1950 Alberta Snapshots     

McGill & McNabb



Jack McGill (left) and Brent MacNabb combined to give the Edmonton Eskimos a 5-4 verdict over the Dodgers Wednesday to pull a full two games ahead in the standings.

MacNabb came in as pinch-hitter in the ninth and singled to drive in two runs to tie the score. Then, he notched the winning run when leftfielder McGill rapped a single.

Purity 99sArizona Four

Above left - Additions for the Calgary Purity 99s (left to right)  Bernie Weinstein, Claude Wheeler, Chet Vasey, who was said to have achieved an All-American rating, and Don Abbott.  The players are from Tucson, Arizona and Fresno, California.  (Calgary Herald, June 14, 1950)

Above right - Four players from the University of Arizona moved into the Calgary Buffaloes camp (left to right)  Clarke Duncan, Lloyd Jenney, an All-American, Jim Starkey and Jerry Dobson.

Lloyd Jenney     Don Stewart & Vern Callihan

Jim Ryan


Above left - Calgary Buffaloes featured college All-American Lloyd Jenney from the University of Arizona. 

Above right - Two of the stars of Cal's Dodgers, who upset John Ducey's Edmonton Eskimos to capture  the 1950 Big Four championship -- Don Stewart, left, and pitcher Vern Callihan, right. 

Left - Dodgers' Jim Ryan accepts congratulations on winning the league championship.

Below - Edmonton shortstop and future major leaguer, Bob Lillis.

Bob LillisLillis returnsMr. Shortstop

Lillis was given the star treatment in Edmonton.  The talented Southern California product was called the best player ever to perform at Renfrew Park.

He was Mr. Shorstop, the sparkplug of the team. After winning the batting title in 1950 with a .409 mark, and spending two years in military service, he went on to a 10-year playing career in the major leagues, with the Dodgers and Houston.  Later, after working in the scouting a player development areas, Lillis managed the Astros for three seasons.

Gorbous - Buono Glen Gorbous

In Calgary, it was a local product garnering the headlines. Glen Gorbous, a 19-year-old third baseman / outfielder from Vulcan, Alberta finished second to Lillis in the batting race with a .374 average while leading the loop in home runs and doubles.

He'd later be known for a fabulous throwing arm from the outfield.  In 1957, he recorded a throw of 445 feet, 10 inches and won a place in the Guinnes Book of World Records.

That's import catcher Gus Buono with Gorbous in the photo at the left.  Gorbous had signed with the Dodgers in 1949 and played in their system in '49 and part of 1950 before coming home.  He resumed his pro career in 1951 and advanced to the majors for parts of three seasons.

Jim Ryan Bradish - McGillSilver Smith

Left - Jim Ryan of the Dodgers, quick out of the box.

Middle - George Bradish and Jack McGill of the Edmonton Eskimos congratulate each other as their homers played pivotal roles in a double-header sweep of the Calgary Buffaloes. 

Right - The Edmonton Eskimos reached back to sign up lefty reliever Silver Smith, thought to be between 40 and 50 years of age, believed to have last pitched competitively in the 1930s. A newspaper report noted he was trying a comeback after 13 years in the bleachers.

Joe MurphyMarshall JohnsonBarry Robertshaw

Left - Joe Murphy, right-hander of the Calgary Buffalos. Centre - Outfielder Marshall Johnson of the Edmonton Eskimos.  Right - Centre fielder Barry Robertshaw of the Edmonton Dodgers.

Bill Gadsby


Bill Gadsby, Chicago Blackhawks defenceman and Calgary Buffaloes outfielder. The photo is believed to be from 1950 or 1951. 

The photo, and the one below, were part of a film, Canadian Cameo, showing the summer activities of hockey stars. It's from Library and Archives Canada.

The film identified the batter below as Gadsby, although his number 28 is at odds with the "4" (24?) on his uniform at the left.

Nonetheless, it's an interesting photo of the Calgary ballpark, Buffalo Park, in 1950. 

A couple of the outfield signs are clearly Calgary - CFAC, the Calgary radio and television station and Purity 99 gasoline.


Bill Gadsby

Jim Ryan & Don Stewart celebrateMessmer & Kirk

Left - Jim Ryan (holding the trophy) and Don Stewart celebrate the victory by the Edmonton Dodgers over the Edmonton Eskimos for the championship of the Big Four Inter-City League. Dodgers had finished second to the Esks during the regular season.

Willie SimmsDodgers captured the playoff final four games to one.Bob Lillis, a future major leaguer and 1950 batting champion, was a key member of the team. Lillis batted .409 during the regular season to top local product, and another future major leaguer, Glen Gorbous, for the batting crown.  (The identity of the player whose head is showing between Stewart and Ryan is not known.)  [City of Edmonton Archives EA-600-4976d]\

Above right - a pair of junior-age players, Ivan Messmer (left) and Don Kirk (right). After a season of pro ball, Messmer went on to become a prominent businessman in Alberta before moving to BC and becoming mayor of Penticton and then a member of the BC Legilslature. Kirk, went into medicine and a long career as a physician after several outstanding seasons as a lefty hurler on the prairies. In 1953, pitching in the Chinook League, the left-hander went 15-1 with an ERA of 1.88.  The year before he was 16-2, 1.46.  He was 12-1 in 1954 with Saskatoon. [City of Edmonton Archives EA-600-4725a]

Right - Willie Simms, Negro first baseman and outfielder who is hitting at a .292 clip, will be playing for Buffaloes or Purity in tonight's Big Four Baseball League contest at Buffalo Park. Simms can't give you the answer, the league teams won't know till tonight. It's part of the player tangle when the Buffaloes announced a switch in players and the management of the 99'ers hadn't agreed to the change of seven players.

Calgary Herald, June 16, 1950



Top left - Edmonton Dodgers's manager Ken Samis. Top right - Al Purvis, Dodger pitcher.

Left - Dodgers' sluggers – Jim Ryan, Bernie Anderson and Barry Robertshaw

Bottom left - Edmonton Eskimos manger Eddie Morris and shortstop Bob Lillis.

Bottom right - Dodgers' shortstop Jim Hall.