Rich Necker provided clippings for the 1947 season for the Trail, BC, club. McCormack was in the Spokane lineup when the Indians played exhibition games in Trail in 1947.
The previous season he had narrowly escaped death in a bus accident. The vehicle carrying McCormack and 14 teammates was on the way to play a game in Bremerton when an oncoming car sped at them in the wrong lane causing the bus to crash through a guard rail in the Cascade Mountains. The bus caught fire and tumbled several hundred feet down a steep slope. Eight players were killed. With head injuries, McCormack missed the rest of the season.
Whew. That was quick. Rich Necker has found names for the Bassano Bear Cats of 1918, the photo we posted yesterday. Wouldn't that be something if we managed to ID the players in the photo?
David Eskenazi send along some photos of the Vancouver-Victoria baseball display at Safeco in Seattle. He didn't mentioned, but I'd guess much of the material for the display might have come from David's amazing collection.
We've now posted more of the material from David.
On the 1909 snapshot page there are the snaps of Joe Seaton (far left) and Ray Morrell (near left) and one of Cecil Thompson and Borleske (likely Ray Borleske). Individual pics have been extracted for the 1909 Photo Gallery.
We had earlier posted the photos of Charles Traeger with Joe Stingle and Henry Hinrichs with Monte Woods.
Great to hear from Phil Risinger from down in Oklahoma with information on lots of former WCBL and Basin League players. Phil was a bit surprised I had knowledge of a lot of Oklahoma Sooners football players from the 50s and 60s. That came from following Edmonton Eskimos football as a kid. The Esks had a pipeline down to Oklahoma to fill out their roster. One of Edmonton's major acquisitions was Sooners' Heisman Trophy winner Billy Vessels.
19 April, 2014
Wow. David Eskenazi has surprised us again ! The Seattle collector has sent along another group of photos of the Western Canada League of the early 1900s. We're still working on them, but pictures of 1909 Brandon stars Henry Hinrichs, Monte Woods, Charles Traeger and Joe Stingle are among those already posted in the 1909 Snapshots. That's Stingle (right) in an individual photo extracted for the Photo Gallery.
And, among the team photos we now have a picture of the 1918 Bassano, Alberta, Bearcats courtesy of David. The names? Ah, that's another challenge!
In the summer of 1947, the Trail Cardinals of Southern British Columbia opened the season with 18 straight victories, mainly against American opposition from the fine leagues in Spokane, Washington. Their star hurler was an 18-year-old lefty, Clint McNeil (left) who impressed the scouts and was signed by the St. Louis Browns. Game reports for the Trail summer are posted on the 1947 BC Interior page.
Also included on that 1947 BC page are some game reports from the Colville Valley League, which included the Rossland, BC team. We've added the stats for three of the teams in the 1947 North Okanagan-Mainline League and updated the roster page with the material from those game reports including the rosters of those "coloured" barnstorming teams from California.
Another of the things we're working on is a compilation of the full roster of the Vancouver Asahi over the years 1914 to 1941. In tracking down leads, I was shocked to find typos in the story of the team at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame site. They had a Junji Ho and Tom Matola as stars of the legendary team. Problem is, I had no mention of a Junji Ho in all my research, while Matola was easy to spot as a typo for Matoba. Turns out, there was no Junji Ho but Junji Ito (right) as one of the Asahi stars. Anyway, the CBHOF was quick to make the changes. It's unfortunate as dozens of other sites have used the CBHOF material as a basis for their stories on the Asahi and thus, the wrong names will continue to be referenced on the internet. [Ito photo from Pat Adachi's Asahi : A Legend in Baseball]
Photos of Jackie James, Otto Yanagisawa and Buster Patterson of Nakusp have been added to the 1954 BC Photo Gallery.
Thanks to Don Moir of Winnipeg for reminding us about Jack Sheehan and his amazing leap direct from the Winnipeg Maroons of the 1920 Western Canada League to the big leagues and play in the World Series !
15 April, 2014
Yippie ! I've just learned that both my submissions to the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame have won acceptance. Thus, both Bob Herron (deceased) and Fred Cardwell will be inducted this August at the Hall of Fame in Battleford, Saskatchewan.
Finally, I've obtained a photo of Jackie James, a star player in the Nakusp-Burton area in the 1950s and 1960s. James, who was killed in a logging accident in the early 70s, was still a teenager when he began suiting up for clubs in the Arrow Lakes area. He was so well-known and respected, Nakusp named a ballpark in his honour. The photo (left) is believed to be from 1954. It was extracted from a group photo which also included Otto Yanagisawa (right), a former member of the famous Vancouver Asahi club, who settled in the area after internment in the Slocan Valley during the war. Thanks to Dale James, Jackie's widow, for the pictures!
You've probably noticed we have a new search engine attached to the site. Our old one decided not to deal with the "little folk" anymore so we went looking for a replacement. This one's from FreeFind. The ads are a bit much, but it seems to do the job.
I've begun to dig in to the pile of material sent along by Rich Necker, bless his dedication and good cheer. Now posted are the game reports for the 1947 North Okanagan-Mainline League along with team rosters on the 1947 Roster page. I'm still working on the stats, at least for the two Kamloops teams and Vernon.
If you are at all interested in the history of the Vancouver Asahi baseball team you'll enjoy a new book on the subject by Ron Hotchkiss. Diamond Gods of the Morning Sun paints the history of the legendary team against a backdrop of racism in British Columbia, relocation, internment and confiscation of their homes, cars, boats and businesses during the Second World War. While a very sad story in so many ways, the indefatigable spirit of the Japanese is uplifting and It's a good read.
Thanks to Momoko Ito, manager of the Nikkei Memorial Centre in New Denver, for being so kind as to pick up an Asahi cap for me while in Vancouver. What a lovely surprise.
04 April, 2014
Out of the blue, a mystery solved. For a few years now I've been trying to confirm whether the Brian Kingman of the 1974 Calgary Jimmies was the Brian Kingman of the 1980s Oakland Athletics (you know, the guy who seemed to have a phrase "the last pitcher to lose 20 games" for a middle name).
I mean the timing was right, 1974 was the year before he turned pro. All kinds of searches turned up nothing, until today. A letter in the mail from Jim Nabors of Phoenix, who saw him play in Calgary, sent along a baseball card which, on the "stats" side, notes that KIngman had not only played in Calgary but won two playoff games in one day to send the Jimmies on to the Alberta Major Baseball League championship. While I had taken the step of making the MLB designation for Kingman on the roster pages, an addition to the major leaguers section awaited confirmation. Thank you Jim !
We've made a tiny bit of headway into the backlog of game reports dug out by researcher extraordinaire Rich Necker.
There's an additional photo (Marty Coil arguing with Umpire Ken Reid) on the 1974 Alberta snapshot page.
For you who have some familiarity with Southeastern British Columbia, especially the Arrow Lakes and Slocan Valley areas, you'll get a kick out of a marketing proposal to try and encourage visitors to the region. After many months of work and discussion they've come up with the theme (based on the famous Route 66 in the USA) of ... wait for it ... West Koot Route. Yep, they're going to make fun of old coots and confuse potential visitors (especially those who pronounce Route as in Bout or Gout) about what the heck they're getting into. My wife thinks the idea must have come from the old Beverly Hillbillies television show. Anyway, just to let you know, I had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with this! (By way of explanation which, of course one shouldn't need in such a marketing endeavour, Koot is supposedly a short form for Kootenays, a regional name which originated from the Kootenay River.)
28 March, 2014
Thanks to Bob Fleming we've been able to add and update a bunch of photos from the early and mid 1950s, including team pictures of the 1951 North Battleford Beavers and the 1950 Swift Current Indians. The individual photos, extracted from the Swift Current group photo have been inserted in the 1950 Photo Gallery. Among the finds is a 1952 photo of Daryl Penn (left) of the Beavers (man he looks young)!
The material also provided individual photos of Pee Wee Willis and Joe Webb of the 1950 Swift Current Indians. On the 1952 Snapshot page there are three photos - an action shot of Bob Herron, a photo of Curtis Tate at the dish and a picture of Herron, Johnny Coleman, Louis Green and Tate relaxing after a game.
There were two photos for which we could not provide names. Even Emile Francis the former North Battleford skipper was stumped. Take a look. Let us know if you can provide some names to go with the faces. We're guessing the photos are from the early 1950s and the second one is of Saskatoon players, perhaps the first one too. (In the bottom photo, I think the player on the right might be Jim Morrow.) I've sent a note to former Saskatoon star Len Breckner to see if he can dig into his memory bank and come up with some names.
That 1973 photo of the Alaska Goldpanners now has a full list of names. Recently Don Dennis was having dinner with some members of the old squad and they managed to figure out that Bill Delormier's name was missing. The team won the Kamloops International Tournament that summer.
Lots of bits and pieces added to the site, mainly photos :
01) 1951 photo of Andy Swota receiving the MVP award for the Northern Saskatchewan League;
02) 1953 photo to complement the Roberto Zayas story of the Cubans in the snow;
03) Also from 1953, a newspaper pic of Gordie Howe in action;
04) Andy Lillie with some memories of the 1954 Moose Jaw Mallards;
06) The 1953 Basin League gallery has new photos of Dan Quayle and Carl Ahrens;
07) The 1956 Basin League gallery includes new photos of Bill Horning, Jack Baer (courtesy of Phil Risinger), Tom Futch and Jim Ranson;
08) New Basin League photos in the 1957 Photo Gallery (Jack Bristol, Curtis French, Bill Horning, Bob Tedesco, Dayton Todd);
09) New photos, including Gene Duffy, Dave Baldwin, Jim Ranson and Dayton Todd, added to the Basin League Photo Gallery of 1958 (with thanks to the University of Notre Dame for the Duffy photo);
10) Previous spelling of Jim Ransom (which appeared in most Basin League reports) changed to Ranson to reflect the spelling in university yearbooks and pro records);
11) More than seventy new, individual Basin League photos in the 1959 gallery (from Nick Adzick to Paul Zavorskas);
12) The 1967 Basin League gallery includes photos of Billy Joe Cotton, Dave Lemonds and Dave Robinson;
13) There's now a 1969 Basin League Photo Gallery with photos of Jim Burton and Mike Caldwell;
14) An individual photo of Nick Leyva added to the 1973 Basin Gallery;
15) The main Basin League section has a major addition - league records, courtesy of Ann & Don Dennis.
19) New photos of the Dean brothers - Elton, Les and Roy -- are in the 1949 Photo Gallery;
20) A pair of prominent North Battleford baseball players & later managers & executives - Jack Abbott and Ab Bidart - are now in the 1947 Photo Gallery.
21) The 1952 Photo Gallery includes photos of Orest Hryniuk, Art Stone and Matt Meredith;
22) There's a start to the British Columbia game reports for 1935;
23) A much improved photo of Bob Herron, Thad Tillotson and Tommy Taylor from the Lethbridge Tournament of 1959 has been added;
24) A couple of photos added to the 1951 BC Photo Gallery (Ralph Ballam, Aku Oikawa);
25) A good shot of Norm Popkin for the 1958 WCBL Gallery;
26) And, we managed to find a couple of OK pics of lefty hurler Don Kuodis, one in the 1957 gallery and another in a 1958 snapshot page. We've had no luck trying to track down the whereabouts of Kuodis (name sometimes spelled Koudis), who grew up in Chicago.
Always interesting to find what piece of information posted here might prompt a response. Awhile back we added a small item about a baseball league in Europe during the First World War. The single item, from 1918, mentioned a four-team loop which played in a few different locations in France. The story went on to display the rosters of the teams. Well, one of those players listed, Pte. J.Daubs, turns out to be the great grandfather of Toronto Star reporter Katie Daubs. Katie, who is working on an item about baseball in WWI, was hoping we'd have more information about the league. We're still searching, but nothing more has come up as yet. Remarkably, she's tracked down a photo of her great grandfather with a team during the war years. Before and after the war he played some ball in Ontario in the Parkhill area and if by some miracle you have information on James Daubs, please drop a line.
Our site is to get mention in the next newsletter of SABR's (Society for American Baseball Research) Pictorial History Committee. Mark Fimoff, co-chair of the committee, was impressed by our selection of photos.
Happy to help out Sheila Willis of Smith, Alberta, who is working on the centennial of the town (about a three hour drive north of Edmonton). As part of the celebrations she is making up special cards of notable characters of the area. One such person turns out to be Foot Ruell, who came from the University of Notre Dame to play pro ball in Edmonton in 1913 and 1914. He spend some time in the off-season working in Smith. In digging up information for Sheila we managed to sort out the four "Ruell" listings in the on-line Baseball Reference site (they're all Foot Ruell) and discover some photos of Ruell in his baseball and football days at Notre Dame.
A thanks to Dr. Layton Revel (right) of Dallas, Texas, for help in tracking down information on former Western Canada star Bob Herron. Layton has been the force behind the Center for Negro League Baseball Research which has now acquired more artifacts on Negro League ball than the official Negro League museum in Kansas City! He's been a good friend of our site since the early days.
John Henderson of Calgary gets a round of applause for helping out on material from Revelstoke, BC baseball. John, a long-time radio and television broadcaster played a few years of senior ball in the BC city. I've been stacked up with a backlog and haven't yet followed up on some of his suggestions, but we will get to it !
Good to hear from Neil Thomas who has expressed an interest in the old Western Canada League (the pro league beginning in 1907) and the influx of Negro League players into Canada in the 1940s and 1950s. Neil also passed along a couple of links from another baseball enthusiast working on colourizing the uniforms of the Western Canada circuit. Some interesting work here. Page 1, Page 2.
With thanks to Michael Swank who brought our attention to the major league status of Joe Caffie, we've added Caffie to our major league section. Michael had earlier put us on the trail of Ted Toles (left) the former Negro leaguer, who we found playing on the Eston (Saskatchewan) Ramblers with Caffie in 1950.
The two became life-long friends. That's a photo of the pair hangin' out a few years ago shortly before Caffie passed away.
Mainly a shortstop in his summer in Canada, Caffie (who went by his middle name "Cliff" in 1950) played the outfield throughout his pro career which saw him advance to the majors with Cleveland in 1957 and 1958. He got into a total of 44 games and finished with a career batting average of .291 in the majors. He was just 19 when he played with Eston.
His professional stint lasted over eleven seasons with a majority of his time in Triple-A. His best season came in 1957 with Buffalo in the International League when he hit .330 with a .378 on-base percentage and .482 slugging percentage.
The following season with Buffalo he finished with a .295 mark with 39 doubles, 5 triples, 9 homers and 14 stolen bases.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Cathy & David Moriarty. Cathy is in a California hospital in serious condition and David has been having his own health problems. They've been married for more than 47 years. David, the son of former major league player, manager and umpire George Moriarty, played for the Lloydminster Meridians in the mid 1950s.
Over the next couple of weeks I hope to begin digging into a mound of material from colleague Rich Necker on ball in BC and Alberta and follow up on dozens of leads provided over the last few months.
11 February, 2014
Don and Ann Dennis, those amazing folks who, with much help from their family, run the famous Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, are getting ready to make the trek north (from San Diego) for their 47th straight year with the Goldpanners, likely the most famous amateur baseball team on the planet. The four offspring (Todd is now the General Manager) are beginning to slide in to take over responsibilities, but Don and Ann carry on with their labour of love. It's an amazing success story. That's Tom Seaver (right) one of the more prominent graduates of the Goldpanners' program.
Ann And Don also happen to have collected material on the old Basin League of South Dakota and have been kind enough to share it with us. The latest bits turn up mainly on the 1972 Basin League Photo Gallery. Previously, we've featured material from Don and Ann on the 1965 and 1966 galleries, and the 1965 team photo of the Rapid City Chiefs. (Left - A Mobridge Laker of 1966, who turned out to be quite the basketball coach - Phil Jackson.)
The Dennis material also provided photos of Gary Anglin of the St. Paul, Alberta, Bears of 1975 and Greg Warzecka (right) of the 1978 Stony Plains Dusters, Edmonton Tigers and the barnstorming California Berkeley Bears.
Lou DeRosa, the former Trail and Vancouver hurler, has come up with a photo of the 1946 Trail club and we've extracted some individual pics to go on the '46 BC Photo Gallery. Even better, Lou managed to get all the names, including the real first names of Mushy, Slivers and Wish. Thank you Lou ! (Left - Julie Bilesky).
Had a very nice note from Jason Knox of Weyburn, Saskatchewan, who has been inspired to begin a project on the history of baseball in Weyburn. What a great undertaking. If anybody has material please let us know and we'll pass it along.
And, Kelsy Norman of Calgary, is embarking on a multi-media project on the 1910 Calgary Bronchos. It is so refreshing to have these baseball history efforts on the front burner, especially with the "young 'uns" with new skills and new ways of looking at things.
Thanks to Bob Fleming for material on baseball in Saskatchewan in the early 1950s as I gather clippings and photos for submissions to the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame.
I'm working on two proposals - Bob Herron the slugging star of Northern Saskatchewan in the early and mid 1950s (I believe the photo to the right is showing Herron at bat in his home park of Abbot Field in North Battleford) and pitcher Fred Cardwell a mound star in Regina, Moose Jaw and over in Alberta in the 1960s and 1970s. Cardwell, once called the best amateur pitcher in Canada, was also a mainstay of Canada's national team.
Things might be a little sketchy over the next month or six weeks as I also prepare for my annual drafts in Scoresheet Fantasy Baseball. Been doing this for 25 years and it's getting more and more difficult to keep up with the players ! But it's a marvelous game and loads of fun (and, of course, disappointment when your guys flail and fail). If interested in this wonderful little summer pastime, let me know and I'll get some info to you.
30 January, 2014
The player lists, at least two of them, have been updated with names from the latest material we've covered. The British Columbia list and the Basin League list are the two with updated listings. Given the complexity of keeping separate guides (to the team abbreviations) for each of the lists, I'll just go with the single page with all the abbreviations and notations.
There are further updates to the BC Interior game reports, specifically for the Arrow Lakes / Slocan Valley region, for 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1938. Of course, the rosters for those years have also been updated. There's not a lot for game reports as the papers of the day didn't provide much detail beyond the score but, at times, the local reporter would show his disgust at the level of play. Check out that May 19, 1935 contest.
A 1957 Snapshot page has some revised photos. Those top two were quite small representations of the original newspaper photos. We've re-done the pictures to provide larger and crisper images.
A little catch-up over here displays a number of photos - all I think from Brian Morrison -- which we didn't get around to posting in full form previously. They're guys who played in the majors and with Canadian teams.
27 January, 2014
Thank you Rich! Mr. Necker has been going through newspaper microfilm to report on Alberta and BC baseball in the 1930s and 1940s. Among the additions are game reports and rosters for the 1935 Northern and Central Alberta Leagues.
He's also come across a few pictures now posted on the 1935 Snapshot page. There's a snippet there as well on the background of Pete McCready (left) one of the great sluggers of that era in Edmonton and area. After searching for months for photos of Ike Davis (right), the former major leaguer, who was playing manager of the Wetaskiwin team, we now have several including this one dug up by Rich on his most recent trip to the archives.
The 1935 photo gallery has been enhanced with the addition of more pictures of members of the Wetaskiwin club. (We had not originally extracted all of the players from the Wetaskiwin team photo as we were still without full names for four of the players.)
And, we've discovered that Les Webber (left) advanced from the the wilds of Alberta baseball to the major leagues. He spent several seasons in the majors, mainly with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the early and mid 1940s. And, thus, he's been added to our Major League section.
Among other goodies now posted are game reports and rosters for the 1935 Foothills League and rosters for Calgary teams for 1935, the Edmonton Big Four and Edmonton City leagues. The only new stats we've managed to find are the 1935 results from the Claresholm Huskies of the Foothills loop.
BC ball has not been ignored. There are game reports and rosters for the 1947 Boundary League, the 1948 Boundary League, the 1951 Boundary circuit, the 1952 Kooternay Boundary International League and the 1962 Cariboo area league (along with a George Dye pic in the photo gallery).
Thanks to Brian Morrison for lots of interesting stuff on the old Western Canada League and his usual superb sleuthing in locating photos (Lefty Gervais) in a Vancouver team photo.
The 1980s? Oh boy. Gerry Heskett, an official with the Saskatoon Liners of the Saskatchewan Major Baseball League, has posed the question. Whether we'll ever extend our coverage here to the 1980s and beyond. Well, it's tempting, even though we still have a ton of material to dig up in our current format (1907-1979). For the time being we'll keep an eye out for standings, stats and rosters as a basic and then begin to think about how to organize the new material.
20 January, 2014
Tangent = a sudden digression or change of course.
Well, we've taken one of those with work over the past couple of weeks on one year of the Basin League of South Dakota (and Valentine, Nebraska). After surfing to my 1959 game report page of the Basin loop on a search and noting the flimsy coverage and comparative lack of pictures in the photo gallery, I just kept going until I had reports on just about every game and had added some 80+ pictures to the photo gallery. (They include a couple who went on to major league careers, Dave Giusti, above left, and Nick Willhite, right). A couple of players (Frank Finnegan, the former Notre Dame star and ex-pro Joe Kuncl for example) cost many hours of searching for photos without success, but, for the most part, nearly all of the regulars have their mug shots showing in the gallery. Of course, the 1959 Basin League rosters also have been updated.
Even the incredible Brian Morrison, Diamonds in the Dusk, couldn't find anything on Kuncl, but then surprised us with a photo of Finnegan and a few other hard to find players. Thank you Brian !
There are a few new individual photos (besides the dozens in the 1959 Basin League page noted above) -1952 Dave Hammermeister, 1947 Jack Matchett, 1935 Bill Adshead, 1954 Frank Germann, 1970 Murray Gage-Cole, 1910 Sam Davidson, 1960 Ernie Kumerow, 1958 Harry Wise, 1958 Curtis French, 1958 Dean Look, 1958 Bob Tedesco, 1957 Dayton Todd, 1957 Bob Tedesco.
Among the team photos kindly sent along by David Eskenazi was one of an early 1900s Winnipeg club which we've now tentatively put in the books as from the 1912 season. David provided a major clue by identifying one of the players, Bud Moe (left) (which put the photo in one of three years 1912, 1913 or 1914) and the fact that one of the players is wearing a Vancouver sweater. In 1912, the team spent some time in Vancouver in the pre-season and, for a time, the Winnipeg club wore Vancouver uniforms before they got their own duds upon arriving in Winnipeg.
The 1913 Winnipeg team is captured in a photo carried in the Manitoba Free Press that summer (although it looks as if they're bound for a night on the town rather than the ballpark).
The 1962 BC game report page has a major upgrade with reports from both the Vancouver Industrial League and the Dewdney circuit. There is a brief section as well on the rebirth of a Cariboo League but it turns out that the circuit folded after just a few weeks. They did, however, have one big tournament and we have a team photo of the winning Merritt Luckies. On the reports page and the Snapshots & Photo Gallery there is note of the four BC kids signed to pro contracts that summer. That Snapshot page also features a photo and story on the famous Zender family of Deming, Washington.
The newspaper photo isn't great, but it's nice to have found a picture of Gilkerson's Colored Giants a barnstorming team which toured parts of the west. This photo appears to be of the 1929 club.
This team is historic. It's the 1945 Kansas City Monarchs, the one featuring Jackie Robinson before Robinson was signed by the Dodgers and went on to break the colour barrier in the major leagues. Several members of the team went on the play for teams north of the border, including Jack Matchett, Steve Ensloe Wylie, Herb Souell and Walter Thomas.
Another team picture added is that of the 1947 New York Cubans. From this group, at least four - Lou Louden, Barney Morris, Pee Wee Jenkins and Martin Crue - suited up in Western Canada.
In an attempt to begin to show some coverage from the Maritimes, there are two team photos, the 1952 Truro Bearcats and the 1956 Halifax Citadels, neither of which have any names to go with the pictures but that just leaves us with some additional challenges!
With Rich Necker digging out the few details available on the 1950 season of the independent Eston Ramblers of Saskatchewan, we've re jigged the entire 1950 Tournament/Exhibition page. We were hopeful of finding lots of information on imported players, such as Ted Toles (right), but the local paper disappointed with scant coverage of the team, but enough (with further material from the Saskatoon paper) to lay out much of Eston's summer of 1950.
Thanks to Phil Risinger, the former Medicine Hat star (along with brother Don), for sending along more material on his playing days in Alberta and for the DVDs!
In searching for information on Don Wyss, a Basin League player, I stumbled upon a marvelous site for the Peoria Sunday Morning League. I'll have to check with Peoria native Jim Lester to see if he ever played in the loop. Wyss, it turns out, played for 35 years, into his 50s !
A baseball team called the Eagles in the early 1920s? Brendan Kelly has come across some negatives from his grandfather showing players from a team called the Eagles from the 20s. The pictures are taken in a photo studio. His grandfather had roots in Winnipeg and Victoria. So far I've been unable to make a connection although there was a baseball team in Victoria called the Eagles. I'll have to get a good quality photo to show.
Len Breckner (left in 1957, right at the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame celebrations in 2010), a prairie star for two decades, ending in the late 1970s, had enough highlights to fill many scrapbooks.
Then ... there was the 1966 Saskatoon Exhibition Tournament.
In the July 28th semi-final game playing for Neilburg, he did his usual at the plate, two for three, a pair of doubles, an RBI, run scored, an unassisted double play at first base. And, in the second inning, on second with a ground-rule double, he proceed to steal third. Problem was teammate Brian McIntyre was already there. Allan T'Birds catcher Lee Von Hagen was so surprised he took a few seconds to gather his thoughts before throwing to third but allowing enough time for Breckner to safely scamper back to second.
07 January, 2014
We've added more game reports for the 1936 season in British Columbia and Washington. Rich Necker has dug out reports from the Okanogan Valley League (Penticton was the only Canadian entry in the eight-team circuit) and the BC Interior League.
(And, yes, it's Okanogan in the USA and Okanagan in Canada.)
With the discovery of on-line editions of the Quad City Herald of Brewster, Washington, we've been able to update some rosters of both Washington and BC teams for the late 1930s into the mid 1940s.
The individual pics of the 1950 Burton, BC, team have been added to the 1950 BC Photo Gallery. The group includes such local legends as John McCormack (left) and Sandy Marshall.
A couple of new team photos are now posted - the 1970 Victoria, BC, Centennials the Canadian Senior champions and the 1939 Newark, New Jersey, Eagles which included a pair of Hall of Famers, Leon Day and Willie Wells, who made quite an impact north of the border. Names needed for both photos!
Thanks to the City of Wetaskiwin Archives, a good quality photo of the 1935 Wetaskiwin Braves has arrived and is posted along with some individual pictures in the 1935 Alberta Photo Gallery. The Braves were on the verge of winning the 1935 Senior championship of the prairies, up 3-1 in a best-of-seven final series, when the Alberta Baseball Association upheld a Ponoka protest and awarded the title to the Panthers who then declined to accept the title. Ponoka wanted games to be replayed, but Wetaskiwin refused and the team disbanded. The protest was over Wetaskiwin's use of an ineligible player. Wetaskiwin did capture the 1935 Calgary Brewery Challenge Series and the 1935 Northern Alberta Senior Baseball Championsip.
The photos include playing manager Ike Davis (the former major leaguer), southpaw Jimmy Rattlesnake (the outstanding Cree hurler), and Pete McCready, one of the prairies top sluggers (seen left to right). (Baseball Canada makes the Jimmy Rattlesnake Award annually for on-field accomplishments, spirit and leadership.)
There's a smattering of new individual photos on various pages, including Brandon manager Bill Morrow 1911, a pair of Edmonton All-Stars in 1921, Stan Currie, Saskatoon hurler in 1951, New Denver's Quinton Forsythe, 1947, Dick Atkinson of Mitchell in the Basin League, 1958,
Bush League? Yes, there really was a Bush League. The Crossfield (about 50 km north of Calgary) Chronicle of June 6, 1935 carried the schedule for the four team league which including the communities of Dog Pound, Atkins, Water Valley and Cremona. Bottrel was to have been an entry but pulled out just before play was about to begin.
31 December, 2013
Belated holiday greetings! Back from the Toronto area with thanks we were not affected by the hydro troubles. Wishes for a great 2014.
A couple of action shots added to the 1956 Snapshots from the Global World Series of that fall in which the North Battleford Beavers represented Canada. Johnny Ford and Gale Tuggle are included in those photos.
They were a short-lived feature of the prairies in the early summer of 1953, the Medicine Hat Phillies. Done in by a rainy summer, the "coloured" squad lasted just a few weeks before calling it quits. We've begun to piece together the beginning and end of the Phillies on the 1953 Alberta Games Report page. It also includes snippets on the Medicine Hat Harlem Yankees who took up residence in Medicine Hat after the Phillies and lasted just a couple of weeks before throwing in the towel.
Happened upon a photo of the 1935 Wetaskiwin club which included former major leaguer Ike Davis, hurler Jimmy Rattlesnake and slugger Pete McCready. A better quality version of the photo is on the way.
With thanks to the Arrow Lakes Historical Society we have posted photos of baseball from the Nakusp area. There are new team photos of the 1936 Burton team and one from the 1930s along with a team picture of the 1922 Brouse squad. Individual photos have been extracted from the '36 Burton team photo to be placed in the 1936 BC Photo Gallery. Kyle Kusch, at the Society, has been of enormous assistance in our quest for baseball information from the Arrow Lakes communities.
Also, on the 1936 BC Snapshot page is a pic of legendary Burton moundsman John McCormack. Over on the 1953 Alberta Snapshot page we've added a nice pic of Nobby Hayashi, a New Denver baseball star, who went on to help the Lethbridge Niseis to the Southern Alberta championship. We've added the Niseis' playoff run to the 1953 Alberta Game Reports. Ken Marshall, of Nakusp, a former player with Burton, has been very helpful in sorting out names of the various Burton teams.
The 1956 Alberta Photo Gallery includes additional photos of players from the Medicine Hat Orphans.
Rich Necker has sent along updates to the 1936 South Okanagan game reports and rosters along with bits and pieces on other BC loops in 1936.
15 December, 2013
It's a little late for our book, but we finally have confirmation that it was former Negro Leaguer Ted Toles (left) who played with Eston, Saskatchewan, Ramblers in 1950. When Barry Swanton and I were working on our book Black Baseball Players in Canada we had a few players on a list we thought were former Negro League players suiting up in Canada but could not confirm their identifies. Toles was one. Toles and his 1950 Eston teammate Rudy Johnson were signed by the Cleveland organization and went into pro ball in 1951.
Through contact with Michael Swank, who is working on a book on Toles, we've made the connection. In the new year we hope to track down even more information of Toles, one of the last surviving members of the Negro Leagues in the period before Jackie Robinson opened up the majors to players of colour. Earlier this month, Toles marked his 88th birthday!
Michael is also on the lookout for information on Alonso Brathwaite who played with Toles in Quebec's Provincial League in the 1950s. Michael is trying to get the two old teammates together again. If you have any idea about Braithwaite's whereabouts please drop a line.
With major thanks to Rich Necker we've punched in more information on baseball in British Columbia, including game reports for the BC Interior in 1936 and 1947. So, in 1947, we now have reports on the Okanagan Valley International League, the Central Okanagan League (also known as the Twilight League), Southern Okanagan - Similkameen League, Arrow Lakes - Slocan Valley, and Prince George and District. For 1936, Southern Okanagan League, Central Okanagan League, West Kootenays, East Kootenays, Crow's Nest Pass, Boundary League, Eastern Washington League. and the Idaho-Montana-BC League. Along with the game reports, roster pages for those two years have been updated along with the tournament pages and the stats pages. The home pages should help you navigate to all those sections -- 1936 Home, 1947 Home.
Just happened to stumble upon this photo of George Anderson (right) long time star of the famous House of David teams from the late 1920s into the 1950s. Anderson played for nearly 30 years and faced Satchel Paige in more than 100 games. The Kansas City Monarchs and the House of David were frequent competitors on the barnstorming stage both in the United States and Canada. Terry Bertolino and Joel Hawkins have written the book on The House of David Baseball Team a fascinating historical journey. The House of David were regular prairie visitors.
Also, by chance, we came upon a photo, in colour no less, of one of the top clubs from the Maritimes, the 1950 Dartmouth Arrows champions of the Halifax and District League. Unfortunately, we have no names as yet to go with the faces. One of these years maybe we'll make some headway on coverage of baseball in the Maritimes.
Keith "Lefty" Fairbairn or Fairburn? Rich and I did a little more sleuthing and decided to settle on the spelling Fairbairn for the athlete of the 1920s and 1930s. Rich managed to dig up some Saskatoon street directories of the era and found lots of Fairbairns but no Fairburns so that helped to convince us. Many of the newspaper stories in his early career made reference to Fairbairn, but as the years went on, Fairburn became the common spelling.
Brian Morrison has done it again! Yep, found a photo of another hard to find player of the early years. Roy Grover (left) was an infielder with the 1914 Saskatoon Quakers and advanced to the majors before returning to play in Saskatchewan, with Moose Jaw in the early 1920s. The photo is from 1917 when Grover was in the majors with the Philadelphia Athletics. Brian has lots of interesting baseball stories on his own site, DIAMONDS IN THE DUSK.
Thanks to David Eskenazi for sending a program, with many photos, of the 1951 Carman Cardinals of the Man-Dak League. The program contains photos of most of the players, including playing-manager Gentry Jessup (right). We're still working on the rest of those photos along with team photos David sent along earlier. We're still trying to place place those teams in specific years while attempting to ID the players. Of the remaining team pictures (all from the early years of the last century), there are two of Winnipeg teams, one from Moose Jaw and one from Brandon. The Brandon one we've pinned down to either 1909, 1910 or 1911. So, still some mountains to climb.
Already 2014 looks to be a busy year!
07 December, 2013
In searching for something else, we stumbled upon another major leaguer to come from Western Canada baseball. He didn't make baseball's major leagues but did make the Hall of Fame in American football.
Ray Flaherty, a Gonzaga University product, was an infielder for Blackie and Claresholm, Alberta, (and maybe Ponoka) in the late 1920s before launching a football career playing ten years of pro ball for the Los Angeles Wildcats, New York Yankees and New York Giants and then coaching the Washington Redskins, the Yankees and the Chicago Hornets.
He also played baseball in the Spokane City League and for the Coeur d'Alene Miners and Spokane's Bohemian Brewers of the Idaho-Washington League along with a short pro stint in the Eastern League. He got a little time with the Boston Braves in spring training in 1930. Credited with inventing the screen pass (in 1937), Flaherty was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976.
A couple of new 1920s team photos have come this way. They are the 1924 Edmonton Outlaws of legendary sportsman Deacon White and the 1924 Mirror CNR two powerful teams of the era. (White appears in both team photos as he was the promoter of a big tournament featuring the two clubs.) The Mirror team had young right-hander Cliff "Tiny" Turner (right) who was the talk of the diamonds in 1923 and 1924 in Alberta. From his performance in a tournament in late July and early August the 22-year-old was signed by the Tigers and assigned to the East Texas League for the following season. He had an outstanding debut going 16-8 in a partial season for the Paris, Texas team before falling ill and returning to Alberta where he passed away in late September. It turned out he had typhoid fever. He was just 23. Thanks to Brant Ducey's book The Rajah of Renfrew for the info on Turner.
Rich Necker's work in the archives now results in lots of game reports on the 1936 season. There's stuff on West Kootenay baseball, East Kootenay, Crow's Nest Pass League, the Eastern Washington League, the Boundary League and the Idaho-Montana-BC League. Many new roster additions too. One of the names to come up in the 1936 reports is Lefty Fairburn of Trail. I believe this is the same player (also under the name Fairbairn) who played in Saskatoon and Vancouver.
Rich also discovered a BC-Washington loop in 1952 which included teams from Rossland, Fruitvale and Grand Forks. Game reports for the Kootenay Boundary International League are also posted. Rosters too.
And, we've added game reports on the 1947 Central Okanagan League which included teams from Kelowna, Rutland, Oyama, Winfield and Woods Lake and the 1947 Prince George & District League. The roster page has been similarly updated. With all the new material, the chart below provides a summary of which game reports are now available in our British Columbia coverage.
There's but one small photo, but it's a start on the 1927 Snapshot page. Of course, that's prompted a question of whether "Cy" Siler of the 1920s might just be Bud Siler of the 1940s.
Another step forward for our BC coverage, along with the team photo of the 1962 Revelstoke Spikes we've the first entry on a 1962 BC snapshots page, a sweet swinging first sacker, Leo Wurtz.
Ron Dundas is better known for his play in the Canadian Football League in the 1960s, but he also suited up on the diamond for teams in Regina in the mid and late 1950s. His daughter Rhonda is trying to chase down any baseball pictures. We know Ron played with the Regina Cardinals and Regina Royal Caps in 1955, the Cardinals in 1956 and 1957. If you can help out please lets us know.
Tom Mulcahy, the former Lloydminster Meridian, Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand, batting practice pitcher for Tommy Lasorda's Spokane Indians, and long time San Diego Padres executive, long ago send along a photo of the 1926 Pittsburgh Crawfords. It got misfiled, not to be re-located until the last few days. Thus, it's now posted along with player names which turned up on the internet at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
04 December, 2013
We've begun to clear a significant backlog of game-by-game data by posting 1954 game reports on Arrow Lakes - Slocan baseball, ball in the East Kootenay area and the Northwest International League (which featured Kimberley, BC, and five clubs from Spokane, Washington). Of course, along with the game reports, there are updated 1954 Rosters. Our thanks, as usual, to Rich Necker for digging out the clippings and to Lou DeRosa for providing more first names for players in Trail and Fruitvale. (Those rosters updated for 1947 and 1954).
Again, from the David Eskenazi collection, a look at the uniform of the 1914 Calgary Bronchos. We've also added a photo of Calgary manager William Devereaux to that snapshot page.
New additions include a 1933 snapshot page and a photo of the 1949 Edmonton Eskimos of the Big Four League in Alberta. The Edmonton photo comes from Beth Cook, niece of Eskimos' lefty hurler Elmer Lefty Thomas. Beth is searching for a list of names for the photo. I've been able to make tentative IDs on a few (of course, the one guy who seemed very familiar -- front row, second from the left ) that I picked as pitcher Lefty Belter, is wearing a glove on his left hand. A prank perhaps? Or, just not Lefty Belter?
01 December, 2013
Another blast from the past - Cliff Ballou a right-handed pitcher out of California came to Red Deer, Alberta in 1971, after a brief pro career and a stint in Quebec's Provincial League with Drummondville, to star with the Red Deer Elks of the Alberta Major Baseball League. He played another year with the Elks then put in two seasons with the North Battleford Beavers in the Northern Saskatchewan League.
A few days ago, Cliff, now settled in Nevada, sent a note to express his thanks for our site. "I was in the leagues up there for 4 years and it is the only evidence I have of my time spent there ... I can't thank you enough." One of the few mementoes Cliff kept from his playing days in Canada was a nice action photo from his 1971 season with Red Deer.
Speaking of Drummondville, the 1969 and 1970 home pages now include mentions and photos of John Noce, Leroy Gregory (left), Ira McKnight and Ballou as WCBL players who suited up with the Quebec club. Gregory, a southpaw hurler who advanced to the majors with the Cubs, was an outstanding hitter who captured the Provincial League batting crown in 1969.
We've added one more of the amazing artifacts provided by collector and historian David Eskenazi. It's the inside page of a Calgary program from the 1913 season. It included some head shots of more than a dozen members of the team and executives with some notes from a fan at the game. We can't make out one of the notations, but it's quite the find.
While we're working on trying to ID the players in the 1913 photo of the Edmonton Gray Birds, we've added the two players we could identify (Henry Hinrichs and Stub Spencer) to the 1913 Photo Gallery.
Among the new pages are the 1936 Snapshots (which includes a picture and information of House of David star Ham Olive) and the beginnings of a 1936 Alberta Photo Gallery. The 1936 BC Photo Gallery now includes extracts from the Trail, BC team photo.
As the first stage of compiling game reports dug out by Rich Necker, we've put together rosters for various clubs of 1936, 1947 and 1954 and updated the BC Player List (there are now separate files for the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s).
Back in the old days with dial-up modems it was a priority to keep picture files small so the pages would load reasonably quickly. Thus, smaller picture sizes were the norm throughout the site. However, as connection speeds have increased, we've been posting larger and larger sized photos. So, once in awhile when I spot an old page with tiny photos I figure it's time to re-do them. The latest page(s) are of the barnstorming California Mohawks in the 1951 snapshot section (two pages).
Did you know that one of Silverton's diamond stars of the 1940s and 1950s was also a prominent political figure at all three levels of government?
Randolph Harding, who began his working career as a teacher, was a popular municipal, provincial and federal politician.
He started out as a member of the local council in Silverton graduating to the Legislative Assembly in BC in 1945 (for the CCF, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation which morphed into the New Democratic Party in the early 1960s). He was re-elected seven times before turning his attention to Ottawa, winning the riding of Kootenay West in the 1968 election and re-election in 1972. Defeated in the 1974 vote, Harding went back to the local level serving as Silverton mayor. He died in 1996 at the age of 81.
28 November, 2013
More on Henry Hinrichs (right) who pitched for Brandon and Edmonton in the old Western Canada League beginning in 1909. After finally confirming the spelling of his surname, we came across a William "Dutch" Hinrichs (left) who had a brief (three game) career pitching for Washington in 1910. Both came from Orange, CA, so that piqued our interest and the photos seemed to show similarities. Turns out William was the younger brother of Henry (by about 18 months) , who went right to the majors from amateur ball in California on the recommendation of none other than Walter Johnson. However, after just the three games, William was hospitalized with a serious malady which turned out to be "infantile paralysis" - polio. His career was over at age 21. According to information in the 1900 USA Census, William and Henry were two of seven children in the Hinrichs family.
Another of the team photos kindly sent along by David Eskenazi is now posted.. The composite of the 1909 Brandon Angels is up. Thank goodness there are signatures to identify the players. We continue to work on several others, first trying to pin down the year of the photos then tackle the names.
A photo of the 1918 Vancouver Beavers from the City of Vancouver Archives is now posted. The team ended up playing in two cities - both named Vancouver, one in BC the other in Washington, before the league folded in early July. In the photo is the elusive Lafayette Hennion who spent some time hurling in the Western Canada League.
A few years back a friend from New Denver passed along a copy of the Grand Forks Gazette which had photos of two of the old town teams. Given a lack of interest in BC ball at the time, I filed the paper away for a future date when BC ball was on the agenda. Well, that's now, and team pictures of the Grand Forks squad of 1915 and 1916 are now posted.
Another team photo, thanks to Rich Necker, added to the roster is 1924 Mayfield, Saskatchewan,
Leo Wurtz, of my ol' hometown of Lloydminster, has dug through his albums to find a photo of the 1962 Revelstoke Spikes.
Just to give you an idea of one process of identifying players in various team photos, I give you Rich Necker's summary of his look at the photos of the 1910 Moose Jaw Robin Hoods.
It is clear that the same eleven individuals are subjects in both the Moose Jaw Public Library and Eskenazi photos. Five of the eleven (Ralph Bell, Ray Brown, W. Gilchrist, Bill Hurley and Dave Skeels) look to be readily identified which leaves six other team members whose names have yet to be discovered. The two separate photos contain no shadows and were taken on a cool, overcast day, more than likely on the same day as the identically sweater-adorned individuals in the images suggest.
The duo of team pics had to be taken relatively early in the 1910 season, perhaps even on opening day (May 4), when Gilchrist and Skeels were part of the Moose Jaw roster. Both of the aforementioned, along with catcher / outfielder McIntosh, wound up playing for the Regina Bonepilers beginning in mid-June, close to six weeks after the start of the campaign. Moose Jaw manager, William “Bill” Davis, doubled as a regular in the outfield as well as an occasional first baseman. .
My approach was to go back and examine the box scores of every Moose Jaw game, beginning with the May 4 opener to mid-June (31 games in total over 42 days which included 2 completed doubleheaders, 6 Sundays which were regular days off and 8 rain/wet grounds postponements) and list every player in the lineup in which Gilchrist and/or Skeels were on the roster. Skeels’ name first shows up as the pitcher of record for Regina in their game of June 16. Both Gilchrist and McIntosh are in the Bonepilers batting order on the same date, as position players. The following list contains the names of those players who cracked the Robin Hoods’ lineup during that 31 game stretch (excluding the five already identified).
- Bliss Art (first game May 30)
- Crocker L. (on roster for entire period)
- Davis W. “Bill” (on roster for entire period)
- Grigware (from opening day to May 13 – then released)
- Huber (played 3 games only – May 14 and May 21 doubleheader)
- Jones (on roster for entire period)
- McIntosh (on roster for entire period)
- Parker (played from May 9 to May 26)
- Smithson Edward (on roster for entire period)
- Starkel Con (first game June 4)
- Triplett J. (first game May 26)
- L. Crocker, W. “Bill” Davis, Jones, McIntosh and Edward Smithson are no doubt five of the remaining six players in both pics (which now leaves one other from the other six aforementioned players whose name is still a mystery).
- Brooks, Earle, Elsey Charles, Hartman, Irby Charles, Paige, Quigley William, Rodosy Albert, Samuels Lee and Taylor O. can definitely be ruled out.
- the current 1910 mug shot of Con Starkel does not appear to match up with any of the faces in the 1910 group pics so his inclusion is unlikely which means that the team images were taken prior to June 4.
In Both Photos But Not Yet ID’d
Remaining Possibles (for the one other undiscovered player)
Most Probable (to be the last unrevealed player)
26 November, 2013
What a bonanza from David Eskenazi, those team photos of clubs of the the old Western Canada League of the early 1900s. We're still pecking away, trying to put names to many of the faces in the pictures and, in some cases, just trying to determine the year of the photo and the team. And, given it's more than 100 years after the fact, in most cases, you can imagine some of the difficulties. But, there's progress!
An Edmonton team photo has now been identified as the 1912 edition of the team and the individual pictures have been extracted to be posted to the 1912 Photo Gallery. (That's Walter Ford at the right.) There's a bit of a problem with some of the names - two sources (the Edmonton newspaper of the day and the Reach Baseball Guide) differ on four of the names so we've left those specific names off the listing.
A new and much better quality photo of the 1913 Edmonton Gray Birds is posted, thanks to David, with many players yet to be identified. With two other team photos and previous individual pictures, it's hoped a full list of names will soon be achieved.
After comparing the 1914 photos and other individual pictures of the players, I believe we now have the correct names to go with the pictures of the 1914 Saskatoon Quakers. The team photo in the Reach Guide covering 1914 appears to have incorrectly identified five of the players. Luckily, one of the players they had tagged with the wrong name and thus raised our suspicions was Tug Wilson, a fairly recognizable player.
After considerable study, we've been able to pinpoint the dates of two Eskenazi photos of a Brandon squad as that of the 1908 Brandon Angels. And, in retrospect, it should have been really easy. It turns out the players in the second photo are the same AND in the same order as those in the first. It's likely the photos were taken at about the same time (one with sweaters over their jerseys, the other without). We've extracted individual photos (catcher Joe Custer, left) for the 1908 Photo Gallery, and from other photos from the Brandon Sun of 1908 we've added snapshots of the Brandon club.
There's now a mention on the 1971 home page of Les Lisowski's no-hitter while pitching for the University of Arizona. The Winnipeg product was a outstanding hurler in Manitoba junior and senior circles in the late 1960s and through the 1970s. And, thanks to Alain Usereau we now know he played (under the name of Lee West) for the Calgary Giants of the Alberta Major League in 1972.
Alain is doing research on all the Canadians who ever played in the Montreal Expos farm system. He's run into a bit of a hurdle in tracking down information on a few, including Cec Kozloski, Murray James, Jim Chapman, Russ McKee and Jeff Bloom. All played in the 1970s. If you know the whereabouts of any, please drop a line.
One of my favourite reference books is the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball by Lloyd Johnson and Miles Wolfe. it's been a valuable resource for us. And, now we've sent along some material which I hope they can add to their collection. They've expressed clear interest in the info. A few years back Rich Necker and I compiled stats on the 1909 Western Canada League after discovering no official statistics existed. We forwarded the 1909 statistics, along with other in Western Canada information, to SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) but it got caught up in SABR politics and never published. So we hope the information will now find a good home.
Thanks again to Aaron Gibbons for the picture of the 1947 Neilburg-Unity All-Stars. Individual photos are now posted in the 1947 Photo Gallery. Among the members of that squad was Don Stewart, then just 16 years of age, who went on to be playing manager of my home town squad, the Lloydminster Meridians.
Lots of good reading (not necessarily on baseball) on Daniel/Bernie Wyatt's HIGH ON HISTORY. He's really found his niche with his take on a variety of topics from the Avro Arrow to Jackie Robinson to the Big Bands of the 1930s and 40s.It's fascinating reading.
31 October, 2013
Along with the many team photos (which should keep us busy into the New Year), David Eskenazi has sent along documents from 1912 to finally sort out the spelling of Brandon lefty Henry Hinrich / Hinrichs / Heinrich. It turns out to be Hinrichs, perhaps the least published spelling during his tenure, 1909-1913, in the Western Canada League. David included a letter signed by Henry, and from the signature it's clear, it's Hinrichs who played with Brandon and Edmonton over his five years in the league.
It's not widely known (in fact, it isn't even mentioned in the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball) but Hinrichs hurled not just one but two no-hitters in 1910. May 11th, Hinrichs no-hit Winnipeg 3-0 in Brandon's home opener then on June 16th, he blanked Edmonton 2-0. Game details here.
The photo of the 1907 Winnipeg Maroons, the Northern Copper Country League champions, is one of the new ones posted. The original photo had most of the surnames written on the document and from newspaper accounts and other documents we've managed to get first names and identify the final few players. Again, a big thank you to David Eskenazi for sending along the team pictures.
We believe we now have the names of all the players in the new photo of the 1909 Medicine Hat Hatters (the second photo down). Two players who might not be 100% confirmed are Paddy Welch and Davey Ward. We continued to chase other photos of the pair to try and make the confirmation.
In the 1910 Calgary photo (top one) the guy who was the most difficult to pin down was the last player on the right, Clarence Duggan. We thought William Connors, second baseman, should have been in the picture, but doesn't appear he's there.
Help needed to get the IDs on the 1910 Moose Jaw picture.
On the 1910 Edmonton team shot we were lucky to have another copy (albeit a poor quality version) of the photo but with names attached.
The 1910 Lethbridge photo had an added benefit, the joy to be felt all the way from Dorchester, MA as Cory O'Hayer led the cheers on finding a good quality photo of his great grand-uncle Harold O'Hayer. Previously, we had informed Cory of our posting of the 1909 Moose Jaw Robin Hoods, but cautioned him about the quality of the newspaper photo (which was not only of poor quality but had a line through it, right through the face of Harold. Cory says this one will be framed to sit on his desk.
There's much work to do to provide names for the second and third photos of the 1910 Brandon Angels. again photos courtesy of David Eskenazi . At least there's one photo of the team, with names, from which to make comparisons. The bottom one might prove to be difficult as it was taken during spring training and several of the players didn't come north with the club. In the spring training photo the only probable so far - back row, left - Henry Hinrichs (see photo above for comparison).
Later tonight I hope to try and fill in the missing names on the photo of the 1911 Calgary Bronchos. There are still seven unidentified players in the top photo, but the two other team pics should help in the process. Click the middle photo and get a larger one. It's one of a few we've posted where the nature of the smaller photo screamed out for an expanded version.
Help needed too to fill in names for the 1911 Moose Jaw club. Many IDs missing.
For the 1914 Saskatoon Quakers our cup runneth over. Now with FOUR good quality photos of the 1914 Western Canada champions and just one player not identified. With the new picture (top one) now available for comparison, maybe now we'll get the final name
Thanks to Tedd Bogal (left) for a photo of the 1958 Intercounty champion St. Thomas Elgins. The club featured some legendary Intercounty players such as Bogal, Johnny Ambrose, Tommy White and Russ Evon. We've also discovered a photo of the 1954 St. Thomas club on the internet, but have searched without success in tracking down the source of the photo.
We extend thanks to Aaron Gibbons, grandson of Saskatchewan Hall of Famer Lindsay Gibbons (right) for pics of the 1927 Cut Knife nine and the 1947 Neilburg All-Stars (not yet posted). Lindsay was a member of the HOF's inaugural class for his lengthy career as a player and manager. Lindsay and catcher Pete Prediger built Neilburg into a prairie powerhouse.
From the Vancouver Archives comes a photo of the 1935 Terminal League champion IOCO Imperials. IOCO (an abbreviation for Imperial Oil Company) was a town built by the company in the early 1900s around its refinery in the Port Moody area. The refinery closed in 1995.
To the Fergie Jenkins profile we've added a photo of Jenkins' 1962 Ontario-Michigan team. The 19-year-old Chatham product signed with the Phillies after that season and went on to a Hall of Fame career.
Tom Collier brightened our day with his note on Greg Seastrom's lovely essay on life and times in Vulcan, Alberta during his two summers of baseball in the community. Tom grew up during those times and was deeply touched by the "I remember" segment. During my computer revamp recently, I came across a couple of items I had neglected to post. Now online, one of them is from Jim Lester, on catching a future major leaguer.
There are additional bits and pieces all over the site . . . 1907 Photo Gallery adds George Hollis . . . added to the 1907 Game Reports is information on an end-of-season exhibition series between the winners of the Western Canada League and the Northern Copper Country League ... 1908 Snapshots page features some pics of eight of the Brandon players, including pitcher Cy Dahlgren and manager Arthur O'Dea . . . there's a beginning of 1908 Photo Gallery . . . 1909 Photo Gallery has new entries, including Henry Hinrichs, Thomas McDonough, Dutch Zwicker and Niedenfuer . . . 1909 snapshots added pics of Ray Whisman, Dutch Zwicker . . . the 1910 Gallery has Tommy Smith . . . we've added a few pics and re-organized the 1910 snapshots . . . Moose Baxter, Phil Deller, Sam Davidson, Ray Whisman et al to the 1910 Photo Gallery . . . 1911 Photo Gallery adds Joe Custer . . . the 1911 home page has some of those little sketches often seen on the sports pages in lieu of action photos . . .1913 Photo Gallery Sam Savage . . . 1921 Manitoba Photo Gallery features Brandon players . . . more names added to the 1936 Trail team photo . . . and so pleased to be able to extract a good quality photo of Cliff Bogstie (left) . . . 1949 Alberta Photo Gallery now includes Dick Lowe, Jack Devine, Ted Tappe and new photo of Les Edwards (right) . . . we've placed better pics of the Bentleys in the 1953 Photo Gallery with Bev, Doug and Max all included . . . 1954 Man-Dak gallery has Dan Ahtipis of the Brandon Greys . . . 1955 Alberta Photo Gallery Al Malarchuck of the Granum White Sox.
The Fred Cardwell profile page is now up and running. I had inadvertently posted my notes and some pictures on the page, but now have fleshed out the material for presentation. Cardwell was among the best of the hurlers in the 60s and 70s on the prairies and a mainstay of Canada's national teams.
We've tracked down some information from the Basin League to pinpoint the year Grady Elmore (left) played with the Rapid City Chiefs. Turns out to be 1963 for the Alabama baseball and football star who had written earlier about his omission. He's been added to the Photo Gallery and roster page for 1953.
Also, added a photo of 1963 Basin League Most Valuable Player Allan Montreuil (right) of the Valentine Hearts.
And, before I proceed much further, work needs to be done to add players from the above to the various roster sheets. That may have to wait a week or two as I attend to other matters.
A must read, especially for those of us of a certain age, BENCHED a new website by Tom Hawthorn, award-winning writer of the Globe and Mail and The Tyee. Benched is a "final farewell to Canada's athletes and sports characters". Tom continues to dazzle not only with his style but with his energy and productivity.
13 October, 2013
Wow. David Eskenazi (right) the renown collector/historian from the Pacific Northwest has given our WCBL coverage a boost with more than a dozen team photos from the early 1900s. We've spent a lot of time trying to put names to the faces. Quite a task after more than 100 years!
Already ten new photos from David have been posted and we're still working on a half-dozen others.
A photo of the 1909 Medicine Hat squad was among the bonanza. It's the team headed by former major leaguer Billy Hulen, who changed his name to Hamilton after going AWOL from family responsibilities in the States.
We were really pleased to get a good photo of the 1910 Calgary Bronchos (and I think we now have all of the names).
Pictures of the players, extracted from the team photo, are posted in the 1910 Photo Gallery. (That's Bill Carney left, and Eddie Geehan, right). Liz Leines was overjoyed to see the Geehan photo. She's been on the lookout for years for information on her great uncle who died oh so young at age 26. Geehan won 18 games for Calgary in 1910 losing just 9 in 260 innings.
A good quality look at the 1910 Lethbridge Miners is now on-line (with all the names) and pictures of the individual players have been hived off for the 1910 Photo Gallery. (left - Joe Lynch, right - Chesty Cox).
The Eskenazi collection provided a better version of a photo we had for the 1911 Moose Jaw Robin Hoods and there's still some work to be done to identify all the players. We've added another version of the 1914 Saskatoon Quakers a club which featured five former or future major leaguers (William "Chief" Cadreau, Rudy Kallio, Tug Wilson, Roy Grover and Roxy Walters).
Among David's acquisitions is a uniform from the 1914 Calgary Bronchos. Pretty impressive threads for the times and quite a pickup for David.
Tedd Bogal (Granum 1955-56, Intercounty League, Ontario 1957-1963) corrects the names on that 1955 Granum photo (bottom of the page). He spots Gordie Vejprava and Earl Ingarfield. He also confirms a picture below as that of Bob Laurie a fellow catcher on the 1955 Granum squad. Tedd, who must be in his late 70s by now continues to play slo-pitch and ... a little bit of hockey! A catcher in baseball, he's a tough hombre. He's been honoured many times in his home town of London, Ontario for his support of athletic endeavours in the community.
Rich Necker, who spent some time in Trail, BC, adds a name to the 1936 Trail team photo. He points out Gordie McTeer as a catcher on the club. And Rich sends along some game reports for the Trail entry in the 1936 Eastern Washington Baseball League. We'll get to those next week. Thank you all !
12 October, 2013
Oh what a treat! Jack and Bev Altman made the trek up to Nakusp, BC from Ashland, Oregon as part of an early fall tour of southern BC. (That's me on the left with the touring couple. Monika is taking the picture.)
Sharp as ever, Jack managed to rattle off the names of all but one of his former teammates in a photo (see the picture at the bottom of the page) from 58 years ago when he played with Granum in Southern Alberta.
Jack had sent the photo years ago, but it got misplaced only to surface during his visit. Jack has been such a good friend of Western Canada Baseball, one of the major reasons for its success.
File this in the "It's such a small world" cabinet.
Looking for answers to several questions (including the Bob Rosell mystery, and IDs of players from the mid 1950s and early 1960s) I began a search for former North Battleford and Saskatoon catcher Gale Tuggle as he seemed to be a prime candidate to help resolve the questions.
A Google search turned up a motorcycle enthusiast from Colorado who seemed to fit the bill. (That's Gale at the left in a recent photo.) A phone call confirmed it was the sought-after Gale Tuggle. And, yes it was the same Bob Rosell in Lloydminster as at Florida State. While a pitcher in Canada, Rosell played only the outfield at university and was a lefty thrower in spite of the records at FSU. Gale also filled in the missing names on the photo of the 1956 North Battleford Beavers but drew a blank on the two unidentified players on the 1961 Saskatoon Commodores (see the bottom right of the page).
It turns out Gale (right - that's him in 1956 at Florida State) spent more than 20 years as a teacher here in British Columbia (a bit north of us, up in the Prince George area) after a stint as a high school football coach in Wyoming. He revealed he had made three of four motorcycle trips through Nakusp (our little village is a favourite route for bikers). Even more interesting, Gale said he had stayed at the downtown campground several times. The campground is across the street from us. He probably camped 100 - 200 feet from our house!
Left - two of Gale's teammates at Florida State, pitcher Tom Garcia (left) and outfielder Bob Rosell, both of whom played in Western Canada.
Among other things, Gale is a winter sports enthusiast. A quick check on the internet finds Gale in various skiing and snowshoeing competitions.
With thanks to Elaine Milford of Phoenix (formerly from Brandon, Manitoba) we have photographic evidence of the Brandon ball teams of 1919, 1920 and 1921. Elaine's dad, Frank Lutes was a key member of those clubs.
Now posted are the 1919 Brandon Greys (seniors), 1920 Brandon Juniors, the Manitoba champions, and two photos of the 1921 Greys, the Manitoba senior champions. In the two cases where the team photo was a composite, we've extracted the individual pictures.
Right - that's first baseball Lorne Chabot who made quite a name for himself in the National Hockey League as one of the top goalies of his generation.
Former Trail baseballer Lou DeRosa has been kind enough to send along a photo of the Trail club of 1936 (I don't think they were known as the Smoke Eaters at that time). Lou has been a huge help in pinning down names for BC players in the late 1940s through the 1950s. Also, he's sent along a photo and information on former Trail star Clifford "Lefty" Bogstie who was among the locals who faced off against touring major leaguers in the 1930s.
David Eskenazi provided a marvelous surprise with a half-dozen photos of Western Canada teams from the early 1900s. We're still working on them, trying to put names to the faces. David has an amazing collection of photos and memorabilia from baseball in the northwest. Standing ovation for Mr. Eskenazi !
30 September, 2013
We've posted a big chunk of material on late 1940s, early 1950s baseball in the British Columbia interior.
Thanks to Rich Necker's dogged determination, we've now filled in game reports for the 1948 Okanagan Valley International League (teams from Oliver, Kelowna and Penticton in BC and Omak, Bridgeport, Oroville, Brewster and Tonasket in the USA), the BC Interior League (Kamloops, Princeton, Summerland, Rutland, Hedley, Vernon, Kelowna), the North Okanagan Mainline League (Kamloops, Revelstoke, Salmon Arm, Enderby, Malakwa, Grindrod).
This adds to the 1948 material of the West Kootenays (Trail, Rossland, Nelson, Fruitvale) and the Slocan and Arrow Lakes (Nakusp, New Denver, Silverton, Slocan City, Winlaw). There are also game reports for the East Kootenays, the Crow's Nest Pass League and the Prince George & District League.
There may have been a glitch in the BC Players List update, so if you checked it in the last few days, check again as the latest names may not have displayed properly.
It's a pleasure to have revived Bill Guenthner's Minot Mallards site as a part of Western Canada Baseball. With a some formatting changes necessitated by a change in web design applications it's now up and running. Thank you Bill for allowing this great resource to be restored to the internet.
Brandon, Manitoba girl, Elaine Milford (now in Phoenix) was kind enough to send along some photos of her dad, Frank Lutes (left), in his days (late teens, early 1920s) with the Brandon Greys. We're still working on this material and trying to chase down some names to go with one of the photos.
Kathy Stewart found our site looking for information on her husband's grandfather, Don Stewart, who played in the 1930s in Vancouver. We were able to provide a bit of info along with a link to a wonderful story by Gary Bedingfield on his marvelous site, Baseball in Wartime. With some clippings and photos from Kathy we will try and piece together his baseball career.
Liz Leines noticed a photo of Eddie Geehan (left) (Calgary 1909 & 1910) on our site and is on the lookout for more pictures or clippings. Eddie came from the Tacoma, WA, area. Sadly, he passed away at a very young age (26) of tuberculosis. In 1910 Eddie went 18-9 in 260 innings pitched.
Angie Manning Aeschliman is attempting to track down material on her father, Bob Manning (right) who played in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Oshawa club in Ontario in the early 1950s. Bob, who played college ball at Notre Dame, went on to a distinguished career in law (including time as a States Attorney, Circuit Judge and Chief Judge of the Tenth Circuit) in the USA. In a weird twist, Angie's email, sent in mid June, arrived a little over a week ago. At the time Angie and family had hoped to surprise the ailing Bob with some photos of his athletic career, He passed away in late July.
April Saunders continues to try and sort out the Bob Laurie mysteries. We're stumped by a team photo with "Royals" uniforms and "BL" on the caps and by another photo (see below).
Thanks to Guy Beaulieu for taking the time to look for material on his dad (Armand Beaulieu) and uncles (the Makarenko brothers) who played on teams in the Vancouver area in the late 40s and 50s. Very helpful.
Pleased to hear from Billy Dempsey :
I stumbled onto your web page today and poured through it all. My grandfather would take my brother and I to the Brandon Grays games back in the 50’s. I remember Johnny Washington, a tall first baseman for the Grays. Much later I was a catcher for the Toronto Maple Leafs (Ontario Intercounty League) in 1969 after a football career at the University of Guelph. Now I live in Savannah, Georgia and at age 69 am playing softball with an old timers team. It’s slow motion now but still fun and frustration and it keeps me young. Great work. - Billy Dempsey
I'm hoping he can dig out some material from those days in the Intercounty League.
In our BC Interior coverage big thanks go out to Lou DeRosa (left), Kenny Smith, Ron Fabbro and Bernie Monteleone who've been a big help in figuring out the rosters of the various teams in the late 1940s and 1950s. They're also going through their scrapbooks to try and find information to expand our coverage. Thank you all !
And a tip of the cap to Brenton Siddons for thinking of us in sending along a photo of the Victoria Athletics of the late 1940s.
Happy to help out the folks at the Natotawin, the newspaper of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, their search for a photo of Buddy Brass of the 1948 Bowsman Maroons. They're doing an article on the former Manitoba star.
Awaiting to hear back from Lloyd Folk of Colonsay, Saskatchewan, who's been searching for photos of his dad - prairie star Johnny Folk - in a baseball uniform. We've long been looking for such a photo.
Thanks to Momoko Ito, manager at the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre in New Denver for help in finding some photos of New Denver baseball photos of the 1940s and for being such an informative and gracious host at the centre.
Among the new entries at Brian Morrison's DIAMONDS IN THE DUSK is a piece on Billy Joe Davidson one of the big Bonus Baby signings of the early 1950s and a guy who caused some initial confusion here as he was thought to be the Fresno State star who played in Vulcan, Medicine Hat and Granum. No, not the same player, but a fascinating story anyway. There's also an item on Dave Skeels who played in Regina and Moose Jaw in the early 1900s and had a cup 'o coffee in the majors.
A couple of sites added to our links page, sites that I have often visited, Jim Rennie's VANCOUVER BASEBALL, where the focus is on the city's pro teams of the late 1940s and early 1950s but nonetheless is a great resource., and John Ward's GOOD OLD SANDLOT DAYS which has hundreds of team photos and information on semi-pro and amateur teams mainly in Northern California.
26 September, 2013
Whew. Happy to finish the updates for the players' lists for British Columbia. These latest updates include recently uncovered material for the period 1948 to 1952 sent along by Rich Necker. The game reports are still to come.
Another of Rich's finds is a photo of the 1956 North Battleford Beavers. We already have one photo of the Beavers' team which represented Canada at the 1956 Global World Series but have not had one of the Beavers from the regular season. Looking for some help in identifying a couple of the players I lucked into discovering the whereabouts of former Beaver Gale Tuggle, who should also be able to solve the Bob Rosell mystery as both attended Florida State University (in trying to connect the Bob Rosell with Lloydminster and the Bob Rosell at Florida State we were struck by the lefty in Canada but the right-hander noted in the FSU documents).
Lots of little additions now posted such as a few photos on the 1948 BC photo gallery.
Glen O'Shaunessy (left) of Kelowna, Arnie Bohringer (right) of Brewster, WA and Kelowna manager Dick Murray are among them the updates.
There's this recently discovered photo of Sherwood Brewer (right) the Negro Leaguer who starred at Saskatoon and Medicine Hat, posted in the Negro section along with a new image of Jonas Gaines who suited up in Bismarck, Winnipeg and Minot. Another former Negro leaguer who played in Canada, Ulysses "Hickey" Redd has been added to the 1949 Manitoba photo gallery.
Recent access to the Medicine Hat paper of the 1950s produced a bunch of new photos as noted in the last update with a few more now posted including Vic Link and Dave Tingley on the 1956 Alberta page.
The Medicine Hat paper also carried a 1959 photo of Granum catcher Larry Koentopp showing off his trophy for Most Valuable Player in the Southern Alberta League.
In the 1955 BC gallery, a photo of Tom Miyahara is the first of a dozen or so pictures of members of the North Kamloops Mohawks we've begun to process. The individual pictures are to be extracted from the team photo of the BC Interior League champion Mohawks.
Former Basin League player and Alabama football star Grady Elmore (right) has been in touch to note we've neglected to have him on the Rapid City roster in the early 1960s.
We're quite certain he played but can't pin down the specific summer. It's either 1963-64 or 65 and Grady isn't sure either. We've tried the local paper with no success and now are reaching out to the local library. Any Basin leaguers out there?
Kudos again to Rich Necker for his work in promoting the excellence of the Regina Nationals of the 1930s. As you probably know, our submission to the Saskatchewan Hall of Fame won acceptance and the team is to be formally inducted next summer. Now it's been announced that the team is to be inducted into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame next month. The ceremony is set for Thursday, October 10th. Of course, last summer Bryan Forster, one of the key members of that team was inducted as an individual into the Saskatchewan HOF, so the club has been in the news a lot for a team which played more than 80 years ago! Bryan's son Barry had done great work providing information, especially that great photo of the team. The Regina Nationals won five provincial championships in its five year existence.
We are so pleased to have re-connected with Bill Guenthner who was such a major help putting together our information on the ManDak League before he established his own site on the Minot Mallards, the team of his old hometown. Awhile back, Bill decided to shut down his site thinking he had gone about as far as he could with the Mallards' history. I thought it a shame it had gone to black as it was such a good resource. Well, after some discussion with Bill, it's back, or nearly there. It's a real pleasure to be able to resurrect Minot Mallards as a separate section of Western Canada Baseball. I'm just working on some re-formatting and stuff to account for different web applications but hope to have the new site up soon.
22 September, 2013
One mystery solved (I think) but two new ones to go.
The Bob Laurie mystery goes back a few weeks to a plea from Mike Sherman at the Granum Museum to provide some details on Granum ball players from the mid 1950s to be used on a display poster at the museum. We were able fill in a few lines of information on all but three players on Mike's list. One of the missing was Bob Laurie an all-star in the junior ranks who won a spot on the 1955 Granum White Sox of the fast Foothills-Wheatbelt League, quite an achievement for a local (Taber) lad, especially a catcher.
Soon after we published the three names here we received a response from Bob's niece April Saunders who noticed there was an unidentified player in the 1955 Granum team photo and could that be Bob? Above, we've enlarged that section of the team photo (the middle picture of the three) to go along with photos of Bob provided by April. That formerly unidentified player in the middle sure looks like the Laurie in the left and right pictures.
With that apparently resolved, April sent along a couple of other photos of the baseball playing Lauries (Bob, Gordon and Danny). One of the pictures is a team photo of a "Royals" team with "BL" on their caps (see below). Hmmm. I couldn't place even the location of the team and April noted a lack of information on the back of the picture.
The only team I could think of with anything resembling "BL" and with team name of Royals in that era was the Beaverlodge Royals of northern Alberta (near Grand Prairie). But, the Laurie boys were from Taber, in southern Alberta. Further checking by April discovered that the boys mother was from Beaverlodge. Could that be a crucial clue? The mystery remains even with another photo which may show one of the Lauries with "Royals" on the uniform.
To try and help identify the location of the Royals team, April also had a photo of Danny Laurie in a batting stance in a ballpark with a curious structure behind the fence.
Oil derrick? Naw. I thought it might be a tower for stadium lighting but couldn't figure out the rectangular portion of the structure going all the way down the middle. Could it be a water tower? Support for some kind of exhibition ride? Anyone recognize this ball park?
Bob Laurie is in the front row, fourth from the left.. Of course, once we managed to pin down the location and year then it will be time to track down the individual names. Ideas? "Royals" team, "BL" on the caps. Hmmmm.
One photo we can date and place is that of the 1954 Taber Merchant Juniors, the southern Alberta junior champions of which Bob Laurie was a major part. It's now posted.
I'm sure we noted the possibility previously, but recently I came across an item in the Los Angeles Times of 1987 in which former Major League Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler confirmed he had a tryout (thought to have been in 1920) with the Saskatoon Quakers of the Western Canada League (and that reference to "Triple A" surely was an exaggeration).
"Well, I had played minor league baseball. I threw a no-hitter for Grafton, N.D., in the Class D Red River Valley League and had a tryout in Triple A, in Saskatoon. But that was it. Then I went on to Harvard Law School." (Los Angeles Times, May 10, 1987)
Chander, the MLB Commissioner from 1945 to 1951 is best remembered for having approved Jackie Robinson's contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers thus integrating the major leaguers. He was also the main force behind the initial pension plan for MLB players.
In the 1921 photo gallery we did have a photo of John/Howard Gill, but after finding another (looking much different) we've decided to update with the newer one. Also on the 1921 page are recently discovered pictures of Earl Scanlon and Eddie Lane. Thanks to Brian Morrison for his help on these on others.
With access to a Medicine Hat paper we've tracked down a couple of dozen photos of players from the 1950s. On the 1956 page there's Warren Black and Zeke Ziebart (and did I ever note the addition of the Pat Gillick photo?), on the 1957 Alberta page there's John Adams, Bill Chacalias, Bill Davidson, Bob Harnett, Elroy Schaufele, Don Schwedelsky, Mike Wiesbeck, Mel Wilson and the long sought after Dave Gambee (left & right) who, after having no baseball photo for all these years, now has two.
Added to the 1958 gallery are photos of Bob Bolingbroke, Roy Cleland, Jerry Kerrick, Bobby Martin, Ron Mertus (left), Bud Syverson, Doug Vickers, Allister Wesley, and Bill Chacalias.
New to the 1961 gallery are pictures of Alton Arnold and Wayne Clark.
On the 1950 BC page (and copied to the 1951 & 1952 pages) I've added a newly found photo of Manitoba and Okanagan Hall of Famer Les Edwards (right).
On the 1959 Alberta page we've managed to dig up new photos of Ken Bailey, Buzz Bartylla (right), Sherwood Brewer, Tom Gonzales, Jack Jordan, Dick Little, Ron Mertus (a copy of the '58 pic), Luke Moser, Bob Mosteller, Carson Oldham, Dick Rautmann, Glen Rediger, Thad Tillotson and two players from the 1959 Kansas City Monarchs who played tournament ball on the prairies. That's Willie Washington (far left) and Paul Gilbert (near left).
A few of these are better quality replacements for previous photos.
Access to the Medicine Hat paper brought with it the final 1959 statistics for the local club. Those have been added to the existing Southern Alberta League stats.
09 September, 2013
Rich also found some stats for three years with the 1947 season showing complete statistics for the three teams and 1949 show hitting statistics for most players and a few pitching stats. You might remember names such as Randolph Harding, Ted Graham and Dutch Groenhuysen.
The 1948 stats include just the Nakusp and New Denver players in the five team circuit of that season.
And, the 1947 to 1950 roster pages have been updated to reflect the above material.
There are additions to the BC photo galleries for 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953 & 1954, mainly of players from the BC Interior. That's Mushy Anselmo of the Trail Smoke Eaters (left) and Fred Desrochers (right) of Nakusp.
A couple of good quality photos of Roy Brown and Gilbert Stokke have been added to the early WCBL photo galleries (the Brown pictures goes in the 1913, 1914 & 1919 galleries and Stokke appears in both the 1921 & 1922 pages).
Very nice to get back in touch with Bill Guenthner this week. You'll remember Bill's great site on the Minot Mallards. It's now been off the internet for the past couple of years as Bill moved on to other things (this week he's playing grandpa and having a ball!). However, later this year, I hope we can resurrect Minot Mallards as a part of attheplate.com.
We were so pleased at the time to have found a photo of centre fielder Larry Cunningham during his 1952 season with the Harlem Globetrotters.
There he was in the centre of a photo, supposedly flanked by John Keen and Ted Dixon. Ours was a pretty poor quality copy of the lovely photo at the left which our photo magician Brian Morrison managed to uncover.
Our joy turned to puzzlement as we found the original photo dated back to 1949 and included four players, not three. And, in 1950 the photo was used to promoted a Globetrotters tour and identified the players as Sonny Smith, Zell Miles, Leon Wheeler and Sam Wheeler. At this point the names of the players is anybody's guess.
In the process of trying to sort out the names, we came across this photo (right) published in 1949 and identified as Sam Wheeler, outfielder for the 'Trotters. Problem here (as you can see on a Barnstorming page) is that we've already had this same photo used by newspapers to ID four other players (Howard Gay, Freddie Sheppard, Larry Cunningham, John Keen) in the 1947 to 1952 period. This one may never get sorted out.
And, had to share this one discovered by Brian Morrison during one of his newspaper searches. A newspaper advertisement in 1911, with the headline NOTICE TO SALONOKEEPERS (I assume that was supposed to be SALOONKEEPERS).
You are hereby forbidden from selling, giving or furnishing intoxicating liquors in any form to George French of 911 Langley Street. He is to be closely watched. Signed, Mrs. George French.
Brian has lots of new and interesting material on his site, DIAMONDS IN THE DUSK.
01 September, 2013
In the early summer, fifty-eight years ago a young Hawaiian, by way of Fresno State University in California, made the trek to Vulcan, Alberta for his first taste of prairie ball and small-town Canada.
It was an eye-opener and a life-time association for Greg Seastrom and his buddy Jack Altman. As part of Vulcan's 100th birthday last month, Greg submitted a marvelous essay on his life in Vulcan during the summers of 1955 and 1956. It's here.
"Arrangements were made for us with a local family for a dollar-a-meal noon-time dinner. Jack and I ate our dinners with Hank Hughes, a mechanic, and his wife, who prepared ample and delicious meals. In the evenings we’d hang out at the New Club Cafe, to eat supper and listen to the jukebox. Whenever I hear Eddy Arnold’s “Cattle Call,” I think of Vulcan. Once when I went to pay for a meal, I was told that it had already been taken care of by a Vulcan fan. I appreciated that."
We now have two photos of the 1948 New Denver squad and I think we've sorted out the Hayashi brothers. Game reports of the day mainly had C. Hayashi, K. Hayashi and N. Hayashi in lineups for Nakusp and New Denver. We think both the "C" and "K" Hayashi notations were mainly for Katsumi (Kuts) Hayashi (left) and "N" Hayashi denoted Nobuyoshi (Nobby) Hayashi (right). There is the odd occasion where the "K" (I guess for Knobby) was intended to denote Nobby but given Nobby was a SS/OF and Kuts a RHP/2B we were able to distinguish the brothers. Oh yes, later there is a J. Hayashi, yet to be researched and an "A" and "H" Hayashi, but those seem to be newspaper typos.
Individual photos extracted from the New Denver team photos are posted on the 1948 BC Photo Gallery page. Photos of 1951 BC players, especially those from Nakusp, are now on-line in the 1951 BC Photo Gallery.
Thank goodness for the survival of small town historical societies. With thanks to the Arrow Lakes (Nakusp) group we've added a page of "snapshots" of baseball action in 1951 at the Nakusp baseball grounds. Right - that's Nakusp's Barin Yoshida taking a cut.
A round of applause for Lou DeRosa who, with a group of friends, has provided a major boost to our BC coverage, especially the roster sheets, by providing first names and correct spellings for dozens of former players in the West Kootenays. We hope to have an updated BC Roster sheet posted in a week or so. It turns out, DeRosa himself suited up for Trail in the early 1950s. We've managed to track down this one not-so-great photo of Lou and hope he and the gang might be able to locate more.
Earlier this year, the North Kamloops Mohawks of the 1950s were inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame. The mainly Japanese-Canadian team captured the BC Interior League title in 1955 and 1956.
To our delight, we stumbled upon a photo of the club in an on-line newsletter. Ken Kochi, left, was among the members of the championship teams. We have some game reports on earlier years of the BC Interior League but we are still working on the mid 1950s. Maybe this fall/winter we'll begin to cover these later years.
Also with our BC coverage, we've posted a team photo of the Vancouver champion VAC club of 1932. The team included such luminaries as Andy Padovan and Coley Hall. A photo of the 1920 Calgary Bronchos of the Western Canada League, which was up, then went missing, has been re-posted. Individual pictures of the Calgary players are posted in the 1920 Photo Gallery. One of these years I'll compare the two photos on the team page to try and determine the names in the top photo.
Bob Rosell? Little left-hander, Lloydminster 1954-1955 ? From Chicago. It seems pretty certain that the Rosell who played on the prairies and the Bob Rosell who played for Florida State University are the same individual, except for the fact that he was a lefty pitcher/outfielder in Canada and listed as a right-handed outfielder in Florida.
Still working on this one. Rosell passed away two years ago. Photo at left is from 1954 and the one at right was published with his obituary notice. Sure looks like the same person.
Lafayette Henion had talent, but appears to have been a headache for team officials. Brian Morrison, DIAMONDS IN THE DUSK, is working on a piece about the star hurler who was suspended at least twice for leaving teams in mid-season to take advantage of more lucrative offers. Henion played a couple of seasons in Western Canada and even had a cup of coffee with the Brooklyn Robins in the majors in 1919.
In mid-August, the folks at the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame put on their usual, outstanding show at the 2013 induction ceremony. That's Brian Lampitt at the left receiving his award from Hall of Fame President and CEO Jane Shury at the August 17th event. Brian is the third member of the family to be inducted. (Photo courtesy of Battlefords Daily News)
Honoured with induction this summer, in addition to Lampitt, were Bill Sittler of Wilkie, Rodney Rhinehart of Maidstone, Larry English, originally from Hazlet, Elwood Ferguson, Lloydminster, Jim Flynn, Carlyle, Garnet Hannon, Kindersley, Neil Hogg, Swift Current, Ron McKechney, Swift Current, Ira McKnight of Indianapolis, Indiana, who first played in Canada with Saskatoon, Wayne Pusch of Regina Beach, Rupert Talbot of Canwood and Larry Tollefson formerly of Moose Jaw. The Kohlman family of Macklin were saluted in the family category and Hazlet in the community section. The Moose Jaw Regals and Jansen Red Sox were inducted in the team category.
Earlier in the summer, the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame inducted nine individuals, including long-time Brandon Cloverleafs star Ron Toews of Plum Coulee. Also honoured were Jack Callum, Bev Fisher, Mike Foster, Walter Hilhorst, Brian Hodgson, Glen Hunter, Terry Kirlin and Bob Paradine.
Tom Hawthorn, the ace Globe & Mail columnist, sends along the news of the passing of Don Reid, a Manitoba Hall of Famer. The right-handed hurler was a star in minor ball in Winnipeg and signed a pro contract with the St. Louis Cardinals but decided to finish his education at the University of Manitoba and play ball in Canada.
He suited up with the Carman Cardinals in 1949 and 1950 in the Manitoba Senior League and the inaugural season of the Man-Dak League. He later played with Selkirk and St. Boniface in the provincial senior circuit. Reid was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. He was 84.
10 August, 2013
Jack Altman (left) the former Vulcan & Granum star, was quite a hit at the Granum Museum last Sunday.
Jack, in the area (from his home in Oregon) as a special guest of the town of Vulcan during Vulcan's 100th birthday celebration, took the time to travel to Granum to meet Granum Historical Board chairman Mike Sherman and check out the Granum baseball display at the museum.
(Altman, one of many players to come from Fresno State University to suit up for teams on the prairies, went 12-6 in 1954 with Vulcan and 15-3 in 1955 in duties with Vulcan and Granum.
In 1954, the teenager pitched in a total of 59 games, winning 32 against just 11 losses in college and semi-pro activity. In 365 innings, the left-hander fanned 431 and finished with a 1.60 earned run average. Up to a couple of years ago, Altman was still tossing 'em at the Fresno alumni game.)
Mike Sherman, (left) reported a great visit with "a great gentleman". Mike says they had fun talking about the White Sox and 1950s baseball.
Mike expressed surprise when Jack, who appeared wearing an old Granum White Sox baseball jacket, took off the jacket and donated it to the museum. Altman had received the jacket from George Wesley in 1955.
There's a little treat in the 1979 file - the Canadian entry in the Senior Little League World Series at Gary, Indiana. Colleague Rick Necker was a coach on the Lethbridge All-Stars who captured the Canadian title and won a berth in the 1979 World championship. In their first game they came up against Tampa, Florida, which featured three future major leaguers, Dwight Gooden, Floyd Youmans and Vance Lovelace.
We are really pleased to present team photos from some BC Interior teams -- the 1948 New Denver squad, the 1948 Nakusp team, 1950 Nakusp, 1950 Burton and 1951 Nakusp. The 1948 Photo Gallery includes pictures of those New Denver players. Those dates are believed to be correct, but might be altered by a year or two on further research. Much thanks to Kyle Kusch at the Arrow Lakes Historical Society and Sharon Montgomery at the Nakusp & District Museum.
We've traced the history of baseball in the BC Interior back to at least 1911 when the first Okanagan league was formed with teams from Enderby, Armstrong, Vernon and Kelowna. Penticton had a team, but was not in the league in 1911, but regularly played games with Oroville across the border. The BC - Washington competitions became a fixture in baseball in this area through the decades.
We've posted a bit on the 1929 Trail, BC, squad which gave up on play against West Kootenay teams to try its luck in a new, international loop with three teams from Washington state. But, the league appears to have lasted for just over a month.
30 July, 2013
Re-done to present a clearer, larger photo is the 1959 photo of the Saskatoon trio -- Ron Boone, Eloyd Robinson (left) and Danny Adams. The individual photos have also been re-done and are posted in the photo gallery.
After posting the photo of the 1959 Saskatoon Gems of the Saskatoon and District League we've been prompted to work on the game reports and statistics of the circuit. Perhaps later in the summer we'll have an opportunity to chase down that information. I believe the league lasted just two seasons, 1959 and 1960 before the formation of the Northern Saskatchewan loop.
29 July, 2013
It's always a treat to dig up a good team photo from which we can extract individual pictures for our photo galleries. We have just that this week as Leo Wurtz (left) was kind enough to go searching through the attic for the picture of the 1959 Saskatoon Gems, which featured such players as Wurtz and long-time prairie standout, pitcher Ross Stone (right). The individual photos are now posted as well on our 1959 Saskatchewan Photo Gallery (which includes the pics of many of the famous Struebys of Marysburg).
Thanks to all the detective work by Rich Necker in locating clippings on Okanagan baseball in the 1950s, we've put together a profile page on Ted Bowsfield the Penticton product who was such a local star beginning at age 15 in senior ball and worked his way up to the major leagues with Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Kansas City. There's still a bit of work to do in tracking down his statistics for the years in Penticton, but what's posted is pretty close. From one of the photos we've extracted individual pictures of Bowsfield and Les Edwards for the 1954 photo gallery. The page features Bowsfield baseball cards and a link to a wonderful story on Bowsfield on Kevin Glew's Cooperstowners in Canada site.
With thanks to Tazena Kennedy, we've updated more Man-Dak League game reports from 1950 and 1951 and added photos of Lyman Bostock and Ron Teasley (left) to the 1950 Photo Gallery. Tazena is the daughter of former Winnipeg Buffalo star John Kennedy who parlayed his Man-Dak and Negro League experience to win a spot with the Philadelphia Phillies.
And, we've managed to add on the latest rosters to the list of players who performed with British Columbia teams in the 1940s and 1950s. There are now more than 2,700 players listed on our BC roster sheet, and that's mainly from the late 1940s to the mid 1950s.
. Always a pleasure to hear from two of the oldest friends of Western Canada Baseball, Jim Lester and Jack Altman, stars of the long-ago Vulcan Elks and Granum White Sox. Jack is making the trek to Vulcan next month to join the celebration of the community's 100th year. A special salute to Vulcan baseball is on the menu.
You have to read ''The Amphibians of Ketchikan'', a story about an unusual baseball diamond up in Alaska. As you might surmise from the title, the playing field was often under water. It's another of the fascinating stories at Diamonds in the Dusk, Brian Morrison's marvelous little site.
Of course, Brian keeps surprising us with photos for our site. Lately he's found top quality photos of Larry Laughlin (above far left, Calgary 1963), Frank Reberger (above left, Saskatoon 1964) and Joe Lutz (right, Williston 1954, Minot 1956) , all hard to find items on the former Western Canada League players who had at least a cup o' coffee in the majors.
From Ontario's Intercounty League, we've uploaded a team photo of the 1959 Hamilton Beavers a team which included hockey star Murray Oliver, Larry Cunningham who first came to Canada with the Harlem Globetrotters barnstorming team, Dan Lewandowski who had a cup of coffee with the St.Louis Cardinals, and Intercounty veteran left-hander Eric Lomax. We'll need some help identifying the players in the photo.
21 July, 2013
Nelson "Chicken" Hawkes (left) and "Stubby" Mack were just two of the 1920 Calgary Bronchos to advance to the major leagues. We're so pleased to have stumbled upon quality photos of the 1920 Bronchos from an image at the Glenbow Museum and Archives in Calgary and another from an unknown source. Both photos, the team picture and a composite are now posted along with individual versions on the 1920 home page and the photo gallery.
There's another team photo posted as well, the 1911 Saskatoon Hoo Hoo nine, the Saskatoon City League champions. I'm assuming the team name comes from the fraternal and service organization the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo which dates back to 1892. Members of the group are involved in the forest products industry.
Brian Morrison, Diamonds in the Dusk, is such a good friend of Western Canada Baseball sending along yet another "find", this time a good quality photo of Joe Mack (left) who came to play in the ManDak (Manitoba-Dakota) League in the early 1950s at the end of the lengthy career which included a stop in the majors with Boston.
Help! Mike Sherman at the Granum Museum (which includes a marvelous display of the old Granum baseball team) is trying to track down information on a few of the old Granum players. We've managed to provide background information on most of the former players, but four -- Al Malarchuk, Bob Laurie, John Pederson, and Ron Jacques. Jacques suited up in 1953, the others in 1955. If you can help please drop a line.
Love the coincidences. A few weeks back the Toronto Star asked for some help in tracking down photos of Harry Fisher who graduated to the major leagues from his baseball beginnings in Ontario and the Intercounty League. I managed to located a couple of pictures for the piece, a special publication in the Star's "Dispatches" section. The dispatch was published last Friday, a fascinating story, well told by author Lesley Krueger. Turns out Lesley is a writer-in-residence at the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto. The CEO there is Slawko Klymkiw my former executive producer at CBC, Toronto,
There's a major addition to the 1954 coverage of the Okanagan Mainline Baseball League in British Columbia. Rich Necker has sent along dozens of clippings to flesh out the game reports, provide both batting and pitching statistics and a few photos for the snapshot page.
Big thanks to Saskatchewan Hall of Famer Len Breckner for passing along the word of our quest for a good photo of Johnny Folk one of the great hurlers of the 1930s, 40s and 50s on the prairies. Johnny's son Lloyd has been in touch and we hope soon to post a quality image of Johnny.
I happened upon a photo of Larry Cunningham (right) who came to Canada with the barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters baseball team in the early 1950s, won a pro contract playing in Hamilton, Ontario and stuck around the Southern Ontario city to play for Hamilton in the Intercounty League. We're now trying to track down the former centre field star and if you know what's happened to Larry, please let us know.
Leo Wurtz, who played in the 1950s and 1960s is proving to be of valuable assistance in a number of areas, besides filling in the details of his own career and digging out some team photos (such as the Saskatoon Gems of 1959). Leo played with the Marysburg team, famous for it's connection with the Strueby family, Saskatoon and also had a connection to our BC coverage having played in Revelstoke in 1962.
14 July, 2013
Stage one of our immense undertaking -- updating the roster sheets (1907 to 1979) -- is at the half-way mark. We've now added to a master player list all players from whatever rosters we managed to dig up. That will result soon in updating the decade-by-decade files here and push us onto stage two, double-checking the master roster list back with each yearly roster page to ensure they match. I suspect the whole process will take until the fall.
Finally, we've posted the additional game reports and rosters for BC baseball, including the 1949 Okanagan Valley International League, the 1954 BC Interior League and 1946 baseball in the Arrow Lakes area.
Among the Saskatchewan photos added are those of Bentley MacEwen (left), Rod Campbell and Irl Flanagan, a trio of outstanding players of the 1950s and 1960s. MacEwen was a member of the famous Bentley family of Delisle.
A bunch of new team photos are now posted, including the 1951 Nakusp, BC nine, Wilcox, Saskatchewan, team 1920-1930, the famous Gunther Family team of 1937, the 1930 Lanigan Pirates. and the 1931 Waterloo, Ontario squad of the Intercounty League. On the 1928 home page, there's an image of four members of the renown Sceptre squad of 1928.
Individual photos added include Andy Zwack and Stan Kowalski a pair of Prince Albert stars, Ivan Prediger, Jean Ashley, (with Denny Evenson & Doug Dodd on the same page), Len VanDeHay and Larry Cunningham. There are some photos of players from they 1954 Okanagan Mainline League, and the 1953 Mainline loop.
Again, much thanks to Brian Morrison of Diamonds in the Dusk for keeping us in mind during his own research. He's come up with a good quality photo of Tom Burgess, in his St. Louis Cardinal uniform.
Burgess went from London, Ontario, in the Intercounty League in Southern Ontario in 1945 to a lengthy pro career with included stops in the major leagues with St. Louis and the Angels and featured eight years of solid play in Triple-A.
In 1953, with Rochester of the International League, he hit .346 with 22 home runs and 93 runs batted in. In 1959, then 31, the outfielder hit .293 with 28 home runs and 96 RBI. Burgess continued in baseball managing in the St.Louis, Atlanta, Texas and Detroit farm systems from 1969 through to 1987.