1963 Alberta Game Reports     


Senior amateur baseball in Alberta took a big hit in 1963 with the dissolution of the Big Seven League, an Edmonton-based circuit, which left the Capital City, as well as Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, all void of senior amateur baseball. The Rosebud Baseball League once again operated in Red Deer and Central Alberta while the north-western Peace area of the province had the strongest senior loops, the Wheat Belt League and the Smoky River League.

With the scarcity of senior leagues, no evidence was uncovered indicating that a north-south playoff occurred in 1963.


Beaverlodge Royals
Dawson Creek Cardinals
Fairview Outlaws
Fort. St. John Huskies
Grande Prairie Eskimos
Sexsmith Rainiers          


This second-year loop expanded to five teams despite losing Tangent, one of the original four franchises. Grimshaw became a member for the first time while the Peace River Stampeders, after a year on the sidelines as an independent club, were admitted as the fifth entry. The revamped Stamps, with a number of new players, never missed a beat and captured the 1963 regular-season pennant.

Donnelly Cubs
Falher Leths
Peace River Stampeders

(August 4-5)  Peace River baseball tournament


The Peace River Stampeders replicated their pennant-winning regular season by ousting the runner-up Donnelly Cubs in convincing fashion, three games straight, to capture the 1963 Smoky River Baseball League championship.
No game scores or details were found in print.


Membership within this central-Alberta circuit was reduced to seven teams in at the start of the 1963 season with the withdrawal of the Sundre franchise. The league did not send a representative into either the provincial senior or intermediate playoffs.

Carstairs Buffaloes
Innisfail Buckaroos
Red Deer Eskimos
Red Deer Juniors


(August 11)  Underdog Crossfield broke loose for five runs in the top-of-the-fifteenth inning to set back the  Red Deer Eskimos 15 to 10 in the opener of their Rosebud League semi-final series. Roger “Knobby DeVost picked up the pitching win after coming on in relief of Crossfield starter Gary Weitz in the ninth frame. Esks’ reliever Jim Linnell, who followed John Edmundson to the knoll in the ninth, was saddled with the defeat. Ted Bioletti of the vanquished nine clipped the apple for a triple, double and single.

(August 18)  The Red Deer Eskimos wrapped up their semi-final series with Crossfield by taking both ends of a doubleheader at Airdrie. Pitcher Dave Martin toiled 18 innings on the hill to win both games. The Eskimos took the first contest 6 to 0 and held on for a 10 to 6 victory in the second tilt. Martin came up with two big hits during the opening encounter. Leading 6 to 5 as they came to bat in the top-of-the-ninth canto of the deciding fracas, the Red Deer squad put the game to bed with a four-spot, the big blow coming on Doug Murray’s bases-loaded double.


(August 25)  The Red Deer Eskimos took a stranglehold on the Rosebud League championship with a doubleheader victory over the Innisfail Buckaroos at the Red Deer fairgrounds. The Eskimos pulled out a 2 to 1 thriller in the matinée contest but had an easier time of it in the wrap-up tussle, rollicking home with a 7 to 1 triumph.
Hefty chucker Les Wiberg kept Innisfail in the curtain-raiser, striking out 13 Red Deer batters, walking three while giving up six hits but winning heaver Dave Martin scattered four hits, fanned nine and walked four. The Esks plated the winning tally in the eighth episode when Ken Ing singled and Jim Oleson drove him across the platter with a long two-bagger  John Edmundson coasted to victory for the Eskimos in the late event, stifling the visitors on two hits and two walks while whiffing four. Loser Bill Moore rang up seven punchouts, walked four and gave up nine hits. Jim Oleson and Doug Murray both checked in with two hits for the victors.                                                     

(September 1)  The Red Deer Eskimos captured the championship of the 1963 Rosebud Baseball League by nosing out the Innisfail Buckaroos 2 to 1 to capture the best-of-five final series in three straight games. Tight pitching by Dave Martin enabled the Esks to protect a first-inning 2 – 0 lead and hold on for the victory. Martin fanned four and yielded an equal number of hits but did not issue any bases-on-balls. Losing heaver Les Wiberg was touched for six hits, two of those off the bat of Doug Compton, while walking three and ringing up 13 punchouts. Two Innisfail errors led to the pair of Red Deer runs in the opening canto. Ken Oxtoby drove in the lone Buckaroo tally with a fifth-inning single.


This nine-team northern Alberta circuit was considered to be an intermediate-level loop but, with the scarcity of senior leagues/teams in Alberta during the 1963 season, was probably stronger in talent than that designation suggests.

Final Standings                  W     L    T    Pts.
Drayton Valley Legionnaires     14     1    0    28
Warburg Buffaloes               13     2    1    27
Leduc Oilers                     9     4    2    20
Breton Eagles                    8     8    0    16 
Thorsby Canucks                  7     9    0    14
Mulhurst Elks                    6     9    0    12
Calmar Cubs                      5    10    0    10
Conjuring Creek Wizards          4    11    0     8
Devon Legionnaires               1    13    1     3

SEMI-FINALS  Breton vs Drayton Valley & Leduc vs Warburg  (sudden-death)

(July 28)  Drayton Valley and Warburg have advanced to the Oilfield Baseball League finals. In sudden-death semi-final contests, the pennant-winning Legionnaires took out the Breton Eagles 4 to 1 while the runner-up Buffaloes disposed of the Leduc Oilers 8 to 2. Keith Legg outpitched Joe Hoshowski in the Drayton Valley-Breton duel.
Warburg took advantage of shoddy Leduc fielding to score four unearned runs in the opening inning and then coast to victory. Winning hurler Leeson Ruff allowed only three hits and five walks. Gary Panky had two of the seven hits yielded by losing chucker Toddy Hannas. Rich Foster nailed two safeties for the Oilers.  

FINALS  Warburg vs Drayton Valley  (best-of-three series) 

(July 31)   The Drayton Valley Legionnaires defeated the Warburg Buffaloes 11 to 9 in the opening game of the Oilfield League finals. Former Swift Current Indians’ heaver, Harvey Pederson, backed with a three-run homer by clubmate Ken Machan, was the winning heaver. The loss went to Larry LaFreniere. Howard Moeller had three hits for the Buffs and Barry Panky added a triple.

(August 4)   Drayton Valley captured the 1963 Oilfield Baseball League championship by ousting the defending champion Warburg Buffaloes 5 to 3 and annexing the final series in straight games. Right-hander Harvey Pederson of the Legionnaires outduelled Leeson Ruff in the tight contest. Gord Tucker led Drayton’s ten-hit attack with three safeties. Gary Panky and Leslie Szepesi clouted homers for the Buffs.  

NORTHERN ALBERTA INTERMEDIATE “B” BASEBALL FINALS  Drayton Valley Legionnaires (Oilfield League) vs Beverly Crest Motor Hotel (Sunburst League)  best-of-three series

(August 11)  Drayton Valley of the Oilfield Baseball League jumped into a one-game lead in the northern Alberta intermediate “B” finals by stopping the Beverly Crest Motor Hotel of the Sunburst League 9 to 6. Harvey Pederson hurled the win. Drayton pounded 11 hits off loser R. Stroble. Ken Machan smacked a pinch-hit double to drive in the winning run.

(August 18)  The Drayton Valley Legionnaires won the northern Alberta intermediate “B” playoffs at Coronation Park by defeating the Beverly Crest Motor Hotel of the Sunburst Baseball League 4 to 3 in the third and deciding game of the best-of-three series. The Oilfield League squad dropped the opener of the double-dip 11 to 6 before roaring back to take the rubber match of the series. Drayton now advanced to the provincial finals against the Provost squad that eliminated Heisler in the southern finals.

ALBERTA INTERMEDIATE “B” BASEBALL FINALS  Drayton Valley Legionnaires vs Provost

(August 25)  Harvey Pederson tossed a brilliant two-hitter as Drayton Valley trimmed Provost 5 to 1 in the opening game of the provincial intermediate “B” playoffs. Peterson rang up 12 punchouts and was able assisted by teammate Vic Luciak who clouted a home run.

(September 1)  Drayton Valley captured the 1963 Alberta intermediate “B” baseball title by overwhelming Provost 10 to 1 to take the final series in two straight games. Right-hander Harvey Pederson was again the big gun for the winning Legionnaires. He scattered seven hits to take the complete-game verdict over Bill Scammell and also led his squad with the lumber, stroking three hits including a double. A six-run explosion in the bottom-of-the-eighth inning put the result on ice.


No known senior amateur baseball leagues existed in southern Alberta in 1963. Intermediate-level circuits were even in decline with the demise of the Big Six League. A few of the Big Six survivors joined the Dry Belt Intermediate loop.


Brooks Buffaloes
Coaldale Imperials
Medicine Hat Royals
Vauxhall Jets
Warner Elks

SEMI-FINALS  Coaldale Imperials vs Medicine Hat Royals  & Vauxhall Jets vs Brooks Buffaloes  (best-of-three series)

(July 21)  The Brooks Buffaloes beat the Vauxhall Jets 5 to 4 as their Dry Belt League semi-final series got underway.

(July 21)  The Medicine Hat Royals squeaked through their opening-game Dry Belt League playoff by defeating the Coaldale Imperials 3 to 1. Medicine Hat’s Ken Holcomb spun a complete-game six-hitter, fanning five along the way, in chalking up the mound triumph. Merv Shankland of the Imperials was the loser, surrendering eight hits. He singled home Wes Price for Coaldale’s only run in the ninth inning, ending Holcomb’s shutout bid. Third baseman Jerry Stockburger of the Royals was the lone batter in the game with two base hits, one of which was a double. The Gas City Gang played errorless afield while the Coaldale nine committed four miscues.

(July 28)  Brooks eliminated Vauxhall. No game details available.

(July 28)  The Medicine Hat Royals earned the right to face the Brooks Buffaloes in the Dry Belt League finals when they doubled the Coaldale Imperials 12 to 6 in Coaldale to sweep their semi-final series in straight games. After the Royals jumped in front 8 – 0 after four-and-a-half innings, the final result was seldom in doubt. The Imperials closed the gap with three-spots in the fifth and sixth but their bid was quashed in the eighth when Medicine hat scored four times. Starter Ken Holcomb, with relief assistance from “Zeke” Ziebart, was credited with the pitching win. Loser Merv Shankland was kayoed from the knoll in the fourth frame. Infielder Ron Anton had three hits for the winning Hatters while teammate Jerry Stockburger and Coaldale first baseman Kenny each picked up two base hits.

FINALS  Medicine Hat Royals vs Brooks Buffaloes  (best-of-three series)

(August 4)  The Medicine Hat Royals defeated the hosting Brooks Buffaloes 7 to 2 and 5 to 4 in doubleheader playoff action to annex the 1963 Dry Belt Baseball League championship. The Royals now advance to the southern Alberta intermediate “A” finals against the Drumheller Miners.

Ken Holcomb went all the way on the hill for the Hatters in the opener, spinning a six-hitter. He fanned seven and walked six. Losing chucker Neil Anderson was raked for a dozen base knocks by the Gas City Gang including two each by Jerry Stockburger, Gord Smeland and Gary Wakely. Hot corner custodian Tom Boland had a pair of safeties for the Buffs.

Pius “Zeke” Ziebart went the distance on the slab for the Royals in the clincher, allowing four hits, breezing three and walking two. Tom Boland’s two-run triple staked Brooks to a 2 – 0 first-inning lead. Larry Plante singled home Jerry Stockburger in the bottom-half of the frame to narrow the margin to 2 – 1 and, in the sixth, the Royals got to losing chucker Bill Beny for four hits and three runs to move in front 4 – 2. A seventh-inning error by the Buffaloes allowed Medicine Hat to increase the lead to 5 – 2. The Brooks Brigade made it close in their final turn at bat, plating a pair of tallies on a brace of Hat errors and a passed ball but, with two retired and the potential tying run on base, Ziebart came through with a strike out to end the game and the series. Flychaser Larry Plante had three safe swats for the victors.


Fort Macleod Chiefs
High River


The calibre of play within this association of 11 intermediate-level teams teams from Edmonton and vicinity improved in 1963 with the folding of the Big Seven Senior circuit. Coverage of game results and league activities in the Edmonton Journal, however,was sparse at best.

The 1963 pennant-winning Safeway Seals entered the provincial intermediate “A” playoffs but were eliminated by the Cold Lake Cardinals. The runner-up Beverly Crest Motor Hotel nine carried the Sunburst League’s banner into the northern Alberta intermediate “B” playoffs and were ousted by the Oilfield League’s Drayton Valley Legionnaires.

Beverly Crest
City Police
Mickey’s Bus Depot
North Edmonton Giants
Safety Supply
Safeway Seals
Safeway Skylarks
St. Albert Oilers
Union Clerks
Union Tractors
Winterburn Tomahawks      


SOUTHERN ALBERTA INTERMEDIATE “A” BASEBALL FINALS  Medicine Hat Royals vs Drumheller Miners  (best-of-three series) 

(August 11)  The Drumheller Miners edged the hosting Medicine Hat Royals at Athletic Park 2 to 1 as the best-of-three southern Alberta intermediate finals got underway. The Miners went ahead 1 – 0 in the third inning when Jim Berlando doubled off losing chucker Ken Holcomb to drive in winning flinger Ron Brandenburg. The Royals tied the game in the fifth frame when outfielder Gordon Smeland singled, moved to second on a passed ball and to third on  Jack Crockett’s one-bagger before stealing home. Drumheller shortstop Bob Rawlusyk plated the winning counter in the top-of-the-eighth-episode. Rawlusyk reached base on a single, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and was batted in by Ron Mathers. Brandenburg limited the Gas City Gang to four hits, struck out eight and didn’t issue any free passes. Holcomb was touched for eight safeties, fanned eight  and walked only one. 
(August 18)  A 7 to 4 conquest of the invading Medicine Hat Royals gave the Drumheller Royals a sweep of their series and the southern Alberta intermediate title. Winning pitcher Jim Berlando was a key figure in the victory, ringing up 15 Medicine Hat punchouts. The Miners took a 1 – 0 first inning lead but saw the Royals rebound for three tallies in the top-half of the third. A solo homer by Drumheller’s Bob Rawlusyk in the bottom-of-the-third narrowed the gap to 3 – 2. The Hatters’ big downfall came in the fifth when the Miners pushed five runs across to take a lead they never relinquished.


The collapse of Edmonton’s Big Seven loop, one of the premiere senior-level loops in the province, freed senior amateur players from the Capital City and area to ply their trade within the ranks of the district intermediate circuits, two of the closest in proximity being the Sunburst Baseball League of Edmonton and the Leduc-centered Oilfield Baseball League. Perennial contending teams from Viking of the Eastern Alberta Baseball League and Cold Lake also emerged as strong challengers from the north in battling down the playoff trail for supremacy.


(August 4)  Cold Lake Cardinals dumped the Edmonton Safeway Seals of the Sunburst Baseball League in straight games and the Viking Shamrocks turned the same trick on Kessler.

1963 NORTHERN ALBERTA INTERMEDIATE “A” FINALS  Viking Shamrocks vs Cold Lake Cardinals  (best-of-three series)

(August 18) The Cold Lake Cardinals eliminated the Viking Shamrocks to advance to the provincial intermediate “A” baseball finals.

ALBERTA INTERMEDIATE “A” FINALS  Drumheller Miners vs Cold Lake Cardinals  (best-of-five series)

(August 25)  The Cold Lake Cardinals jumped off to a fast start in the Alberta intermediate “A” baseball finals. The Cardinals swept a doubleheader from the Drumheller Miners as the best-of-five series opened. The scores were 3 to 1 and 8 to 2.  Ron Gates, with a six-hitter, won a pitcher’s duel against Jim Berlando in the opener. John Tchir hurled the second victory with an eight-hitter while Cold Lake combed losing chucker Ron Brandenberg’s offerings for 14 base blows.

(September 1-2)  The Drumheller Miners have brought this southeastern Alberta city its first baseball championship in nine years. The Miners defeated the Cold Lake Cardinals 7 to 4 Monday in the deciding game of the best-of-five intermediate “A” series. The victory followed a 3 to 2 and 2 to 1 doubleheader sweep on Sunday that had squared the series.


With the demise of the the Big Seven Baseball League, one of the pillars of senior-level baseball in northern Alberta, junior-aged players who performed in that circuit, of which there were many, were welcomed into the newly-formed Edmonton Big Seven Junior Baseball League.

Army & Navy Dodgers
Blue Willow Angels
Cal’s Dodgers
Safeway Athletics


(August 6)  The Safeway Athletics bombed the Blue Willow Angels 9 to 3 as the best-of-three Big Seven Junior League finals got underway at Renfrew Park. Winning pitcher Bob Troutman had a no-hitter going until Dennis Nault rapped out a single in the sixth stanza. Troutman, who fanned nine and gave up four hits, was relieved in the eighth inning by first baseman Dale Turner when the Angels threatened, Shortstop Gaalen Erikson was the top swatsmith for the A’s with two singles and an inside-the-park homer. Harold Fleming followed with a double and single. Marty Babiuk, 4 – 1 in regular-season play, went the distance in absorbing the loss, whiffing 11 and surrendering nine Athletic hits.

(August 8)  The Safeway Athletics took advantage of a critical ninth-inning error to score a come-from-behind 6 to 4 victory over the Blue Willow Angels and wrap up the Big Seven junior finals in two straight games. Gaalen Erikson, the third of three Safeway hurlers, was credited with the win. Angel starter Wayne Gamble was nicked with the loss.