Update : 9 July, 2015
Interestingly, in the reports from 1943, provided by Rich Necker, there are notes of exhibition games with teams from Washington, including Fort Lewis (about ten miles from Tacoma), a U.S. Army team which featured major leaguer Morrie Arnovich as the playing manager and Saskatchewan's Aldon Wilkie (another major leaguer) as one of the team's hurlers. Another pitcher was Eddie Erautt, brother of Canadian catcher and future major leaguer Joe Erautt.who is to be inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame next month.
Victoria teams featured a number of players from elsewhere in the country -- Emil Hangs (left) who pitched for Wiseton, Saskatchewan, Gerry Whitney who went on to play in Saskatoon and Calgary, Billy Burke and Jack Couglin from Saskatoon and a few from Eastern Canada as well.
In the process of chasing down these rosters, we discovered Canadian catcher Bob Laurie playing as early as 1951 (you might recall the Laurie tangent of many months back as we tried to fill in the blanks in his career). We made a site wide correction to be consistent with the spelling of Walt Pashuk, a pitcher in Alberta in the 1940s and 1950s. And, we found Wilf "Lefty" Pennington (right) still throwing 'em in 1951-1952 for Medicine Hat. Our records have Pennington first noted as playing in 1928. That's a career of at least 25 years !
In a search of Vancouver Asahi games in the 1930s, we came across the remarkable playoff between the Asahis and IOCO (Imperial Oil) for the Terminal League championship in 1935. Asahis took the first three games of the best-of-seven final (winning one of the games in spite of being no-hit). Then the Imperials roared back with four straight wins, including back-to-back no-hitters (yes, three in all) to take the title. The game reports are available on the 1935 Vancouver page.
Former Western Canada star Jack Altman has been such a good friend of our little operation. In fact, if not for Jack and his great assistance way back in the early days, the site may never have evolved past the eight years of Lloydminster's participation in the old Western Canada circuit (Lloydminster? Well, that was my home town and my role as bat boy, stats guy, clubhouse boy, assistant to the GM for the Meridians is the foundation for the site.)
(You might recall our research project to pin down Altman's 1954 season in college and semi-pro ball In Canada and the USA. It worked out to 59 games and 365 1/3 innings. He finished with a 32-11 won/lost record and fanned 431 while compiling an ERA of 1.60 !)
Jack has helped us again with some photos from back in 1958 in Honolulu, his home at the time. The impetus was the photo of the 1948 Victoria Athletics, noted a few days ago, and his recognition of a couple of names on the roster. He's hoping to ID some of the players from his playing days and connections in Hawaii. One of the players turned up in a batch of photos taken in Hawaii in '58. More on that when Jack has a chance to go over the Victoria photo (which was missing for a time from the site).
Here are some of Jack's contemporaries from the mid and late 1950s. Left to right, below - Tom HIga (Kamsack, 1954, Moose Jaw Mallards 1954-1955), possibly Bobby Lee (Picture Butte Indians and Granum White Sox 1956-1957 and Lethbridge Warriors 1958), Unknown, Larry Yogi (Picture Butte, 1956, and Regina Braves, 1957), Keiji Tsuhako, Dick Takamoto (Picture Butte, 1956).
Below left - Larry Yogi on the left, Greg Seastrom (Vulcan Elks 1955-1956) centre and Larry Lovewell (Picture Butte Indians, 1957) on the right.
Below right - Jack Ladra (Kamsack Cyclones 1953) on the left with Greg Seastrom.
You wonder how so many players from Hawaii ended up on the Canadian prairies? It was a result of a recruiting effort by Coalinga Junior College in California, which brought the players to the United States where they were noticed and signed to play in Western Canada.
29 June, 2015
Not sure I'd want to come up against Walter Blochberger (left) in any battle royal on the ball field. He has the look of a tough customer. Blochberger is one of a few new individual pictures added to the photo galleries. In this case, the 1918 gallery, along with Charlie Miron (right), Jimmy Ralston and Leo Solloway all pretty familiar names in Vancouver sports in that era. While the results were uninspiring, we tried to extract individual photos from a couple of recent team pics (Alex "Lefty" Simons in 1923 and Joe Hebert, 1928). They'll do until we unearth some better quality versions.
The name attached to so many of the Vancouver photos from the first couple of decades of the 1900s is Stuart Thomson. It turns out he came to Canada (from England) in 1881, as a railway worker. It wasn't until he arrived in Vancouver in 1910 that he took up amateur photography. And before long the quality of his work was widely recognized and he established a commercial business and for a period contributed to three daily newspapers in Vancouver. One of his photos in 1924 is a striking look at Athletic Park in Vancouver.
On the 1937 BC snapshot page there's the addition of an Asahi photo from the late 1930s. We believe it's either the 1937, 1938 or 1939 season, years when the four identified players suited up on the famous team. This photo is from the Pat Adachi collection. Adachi compiled the marvelous book, Asahi : A Legend in Baseball.
There's one new team photo - the 1927 Trapp Buick squad of New Westminster, the Senior B champions.
Other bits and pieces we've added include notations of baseball overseas during World War 1 (posted on the 1918 home page), the 1924 roster for Collingwood of the Vancouver Senior League, the 1919 statistics for both the Vancouver City League and the Commercial League, and a report of a 1915 contest between the Victoria Nippons and Vancouver Braves. Not being aware of the existence of either team it serves as a reminder to chase more information on those Japanese teams. Were the Braves really the Asahis ?
In the 1929 Vancouver game reports we've posted news of the tragedy of Vancouver Fireman third baseman Doug May. The club had just swept a Dominion Day double-header from the Sons of Canada at Victoria and were on the ferry ride home to Vancouver when May apparently fell over the railing and drowned.
But for a fly ball in the 13th inning which skipped off the glove of Canadian outfielder Joe Riney, Connie Munatones might have been the toast of the town, maybe the country in the fall of 1957. At the Global World Series at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Canada (represented by the Edmonton Eskimos) and Japan were in a tight 1-1 draw after 12 innings. In the top of the 13th, Munatones, tripled and scored on a throwing error to put Canada in the lead. But, in the bottom of the frame, a double by by Yuji Takenouchi trickled off the fingertips of right fielder Riney and two Japanese runners scooted home to spoil a brilliant pitching performance by Ralph Vold, one of few Canadians on the Canadian team. American college players made up the bulk of the roster (Munatones was a star athlete at UCLA). That championship bid of 58 years ago came up yesterday in a chat with Connie from his Los Angeles home. He's just back from Germany and an opportunity to visit family, including grand children. He expressed disappointment at Canada's soccer loss to England last week at the Women’s World Cup. He was hoping for a USA-Canada final.
And, the memories remain fresh for David Moriarty more than fifty years after his 1959 season in Lloydminster. The son of the famous George Moriarty of major league fame (as a player, manager, umpire and scout) reports he's in pretty good spirits and doing OK after surgery for some serious medical problems. David is still feeling his way after the death of his beloved wife Cathy who passed away a year ago. In a telephone conversation from his California home, David heaped praise on the late Willie "Curly" Williams the playing manager of the team. George, then scouting for the Detroit Tigers, felt Curly could have made a fine batting coach, even at the major league level, or a college coach at top level school. In trying to help out his son, who had a poor start to the season, George said he called upon Cobb, Williams and Williams for some advice. Yes, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and ... Curly Williams.
27 June, 2015
One more mystery solved. "Bunny" Purmal. We've had him in rosters of Vancouver, Trail and Calgary teams in the 1920s and 1930s but identified only as "Bunny". Well, in 1928 data dug up by Rich Necker, there's the discovery of at least an initial - "W".
That put me on the trail. I found a Wilf G. Purmal listed in a Vancouver street directory and subsequently a note of a marriage in Victoria in the early 1930s of a Wilfred George "Bunny" Purmal. That had to be the same guy. Confirmed later in the story of a Calgary-area community, Bragg Creek. The Purmal's settled there in the mid 1930s. Bunny's parents had originally settled in Alberta but, on the advice of doctors (the dad had a heart condition), moved to Vancouver in 1912.
Thank's to Rich Necker's persistence in combing through the old newspapers we've add a bunch of game reports and photos.
The 1928 material included a few newspaper photos of individual players, including Charlie Miron (left) , the 1928 batting king, and star shortstop Roy Yamamura (right) of the famous Vancouver Asahis. A coincidence in that Yamamura was the great uncle of Mel Tsuji a former television colleague of mine in Toronto,
The process forced a reconsideration of some spellings. As a result we've decided upon Shores' Jewelers (rather than Shore's and Jewellers) and Blochberger (rather than Blockberger). Those changes came from listings in the Vancouver directories of the period.
From the 1923 research comes team photos or the 1923 Nanaimo Coal City crew, the Vancouver Island champions, and another picture (poor quality) of the the Vancouver Young Liberals, the BC champs. Coincidentally, we hope to have a better version of that team photo or another given recent contact from Mack Reid whose great grandfather Alex "Lefty" Simons played for the club.
Also, from 1923, the beginning of a snapshot page with a photo of Lorne Thompson of the Kitsilanos the batting king of the Vancouver Terminal League.
The 1928 game reports brought mention of former major league pitching star Carl Lundgren (left) who brought his University of Illinois varsity baseballers to Vancouver for some exhibition games. The collegians were on their way to Japan for a series there. Lundgren pitched for the Chicago Cubs in their 1908 World Series championship season. It was the last time the Cubs won the title.
Lou DeRosa, former Nakusp hurler (with stints in Vancouver, Trail and Castlegar) has been such a good friend of Western Canada Baseball and has sent along some additional material to add to the BC Interior coverage of 1956, 1958 and 1959.
Colleague Rich Necker and ol' Lloydminster pal Rodney McLean (with Phil in the photo to the left) were among those to enjoy the appearance in Regina of Negro Leagues baseball historian and author Phil Dixon on his "Monarchs in our Hometown" tour.
Phil is in the midst of a 90 city tour of the US and Canada to bring alive the history of the famous Kansas City Monarchs (one-time home of Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige among others). The Monarchs were one of the continents most adored teams up to the 1960s.
Other than the Western Canada League of 1907 to 1921, we've pretty well stayed away from professional baseball teams and leagues instead concentrating on the semi-pro and amateur teams which used to attract substantial coverage in the local papers but whose history is in danger of withering away from lack of interest and attention. However, I've rediscovered some material sent along by former Victoria player Brent Siddons on behalf of Carlos Ballagente. The information simply got lost among hundreds of emails but popped back into prominence this week in a clean-up of messages. The material included photos of the 1948 and 1949 Victoria Athletics of the Class B, Western International League. We have rosters for those clubs but need help in identifying the individual players.
19 June, 2015
New team photos are the order of the day.
From 1912, we have posted a photo of the Wardner, BC, club, champions of the Crow's Nest Pass area.
Added to our Vancouver coverage of the 1920s are two photos (both edited from the originals) of the Vancouver CPR club of 1921. Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify the individual players, as yet.
Also from 1924, Hammond Cedar, the BC Senior champions.
There's a team picture (with individual IDs of the 1928 BC Senior champions, the New Westminster Fraser Mills nine.
A team with a lot of familiar names, the 1929 Vancouver Generals.
And, the seventh team photo posted is that of the 1935 Vancouver Home Gas team.
From a couple of these recent photos we've begun to extract a few individual pictures of recognizable players - Jimmy Watters of Purdy's of Vancouver (far left), Dean Freshfield (near left) and Ira Brethour (right) both of Vancouver Centrals.. These pictures prompted the introduction of a 1918 BC Photo Gallery.
We don't have pitching stats yet for 1918, but Brethour was the top hurler in Vancouver senior ball in 1917 with a 10-4 record and an average of more than 13 strikeouts per game.
18 June, 2015
Attacking the Rich Necker supplied backlog, I've posted a 1919 Vancouver game reports page with summaries of three leagues.
And, we've added a couple of new team photographs - the 1917 Arnold & Quigley squad (split into two to better show the players) and the 1924 Vancouver Carleton Centre team (one "suit" edit out of the picture).
From the Arnold & Quigley photo we've made just one ID so far. Comparing a previous individual photo to the team picture, we believe we've pinned down Hec Cann. Far left, that's Cann in a 1920 photo and near left, a player who sure looks like Cann (who was on the roster of the 1917 club). It provides us with the impetus to add a 1917 BC photo gallery page.
16 June, 2015
Three more Vancouver player photos have been uncovered, this time in a University of British Columbia publication saluting the United Distillers club, the 1938 champions of the Vancouver senior league. Ace hurler Ernie Kershaw (left), who turned pro the next season, was one of them, along with Billy Adshead (right) and Ed Henry. All are featured on the 1938 BC snapshot page.
A summary of 1921 BC ball, which had gone missing, has been re-posted to the 1921 Vancouver page.
In tracking the history of the Vancouver Asahi baseball team, we've added a few summaries to the 1918 game reports.
And, we've added a page for the BC 1919 photo gallery.
13 June, 2015
With lots of great digging by Rich Necker we've been adding to the ever increasing expanse of material on Western Canada baseball, especially in British Columbia.
Slow as I am with typing these days, I am pretty pleased to have finally completed game reports for Vancouver Island teams for the 1948 season. The summaries provide game reports and rosters for the Victoria Senior Amateur League, Comox District League and Duncan & District League. Stats are posted for the Comox and Victoria loops.
More photographic evidence of 1940s ball is also available. For 1948 we have added pictures of Bill Prior (far left), of Ben's Bombers, who captured both the pitching (9-1) and hitting titles (.364) in the Victoria circuit. Bernie Anderson (near left) was one of the mainstays of the Victoria Eagles.
Another of the new photos is that of Bobby Weigand (right), the playing manager of Ben's Bombers which dropped its opening game of the season then went on to win 20 straight in winning the league pennant. The Bombers were upset in the playoff final by Victoria Navy. We've posted a much less than ideal photo of Ben's Bombers which will prompt us to keep chasing a high quality version of the image.
Among the new team photos unearthed by Rich is one of the 1916 Arnold and Quigley nine of the Vancouver senior circuit. This one, from the Vancouver World does have names attached, but there's an obvious problem in the placement of the names. The photo was so wide we had to chop it into two for a better fit.
Malkins won the 1916 title in the Vancouver senior loop and we have a team photo of that group. Again, IDs of the individuals are a problem (just one player identified) but we do have a list of team's roster. We also present a photo of the 1917 edition of Malkins from the City of Vancouver Archives. Ours is an edited version (first of all, reversing the photo - the "M" should have been on the left side of the uniform - and then cropping the photo leaving some team executives on the cutting room floor). The 1917, National Biscuit Company photo is now posted as is a team picture of the BC Telephones squad from 1913 or 1914 (we've put it in 1913 for the time being). Rich has also provided some names for the photo of the 1923 IOCO Imperials.
Other Individual photos discovered include Charlie Miron, Tony Telosky and George SIkora from 1928, Yuki Uno, of the 1940 Asahis, and a larger version of the Bill Prior picture posted on the 1948 snapshot page.
Rich has also found photos from the 1918 Vancouver senior league season and we've posted five of them on the (new) 1918 BC snapshot page along with a nice team photo of the 1918 National Biscuit Company (again, I've sliced a panorama photo into two to allow for a better presentation).
Ol' friend Brian Morrison (Diamonds in the Dusk) has been busy as well, sending along stories along with team and individual photos.
So far, we've posted the 1921 Winnipeg Arenas along with an addition to the Manitoba snapshot page of 1921 - a newspaper feature on Winnipeg amateur baseball citing nine of the league's top players with individual write ups. Brian has also found some player photos from the 1921 Winnipeg senior league, including Tom Heilberger (far left) and Art Riley (near left). Those led to discoveries of a few more all now posted on the 1921 WCBL photo gallery and some on the 1921 Manitoba gallery. Those, in turn, led to photos of a couple of key people involved with the 1919 Winnipeg Maroons, owner Charlie Moll and playing manager Jack Sheehan (right).
Brian sends along a clipping from 1911 (Winnipeg Tribune, July 10) with the headline KING'S DEATH ROBS HIM OF NEEDED HIT
Albert Isbell, young brother of Manager Frank Isbell, of the Wichita club, got his first taste of Canadian baseball at Winnipeg last year and tells the following story, in which he got the "goat.", says an exchange.
Albert had gotten away to the bad. Not since the season opened had he been credited with a hit and his sole chance had been a ground ball that had been allowed to ramble through between his legs. With a fielding average of worse than .000 and a batting average that would take some hits to find, he went into the third of fourth game of the season with blood in his eye. Before the fourth inning he had caught three or four flies and had pounded the horsehide for a triple, a single and a double. Then it happened. A man stepped to the plate, read a message stating that the king had died and the umpire immediately called the game. Less than five innings had been finished and the king's death had beaten the younger "Isssy" out of all he had coming to him up to that time.
Edward VII died May 6th at the age of 68. Wikipedia notes that "Edward habitually smoked twenty cigarettes and twelve cigars a day".
Brian, with his connection to the Atlantic Coast Conference of college ball in the USA, features a story at Diamonds in the Dusk about the College World Series and the 1955 victory by the ACC's Wake Forest.
About that photo, noted below (with all the players wearing "number 31" on their uniforms) we've had some further news. Barb Goodwin says they took the frame apart and the photo turned out to be part of an old calendar ! Nonetheless, it is a photo of some team, maybe a Canadian one given where it was located.
And Steve Cottrell, of St. Augustine, Florida (who played in Alberta with the Vulcan Elks back in the early 1960s) wonders if it could be a team from Jasper, Alberta. Steve notes that the Canadian Legion branch in Jasper is # 31. Hmmm. Thank you Steve!
Anyone with information on Billy Adshead, Vancouver senior player of the 1930s, 40s and 50s? Lorne Carnes is trying to determine if it's Billy who ran a sporting goods store in Victoria. I've managed to find a William Adshead, who in the mid 1950s, was the manager of G. Sparling Ltd. in Vancouver. But, haven't been able so far to determine if that was a sporting goods store and, even if so, whether Adshead made the move to Victoria.
Shannon Banderas is on the trail of photos or clippings of her father-in-law, Terry Banderas who suited up with Lethbridge White Sox in 1961 and went on to a pro career in Triple A in the Reds system (even got in some Spring Training games with Cincinnati). His 75th birthday is coming up and they're planning a little celebration.
So sorry to hear of the passing of Les Hufty one of the Kootenays star hurlers of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Leslie James Hufty (right , in 1950) died June 1st at age 85 at Nelson.
Les and brother Frank were integral parts of the baseball scene in Nelson over three decades. A Celebration of Life was scheduled for June 13th.
And, we've learned of the passing of Northern Alberta baseball star Ron Duda who was a key member of the powerful Peace River Stampeders teams of the 1960s.
If you are anywhere near Saskatoon or Regina, please make a date to hear colleague Phil Dixon as he makes a presentation on Barnstorming Baseball on the Prairies. Phil, whose " Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History" was such a help in the early days of our little operation is on a 90-city speaking tour of Canada and the USA. Among other things, Phil is a founding member of the Negro Leagues baseball museum in Kansas City and has written a book on the famous Kansas City Monarchs centred on Bullet Rogan. It's next Wednesday at the Saskatoon Public Library, Cliff Wright Branch, at three o'clock then Thursday, June 18, three o"clock, at the Regina Public Library, Central Branch theatre.
Bev and Jack Altman made a nine-day trek into California last month to visit family and friends, including life-long pal Greg Seastrom in Fresno. So good to hear, after Jack had been having some back troubles which prevented his usual baseball routines back home in Ashland.
Congratulations to Bob Elliott the esteemed Toronto sports columnist for his induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame at a special ceremony today, June 13th. Elliot was joined by three former Toronto Blue Jays - Carlos Delgado, Corey Koskie and Matt Stairs and former Montreal Expos manager Felipe Alou.
Elliott, a good friend of Western Canada Baseball, is THE man for news on Canadian baseball with his web site The Canadian Baseball Network providing detailed information on Canadians in high school, college ball and the minor leagues.
Kudos as well to John Haar, a legend at the University of British Columbia, inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame late last month.
An All-around athlete, Haar was offered professional contracts for football, including an approach from the Dallas Cowboys, soccer and baseball. He decided to concentrate on baseball signing on with the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees and spending four years in the minor leagues after turning down an offer from the Saskatoon Commodores of the Western Canada League. Haar was coach and manager of Canada's National Team and at the National Baseball Institute.
24 May, 2015
At long last, a quality photo of Wayne Commodore the slugging outfielder of Saskatchewan and Alberta baseball who has been chosen for induction into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. Love the hair ! (See the full photo here).
Commodore, who played in Swift Current, Lethbridge, and Edmonton, was a feared slugger in a career which ran from the mid 1960s to 1980. We included a note on the Snapshot page of his day in July 1973 when he crushed four consecutive homers, two off a future major leaguer.
Fist fights were part of the game back in the 1930s and earlier. The 1937 playoff final in the BC Interior League featured a few bouts.
23 May, 2015
Thanks to Rich Necker's digging through the archives, we've five new team photos from the 1920 season in Vancouver. Now posted are the group pictures of the league champion ILA, the Longshoremen along with Arnold and Quigley, Missions, Nabobs and Centrals. And, from those we've begun to extract some individual photos for our galleries.
Below left to right - Hec Cann of the Nabobs, Camille "Lefty" Delcourt of the Missions, and Ab Mortimer of the ILA, the Longshoremen.
Anyone know of a team called the 31s ? Alberta resident Barb Goodwin has picked up a baseball photo at a garage sale and is now trying to ID the team. All the players have the number 31 on the left side of their uniforms with a crest (oh so difficult to make out) on the right. Barb was told it was a Canadian team.
Baseball was front page news, even in the off-season. In October, 1909, the Medicine Hat News carried a lengthy report on the league meeting wrapping up the 1909 season. It's now posted on the 1909 home page.
The Saskatchewan Hall of Fame honour for Swift Current baseball is well deserved. They'll be saluted this summer at the annual induction ceremony, Saturday August 16th. On the Friday, there's to be a reunion of former Swift Current players from the 1950s right through to the mid 1970s.
Organizer Cheryl Nybo says more than 30 old-timers have already indicated they'll be there including : Nick Baiton, Dick Ball, Jack Braun, Terry Buck, Terry Burns, Wayne Commodore, Clint Cory, Clive Cory, Dwayne Dekowny, Brian Dickie, Neil Ernst, Garth Gatzke, Rick Harvey, Neil Hogg, Mel Humble, Wayne Hunter, Brian Keegan, Gerry Knipfel, Marv Martinson, Ron McKechney, Ron Meyers, Wayne Meyers, Stu Millard, Vern Neal, Harvey Nybo, Fred Ohlheiser, Harvey Pederson, Wayne Pusch, Jerry Ranger, Merv Sanderson, Lonnie Sannes, Don Schneider, Rick Sentes, and Les Wall
20 May, 2015
We were really pleased to hear from former North Battleford Beaver Mark Perkins who has provided a great action photo from his days in the Saskatchewan city. The photo is of a rhubarb during a 1970 tournament game and Mark has provided the whole story to go along with the photograph (which also provided us with an individual pic of pitcher Greg Dvorak). Mark is also trying to track down any team photos from his years with the Beavers.
Mark also sent along a lovely little story of friendship and patience,
Gerry Lister is a friend and former colleague of mine who retired from the Victoria Fire Department as a Battalion Chief a few years before I did. We played baseball and soccer against each other during our teens and we then played together in N. Battleford, Sask. in the Northern Saskatchewan Baseball League in our early twenties. He also played college baseball in Spokane, Wash. and then for Team Saskatchewan in the Canadian National Amateur tournament held in Nova Scotia before I did the same in Edmunston, NB in 1973.
When I was thirteen years old just out of Little League, I remember watching the Provincial Babe Ruth Playoffs which were hosted at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria in 1963. Three dominant pitchers of our hometown team (Reynolds Road Babe Ruth) were Gerry Lister (15), Doug Hill (15) and Johnny Knowles (14 years old). I think this team eventually won the Provincial title that year. Nearing the end of an afternoon game, Gerry was warming up in the right field bullpen. Along with several other drooling youngsters lined up along the iron railing above him, I was also watching intently. We were all amazed at the velocity of his fastball! When he was soon called in to enter the game as a reliever in extra innings, he picked me out of the crowd for some strange reason before he ran out to the mound, and said, "Hey kid. Meet me here after the game and I'll give you a ball!" I was awestruck. And of course, I waited, waited, and waited in vain until dusk! Finally this past Saturday after nearly 52 years, Gerry Lister finally gave me this friggin' baseball. I'm glad he always honours his commitments. It was worth the wait! Thank you, Gerry.
Material from ace researcher Rich Necker is piling up in my in-box while I try to get back in the swing after carpal tunnel surgery (results not so good so far). But, even though I'm a lot slower than usual, I've begun to attack more of the backlog.
The site has a few dozen additional photos, including Frank Nakamura (far left) of the 1928 Vancouver Asahis, George Hinga (left) who the Asahis imported from San Jose, California, for part of the 1937 season, and Trail legend Lou Demore (right), in a 1956 photo when he took over coaching reins of the Trail club.
We've added a snapshot to the 1922 BC snapshot page and several to the 1937 BC Snapshots. There are team photos of the 1923 Vancouver Young Liberals and the 1923 New Westminster BC Box Manufacturers, some individual pics on the 1923 Photo Gallery and the 1928 BC Photo Gallery, 1937 BC Gallery, 1956 BC Gallery.
More game reports are now available. The latest added are those for Vancouver Island teams of 1947 (along with statistics & rosters) and some brief summaries for 1941. And we've now posted rosters and game reports for Vancouver/Lower Mainland action of 1922. On the 1941 Vancouver page there's a note on a no-hitter by Tommy Musgrave.
Former Trail and Nakusp pitcher Lou Derosa has been of great assistance in tracking down names and photos and other information. He's just sent up some clippings from the Trail newspaper and I am beginning to sort through it. The Demore photo above is from that material. And, Lou has identified more players from the Nakusp baseball video. Lou is the Nakusp pitcher, Bob Tanner is the hurler for the Trail-Rossland club and Cesare Maniago, the New York Rangers goalie, is the catcher. Buster Patterson is the Nakusp first baseman and Lino Zanier is a hitter for Nakusp. Great work Lou, especially since it's been 59 years since the event !
Thanks to David Eskenazi we have a nice photo of catcher Joe Erautt for his induction into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. Jane Shury, the CEO of the HOF, had asked for a picture and David has, as usual, come through big time.
This photo is from Erautt's stay with the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League in 1954.
The 2015 Induction is to be held Saturday, August 15th, at Battleford, Saskatchewan. Along with Erautt in the individual category are - Bob Armstrong of Saskatoon, Sharon Bergerman from Regina, David Burke, Kindersley, Wayne Commodore, Sherwood Park, Alberta, the late Albert Cottenie, Kamsack, the late Merv Freeman, Goodwater, John Hemstad, Prince Albert, the late Sharon Hogg, Swift Current, the late Kenneth MacLeod, Regina and Wade Sauter of Fairlight.
Two teams - Saskatoon Outlaws and the Swift Current Indians - are to be inducted along with the Pike family of Maidstone in the Family category. My old hometown, Lloydminster, has been selected for special recognition as a baseball community for the 2016 event.
We're happy to help out Danny Schur of Winnipeg who is working on a documentary on Terry Sawchuk. A couple of photos were needed for his project.
We've also put Dorman Nelson, a biographer, from Los Angeles on the trail of material up here on George Houk who formed Houk's Savages out of Lethbridge in the early 1900s.
Another request came from Breanna Mielke of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum looking for names of a 1938 Edmonton club.
Cheryl Nybo of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, sends news of a reunion of Swift Current players from the 1950s through the mid 1970s. More info to come.
Richard Seymour, from a company called The Nine O'Clock Gun Company in Vancouver, is searching for information on uniforms of Vancouver baseball teams, especially some of those back in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
The company produces baseball caps - the one on the right is of the Vancouver Athletic Club - and helps to maintain the history of amateur baseball in the province. If you can help please let us know.
Who is the only major league player to catch both Babe Ruth and Ted Williams? Ah-ha, gotcha.
You'll have to check it out at Diamonds in the Dusk !
The major name change this time is Roy Schappert a second baseman from Duncan, BC, who also suited up in Alberta and Saskatchewan in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. We've had so many variations over the years (mainly around "Sheppard" or "Shepperd") but we finally tracked down a listing in a BC directory of the 1940s that showed Roy Schappert and his wife living in Duncan. So, at least for now, it's Schappert and I believe we have made the correction throughout the site.
19 April, 2015
A little more progress - game reports from the final season of the Winnipeg Senior Amateur League after a twenty year run.
The Cumberland Museum and Archives has come through with some names for a couple of recent photos - the 1929 Royston Lumber squad, 1930 Cumberland Eagles, a 1922 photo which turns out to be a Cumberland team comprised of players from two mining groups (not Royston as originally thought) which won a tournament championship (believed to be a Cumberland tourney).
There's a bit of a problem with the names in the Cumberland Eagles photo as the front row has Just six names, but seven people. We hope the Cumberland Archives can dig up further source material to provide the last name.
17 April, 2015
With our most recent roster additions we've added data on just over 2,500 players ! Of those, a little over 1,200 are brand new additions to our roster sheets.
All of the above were players with British Columbia teams, mainly in the 1930s. And, with that, we've taken the opportunity to update the BC roster sheets. There remains a fair amount of work to sort out the duplication and spellings, but over time it's hoped that will become less of a problem.
13 April, 2015
We have more of Rich Necker's entertaining game reports, this time from BC ball in 1932, mainly the leagues in the Vancouver - Lower Mainland area but also a few paragraphs on Island ball that season.
The updates include major additions to the 1932 roster page..
Over at Diamonds in the Dusk, Brian Morrison features a story on former WCBLer Elmer Leifer and a game in which he compiled 32 strikeouts ! Just one more of the fascinating tales dug out by Brian.
Here's another team photo which needs some help with IDs. It's the Nelson, BC, squad, believed to be from the 1930s. We've featured it here on the news page a few months back and have now placed it in the regular team photo section.
A big thanks to Lou Derosa, the former Trail and Nakusp right-hander, for reaching out to former players in the Trail area in an effort to sort out the "Pills" Purcello mystery. It seems certain now there were at least two baseball Purcellos in the area, "Pills", a right-handed pitcher, and Bill (who may have had the nickname "Pork"). This was in the 1930s and 1940s. Milan appears to have been the real given name for "Pills". In some newspaper items Bill was also identified as "Pills", but perhaps that was in error. Thank you Lou.
We're now working on an update to the BC roster section going through about 2,500 new entries checking for duplication and spelling.
11 April, 2015
Included in the latter are reports for the South Okanagan International League, Central Okanagan loop, BC Interior League, West Kootenay baseball (including Trail), Arrow Lakes & Slocan Valley, Boundary area and the East Kootenays.
Of course, the 1934 roster page now reflects the additional players.
From the above and other reports a particular mystery surfaces. Who is Pills Purcello? Milan Purcello? William Purcello? Mike Purcello? And who is A. Purcello? It seems both Milan and William were identified as "Pills" Purcello. The family was from Rossland. But, only Nick, Michael and William Purcello have turned up in the town directories. No Milan, no "A". If you can help with this one, please let us know !
09 April, 2015
Cumberland, BC pitcher Spit Quinn (left) is among the photos added to the site. He's among a number of interestingly named players from the Vancouver Island community.
When we posted the photo of the 1922 Cumberland squad we noted our skepticism about a few of the names - Toots Plump, Chicken Kerr and Chub Easter. Add to that, Cumberland players of the 1930s, Spit Quinn and Spit's teammate Chuna Tobacco (above right). While the surnames Quinn and Tobacco do show up in the city and town directories of the day, I could find no record of Plump, Kerr or Easter.
We've tackled more of the backlog of game reports compiled in such an interesting fashion by Rich Necker. Now posted are game stories of the 1929 Vancouver Senior League and the Vancouver Terminal League along with statistics of the Senior League. 1931 game reports are filed for Vancouver and the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. As usual, rosters for these two years have also been updated. Statistics are now available for both the Vancouver Senior League and the Terminal League for 1931.
The 1936 BC snapshot page has been updated with a photo of veteran Vancouver player and manager Coley Hall.
07 April, 2015
Spurred on by Rich Necker's material from Vancouver Island baseball, we've chased down some photographs from Cumberland, Courtenay and Royston. A couple are better quality replacements from the ones posted originally. Thanks to the Cumberland Museum and Archives for the new pictures. The Museum is still chasing down names for some of the team photos.
The 1922 Royston Lumber squad
1926 Courtenay League champions (with names)
Believed to be the 1928 Royston team (with names)
1929 Royston Lumber
1930 Cumberland Eagles
1933 Cumberland Cubs (with names)
1955 Courtenay (with names)
And, from elsewhere we've located a picture of the 1923 IOCO (Imperial Oil) squad
Left - Ralph Stong of the Vancouver Athletic Club. Right - Fred Tinling of Shores' Jewelers of Vancouver.
The 1938 summer of three Vancouver leagues (two championships for the famed Asahis) are well covered in new game reports from Rich. He's also added the 1929, 1939, 1941, 1943 Vancouver reports and games reports from 1941 and 1944 for Interior leagues. Of course, the roster pages for the noted years have also been updated.
The 1929 report includes a tidbit on big Bill McAfee a right-hander with the University of Michigan. At 6'2", he was considered huge back in those days.
The college club stopped off for an game in Vancouver while en route to Japan for an exhibition series. The collegians won 11 of 13 games in Japan.
McAfee was in the major leaguers the next season and spent parts of five years in the show with the Cubs, Boston Braves, Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns. He compiled a 10-4 record in 83 games.
31 March, 2015
Good news, bad news.
Always good to hear from Jim Lester, the former Western Canada slugger of the 1950s and 60s with Granum and Lethbridge. However, he brought news of the passing of his former teammate at Fresno State University and Granum, Alberta, Dorman Martin who was 81 when he died on March 10th.
After college, Martin joined the Fresno Police Department in 1961 and put in 22 years before retiring. He continued to serve the community at the Federal Court as a U.S. Marshall from 1984 to 2000.
13 March, 2015
Talk about impressive ! Mark Truelove, Canadian Colour, brings new life to old black and white photographs through colourization. Check out his site or the article in the Huffington Post for some eye-popping examples of his work.
One, in particular, which caught my eye was the colourized version of the 1935 photo of the Dai Nippon baseball squad from Japan (the forerunner of the Tokyo Giants) which barnstormed in Canada and the United States. We've long had the black and white version posted, but in colour its a very much different view. We have a slightly edited (clipping the top and bottom) version of the new photo while leaving the black and white image for comparison.
That's star hurler Eiji Sawamura, above, who, at age 17, the previous year had faced an American All-Star aggregation in Japan. In a relief role he fanned nine in five innings including successive strikeouts of Charlie Gehringer, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmy Foxx.
With the Yomiuri Giants in 1936 he fired the first no-hitter in the Japanese Baseball League. In 1937 he fashioned a 33-10 won-lost record along with a 1.38 earned run average. They would be his two outstanding seasons as his service in the Japanese Imperial Army resulted in arm woes which resulted in so-so performances over the next five seasons. He was killed in battle in 1943. Japan's top pitching award (the equivalent of the Cy Young Award) is named after him.
There's a wonderful piece on Sawamura by Robert K. Fitts at SABR (published in the Spring 2012 Baseball Research Journal)
Rich Necker has dug up the names of players on the 1934 BC champion IOCO squad. Now we just have to put names to the faces ! The 1934 and 1935 squads have pretty well the same lineup. In the process of trying to ID the players, we did located a photo of the 1925 IOCO team, complete with names. We also located a photo of the 1922 Cumberland team. Names were attached, although we are a tad uncertain about their authenticity (Toots Plump, Chicken Kerr, Happy Williams, Chub Easter ?).
In searching for information on the Vancouver Asahis I stumbled upon the rosters of the Vancouver Terminal League in 1924. Those are now posted.
There are a few bits and pieces which had been in varying stages of completion, now posted - a collage of tournament ads on the 1951 tournament page, and revised images on the home pages of 1944, 1955, 1960 and 1961.
11 March, 2015
We've managed to clear more of the backlog, including a couple of items from the David Eskenazi collection we've been sitting on for many months hoping something would come along to help identify the players or even the specific years of the photos. Well, we've made enough progress to slot one in as the 1909 Brandon Angels and the other as the 1909 Moose Jaw Robin Hoods.
Lots of names still needed for those photos but at least on the evidence we've dug up we can put them into a specific year.
A photo of Dave Newton and an unidentified teammate, sent by Dave's daughter Gloria, has now been placed in the 1947 BC Snapshots. We're still searching for something definitive on the date, but for now it's in the 1947 season.
In adding in the roster for the 1950 Brooks Monarchs, a team of Japanese players, we came across a real baseball rarity - an ambidextrous pitcher. Fat(s) Fujimoto of the Monarchs was noted as both a lefty and righty. We came across at least one double-header in which he pitched both games but the story did not indicate whether he pitched as a lefty in one and righty in the other. There's now a hurler in the New York Yankees minor league system (getting a little time with the big club this spring) who throws with both arms.
Kyle Kusch of the Arrow Lakes Historical Society has come through with more on baseball in the Nakusp area. He's sent along a photo of the 1922 East Arrow Park squad. Thank you Kyle !
10 March, 2015
Scheduled for my first carpal tunnel surgery a week today, so trying to finish up a few bits and pieces as it may be a few weeks before I'm able to carry on with typing and photo editing.
The 1941 Vancouver Burrard League is the latest to be covered by Rich Necker's game reports. It was the final season for the famous Asahi of Vancouver. Earlier, we posted a team photo of the squad for its last season.
Rich has also added to our stats sheets with the final batting averages for the 1934 Vancouver Senior League. Coley Hall captured the title with a .362 mark, just ahead of former major leaguer Art McLarney.
We've now extracted individual pictures of the Summerland players from the team photo and added them to the 1947 BC Photo Gallery. Thanks to Angela Moyls and Gloria Johal we now have a pretty impressive display of player photos for BC in 1947 !
The origin of the photos may well be Melissa Matsu whose grandfather Art Matsu was instrumental in forming the team.
New on the 1953 BC Photo Gallery are pictures of the members of the provincial champion Haney baseball club, including catcher Andy Telosky (left).
Managed to re-connect with Danny Holden (see below) to seek out further information on his dad and uncles only to discover one of the "five brothers" noted below was actually Alice, the only sister. So make that correction, Danny Sr. was the youngest of five offspring, four brothers (Lawrence "Larry" Bernard Holden, Roy Patrick Holden, Leo Emmett Holden, and Eddie Holden) and a sister!
While we still search for the names of the players in the 1934 IOCO team photo, we now have confirmation that the team captured the championship of the Vancouver Terminal League in 1934 and was awarded the Fuji Cafe Cup.
Those player lists have been updated yet again with the inclusion of the Vancouver Senior League for 1934 and 1936 and Vancouver's Burrard League of 1941.
Kaz Suga. Otto Yanagisawa. They are the two latest site-wide corrections. In Suga's case, both Kas and Kaz had been used, and after double-checking Pat Adachi's Asahi book, we're going with Kaz. Yanagisawa corrects the misspelling Yanigasawa.
08 March, 2015
We are indebted to the daughters of former players for more exciting additions to our BC coverage. Angela Moyls' father, Geordie Taylor (right), was a star swatter with Summerland in Okanagan baseball in the 1940s and 1950s. Among other things he was the batting champion in 1955.
Angela unearthed a copy of the 1947 team photo of the Summerland Merchants and has discovered several photos of the Japanese Hinode squads of Summerland of the 1940s or 1950s. We're still working on those.
Was it George, Georgie or Geordie? We had struggled in trying to determine which was Taylor's correct first name. Angela says his real name was George but, for whatever reason, he was known as Geordie.
In the days and weeks ahead we'll extract individual pictures from that team photo for our 1947 BC Photo Gallery. So far, only Geordie has been added from the Summerland photo. It is particularly pleasing to obtain the team photo as Summerland is one of the locations proving difficult from which to find information.
Also concerning the Okanagan, we've now completed a long process of putting together the 12-page 1947 program for Kelowna baseball, both the Red Sox and the Klippers. What a great find!
Gloria Johal whose dad Dave Newton was prominent for the Kelowna Red Sox had earlier sent along some marvelous material, including the program. We've now converted the scans to a pdf format. As part of the production, those individual photos (including Rudy Kitsch, left) have been worked into the 1946, 1947 and 1948 BC photo galleries. The names also provided updated rosters for the Kelowna teams and cleared up several questions. Among them was the name of the Gerein or Gereins playing for Kelowna. Turns out there were four of them - Adam, Dick, Eddie and Otto !
Earlier, thanks to Gloria, we had posted a team photo of the 1947 Kelowna Red Sox and pictures of her dad, both with the Regina Red Sox in 1942 and with Kelowna. The information about her dad in Regina helped clear up a long-standing mystery about the identity of one of the players, now correctly ID'd as Newton.
Kyle Kusch, archivist at the Arrow Lakes Historical Society has been of enormous assistance in tracking down photos and game information and, just in the past few days, providing some first names and corrected spellings of surnames for players in the Arrow Lakes area. That's meant dozens of changes to our player lists, which have been redone and posted (especially BC 1930s, 1940s and 1950s).
Our major addition to the game reports covers the 1944 Vancouver City League. Rich Necker has the story right through the victory by the Norvans for the city title and then, over Victoria, for the National Baseball Congress championship.
Rich's material has brought to our attention even more players to be added to our Major Leaguers section (Earl Torgeson, George Selkirk, Bill Sayles, Marv Rickert, Art McLarney, for example). And, we've found one more in surfing around the internet -- 1935 Vancouver Athletic, Dario Lodigiani (left), who spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Philadelphia and the White Sox in the American League.
As part of a quest to put together a complete roster of the Vancouver Asahis, 1914-1941, I stumbled upon a photo of famed Ashai figure Sanzoku (Harry) Miyasaki (right) who was with the team as a player and manager from 1918 into the 1930s.
There are a few more photo additions scattered about, including Jimmy Biggan of the Vancouver Norvans of 1943, Bunny Purmal, Dave Gray and Jimmy McKissock in 1931 and a newly discovered photo of pitcher Fred Yehle (left) now in the 1933 Photo Gallery.
06 March, 2015
While I know we'll have many new additions day by day, we've undertaken an update of the roster summaries by decade for baseball in British Columbia from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There are about 2,500 new names since the last update.
The index for the abbreviations used for teams is here.
28 February, 2015
Thanks to Rich Necker's diligent work we have more BC game reports posted :
- Burrard loop of the Lower Mainland for 1942,
- Vancouver Senior League, 1943.
- Okanagan Mainline League for 1945,
- and four Okanagan based leagues in 1946 !
A highlight of the 1942 season was the work of pitcher Edward "Sandy" Robertson for Vancouver St. Regis. The young hurler led St. Regis to the Burrard League championship after joining the club in late July. He proceeded to make eight starts, all complete games. The one start he lost was a three-hitter. He won three of the four games for St. Regis in the final series.
The following season, Robertson did a Jekyll and Hyde routine. He fashioned a 7-1 record in his first eight starts, then went 1-7 as he finished out the season, with most of the losses coming in the playoffs.
And, we have statistics for the 1943 Vancouver Senior circuit. Casey Jones of the Norvans took the batting title and teammate George Boston was the leading hurler. The Bellingham, Washington, Bells, with future major leaguer Earl Torgeson in the lineup, captured the league championship.
Along with the reports, we've also added some photos, mainly in the 1943 BC section. They include those of Vern Kendrick (left) of the Vancouver Norvans and veteran Jimmy Condon of Vancouver St. Regis.
There are also a couple of additions to the 1943 BC Snapshot page, one of them of Earl Torgeson. It's a pretty poor quality image but, at very least, sits in as a placeholder for when we dig out a better version.
26 February, 2015
With the war over and the country beginning to return to normal, baseball returned in a big way in 1946 in the BC Interior, especially in the Okanagan. The diamond game flourished up and down the Okanagan from up in Kamloops down to the American teams in Washington. We have game reports, standings and some statistics too.
Al Moser (left) was one of the leading hurlers in the Vancouver league in 1944. Pete Staggs (right) was a top slugger who, after a suspension in the coast league, turned up in Edmonton in the 1930s as Pete McCready.
The 1944 BC Snapshot page has a half-dozen additions including a picture of Vancouver native Danny Holden at the train station leaving for the east and the Brooklyn Dodgers farm team in Newport News. He signed with the Dodgers after graduating from Kitsilano high school in Vancouver.
Holden, the youngest of five athletic brothers, started his career as a pitcher, but impressed the Dodgers with his all-around game and the club quickly converted him to a shortstop and then an outfielder. As a pitcher he was 2-2 in 1944 and 7-10 in 1945, including a two-hitter in June, 1945.
In 17 seasons of minor league ball, Holden compiled a .292 batting average. He put in eight seasons in the Western League in such spots as Pueblo, Denver, Des Moines and Lincoln and six years in the Northwest circuit.
In his rookie season he out-hit teammate Duke Snider, the future Brooklyn centre-fielder. Of course, Holden hit .324 in just 18 games while Snider was a regular, at age 17 no less. Holden was an ancient 19 in his maiden pro campaign. He finished second in the batting race in the California League in 1946, with a .364 mark. In 1950 he topped the Western loop in runs scored, 131, for a fifth place team. He continued in pro ball into the 1960 season. Daniel T. Holden died in 1986 at the young age of 60.
22 February, 2015
While most people seem to get excited over discovering NEW things, I've been overjoyed at finding some great OLD things.
With huge thanks to Lou DeRosa (the former Trail and Nakusp hurler, see the photos below, and the Trail Museum and Archives) we've filled in many names of West Kootenays players from the 1940s and 1950s AND found a great composite photo of the 1931 Trail , BC, Baseball Club champions of the Canadian-Washington International League.
From the photo, we've extracted individual snapshots including that of catcher Corado "Slivers" Decembrini (left) now posted on the 1931 BC Snapshot Page.
Of course, Rich Necker and I have been busy digging out even more material on BC baseball. I've now got a huge backlog of goodies which I am attacking bit by bit. In chronological order :
There's a team photo of the Vernon team of 1912.
We've extracted individual photos of the 1932 Vancouver Athletic Club (the team, as Barry Forster points out, that was to be the opposition for the famous Regina Nationals before the series fell through). Barry's dad played with the Nationals.
We've posted a team photo of the 1934 Imperial Oil, IOCO team of the Lower Mainland.
Jimmy Condon (left) veteran Vancouver player is among the additions. Then there's Nick Metz (second from the left), Otto Yanagisawa, the former Ashai player. On the right is Clint McNeil, from the 1950 Eston team photo, who Lou DeRosa was able to identify.
The 1940 BC Snapshots page also has a couple of interesting additions.
And, Rich has filled in even more detail on Interior ball in 1946 with details on three new leagues in the Okanagan (or Okanogan in you're in Washington).
Thanks to my Nakusp neighbour, Tad Kiyono (whose dad played on Island teams and with New Denver) we have some team photos of the Royston Lumber team of the 1930s, Cumberland Eagles of the 1930s, and the Cumberland Cubs of 1933.
As we work on trying to compile a full roster of the Vancouver Asahis from 1914 through to 1941, we noticed the omission of a photo of the 1941 Vancouver Asahi, the final season for the team as the Canadian government began the internment of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War.
What a thrill for any baseball fan - a one-to-one with former Jays' superstar Robbie Alomar !
The happy fan here is Logan Tonge, a grandson of 'ol Lloydminster pal Rodney Mclean, at a Blue Jays camp last August in Regina not far from his home in White City, Saskatchewan.
(Rodney sent me this last summer and it promptly got lost in my over-flowing email folders along with a few dozen other flagged messages and has just been re-discovered.)
In spite of dealing with Cerebral Palsy - CP - Logan is an avid sports fan with baseball, hockey and sledge hockey being his favourites.
Logan's great grandmother, Lillian, who passed away last year at age 101, was one of Lloydminster's biggest baseball fans and a major contributor to our web site.
Logan's hobby is writing! He is an avid fundraiser for Skate for Smiles in White City a memorial charity for the benefit of children's health challenges. They will hold their last event this coming year: If anyone would like to support a great cause and get Logan really even more excited donate under Logan's name. Donors receive a "Charity" receipt good for a Revenue Canada tax deduction.
11 February, 2015
It's a dandy little volume - Michael Swank's book on former Negro Leaguer and Eston, Saskatchewan star, Ted Toles. After many months of digging for information and interviewing
You'll recognize the cover photo of the young Ted from the photo presented here courtesy of Michael. Bitten by the publishing bug, he's already planning book two. A hearty high five for Michael !
As noted, I've been taking it pretty slow while I try out acupuncture treatment to try and fix my carpal tunnel problems. However, I've been able to wrap up some items from the backlog thanks to Rich Necker's work in making it relatively easy to put together the game report sheets and rosters. You'll love his reports too. In this last batch we've added :
Okanagan, BC Interior, Kootenays, Arrow Lakes game reports for 1933
Victoria and Vancouver Island game reports for 1933
Along with the game reports, we've been lucky enough to dig up statistics for both 1930 and 1933 and have the start of a BC Snapshot page for 1933. As usual, the roster pages for 1930 and 1933 have been expanded to include this new material. And, one new Canadian team photo, albeit a poor quality newspaper photo, is available - the Trail club of 1931, BC Interior champions. And, a top quality one (thanks to Brian Morrison) of the St. Paul, Minnesota, Colored Gophers of 1909.
Slowly chugging along, we've added some photos to the BC Photo Galleries of 1930, 1933, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1944. And there's a start on three new BC Snapshot pages 1930, 1935 and 1941.
So far we've traced baseball in Nelson, BC back to 1903 when the local squad took on a club from Northport, Washington.
Oh how sweet. The Arrow Lakes Historical Society (in my little village of Nakusp) discovered some film from the mid -1950s which included a segment on a baseball game in Nakusp. The material was filmed by Nakusp resident Ichiro Shiino who thankfully sent a copy to the Historical Society. I finally got the little segment on line and asked former Nakusp pitcher Lou DeRosa if he could identify any of the players. Yep, you guessed it. Lou was just blown away as he instantly identified the Nakusp pitcher as ... Lou DeRosa! The film (since transferred to video) has been slowed down a tad to help with the IDs. Take a look see if you can ID any of the players or even the other team. Meanwhile, here are some stills grabbed from the video showing Lou's form :
Thank you Phil Risinger! Phil sent along a DVD of a TV show on baseball stars from Oklahoma. Great viewing.
Always great to hear from Western Canada old-timers Jack Altman and Charlie Beene !
A problem with the search function appears to have been solved. I'm not sure how long it's been happening but on some searches only a portion of the search results would be displayed. If you note any irregularities please let me know.
27 January, 2015
With more good stuff from Rich Necker (including all the individual game stories) we have posted game reports for the 1940 seasons of the Vancouver Burrard League (another win for the Asahi) and Vancouver's Twilight League. Rosters for both leagues also posted.
Tom Hawthorn's BENCHED brings news of another passing, former Lethbridge baseball star Clarence Yanosik who died January 10th at age 88.
Yanosik was a fixture on the Lethbridge teams of the mid 40s through to the late 1950s. He went on to a career in law, sitting as a judge in Alberta, first as a district court judge, later as a justice on the Alberta Court of Appeal and more recently as deputy judge of the Supreme Court of the Yukon Territory. As usual, Tom pens an interesting and informative story.
24 January, 2015
Time sure flies. It was 40 summers ago that Dave Ruybalid came north from California's Diablo Valley Junior College to pitch for the North Battleford Beavers of the Northern Saskatchewan League. We've reconnected and I bugged Dave to dig out a photo from the 70s. So we finally have one for the 1974 Saskatchewan Photo Gallery.
Dave was among the top hurlers in the loop that summer, with a 1.72 ERA and also chipped in at the dish with a .281 average. He later went on to pitch for the University of New Mexico. He's still working, as Sports Director at the Big C Athletic Center in Concord, California,
And, through Dave we may have a lead on the whereabouts of former North Battleford star Greg Dvorak (left) whom we have been trying to track down.
Dvorak, another of the Fresno State products who played in Western Canada, pitched for three summers for the Beavers compiling an over-all league record of 27-2 with an ERA of 1.90. In 1969 he went 12-0 in league play and added eight more wins in the playoffs and tournaments to finished with a remarkable 20-0 season.
Things are bound to be slow for awhile - the dreaded carpal tunnel has struck again. When I first had a bad case about six or seven years ago, rest, ice and some exercise helped resolve the problem and I avoided surgery. Trying the same approach this time and hope for a good result. But, in the meantime, it is going to restrict the amount of typing and mousing done. Nonetheless, hope to be able to post a few updates.
I'm really pleased to be able to publish the story on Nisei baseball in Hamilton, Ontario in the 1940s and 1950s. I came across the story on the Discover Nikkei site and they were kind enough to seek out author Norm Masaji Ibuki and grant permission to run the item.
On the same site, I noticed a book review by Ibuki on Diamond Gods of the Morning Sun an engrossing story by Ron Hotchkiss of the Japanese in British Columbia, centred on the Asahi baseball team of Vancouver. It's well worth the read.
On his "Benched" blog, Tom Hawthorn has a story on Chris Hall, the one-time Swift Current baseball star. Hall died just a few days before Christmas. He was a talented, multi-sport athlete who played basketball at the University of Victoria, but was best known as a lacrosse player and coach. A hall of famer!
Of course, Rich Necker has been sending material by the ton, most of which has been shelved until the wrists and hands recover, but we've managed to post a few of the photos, including this one of Sandy Robertson (right) from Vancouver St. Regis in 1942.
There are also some additions to the 1943 and 1944 BC photo galleries. There's a new page for snapshots for 1943 BC baseball, including a pic of star hurler Tommy Musgrave. We are still on the lookout for a good head-and-shoulders photo of Musgrave for the photo galleries.
Rich has also found the final batting statistics for the 1943 Victoria season with Ian Lowe as the batting and home run champ. Lowe went on to be playing manager of the fabulous Brandon Greys of the late 40s and early 50s in Manitoba. In 1949, Lowe led the Greys to a remarkable season playing 108 games in 113 days. They won 87, tied 3 and lost just 18.
We've also posted the beginnings of the Interior game report page for 1939.
Brian Morrison (Diamonds in the Dusk) has been kind enough to send along three team photos which we have added to our collection - the 1916 Winnipeg Maroons, 1918 Winnipeg Granites and the 1913 Champion, Alberta club. The first two are newspaper photos while the Champion picture comes from the Reach Baseball Guide. We've also added a photo of the 1923 Burton, BC team courtesy of the Arrow Lakes Historical Society.
In addition, Brian has tracked down a couple of photos and much information on Soddy Grant, a Mohawk, from the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, who was a star football and baseball player who had an impressive minor league career, some of it in the Dodger system.
And, Rich Necker has discovered two more major leaguers who've participated in play in Canada.
Charlie Perkins (left) who played for the Vancouver Army team in 1943 and Jess Dobernic (right), who didn't actually play for a Canadian team, but came up with the Spokane Fort George Wright Bombers to play against Vancouver. Dobernic, in his 15 year career, suited up for 16 different teams.
Lou DeRosa, who pitched in Trail, Nakusp and Vancouver in the 50s and 60s, helped sort out another puzzle. This one trying to determine if the Mailey who played with Trail and Fruitvale in the 40s and 50s was Jim or Leo. Turns out, both. Brothers. Thank you Lou ! Now to try and figure out in which years they played.
10 December, 2014
Best wishes for the Christmas (and other) holidays and yet another New Year ! (They do seem to be going by awfully fast.)
This has been a very productive year for us, especially with the dogged work by Rich Necker particularly in digging up material to greatly expand our coverage of British Columbia baseball, including the recent data on the leagues on Vancouver Island from Victoria on up. And, that's been just part of his contribution (he's sent along much more which is part of a new backlog to be tackled in January). He's the definition of "essential" for our little site !
We're still on cloud nine following a note from Gloria Johal !
First, Gloria solved a years-old question, the identity of one of the players on the 1942 Regina Red Sox (there's still three or four still to be named). It was her dad, Dave Newton.
Well, to our good luck, Dave not only played for Regina (far left) but with the Kelowna Red Sox (near left) in the 1940s. And, Gloria had a team photo of the Kelowna club, believed to be the 1947 edition. The extracted individual photos are now included in the 1947 BC photo gallery. (At first glance that TBA down at the bottom, sure looks like the photo just above, Dick Zaccarelli. What do you think?)
Further, the Andy Newton (right), who kept baseball alive in Dauphin, Manitoba, for decades, was Dave's brother. Andy was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. Along with his 35 years in Dauphin baseball, Andy was the city's mayor for 15 years. Quite the family. Gloria is digging out further material and we hope to have more posted in the New Year.
Along with Victoria coverage those years, there are game reports and rosters on those same pages for Duncan/Chemainus baseball and ball in the Courtenay/Comox and Campbell River areas. .
Other bits and pieces added to our BC overage include some game reports in the East Kootenays in 1940 and the Crow's Nest Pass in 1942. The roster pages have been adjusted accordingly. There are 1933 game reports and rosters for the Cariboo region of BC and the Arrow Lakes / Slocan Valley.
Recent research has produced enough evidence to consolidate some listings on the roster pages, game reports and elsewhere on the site.
From the 1920s and 1930s, the entries for Houghbrigs, Houbreggs, Houbregs, etc. are to be shown as -- Houbregs. After a lengthy search of old newspaper stories and internet items, I've concluded there were two Houbregs playing in the Crow's Nest region (and a year in Trail) - Joliet (John) Houbregs (left) and his younger brother Phillip Houbregs. John went on to a career in hockey, mainly in the Pacific Coast League.
John's son Bob, born in Vancouver, became a celebrated basketball player, an All-American at the University of Washington and the NCAA Player of the Year in 1953. He was drafted by the NBA's Milwaukee Hawks in 1953 - the second overall pick. Until the last two years, he was the highest ranked Canadian in the NBA draft (unbeknownst to the Canadian media, who seem to have forgotten about Houbregs). He was the general manager of the NBA Super Sonics in the early 1970s. (Much thanks to colleague Jeff Obermeyer, for the pic of Houbregs from his great collection at Seattle Hockey.)
We must have more than a half dozen entries on the roster sheets for variations of Laurel Harney, a catcher from the late 1920s through to the end of the 1940s (Lorne. Lloyd, L. and just Harney C) in both Alberta and BC. Work is underway to make the corrections.
Roy/Ray Sheppard/Shepard/Sheppart/Scheppart/Scheppert. Hmmm. The discovery that Roy Schappert , the prairie second sacker, lived in Duncan BC, helped to make the decision that the second baseman from Duncan is the same as the second baseman who played in Saskatoon and Broadview, Sceptre and Regina in a career which spanned the period from 1934 to 1951.
And, from our Vancouver Island coverage, we've settled on Shillito (not Stillito or Shillitto or other variations) for Cy, Ron and Sam.
What a great story on the old House of David barnstorming baseball club. Daniel Wyatt (who does such neat stuff at High on History) has a lovely piece at The National Pastime Museum. Great pictures too.
Sadden to hear of the passing of baseball scholar Dick Clark, among other things, one of the premier researchers into Negro League ball, a co-editor of The Negro Leagues Book and organizer of an annual conference on Negro League ball. With that in mind, I've been so pleased to hear from Jim Lester and Wayne Stivers and Charlie Beene and Jack Altman who've all had some medical issues.
Thanks to John Yamamura for spotting a pair of typos on the 1931 Vancouver & BC Photo Gallery. The entries for Ken and Roy Yamamura have been corrected.
And, we appreciate the help of Diane Imrie of the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame and Museum for helping to pin down the spelling of Vancouver Island player Bobby Wiegand.
Some progress down in Texas too! Billie Mims of the Jasper County Historical Museum writes that they have received approval for a Texas Historical roadside marker for the Jasper Steers, a club which made the rounds of Western Canada in the 1950s. The 1954 edition featured future major leaguer Alvin Jackson.
Vince Rucobo? Greg Dvorak? I'm trying to track down a couple of former Fresno State players (late 60s, early 70s) who played in Saskatchewan. I think I have a bead on Rucobo (Placerville, California) but have found nothing on Dvorak. Help !
You have to zip over to Brian Morrison's Diamonds in the Dusk and read Edson Bahr "From Rouleau to Pittsburgh". Geesh, he even has a reference to "Corner Gas" (the Canadian TV show filmed in Bahr's tiny home town). Interestingly, in 1946 the Pittsburgh Pirates had THREE Canadians on their opening day roster.
Thanks to Brian for some fascinating clippings, one a tragic story from 1911 noting the death of Moose Jaw player Everett Lockwood. the 22-year-old third sacker who was a top 10 hitter in the league in his lone season of pro ball hitting .314 in 72 games. He advanced to Vancouver late that season and was sold to the Boston Red Sox for delivery in 2012. He died in December of typhoid fever.
Bryan Steverson, who published Amazing Baseball Heroes, Inspirational Negro League Stories a couple of years back, has published a new book, Baseball A Special Gift from God. In a book of more than 300 pages, Steverson relates biblical connections with some of baseball's most revered players -- Jackie Robinson, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax and many others. It's another inspirational work from the Tennessee author and SABR colleague. Available through Amazon.
25 November, 2014
With a ton of new material from ace researcher Rich Necker (especially the stuff from Victoria) the presentation of the British Columbia material has been revised to reflect three distinct areas of the province - Vancouver itself and the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and the BC Interior. There'll be just one photo gallery and one snapshot page for each year for BC, but the game reports will be divided into those named sections.
The breakdown is necessary given the wonderful addition of news from the Victoria Senior League and other communities on Vancouver Island. The material posted so far covers the war years, 1944 and 1945 to go along with 1941.
Game reports from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are now posted for 1945, with a brief summary of the the 1944 season. Newly processed game reports for the BC Interior are on-line for the summers of 1931, 1932, 1934, and 1945 to join other recent postings for 1944 and 1946.
Of course, the BC photo galleries have additions, especially the 1944 and 1945 pages, along with 1943, 1946 and 1948. That Cy Shillito (left) of the 1944 Victoria Machine Depot nine and Ray Morelli (right) of the Victoria Navy squad.
Thanks to Chad Evans, we have some pictures of Royal Victoria Park in Victoria. These shots are believed to be from the 1958 season.
And, we have one new BC team photo, albeit of poor quality, the 1949 Victoria Eagles. As we've noted earlier, at least we have a place-holder for when we manage to obtain a good quality version. There's also a photo of the 1946 Bellingham, WA, Bells. Bellingham often played in Vancouver leagues or was prominent in exhibition action with Vancouver teams.
The major changes to the roster pages occured for the 1944 and 1945 seasons with the major BC updates, but we also have some rosters adds for the Arrow Lakes & Slocan Valley for 1930, 1931, 1932, and 1934. The 1947 roster page has a bunch of additions and updates for BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Some chance discoveries have led to add-ons to our major leaguers section. Sal Maglie (left) who we uncovered pitching for the Welland, Ontario, club during the war years, went on to a superb major league career mainly with the New York Giants. Ed Runge, a first baseman with the Victoria Navy team in 1944, advanced to the majors as an umpire.
And there were four others unearthed through the Victoria and London, Ontario, additions, one of whom advanced to the majors of basketball and another who made the majors in both basketball and baseball. Hank Biasatti is one of few to have reached the top level in both baseball and basketball. Of added interest, Biasatti played for Toronto's first NBA (well, the precursor of the NBA) team, the Huskies. Gale Bishop, the Bellingham baseball star, made his mark in basketball. Marv Rickert and Sibby Sisti were Americans who played with Canadian teams during the war years who advanced to the majors.
Manitoba sections have also seen many improvements, including the 1951 photo gallery which now includes the individual players from the 1951 St. Boniface Native Sons. A revised photo of Terry Sawchuk (left) famous hockey goalie and outstanding amateur baseball player, has also been posted.
Along with the 1930 game reports, a couple of photos (Hap Felsch, Jack Hind, Dunc Invine et al) have been added to the 1930 Manitoba Photo Gallery. And, there's even the beginning of a snapshot section for 1930.
Other additions include new photos in the Manitoba photo galleries of 1946, 1947 and 1955; snapshots for 1952; a start to a section for game reports for the Greater Winnipeg Senior League of 1949 (to make note of Bruce Pell's second no-hitter within a week) and 1952, along with 1952 rosters.
And, there's now a photo of the 1946 edition of the Rosedale juniors, a club to be saluted with induction into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame next summer.
And, we have no neglected Ontario. We're happy to have obtained a copy, actually two, of a team photo of the 1944 London Majors, the Canadian semi-pro champions. Along with the team picture, there's the start of a 1944 snapshot page and a 1944 photo gallery. The snapshot photo features the London manager Claire Van Horne who was destined for a cell at San Quentin.
31 October, 2014
The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for 2015. The annual ceremony is set for Saturday, June 6th next summer at Morden.
Among the inductees is Ross Lynd (left) who played 11 seasons in the 1970s and 1980s in the Manitoba Senior League and also pitched for a couple of seasons for the Regina Red Sox and one in Australia with Brisbane.
He'll be joined by the versatile Kevin Booker who starred for several provincial championship teams and had an outstanding collegiate career at Mayville State, North Dakota; John Melnick, a superb pitcher in both junior and senior ball with St. Boniface; Art Penning, whose career on the hill and as a coach went through junior, provincial, college and senior levels from 1983 to 2006; Ken Pringle, who joined the Boissevain Centennials at 17 as a hard-hitting infielder and by his mid-20s was the player manager who guided the club to six league titles and three provincial senior championships in seven years. He also picked up MVP awards and the batting title in 1994 and 1995; Russ Reid, a prominent hurler at several provincial levels during the 1960s helping his teams to both Manitoba and Western Canada championships; Winston Smith, with more than 30 years of coaching and executive assistance reaching to the national level; and, Tom Yandeau, who started playing senior ball in his home community of Plumas at the age of 14 in 1979 and continued for 32 years as a powerful switch hitting cleanup hitter for the Pirates in the Santa Clara League.
The Stonewall Blue Jays (2003-2008) are to be recognized in the category of Major Team with the Baldur Regals (2006-2011) and Steinbach Millers (1964-1969) inducted in the Small Community category.
The MBHOF is also to honour the Rosedales, organized originally as a Winnipeg junior team in 1945, which went on to incredible success in junior, juvenile, midget and bantam levels in the 1940s and 1950s. Catcher Bruce Hudson (right) was a key member of the Rosedale family.
With thanks to baseball researcher / writer Michael Swank, we present this photo of hockey legend Gordie Howe in his baseball days with Saskatoon (this picture is believed to be from the 1951 season when he suited up with Roy Taylor's Saskatoon 55s of the Northern Saskatchewan League). Howe played in the late 1940s and early 1950s until pressure from the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League convinced him to hang up his spikes.
We're sorry to hear of Gordie's recent health problems. Howe's family reported he had suffered a stroke earlier this week. Howe is 86.
$500 per inning? In 1950? That appears to have been the rate to bring in Satchel Paige in that era according to a story in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.
Our search for names for a 1945 photo of the NorVans of Vancouver came up empty, but along the way we stumbled into some boxscores of the 1943 Vancouver League and we've extracted the rosters for the five teams. Some interesting names in there, including Mushy Anselmo and Joe Monaldi, who suited up later for teams in the West Kootenays. There are also a few photos posted in the 1943 photo gallery.
A team photo (newspaper quality) of the 1921 Winnipeg Maroons of the Western Canada League has been posted and the rosters added.
Of course, it makes perfect sense. Thanks to Rich Necker and Jack Altman who were quick to point out Y.M.B.A. as a short form for Young Men's Buddhist Association. Now, if we could figure out Y.P.A. The designations came up in team names in a league of Japanese players in the mid 1940s.
11 October, 2014
Our major work of the past few weeks has been the updating of our roster pages, both the main section and the separate (so far) list for British Columbia baseball. There are several hundred new additions to the lists, including Joe Doad Tufteland the Alberta boy who went 18-2, 2.29 in his first pro season and 39-9 in a short minor league career before he quit over what he perceived as a lack of respect from the Brooklyn Dodgers' head office.
And, as often is the case, a search for clues of Tufteland's career, took us to Chilliwack and some information on the Dewdney and Fraser Valley Leagues of the 1950s and to pitcher Bob Tanner (right), whose brothers Ed and Chuck both played in my hometown. Ed, at one time the playing-manager of the Lloydminster Meridians, was on the club when I was the bat boy of the Meridians.
The Tufteland search followed a nice piece in Brian Morrison's Diamonds in the Dusk on the Canadian kid who went into pro ball after a stint in the U.S. Army in Japan. We're still looking for information to fill in a few years of blanks in his baseball career.
The Chilliwack tangent came up with a few photos as well, such as Harp Owen (left), the playing manager of the team (the Monarchs). More pictures are on the 1957 snapshot page, 1955 snapshot page and the 1955 photo gallery now includes some Chilliwack pictures. There's also the beginning of BC Photo Galleries for 1958 and 1959 and, on the yearly home pages, we've added brief information, including rosters, on the Dewdney & Fraser Valley Leagues for 1946 to 1959.
The clippings on the Chilliwack Monarchs led to bits of information on Larry Walker, yep the father of the Expos' Larry. And, there's now the first entry in the 1955 Dewdney league game reports. This led us to a photo of Haney the 1953 Lower Mainland League champions with catcher Jack Cameron (right) as one of the key members of the club. The 1953 Photo Gallery has some additions, Cameron and others from the Haney club.
Rich Necker has dug out a ton of material including stories on the Greater Winnipeg Senior Baseball League of the mid 1940s.
There are now game reports for 1946 for the GWSBL and for the Mid-Western circuit. The 1945 season in Manitoba also has the beginnings of a game reports section. And, we've added game reports for the 1949 Greater Winnipeg Senior League and ball in the Brandon and southwestern Manitoba area. Among the 1949 players was Jack Warwick (right) of the Elmwood Giants. We've also found some pics of Terry Hind now posted in a couple of photo galleries, including the 1944 page, and Hind and Pete Rettie are shown in the 1951 gallery.
A search for the correct spelling of a player's name took us to coverage of Alberta baseball in 1945. To our surprise we found a league of Japanese teams (eight in all) representing Picture Butte, Turin, Iron Springs, Coaldale and Raymond. We're still trying to determine the meaning of portions of the team names, such as Raymond Y.M.B.A and Turin Y.P.A. These rosters are now reflected on the 1945 roster page. At the bottom of the 1945 Alberta game reports we've added player briefs for a proposed All-Star game between the elite from the Crow's Nest Pass League and the Calgary All-Stars. It gives us a little more background on the players. Poor weather forced the postponement of the contest.
From the 1950 Eston team photo kindly provided by Michael Swank and the Stevenson brothers, Herb and Don, we've posted individual pictures to help in the identification process.
There's a new film on the Vancouver Asahi baseball team. This one is a fictionalized account of the famous Japanese team of the 1914-1940 era in Vancouver. The movie, from Japan, had its debut at the Vancouver International Film Festival late last month. Of course, a documentary on the Asahi, Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story, by Canadian producer/director Jari Osborne is available through the National Film Board.
Will Scheibler, thank you so much ! Will is a baseball researcher in Thunder Bay, Ontario who has sent along photos of teams in the Manitoba League of 1886, yep Eighteen-Eighty-Six. And he has foil owed that with information and a photo of the Fort William-Port Arthur team of the Northern League of the early 1900s (1915 we think).
Diane Imrie, Executive Director of the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, followed with permission to use a good quality photo of the Northern League team and provided an article on the history of baseball in the area. We were lucky enough to find some newspaper articles from 1915 to dig out the first names of most of the players (yep, for the most part it was shown as Wertzi, rather than Wertz). Thank you Will and Diane !
Where does he find these guys? Brian Morrison, Diamonds in the Dusk, has a portrait of Waldo Jackley - four homers in a game and ... consecutive !
Thanks to Gladwyn Scott of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame for a package of goodies on provincial ball in his home base. Included is the program from their 2014 induction event. The first item posted is a 1951 photo of the St. Boniface Native Sons, the Winnipeg Senior League champions. Also in the package was news of a new film, shown this year at the Cannes Film Festival.
Very Good Dirt is a short documentary that sifts through the sentimental memories of a long-lost town and contrasts them to the practical life of the farmer who now works the land. The resulting film is a poetic meditation on the meaning of place, all set in the great emptiness of the Canadian prairie.
The film by Catharine Parke is a lovely production centred upon her trip back to her home in what had been McConnell, Manitoba. Anyone who grew up in a small prairie town will have a connection with this film.
Daniel Wyatt has the widest range of interests, so displayed in some of his latest pieces at High on History. He has a two-part feature on legendary major league general manager Bill Veeck along with detailed offerings on Tobin Rote, Wyatt Earp and Robert E. Lee among others.
We're now on an extended break to tackle a couple of other projects including the season-end wrap up on my fantasy baseball leagues. Rich Necker already has stocked up a ton of material for processing this winter !
24 September, 2014
Sometimes it just feels like Christmas ! You know, when there are so many presents you don't know what to open first.
With thanks to Michael Swank and the Stevenson brothers, Herb and Don, we have a team photo of the 1950 Eston Ramblers, one of the prime independent teams on the prairie circuit that summer. Besides the outstanding local talent, the club featured some prominent imports including infielder Cliff Caffie who advanced to the major leagues, Ted Toles (right), an up-and-comer, Steve Wylie, a Negro league veteran and Clint McNeil, from British Columbia. We're now in the process of putting names to the faces.
And how did Michael get interested in the Eston Ramblers? Well, he's working on a book about Ted Toles and the Canadian experience was a stepping stone into professional ball for the young star.
Michael has also come up with a better quality photo of the 1951 Eston club and we've posted that one to replace our smaller, poor quality version.
From the photo we've extracted some individual pics for our 1951 Photo Gallery. The '51 club also had some high-level imports such as former Negro leaguers Andy Porter and Orlando "Chico" O'Farrill, Cuban product Rudy Fernandez (left) and hockey and baseball star Jackie McLeod (right).
But as you can infer from other photos posted on that page, the Stevensons, Bob, Herb and Don formed the backbone of that Eston entry.
We have all the names for those in the 1951 photo, with one exception - the bat boy/mascot (left). Talk about long-shots, if we are able to identify this little guy I guess we'll be optimistic from now on about the rest of the player IDs !. And, of course, if you can provide any assistance in identifying the players in the 1950 photo or this youngster we'd appreciate a note.
Another of the finds by Michael is a photo of the barnstorming Muskogee Cardinals from Oklahoma, another of the highly-popular "colored" teams which toured the prairies. The photo is believed to be of the 1950 or 1951 squad. This one will also be a huge challenge to try and pin down the names of the players, even one or two of them.
Luigi DeRosa, the former Trail, Nakusp and Vancouver Industrial League hurler, has come to the rescue in regard to a previous plea for ID help. In reference to the 1955 Nakusp-Kaslo photo a bit below on this page, he's contacted Andy Porter in Kaslo who's pretty sure of one of the two Kaslo players - Arnold "Sonny" Norberg (right) , who along with brother Ray, was an integral member of the Kaslo club in the 1940s and 1950s. He believes the player on the far left might be Kitagawa Kiyoshi.
You gotta read Brian Morrison's latest entry at Diamonds in the Dusk, "The Execution of Walla Tonka". You'll need a strong stomach though. Cruelty has a long history.
Brian was also kind enough to send along a photo from the early days of baseball in Winnipeg. It was a picture (left) from the Winnipeg Tribune identified as Charlie Rowland, the manager of the Winnipeg Maroons of the 1910 Western Canada Baseball League. He joined the club in mid-season and turned a rag-tag squad into a formidable force for the latter part of the summer.
What piqued my interest was a story I already had on-line about Clarence "Pants" Rowland as the manager of the team. Was Charlie really Clarence? Or, could there possibly have been two Rowlands at the helm of the Winnipeg club? You see, Clarence Rowland went on to manage the Chicago White Sox in the major leagues and later was a major figure in minor league baseball. In the 1910 papers, all the references are to Charlie. Even the highly respected SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) site, Baseball Reference, doesn't provide much help. They have a W.Rowland as the Winnipeg manager. And, their page on Clarence Rowland shows nothing for 1910. A few hours later we did manage to find some clippings which make the connection between Winnipeg 1910 and Clarence Rowland. Why he was known as Charlie in 1910 and why SABR has a W.Rowland as the manager are questions for another day!
From Saskatchewan to BC and now more on Manitoba. The indefatigable Rich Necker has dug up clippings for the 1946 season of the Greater Winnipeg Senior Baseball League.
We have game reports and an addition to the Snapshot page. We've also extracted pics from the Snapshot for the Photo Gallery (Ian Douglas, left, and Stan Shaley, right). With the newspapers playing fast and loose with names and the spelling of names, it was quite the adventure to come up with rosters, but we've tried to whittle down the choices to an acceptable few.
In the process of chasing down names and dates we uncovered a good team photo of the 1946 GWSBL champions, Transcona from an old calendar of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.
Other Manitoba additions include photos of Homer Chandler in 1949, Manitoba junior stars, at that time, Alex Kurceba and Gordie Simpson in 1948, and Fred Dunsmore, Ken Vicars (far left) , and Lorne Benson (left) in 1949. Benson, you likely know, went on to become quite the football star for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Yep, Boom-Boom Benson.
The busy bee, Rich Necker, also managed to locate information on Alberta amateur ball in 1948, especially the Southern Alberta League which included a couple of the big cities of the day (Lethbridge and Medicine Hat) along with tiny rural outposts such as Bow Island and Burdett. Guess who captured the title? The Bow Island-Burdett Combines (with a combined population of about 700). At the time, Lethbridge had about 20,000 residents and the "Hat around 14,000. Now posted are game reports, lots of rosters, even a couple of photos (Norm Petrie, Jack Yucytus, Archie Wilder) and snapshots (Don Menzies, Colin Kilburn). The updates also include game reports for the Crow's Nest Pass League and the East Kootenays. .
Local fans got to witness some prime barnstorming action with the Kansas City Monarchs, led by Cool Papa Bell and the House of David, guided by Doc Tally among the visitors.
David Eskenazi, a good friend of Western Canada Baseball, has a couple of fascinating articles on his Wayback Machine. You'll love the pieces on Eddie Feigner, the famous softball pitcher, and Levi "Chief" McCormack (one of the survivors of the bus accident noted in the 14 September update below ) a football star at Washington State and a baseball star in the 1940s and 1950s in Washington. "Chief" was not a bad fit for McCormack as his father was an actual chief of the Nez Perce tribe. David's pieces, adorned as they are from his extensive photo collection, are marvelous reading, with extensive detail.
You just have to check in once in awhile at Gary Cieradkowski's Infinite Baseball Cards to see the latest gems. That he doesn't concentrate only on major leaguers makes the effort even more enjoyable and enlightening. Remember, Gary did a card on Curly Williams, the long-time star of the Lloydminster Meridians of the Western Canada League.. He has a book coming out in the spring, The League of Outsider Baseball: The Illustrated History of Baseball's Forgotten Heroes. It promises to be a hit. While his illustrations are such gems, the stories are equally as interesting and revealing.
Just a reminder, Bill Guenthner's superb Minot Mallards site is still on-line, now residing right here at our little operation. it's a great addition to the coverage of semi-pro ball in the 1940s and 1950s.
14 September, 2014
Finally, we're pretty well caught up with the backlog of material on baseball in British Columbia. Many moons ago, our ace sleuth Rich Necker sent along a ton of material covering 1930s ball in the BC Interior. It's taken awhile to put it all together.
Among the stories is the superb season of the Penticton club in the 1933 Okanagan International League winning the league pennant and taking the playoffs in straight games to win the Johnston-Spalding Trophy. They finished the season with an over-all record of 22 wins, 4 loses and 1 tie. They lost just once in regular league play.
Their ace hurler, Dick "Lefty" Hammond, produced a sensational season appearing in 21 games, 17 as a starter. He finished with 17 wins, two losses and a tie. In 188 innings worked, Hammond fanned 185. He had 16 complete games in 17 starts, going just 8 innings in one contest, a 25-2 blowout in which he turned over mound duties to the first baseman.
In clearing the backlog, we've now added more names -- another 649 names -- to the roster sheets of BC baseball for the years 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1935. These don't yet show up on the Players List but will once we complete some more roster additions.
Rich Necker has also come through with a few game reports and rosters (and one photo too) for the 1945 Vancouver City League. In the process of trying to get the correct spelling of the name of one of the players, we came across some interesting stories involving Joe Faria.
Joe Faria, one of the top starters in the Vancouver City League in 1945 while pitching for the Bellingham Bells, had a perfect game in his past and a lucky drive in his future.
On May 26th, 1942, the right-hander racked up a perfect game, albeit a six inning affair as the contest was abbreviated by dismal weather conditions. Faria's Twin Falls, Idaho, Cowboys, blanked the Salt Lake Bees 3-0 in a Pioneer League encounter. The 23-year-old fanned four.
His baseball career would be interrupted by military service until 1945 when he joined Bellingham. The following season it was back to pro ball in the Class B, Western International League with Spokane.
June 24th, 1946, while a member of the Spokane Indians of the Western International League, Faria decided to make the drive from Spokane to Bremerton (with teammate Milt Cadinha and their wives) in his own car rather than take the team bus on the 325 mile journey in a drizzling rain.
The special bus from Spokane, Wash., pitched off a hair-pin curve at the 3,400 foot level of the treacherous Snoqualmie mountain pass and ripped through a guard rail before it rolled down the steep, muddy bank.
The flaming bus crashed in a stop at the bottom of a ravine as the injured scrambled from windows and split sections. [Hayward Review, Hayward, California]
News reports said the bus plunged some 500 feet. Six men -- players Fred Martinez, Bob James, Bob Kinnaman, Bob Paterson, and George Risk, and playing-manager Mel Cole died at the scene. Another, Vic Picetti was dead on arrival at hospital. Two others, George Lyden and Chris Hartje succumbed to their injuries in the following days.
One player Jack Lohrke, Jack "Lucky" Lohrke, was originally on the trip but, at a lunch stop shortly before the accident (about 50 miles from the crash site) he was advised he was being called up to joined the parent San Diego Padres and left the bus to hitch-hike back to Spokane. Lohrke had earlier avoided tragedy in the military when he was bumped from a transport plane which later crashed.
A week ago, UCLA honoured three of its long ago famous football players before its game against Memphis. Woody Strode (left, at a practice with the Calgary Stampeders in Canadian football), Kenny Washington and Sam Storey played for the UCLA Bruins in the late 1930s. Washington and Strode are to be part of a documentary "The Forgotten Four" telling the story of the four athletes who broke the colour barrier in professional football in 1946, the year before Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in baseball's major leagues. (The other two to be featured in the documentary are Marion Motley and Bill Willis.) There's a Canadian connection with both Washington and Strode. Woody came north in 1948 to play football with the Calgary Stampeders and Washington's son, Kenny Jr. played baseball in the old Western Canada League with the Saskatoon Commodores and Edmonton Oilers in the early 1960s. Strode you might also remember from his numerous roles as a movie actor.
Hard to believe, but Brian Morrison reminded me recently that it took until 1953 - 1953 ! - before a black football player got into a game for Notre Dame.
Brian has also sent along a great little write up from the Manitoba Free Press of May 13, 1886 (yes, 1886) under the headline THE BASEBALL MATCH :
Two thousand people assembled at Dufferin Park yesterday afternoon to witness the baseball match between the Portage la Prairie nine and the C.P.R. team. The weather was beautiful during the play. The 90th battalion band was in attendance and played many choice selections during the afternoon. Dufferin park has undergone many changes since the ball tossers assembled there last season. The diamond has been scraped and mapped out in an excellent manner, while new dressing rooms have been erected. Mr. Hooper was selected umpire and filled the office very well. It was after two o'clock when the teams opened the first game of the season.
The story continued on listing the lineups for the two teams then had some observations on individual plays and players and finally, at the tail end of the story, some 35 lines later, told us who won, C. P. R, 10-9.
And, the text of a clipping (1906) from Brian on the formation of the Western Canada League has been posted along with some others on the 1907 home page to present some background on how the league got going.
There's another nice little yarn posted on Brian's site Diamonds in the Dusk. And, it has a direct Canadian connection. He's dug up the story on Joseph “Doad” Tufteland, quite the hurler on the prairies in the late 1940s who signed with the Dodgers and had an 18-2 rookie season in pro ball.
Phil Risinger has confirmed that the former player in the photo (left) and the obit below indeed is the John Adams from Penn State who played with Phil at Medicine Hat in 1957 (there are a couple of pictures of Phil and buddies John Adams and Bill Davidson on the '57 Snapshot page). I happened to stumble upon Adams' obituary notice. He had quite a career, even a little baseball after those days on the prairies. Here's part of the notice :
Dr. John W. Adams, age 76 of Perryopolis, PA, passed away peacefully on June 24, 2014 . . . . Dr. Adams received his PhD in Organizational Psychology from City University, London. He is the author of Smart Marketing for Non Profits, Selling the Family Business and US Expatriate Handbook (US and Chinese editions), Global Assignment Americans Abroad-The Adams Report and several journal articles.
His research includes Organizational Behavior: Careerist Orientation Among Expatriate and Non-Expatriate Employees. He served as an Adjunct Professor, College of Business and Economics, Department of Finance at West Virginia University. As an international consultant, he worked with many major firms in the US and abroad including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Nassau, Bermuda, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Dubai. He was the Co-Founder of European Association of Planned Giving, London, and the Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council; past President of Pittsburgh Chartered Life Underwriters and Pittsburgh Estate Planning Council; member of International Tax Planners Association, Society of Financial Service Professionals, Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.
John played baseball for Penn State and went on to assist with spring training batting practice for the Pirates in Bradenton, FL. Continuing with his love of baseball, he umpired minor league baseball up through the International League. He continued assisting as a coach in college baseball at Palm Beach Community College, FL.
We've tried a few avenues to identify the people in the following photo with some success. It's believed to be from the 1955 season and obviously was taken on the day of a game between Nakusp and Kaslo in the BC Interior. The Nakusp players have been pretty easy to ID, that's Otto Yanagisawa, second from the left, Buster Patterson, the tall guy, second from the right, and Jackie James, extreme right. James, one of the star players for Burton and Nakusp, was killed in a tragic logging accident. There's a ball park in Nakusp named after him. His widow Dale James has been kind enough to provide the photo. We are still trying to get names to go with the two Kaslo players and those two cuties in the front. If you can help please get in touch.
Every time I dig through old newspaper editions I am reminded of the stupidity of the 'papers in getting rid of their original photographs when they began to microfilm their old papers. I suppose the thought at the time was the photos would no longer be necessary with the preservation through the new technology. Well, as you probably know, the quality of the microfilm photos is pretty awful for the most part. Here are three newspaper versions of some photos I'd really like to find.
Top left - from the Medicine Hat paper of July 29, 1957. Phil (Rookie) Risinger slides safely into third base with Jim Lester of Granum awaiting a throw. Right, paper of July 10, 1957, the Mutt & Jeff of the Granum White Sox. 6' 6" (which was really tall back in those days!) Dave Gambee (who went on to the career in the NBA) who pitched a neat four-hitter with Jim Lester who clouted a homer as the Sox thumped the Superiors 14-1.
Left - from July 29, 1957. Happy teammates gather around Granum White Sox' third baseman Jim Lester just after he crossed the plate following his second inning home run in last night's Wheatbelt League game at Athletic Park. The homer played a large part in the 14-1 victory racked up by the Sox over Medicine Hat Superiors.
Some of the difficulty in tracking down newspaper photos is trying to find the the names and collections of the old freelance photographers who shot a lot of the sports material for the papers, but held the copyright on the photographs. They retained the negatives. Among the collections we've tried to track down is one by the late Bruce Pendlebury of Moose Jaw who was the photographer for a couple of items we'd really like to track down and anyone in connection with the former Newsfoto and Engraving of Medicine Hat. I get the feeling there's a treasure trove of old photos just sitting in somebody's basement or attic.
Barry Forster sends along a photo of our plaque from this year's induction ceremony at the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame. This is the honour for the members of the 1932 to 1936 Regina Nationals, a powerhouse in prairie baseball. Rich Necker and I worked on the submission to the Hall and Barry was kind enough to come all the way up from Texas to attend the ceremony and receive the award. His dad was a member of the team and won individual induction last year.
There might yet be another member of that team destined for individual recognition by the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame - Norman W. "Hec" McLeod a pitcher who pulled off some remarkable feats of hurling before going on to international recognition in the field of asphalt pavement. He picked up degrees from the University of Alberta, Saskatchewan and the University of Michigan and after senior positions with the Saskatchewan Department of Highways, Imperial Oil and the Canada Department of Transport, McLeod was recruited to join the staff at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, as a professor. And, he was a nice guy!
A former colleague noted :
Of the many awards and honours received, only a framed newspaper clipping marking his selection as the most valuable athlete for Saskatchewan in 1933 claimed space on the office wall of this modest gentleman. (E.B. Wilkins)
26 August, 2014
There are more good works from ace sleuth Rich Necker (left) now posted.
In the process we've cleaned up some spellings from the league rosters, or at least picked ones most likely to be correct, including Wilejto, Follack, Koyama, Zloklikovits, Gronski and Vaillancourt.
A history of baseball in Lethbridge (up to 1948) has been added to the 1948 Alberta section. The item was printed in the Lethbridge Herald just before the start of the 1948 season and took the history all the way back to 1905. And, the mention of a controversial letter from an official of the Lethbridge Miners meant we had to go find the missive to find out what was said. That, too, is now posted.
So good to hear from Phil Risinger, star of the Medicine Hat Superiors' championship team of 1958. Thanks to Phil we've sorted out a few more names from the Southern Alberta circuits of the late 1950s.
24 August, 2014
The Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame held its 30th annual induction ceremony on the 16th at Battleford, Saskatchewan, and we were overjoyed to see three of our submissions honoured -- Fred Cardwell, Bob Herron and the 1930s Regina Nationals.
Cardwell was a star hurler from Little League through to the senior circuit from the late 1950s to the late 1970s and was a mainstay of the Canadian national teams. Herron developed into the Western Canada League's stop slugger as a member of the North Battleford Beavers after first playing on the prairies with Saskatoon. The Nationals were the top amateur club in Saskatchewan in the early and mid 1930s.
The event marked the installation of the Big Bat . Left - workers gently position the bat for placement outside the Hall of Fame building.
It's the biggest such bat in the country, 55-feet long, five feet in diameter, and promises to be quite the tourist attraction for the Hall. Congratulations to Jane Shury, the Hall's CEO for bringing the Bat campaign to fruition. That;s Jane in the photos below making the presentations.
[Photos courtesy of Brett Smith, The Batlefords News-Optimist]
Altogether, twelve individuals, two teams, a family and a community were inducted.
In the players category were Cardwell (far left), now of Kelowna, BC, the late Stan Green from Kamsack, the late Bob Herron from Wichita Falls, Texas (that's Leo Wurtz, left receiving the honour on Herron's behalf), Brian Keegan of White Rock, BC, Dean Mathison from Leader, Charlie Meacher from Moose Jaw, Ross Morrison from Medicine Hat, Alta., Harvey Nybo from Lake Pelletier, Kevin Ritchie from Wilcox, Edwin Rolheiser from Rosetown, Bob Silzer from Saskatoon and the late Lloyd Woolley from Regina.
The 1932-1936 Regina Nationals were joined in the team category by the Climax Cardinals. The Varjassy family from Kipling was inducted in the family category and Muenster was chosen as the community to be inducted.
Left - Barry Forster (second from the left), whose father played for the Regina Nationals, received the honour on behalf of the team. At the far left is Barry Trapp, the son of Joe Trapp who also played with the Nationals.
Paul Hack, the voice of the inductions for all 30 ceremonies and the co-author with the late Dave Shury of Wheat Province Diamonds, A Story of Saskatchewan Baseball, was honoured during the event
All the photos are from Brett Smith of the local paper, the Battlefords News Optimist. Smith has done a spectactular job of coverage. Along with stories on the ceremony itself, the paper published stories on each of inductees, individual, team, family and community. Check them out through the link above.
Great news from Michael Swank ! He has tracked down a team photo of the 1950 Eston Saskatchewan, Ramblers.
One of the team's stars was Ted Toles (right), the subject of Michael's up-coming book. One of his teammates was future major leaguer Joe Caffie. The club, built around the local Stevenson boys - Bob, Don and Herb - was quite the collection of talent also featuring imports such as Clint McNeil from Trail, BC and another former Negro League star in Steve Wylie. Prairie fixture Cliff Jacobson also suited up with the Ramblers. While he's awaiting a high quality version of the photo, Michael has sent along a proof of the document which includes Toles. It's always such a thrill to discover these hidden treasures. Thank you Michael !
The Lester "Slim" Haynes page has been expanded with the addition of the text of a newspaper story from 1940 on the Stavely phenom's career (check the bottom of the page). It's interesting to note that the story repeats an untrue story about a 1922 tournament in which Haynes tossed a seven-inning no-hitter in his first contest then a shutout in the money game. The embellishments over the years (including that in Barry Broadfoot's book Ten Lost Years, 1929-1939 : Memories of Canadians Who Survived the Depression) resulted in stories that Haynes tossed THREE shutouts that day, one a no-hitter. Close but no cigar. Anyway, Haynes was a marvel, pitching for the Stavely team for more than 30 years.
Brian Morrison, (left) Diamonds in the Dusk. has the incredible story of Chet Covington, who except for a volatile personality might have made a much larger mark in baseball history. As it was, he did pretty well, especially for a guy who started out as a boxer. It's just one of the great little stories Brian has been pumping out over at Diamonds in the Dusk. Sounds like the basis of a book!
And, we've managed to dig up another photo of Brian (right) the catcher/shortstop of the 1963 Mount Vernon Bobcats. Not sure about the style statement (just one shin pad).
So many of the game reports in the early days were part news and part comment. There seemed to be no attempt to contain favouritism. This, sent in by Brian Morrison, was the description of a tournament July 1st, 1905. (In the second linescore they goofed in giving the runs to Innisfail. The story also was interesting in using the words "sympatoy" and "punk", and would not survive the editor's desk in the use of "Big Indian" smile.)
It was Red Deer all the way in the baseball tournament July 1st. At 1:30 p.m. Red Deer defeated Calgary 20-10 and after half an hours rest went up against Innisfail and beat them 10-0. Neither of these teams are in the same class as Red Deer. With the exception of third base Red Deer could not better her field by a pick from the other two nines. The local team are Corkers with the bat, and in the game with Calgary they batted Miller so hard and often that the tin horn sport Calgary appeared to have for manager took him out of the box and put a small boy in to finish the game. McCartney pitched good ball for both games but did not even try to pitch the prettiest. He had a good team behind him and you could see the "Big Indian" smile when a batter did connect; Mac knew it was all off anyway. It would be too hard on Calgary and innisfail fans to give the game by innings. Following is the score and summary :
R H E
Red Deer 3 1 0 4 0 0 4 0 8 - 20 19 7
Calgary 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 6 - 10 5 7
Innisfail 3 0 3 1 3 8 - 19 10 4
Red Deer 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 1 1
In the evening game between Calgary and innisfail for second money the score was kept down by the inability of the batters to connect with the curves of Miller and Samis. The fielding was punk for both teams and Miller won his own game by striking out 20 men. There was considerable excitement over the game the sympatoy of the fans being evenly divided between both teams although the Calgary manager came in for his usual dose of roasting. Score 3-0 in favor of Calgary.
A few new photos have been posted including Bob Laurie of the 1959 Beaverlodge Royals, a group of four (Bill Adshead, Frank Ambler, Ralph Stong (left) and Pat Thomas) from the 1946 Vancouver league, and Jim Attrill, a pitcher for the 1957 Medicine Hat Superiors.
We are happy to include a team photo of the 1953 Willow River Red Sox, champions of the Prince George & Area loop.
We stumbled across some game reports, tournaments included. A few are just a game or two, but they too are part of the record.
1924 Tournaments (Camrose), 1946 Crow's News games, 1947 Tournaments (Brooks), 1947 games (West Kootenays), 1948 Crow's Nest games, 1950 Tournaments (Brooks, Camrose, Claresholm), 1950 BC Interior games (Crow's Nest), 1952 Tournaments (Claresholm), 1953 Crow's Nest game, 1954 Crow's Nest games, 1954 Alberta games, 1957 Alberta games, 1958 Tournaments (Medicine Hat). And, now a new 1905 tournament page.
We've added lots of little bits, many of them team rosters, in a cleanup of an assortment of newspaper files. Here's a brief rundown of some of the roster additions. (And, here's a link to our site map for links to all the roster pages.)
1922 rosters (Trochu, Nacamine, Medicine Hat Cee Pees, 1924 (Edmonton Outlaws, Wesley, Foresters, Lamont), 1925 (Carstairs, Lethbridge Cubs, Fernie, Edmonton, Calgary), 1930 barnstorming teams (Texas Colored Giants, Chicago Athletics), 1931 (Coleman, Drumheller), 1932 (Picture Butte, Lethbridge Cee Pee Red Sox), 1938 (Crow's Nest teams), 1947 (Alberta teams), 1948 (Medicine Hat Tigers), 1950 (Medicine Hat, Bow Island), 1952 (Alberta), 1953 (Crow's Nest), 1954 (Gleichen), 1958 (Grand Centre, Cold Lake)
16 August, 2014
The British Columbia section continues to expand with lots of game reports, rosters, stats and a few pictures too.
My colleague Rich Necker has probably been wondering what happened to all the stuff he sent in months ago! Well, we're chipping away at the backlog.
Among the latest material posted are game reports for the Arrow Lakes & Slocan Valley baseball for 1955, 1956 and 1957. Included in the reports are a couple of no-hitters, a combined no-no for Nakusp's Buster Patterson and Louis DeRosa and a third career no-hitter for Tommy Pearson (left) of New Denver. The old newspaper reports are often quite the chore to decipher, a few of them forgetting to inform who won or the score.
Also, there are some substantial additions to the coverage of the Okanagan Mainline League, the BC Interior loop and Prince George and area baseball. Those reports cover 1951, 1954 and particularly 1955.
There's one new addition to the stats pages, the 1955 Okanagan Mainline League as Geordie Taylor of Summerland hit .424 to win the batting crown. The page reflects a slightly altered format which has been introduced to standardize the look of the stats pages (also 1907, 1928, 1935 and 1944 pages have been re-done).
To the 1958 Alberta game reports we've added a couple of clippings of the newspaper coverage from the Medicine Hat News (September 10) on the Superiors victory for the Southern Alberta championship.
Thanks to old friends Jack Altman (right) and Greg Seastrom for pointing out a couple of corrections in the Fresno State section. We had both pitcher Billy Davidson and catcher Augie Scorneianchi listed as former Fresno players, but it turns out neither played for the Bulldogs. Davidson attended Hartnell College and Scorneianchi suited up for San Jose State. Jack also tracked down Davidson as having played pro ball in the California League with Stockton in 1957 along with another former Southern Alberta star, Marty Norman. Good to hear Jack is back tossing the ball and, obviously, feeling better. He even had an opportunity to take batting practice at the annual Humboldt Crabs alumni event in July and managed to connect on all ten pitches!
Speaking of Billy Davidson (left) he's one of the photos we've re-done on the 1956 Alberta Photo Gallery (Len Cooper is another). This Davidson is not to be confused with Billy Joe Davidson the Cleveland bonus baby of the same era. Finally, we uncovered a photo of Hank Bassen, the hockey and baseball star, in ball gear. when he was playing with the Calgary Dodgers. In the 1959 Alberta Photo Gallery, there's a reworked photo of Steve Schott, who went on to become a part owner of the Oakland Athletics.
Other photos added include Trail Smoke Eaters' Jack Ferguson and Busher McIntyre to the 1955 BC Gallery.
The link to the Bill Joe Davidson article above is to Brian Morrison's wonderful site, Diamonds in the Dusk. which now features a lovely story on "Three Days in August" of the 1915 Greensboro, North Carolina, Patriots. It's an especially interesting tale for the down-trodden!
Brian Morrison happened upon this report in a copy of The Sporting News from 1886.
Can you image the furor if this were published today? A tiny bit of evidence that indeed, times have changed. Yikes, "fluttering' down to first!
With the information provided by the Champion, Alberta, gang - Sev Pasolli, Dusty Rhodes and Kathy Perley - we've now updated the roster pages from 1946 to 1965 to show the Champion Red Sox rosters. Detailed information on team won-lost records, hitting leaders, pitching stats and games played have been compiled on a special Champion page.
One of the things which seems to consume a hugh amount of time is trying to figure out the correct spelling of names and often discovering first names. On the BC front we've decided to go with Isakson, Eddie Isakson for the catcher for the Nelson Outlaws and Maple Leafs in the 1950s. The papers must have had a half dozen different spellings. The latest one I am chasing is a first name for Ceccon (Ceccone?) of Princeton, Oliver and Merritt. So far the papers have noted a Bill, Bruno and Clarence. Now there might, in fact be two or three Ceccons but it is more likely that the papers just got confused about a first name for one of them. Anyway, if you can help please drop us a line.
02 August, 2014
Thanks to Rich Necker we have more coverage of BC ball in the 1950s. So far we've added newspaper photos on the 1955 BC Snapshot page and the 1955 BC Photo Gallery from the Okanagan Mainline League and the BC Interior League along with rosters for 1955 and, for the Prince George area loop, rosters for 1951. While there's lots more to go, especially game reports, we have posted details of the 1955 Kamloops Labour Day Tournament.
We've added a snapshot to the 1950 BC Snapshots showing Les Hufty and Gordie Richardson and a picture of Frank Hufty Jr. with Slocan City in 1947. There's the jacket crest of the 1949 Nelson Tigers and a photo of what may be the 1953 Nelson Maple Leafs (the second posted here of the '53 squad).
In addition, on an internet search, we stumbled upon a photo of the 1925 Ruthilda, Saskatchewan, team. It turned up on a Facebook site promoting the 100th birthday of the community in 2013. There were no names attached to the photo and attempts to contact the site authors have so far been unsuccessful.
And, we've been sent a copy of a photo of a Nelson, BC, squad believed to be from the 1930s. Can anyone help to pin down the year and get some names of the players? (Interesting to note the number of players - just nine !).
With much thanks to the gang in Champion - Sev Pasolli, Dusty Rhodes and Kathy Perley - for sending along statistical records of the Champion, Alberta, teams of 1946 to 1965. What a treasure trove of information, a rare find for local baseball in that era. The stats include the team wins and losses, top batters, pitching won-lost records and games played.
We're so pleased Barry Forster is going to be in Battleford, Saskatchewan, two weeks today to accept the Hall of Fame induction award on behalf of the Regina Nationals of 1932-1936. Barry's dad was a key member of those clubs and was inducted into the hall as an individual a year ago. The team is already in the Regina Sports Hall of Fame (plaque at the left). Way to go Barry!
The Saskatchewan Hall of Fame event is set for Saturday, August 16th in Battleford, Saskatchewan and is one of the organization's major fund raisers for the year. If you can't make the ceremony, perhaps you can purchase a ticket ($60 CDN each) or two to help them out and allow a local resident to attend on your behalf.
Brian Morrison has dug out a couple more newspaper photos from the early years of the professional Western Canada League. We've posted the pics of Frank Gardner and Lefty Sporer on the 1909 Snapshot page and one of Jack Corrigan on the 1909 Photo Gallery. Thank you all !