Snapshots Ontario 1954     


Four members of the St., Thomas Elgins celebrate their power display in an 18-7 win over Guelph-Waterloo Royals. The four combined for five home runs which accounted for more than half their scoring.  The circuit blows also cost Len Barnes (centre, back row) of Barnes Men's Store five sport shirts, one for each homer. Bottom row - Roger Breard (left) , who smacked a homer in his first at bat, and Butch Lawing,  who cracked a three-run blast. Back row (left to right) catcher Doc Glenn, who drove in three runs with his two over-the-fence pokes, Len Barnes, and Jim St. Louis, who knocked one over the right field fence to account for a pair of runs.


The St. Thomas dressing room was a bedlam of noise as players "whooped it up" after the Elgins shaded the Brantford Red Soxs 7-6.  There was back-slapping and hand-shaking with Willie Casanova, centre fielder, and Roger Breard, third baseman, on the receiving end. After playing-manager Tommy White had gone in and retired the side, one-two-three, in the top of the ninth, Casanova and Breard brought the Elgins from three runs behind for the win. Each smacked a two-run homer over the right field fence.

Mel DuncanJeep Jessup

With Jackie Robinson breaking the colour barrier in pro ball in 1946 with the Montreal Royals and then in the majors with Brooklyn the following season, the Negro Leagues began a steep decline, leaving fewer rosters spots especially for older players not sought out by major league organizations.

Among the Negro League players to sustain their careers north of the border were Mel Duncan and Gentry "Jeep" Jessup of the Galt Terriers of 1954.

Mel Duncan (left) the 5'9" right-hander came to the Galt Terriers in a trade over the winter from Kitchener. The native of Ypsilanti, Michigan, had pitched with the legendary Kansas City Monarchs from 1949 to 1951 before coming up to Canada to suit up with the Brantford Red Sox in 1952 and the Kitchener Panthers in 1952 and 1953.

After his 1954 summer with Galt, Duncan returned to Negro League ball with Kansas City and the Detroit Stars in 1955 along with a stint in the Mandak League with Minot. It was Minot again in 1956 before a season with the Lethbridge White Sox in 1958.

Jeep Jessup, also a right-hander, had a long career beginning in 1940 with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1940 and then to the Chicago American Giants before coming up to play with Carman in the Mandak League in 1950. After three years with the Carman Cardinals he was enticed to join the Terriers and played for another three seasons in the Intercounty League.

Jessup was one of the top pitchers in the Mandak loop all three seasons in the circuit. In 1953, he led the Intercounty League in wins with 15 while Duncan had the top winning percentage with 12 wins and 4 loses.