News & Notes-5, Western Canada Baseball

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26 October, 2002

Tom Mulcahy, Ron WebbLloyd crest, 1954Red Star  From the amazing Tom Mulcahy (Lloydminster 1954, Williston 1955) a fantastic discovery -- the crest (below)  from the Lloydminster Meridians jackets of '54 -- the Lloydminster Meridians script over depictions of the two major products of the town, wheat and oil. 

Also, a photo or Mulcahy and the late Ron Webb proudly displaying their new jackets in the picture above left.

Also from Tom's collection, a 1954 team photo (click here) with most of the players identified.  Not sure of the trio below.  If you can help, please let me know.  

TBA 1             TBA 2            TBA 3  

Red Star  Bud & Nancy Watkins have had some trouble getting the photos to show up (ones from 1951) on their internet connection, so will mail some of the pictures in an attempt to identify some of the players.  A Watkins photo did show up elsewhere, this (right) in 1956 during his tenure in the PCL with Sacramento. 

There are also some photos on these pages which show some of the same 1951 players (a mix of the California Mohawks and the Saskatoon 55s) who remain unidentified.  If you get a chance take a look and see if there are any familiar faces :

In the top photo on this page, wondering if the player next to Watkins is Bud Ellington.

Barry SwantonRed Star  Colleague Barry Swanton (left), whose work on the ManDak League has been of great help here, got a little press in his local paper The Cloverdale Reporter  (Vancouver area) with a story on his research into baseball in Manitoba.

Red Star  Following a note from Ed Donovan of Brooklyn, NY on the trail of John Wagner (Grandview 1952).  Ed, John and Joe Bauer were teammates on a sandlot team in Brooklyn in '52 before Wagner and Bauer headed for summer play in Manitoba.   So, how did a couple of Brooklyn sandlotters end up in Grandview, Manitoba?

" ... I think it was through a broker (agent) named Lou Hanles who had numerous contacts in pro ball. John and Joe played for our sandlot team, the Comets. We had some decent players, some of whom signed contracts to play in the minors. Wagner was our shortstop who could hit with power and run like a deer. He was ahead of his time in that he worked out with weights which were usually forbidden to baseball players in the 50s."

Red Star  Good to hear from Charlie Beene.  I hadn't realized he too had played for Hub Kittle:

" ... What a guy!! I've told a thousand people if I'd had a pitching coach like him when I first started, who knows. He was just fantastic at the little things of pitching. Example: 0 and 2 on batter, don't brush (knock down) him down automatically . . . just as you wind up and kick to start to pitch . . . look at center field fence. It will drive a batter nuts, cause he won't know where the hell you're going to throw it. It sure worked. Hub could talk baseball for hours. If you spoke of something else . . . "time to go to bed." ... If there was ever a "book to be written about a baseball player," that's the guy to write about."

Red Star  If you have any information on a couple of barnstorming teams --Louis Murphy's Illinois Colored Giants of Spring Valley, IL or the Havana Cuban Giants -- researcher Peter Sandman would love to hear about it.  Peter has been in contact about the touring clubs.  The Illinois Club was active mainly in the 20s while the Havana club toured in the mid 50s.

Red Star  Also, searching for any clippings on Gus Pantel, who pitched in Manitoba in the late 40s and early 50s.  He might also be identified as Auguste Pantel, or Pantal, or some other variations. 

05 October, 2002

Red Star  In today's baseball economy, $45,000 will get you about one at bat (not per game ...  one single at bat for the whole season!) from Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez.  In 1956, it was enough for the Saskatoon Gems for the whole summer.  The Lloydminster Meridians did it on $29,000.  Thanks to Jeff O'Brien, City of Saskatoon Archivist, for providing the Saskatoon information. The look at baseball finances is up on the 1956 page. 

04 October, 2002

Red Star  If you played tournament ball on the prairies in the late 40s and early 50s one guy you'd hate to see on the opposing hill was Steve Wylie, one of the best "money pitchers" in Western Canada's baseball history.  

Already 37-years-old when he first pitched on the prairies, the former teammate of Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson on the Kansas City Monarchs, Wylie became the "go to" guy with those tourney cash prizes on the line. 

Included in our feature on Wylie is a fascinating oral history provided by Wylie to students in his home town of Clarksville, TN.   Thaniks to Eleanor Williams, Historian, Montgomery County, Clarksville for providing the students' publication and newspaper clippings on Wylie.

02 October, 2002

John NoceRed Star   With deep thanks to John Noce, right,  (Medicine Hat/California Mohawks 1951) there are major updates to the '51 section, including the game-by-game reports, photos and scrapbook section.  Still some pictures to study to try and identify some of the players, but help there from John and others. 

Noce has had a distinguished coaching career, in the US, Canada and in Europe. In 1992, Noce stepped down after 31 years as coach at the College of San Mateo.  During that time he also pulled coaching duties at Drummondville, Quebec in 1968-69-70 and 74-75, plus a stint with the Edmonton Tigers in '75.  The former catcher is well known in Italy from two decades of experience, 1977 to 1997, including a role as assistant coach with the national team for the 1984-92 and 96 Olympics.  In 1998 he coached the Reno Chukars of the Western Independent League and he's still suiting up -- with an association this season with the Youth Baseball Program in Parma, Italy. Quite a career!

(One of the fascinating items in his 1951 scrapbook is a menu from a Calgary restaurant.  Certainly not known for its culinary treats in that era, the city had what appears to have been a pretty up-scale Italian restaurant, the Venetian Gardens -- Cotolette a la Milanese, $1.30, 50-cents extra while the orchestra was playing!)

 In the process, contact made with Bud Watkins and the daughter of Curt Barclay.  

Red Star   The third edition of the Mohawks (which had barnstormed in 1949 and 1950) had nearly 30 players on its roster at one point.

Cliff Allmon, Curt Barclary, Fred Bartels, Nat Bates, Dick Bechelli, Pete Beiden, Larry Bolger, Chet Carr, Bob Castagnetto, Bud Ellington, Al Endriss, Bud Francis, Rudy Garcia, Tom Gillio,  Pumpsie Green, Gene Jacobs, Stan Jarvis, Johnny Kane, Jack Marcus, Dick Meister, Joe Mocha, Bob Newton, John Noce, Tony Nunes, Jim Olsen,  Franny Oneto, Ray Perasso, JD Peterson, Lou Pisani, Willie Reed, Bill Rehder, Tom Sorenson, Steve Stavrianoudakis, Brick Swegle, Cy Thorseth, Bud Watkins, Ray White, Lew Wigley

Don Barnett and Truman Clevenger were rumoured to be additions, but there's no record of them having suited up. 

Jim Olsen was one of the unluckiest of the California kids.  In his first game, first at bat, he singled, stole second and suffered a fractured leg. 

California, especially the Fresno area, was very well represented as players from the area suited up not only with the Mohawks, but with Roy Taylor's Saskatoon 55s and the Colonsay Monarchs.  

Red Star   Some tidbits from Western Canada research :

27 September, 2002

The Portrait of a Young Arm is up.  This game-by-game report on Jack Altman's 1954 season has been a work in progress for months but, with a lot of digging on Jack's part and many emails back and forth, it's finally on-line. Can you imagine any pitcher these days tossing nearly 400 innings?  A teenager no less.  It's been a fun project which also brough me into contact with baseball legend Hub Kittle, 65 years as a pro player, coach and manager. 

Jim Lester, always a huge help, has put me on the trail of the Paige kids -- the Satchel Paige offspring.  Jim recalled playing basketball against a Robert Paige in Peoria and it led me to try and find out what happened to the family.  Discovered that there were eight children, the youngest lives in Kansas City.

Jim also has news of a New York Ranger ceremony to honour Earl Ingarfield, Granum & Lethbridge 1953-1960, (still trying to track down the date) and a special evening to honour Fresno's Bob Bennett (October 19th at the Fresno Convention Centre).  

And, there are many updates in the game-by-game reports on the ManDak League, 1955 thanks to the material from Tom Mulcahy.  Also, included (in the Tournament section) a report on the 1955 Libby Labour Day tournament.  Some kind of day for Tom, and a few familiar names from the Spokane and Montana tournament teams. 

Also updated are the pages with the lists of Western Canada players.  There are many additions along with a few corrections. 

23 September, 2002

It is particularly pleasing to have made contact with Tom Mulcahy who was one of the "originals" -- a member of the the1954 Meridians, Lloydminster's initial foray into major semi-pro ball.  Many, many updates (with more to come) arise out of material from Tom covering both 1954 in Lloydminster and 1955 in Williston.  

Of note are the additions to the Photo Galleries and Snapshot pages (Western Canada & ManDak leagues) both for '54 and '55.  There's also the Williston team photo and I continue to work on the game-by-game reports.  The 1955 ManDak statistics now appear pretty well complete with the addition of the fielding stats.

Tom Mulcahy 1954Thanks to Google (the Internet search engine) Tom was able to turn a search for a Lloydminster photograph into a tour of the Western Canada Baseball site and make the discovery of this effort to preserve the history of semi-pro ball on the prairies.  Tom's still working on identifying folks in a few of the pictures and trying to provide an explanation for why #17 seemed so popular on the Oilers (there's a batting practice photo with two #17s for Williston). 

Mulcahy came to the Meridians in '54 after starting the season with Butte in the Copper League and compiling a 9-1 mark with Gonzaga University in college ball.  Arriving on the evening of July 12, 1954 Mulcahy was on the hill the next afternoon and put in overtime going eleven impressive innings allowing just six hits while fanning fourteen. 

He moved on to Williston of the ManDak League in 1955 before signing a pro contact with Pittsburgh (Bing Crosby, part owner of the Pirates and also a Gonzaga guy, was prominent at the signing).  Over the next two seasons he played with Lincoln and Topeka in the Western League and Spokane and Lewiston in the Northwest League. 

Baseball, however, took a backseat as he found he had to give religious life a chance.  Mulcahy spent fifteen years in the Jesuit Order, including time on the staff at Gonzaga. 

He did find some time for baseball scouting for the San Diego Padres and throwing batting practice for the Spokane Indians of the PCL (Picture at right : Mulcahy bottom left with Manager Tom Lasorda, back left; Coach Bart Shirley, back right; Dave Lopes, bottom right.) 

Weekly & Mulcahy 1956Mulcahy with Hank AaronLater, after a year as a high school teacher in Seattle, Mulcahy began a twenty year assignment with the Padres as Director of Group Sales and Season Tickets. 

Now retired (at least from full-time duties), he's as busy as ever managing a restaurant / lounge (close to the ball park in San Diego) a couple of days a week along with his charitable work in the community.  

(Left : Mulcahy on the right with Max Weekly - another Meridians star of 1954 - as teammates with Spokane in 1956.) (Right : Mulcahy with Hank Aaron)

Tom's updates included the sad news of the passing of two Lloydminster teammates, Keith Gustin and Ron Webb.  

Sherwood Brewer

Red Star  Finally, after a long search, had an opportunity to chat with Sherwood Brewer, the former Negro Leaguer who played with both Saskatoon and Medicine Hat in Western Canada.

Sherwood recently celebrated his 79th birthday while recovering from stomach surgery,  "I've been very sick, but I am on the road back."  He played in Saskatoon and Medicine Hat near the end of a long career both in the Negro Leagues and in the pros. 

First thing which came to mind when thinking back about playing in Canada?  "The thing I remember most about playing in Canada was how nice the people were. That pops up in your mind immediately."  

Thanks to Barry Swanton for sending along the above picture of Sherwood.  Barry received a copy of the photo from Winnie Robinson, the widow of former Winnipeg and Brandon star Frazier Robinson

Brewer was among those honoured on Wednesday on Capitol Hill during the Congressional Tribute to the Negro Leagues.  Dirk Gibbons, Double-Duty Radcliffe also at the event.  Trying to get a full list of those who attended.  

Soon to begin work on some great stuff from John Noce, Medicine Hat (California) Mohawks, 1951.  My deep appreciation to John for entrusting me with his '51 scrapbook.

28 August, 2002  

Red Star  Many updates across the site.  About 50-60 pages with additions/changes.

Red Star  Thanks to Minot Mallard enthusiast Bill Guenthner the ManDak League stats for 1955 are greatly expanded and there are updates to the ManDak game report pages.  

Red Star  The hard work of Jan Derwores in Kamsack has resulted in lots of additions to the Man-Sask pages and the North-Eastern Sask League page (including stats for Kamsack for 1951).

Red Star  From Owen Ricker in Regina, via Ray Nemec in Chicago, missing box scores from the 1958 Western Canada season.  44 years after the completion of that baseball summer we have the final stats and we find Jerry Adair was even better than we thought.

Red Star  The fine folks at the libraries in Saskatoon (Patricia Meddins) and Lloydminster (Jean Henry) have been super in digging out some game reports and box scores to help fill in a few blanks in the '58 campaign, especially the incredible Lloydminster-Edmonton playoff.

Sherwood BrewerRed Star  At long last -- have tracked down Sherwood Brewer (Saskatoon 1951, 1957 & Medicine Hat 1959).  Hope to connect by phone this week.  "Woody" has just celebrated his 79th birthday.  Chuck Winans, of Portraits In Performance Photography of Chicago, has sent along a recent photo.  It was taken shortly after Brewer's stomach surgery.  Since then he's managed to put back some of the 60 pounds lost during his illness and surgery. 

Red Star  Serendipity.  Contact, out of the blue, from Tom Mulcahy (Lloydminster 1954, Williston 1955).  More on Tom in a day or two. 

Red Star  In searching through the 1958 season, came across a Saskatoon Star-Phoenix column on Chet Brewer, noted Negro League pitcher, who spent time in Canada with Indian Head, Scepter and Carman.  The piece, by Ned Powers, is now online. 

15 August, 2002  

Red Star  Thanks to Bob Koroluk of Regina, there's information on the Northeastern Saskatchewan Baseball League. 

Given the difficulty in tracking down data on individual seasons, I've set aside a separate NESBL page.  There's some photos still to come. 

Red Star  All the way from Sugarland, Texas, Harvey Casey has been in contact in regard to my interest in the Basin League (Watertown, Huron, Pierre, Rapid City, Mitchell, Yankton, Valentine).  Casey almost made his way from Fresno State to Saskatoon and Medicine Hat to play in Western Canada but got sidetracked and ended up playing in the Basin loop with Valentine, Nebraska. Casey signs(I've managed to dig up an item from the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix which carried a story about Casey joining the club for the 1959 season.)  He was a member of the 1959 FSU club which finished third in the College World Series.  Among the other members of that squad to play in Western Canada -- Dick Doepker, Jerry White, Leroy Gregory, Lee Murphy, Ted Hiltel, Dave Biggers, Jim Lester, Stan Busch, Joe Fischer, Pete Beiden, Jim Garrett, and Mountie Bedford.  

Red Star  Nice to see Jane Shury's report on the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in June.  As you know, Dave Shury, who was unable to make the trip to Ontario, was among those inducted.   Tom Valcke, of the CBHOF, is to be the guest speaker at this Saturday's Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame induction in Battleford.

Mark FlynnRed Star  Also pleased to see Mark Flynn's picture (right) from his induction into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Mark, baseball historian and proud grandpa, among other things, has been instrumental in keeping Manitoba's baseball history alive after his own career in baseball, hockey and lacrosse.  

Red Star  The newsletter from the Saskatchewan Baseball HOF brings the sad news of the passing of Tom "Scotty" Melville long time sports writer for the Regina Leader-Post.  He was 94.

Red Star  With considerable assistance from Marvin Ligon, there's a special section posted on the Ligon Colored All-Stars, one of the most popular of the barnstorming teams of the late 40s and early 50s.