Gilbert Plains Legion Bantams 1965-68

Made up almost entirely of local players this small country town youth team dominated the Bantam age baseball classification in Manitoba and Western Canada for an amazing four year period from 1965-68. Organized, managed, and coached by MB Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Mel Stoughton (2016) the team won five Manitoba titles in four years and captured three Western Canadian championships. Originally a Bantam B classified team from 1965-66 they won the Manitoba and Western Canadian titles both years. After winning the Bantam B provincials again in 1967 they moved up to the Bantam A class for playoffs that season. They then won the provincial Bantam A title while finishing as Western Canada finalists and in 1968 they captured both Manitoba and Western Bantam A championships.

“On behalf of the Gilbert Plains Legion Bantam id like to congratulate all the other inductees here this evening, also thanks to the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, not only for the honour you have opposed upon the boys but for the outstanding job you have done establishing this museum. I just want to stop here for a minute, I got a letter a couple of months ago with instructions about my speech, and the important part was don’t talk too long, well so I sent it away and it came back with a couple of changes, one change was remember how I was just saying the ‘outstanding museum you have established’ well my first draft I had put down ‘for the outstanding museum you have erected’ now,  they responded ‘maybe use the word establish because due to the age of our committee members the word erected may be offensive’,

To carry on, the players would like to thank so many people who made this induction possible, their parents, their coaches, volunteers, fans, and the legion of Gilbert Plains for their sponsorship. The player would also like to recognize the fine coaches who are no longer with us this evening, and also the players who are no longer with us this evening. The team has received such an outstanding achievement considering they were such a small community, although many of the guys were from Gilbert we cannot overlook the outstanding contribution players from other centers provided during this incredible run, I would like to share a few of these highlights with you,  in 1965 they won the first Manitoba Western Championship. They won the Manitoba title defeating Russell, Oak River, Holland in the finals, in the Westerns at Prince Albert they had 4 wins and 1 loss, the final game ended up being a 2 day event, the game was called off in the second inning, due to rain and a lot of work went into preparing that diamond, for the final 5 innings the next day resulting in the boys not returning home until 2am, and much to their surprise came home to a large crowd just over two hundred, lunch was served and to top it all off a town band was out, can you imagine how happy they must have been tooting their horns at 2am. So then we have a 1966 which was a dominating year, winning again both the Manitoba and Western Canadian titles, in Westerns they went 3-1 bringing their regular season record to an amazing 39 wins and just three losses, in 1967 Gilbert had two teams, one was Bantam B and the other in Bantam A. With both teams winning the Manitoba Championship, however the Westerns did not go as well for Bantam A’s.  Meanwhile the Bantams B won their provincial title beating Brandon in a very exciting game in Clearlake 9-8, with two extra innings, earlier they had defeated  Riverside Hamiota, and then traveled to Lethbridge where they were defeated in the finals by Lethbridge by get this an all Japanese representing Alberta called the Sansees, but anyway! They say good pitching will play over good hitting, this certainly was evident in the 1968 after they made playoffs, In game one of the semi-finals two outstanding pitchers went head to head, Gilbert Plains Blane and Brandons Rick McFadden, Gilbert took game one 4-2, McFadden had two strikeouts 17 with two hits Mcfadden 13 strikeouts following just three hits in game two Gilbert struck out 18 and had a no hitter. In game one of the finals in Winnipeg between Winnipeg,  Stoughton and Winnipeg’s Carry, were mining for 33 strikeouts since Winnipeg took game one in game two the ball was turned over to the young fellow Ken Bouchey and he kept overseeing the line with a five nothing win with thirteen strikeouts. In game three in Winnipeg Carrry M had fifteen strikeouts and just two hits, normally that would have been enough to win any ball game, however Blane had a different idea since he threw another no hitter, striking out 21 of the 23 batters he faced, and scored the only run having a 1-0 win for Gilbert Plains. From there they went on to win their third and final Western Canadian title, and just as an antidote many of  the boys graduated to the midget ranks that year and again won the Manitoba Championship. I would like to thank my wife Linda for helping me getting all these players to Ontario,  British Columbia, and down to the States, as well as listening to things such as ‘are you serious’ ‘i dont believe it’ I know that each one of you at some time in your life have had something given to you only to have that something taken away from you, well tonight you have had something given to you, and that something is an induction into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame, and this is something that can never ever be taken away from you, Congratulations 

Eastern Manitoba All Stars 1978

This team was formed from members of the Eastern Manitoba intermediate Baseball League to compete in a provincial playoff to determine the Manitoba Representative at the Western Canadians to be held in Nanaimo. Two separate simultaneous provincial tournaments were held with the two winners, Carman and Eastern All-stars, meeting in a best of three game final series. In their tournament held at Carberry the All-stars lost the first game and were required to win five straight 9-inning games to earn the victory. They also lost the first game against Carman in the finals but Don Maskiw pitched and won two 9-inning games on the same day to secure the trip west.  That trip was almsot cancelled when Air Canada went on strike but a chartered DC3 and a bus ride got them to Nanaimo just four hours before their first game. However, the All-stars were determined and talented as they went undefeated, climaxed by a 10-3 win over B.C for the title. Carl Watson earned the top pitcher award in the tournament and John Hindle earned the top hitter award.

Ebb & Flow Lakers

The Ebb and Flow Lakers representing the Ebb and Flow First Nation in central Manitoba were a very successful tournament team during the early 90’s not only in the province but also in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Minnesota. Although no statistical records were kept, the team had an estimated .900 winning percentage against several of competition including such top teams as the Elmwood Giants, Teulon Cardinals, Reston Rockets. Competing one year in the provincial intermediate playoffs they were runner-ups to the Waskada Orioles. Their successes culminated in 1995 at Blaine, Minnesota, when they won the North American Indigenous Games final by a score of 4-1. Archie Mclover pitched a three hitter to beat the state-selected team representing Minnesota.

 

“The Ebb and Flow Lakers, are the first First Nations team to be inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame, Charlie tells me they are the only First Nations team, to play in the senior baseball league in Canada. During the 1990’s they had two teams, a team of young guys and a team of old ones, I used to see them down in Stonewall, every year in the 90’s, they loved their ball but it’s not easy keeping a team on a Native Reserve, together and playing. They played all over Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba they were happy to play against the Teulon Cardinals and the Elmwood Giants, who were two of our premier teams, but the highlight of their years, was in 1995 when they won the North American Indigenous games, in Minnesota. The pitcher and I hope he is here tonight Archie who is just about 50 years old and still pitches for them, he pitched the complete game three hitter, when they won the North American Championship. Now these guys arent playing ball some of them are very good hockey players, I went with them one time, even though they said they didnt need anyone to come with because they thought they could take care of themselves, but I said no you gotta take somebody to be you guide, so they said well we dont like him but if we have to take someone we will take Gladwyn to look after us, Anyway they love hockey and ball and are very honored to be inducted as a small community team into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame”

Neepawa Farmers

The Neepawa Farmers achieved their greatest success as a member of the Manitoba Senior Baseball League during the five years from 1993-1997. They went to the MSBL finals all five years. In 1993 and 1997 they won league titles, and in the latter year they capped off the five year run by winning provincial AAA championship. Their ’93-97 regular season MSBL stood at 59 wins and 43 losses but they were particularly good in playoff action with 31 wins against only 16 losses. Four members of their roster have already been inducted as individuals into the MB BB HOF with two more entering in 2017.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening, my name is Dave Bennett I have been one of the on field announcers for the Farmers for 25 years, I am very pleased and honored to be asked to introduce the team members to you tonight. The Neepawa Farmers have always encouraged and given an opportunity to allow young lads to play on their team to develop their baseball skills. From 1986-2000, those 15 years the Late Workie Award has gone to a member of the Neepawa Farmers 7 times, out of the 15. In fact in looking over the list of team members being inducted tonight I see, that over half of them attended Neepawa school, well I was part of the staff there for ovr 40 years, so I saw first hand what commitment they had to the sports development, if I didn’t have them in one of my classes, perhaps they listened to me as my Vice Principal side but they always saw me for a good reason. I am pleased to introduce the Neepawa Farmers 1993-1997 the MSBL Champions of 93 and in 97. “

Bob Boyce

Bob Boyce (1950-2013) umpired Junior and Senior baseball for over 30 years in the Winnipeg area. He traveled to and from most of his games by city transit which was viewed as a tremendous sign of dedication. He also mentored and evaluated many young umpires who developed into top level umpires. For many years Bob assigned the umpires to Junior and Senior games, often on short notice, making sure the games had competent umps. He refused however to provide replacements umpires when Northern League umps went on strike in 1995. Bob was highly respected among other prominent Manitoba umpires and the Winnipeg baseball community in general for his competency and long-time dedication and service to the game.

“To present the induction of an umpire it will be my pleasure, Bob Boyce. This evening I will be presenting to Grant Rodgers, thank you for asking me to present Jacko (Grant)  I appreciate it.  If you had time to read some of Bob’s bio you probably saw that it said he took a bus, so you can imagine when there is a double header you got your base stuff and you got your plate equipment, that’s a big bag. Over the shoulder, on the bus, pay your fare, and who knows when the last time that equipment got washed…that was Bob. You will notice in there that is says something about him breaking his thumb, you will never guess who the umpire who replaced him for that after a double header, you’re looking at him. After that game I asked a guy Billy  how did Bob do and he said I think he has got a broken collar bone, I said did he get to the hospital? And he said that Bobby told him I dont know, I asked him would you like an ambulance or would you like someone to drive you, what would you like me to do, Bobby said nah its okay Billy ill take the bus. Now he did take the bus but he didnt go tot the hospital, he took the portage bus and went to the pharmacy for some medicine. I can stand up here and talk to you about what Bob did for me and all the rest of the guys but I will let Jacko take over, so to count off everyone strike 1 strike 2 strike 3 please welcome to the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame,

Mr. Bob Boyce”

Peter Thomson

Peter Thomson had a relatively short but outstanding baseball playing career in Manitoba. He started out with his hometown Miami senior team in 1945 as a 15 year old shortstop with good range in the field and speed on the bases while pitching occasionally. He became an outstanding pitcher after moving to Winnipeg and joining the CUAC Blues of the Winnipeg Senior League in 1953 while also playing several other positions. In the 1954 league semi-finals against Transcona Peter was the winning pitcher in all four CUAC victories. In 1955 he was the winning pitcher in the League all-star game but arm problems limited him to being primarily a position player in 1956-57. During this era he also played tournament ball for Miami and was a member of the Miami 1956-61 teams inducted in 2013 to the Hall of Fame. After the Winnipeg Senior League folded in 1958 Peter went on to a successful fastball career and later a slow pitch career while also helping to coach Little League and Senior teams to championships.

“Thank you,  it is my pleasure to introduce Peter Thomson, into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame, I have known Peter for many years, both growing up a couple miles apart just south of Miami, I also had the opportunity in 1999 to introduce his brother who played a long time and had an outstanding career in Miami, Peters baseball career was well documented in the program so I will only elaborate briefly. Initially he played for Miami in the league in Carman where he played for a number of years.  After he did his journalism school at Carelton University he moved back to Winnipeg in 1953, to work for the Winnipeg Free Press, at that time he played for the Winnipeg Seniors, Peter was a very successful pitcher for an number of years on occasion he would join the Miami team in tournaments. Peter considers the 1954 winning against Transcona in the semi-finals on the senior league as a baseball highlight of his career, in the series he pitched.

In the next game, he was leading 7-0 and Peter was tired,  Peter made the motion to the bench that it was time to make a change, he waved with his left hand to say bring in a left hander. So that was the end of the series for the year even though they eventually won against St.Boniface, even though Peter was unable to play. The following two years he played for Winnipeg  for the fastball league in Winnipeg, a team which was eventually inducted into the Manitoba Softball hall of fame, in 1960 he moved to Montreal, then to Ottawa then to Toronto as part of his journalist career, along the way he coached minor baseball . In the mid to late 70 he had very special experience he was executive assistant to two cabinet ministers in the government, in 1981 he returned to Winnipeg, in 1982-1983 he coached Legion 141 to two provincial champions, tonight we welcome Peter Thomson into the Hall of Fame.”

 

Peter Thomson Newspaper Article 1956

Peter Thomson Newspaper Article 1954

Peter Thomson Newspaper Article 1955

These articles were gathered from the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, Winnipeg Tribune Collection

Don Schmall

Don Schmall pitched 18 years in the MSBL for the Neepawa Cubs (1977-81) and Neepawa Farmers (1982-94) when most teams relied on important pitchers. He is the Farmers all time leader in innings pitched (609), wins (39), and strikeouts (274). Don pitched a no-hitter against Dauphin Redbirds, June 28, 1991, and was named the MSBL playoff MVP that season. Don was also named the Farmers regular season MVP in both 1984 and 1992. Don pitched with the Team Manitoba All-stars at several Western Canadian and National championships. He helped Manitoba collect two gold, two silver, and one bronze medal during the 1980’s.  Off the field Don served as Secretary-treasurer of Baseball Manitoba for five years and has been active in coaching minor fastball and serving on the Neepawa Minor Baseball Association Executive.

Orville Renwick

Orville Renwick has been an outstanding baseball promoter in South West Manitoba for many years. Orville started out as a player with the Coulter Red Sox, an Intermediate team that lost the provincial finals in 1968 to the Thompson Reds. Orville then coached the Red Sox for a few years before putting his talents to work for the betterment of all the South West baseball region. He started umpiring for minor and Intermediate ball in 1978 and didn’t retire until 2010. Not content to merely contribute on the field Orville also served as the South West League President from 1980-97. He also served as an area director for the Manitoba Baseball Association for six years and was made of the Manitoba Baseball Honour Society.

“Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen: For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Bill Kirkup from Souris and on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame, it is my pleasure to introduce to you our next inductee to the Hall, Mr. Orville Renwick of Melita, Manitoba. Having grown up in this area myself, I am quite familiar with Orville’s ‘stomping grounds’ This corner of the province has been home to a number of teams for as long as I can remember covering some 60 square miles along the USA and Saskatchewan borders. We are not sure of t times to stay viable the date of inception for the league but it appears to have been after WW2 with 4 to 6 teams involved. Like any other league the SWBL struggled at times to stay viable. The league was temporarily shut down in 2012 and reactivated 2 years later due in large part to Orville’s dedication, commitment, and communication with all teams in the region. With the reinstatement of previous member teams, plus two teams from the defunct MSBL, Orville’s efforts have paid big dividends for AA Senior baseball in South West Manitoba. The SWBL now operates with two divisions consisting of 11 teams. You will notice his bio covers his any baseball activities centered around the SWBL so I suggest you visit this in your program. In summary, you might use the slogan “I’ve been everywhere Man” In reference to his umpiring days, Orville was noted for being an umpire who consistently gave the low pitch which was very popular with most pitchers, but not all hitters. From this, I gathered a little story which may be fabricated but pertained to a called third strike in a crucial game where he called a batter out on a low pitch about an ankle high, to which the batter retorted “Mr. Umpire, that pitch was right at my ankles” to which Orville replied “that could very well be but its still strike three”  With that, for induction to the builder’s category of the Hall, please welcome Mr. Orville Renwick as a new inductee to the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.”

Orville Renwick Newspaper Article 1968

This article was gathered from the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, Winnipeg Tribune Collection

Gord Paddock

Gord Paddock has worked very hard for many years to promote baseball in the Oak River area as a player, coach, team manager, tournament organizer, and facility manager. Like most great players he started as a teenager in Senior AAA ball performing for the Hamiota Red Sox in 1982. He then spent over 30 years playing or coaching competitively with his hometown Dodgers and other local Senior teams. In 1992 Gord was named the Senior AA Player of the Year  in leading the Dodgers to the Manitoba Senior AA championship. He has coached minor and highschool ball in the Oak River area for many years. Gord was the coach of the Senior AAA Oak River Dodgers in the MSBL from 2011-2015. In the MSBL’s last year of operation, the Dodgers captured the 2015 League title which allowed them to represent Manitoba at the 2016 Nationals held in New Brunswick.

 

“It is my pleasure to introduce Mr.Gordon Paddock. Gord is not in attendance tonight but will be represented by Brother Russell & supported by many family members & friends. Gordon grew up in a very supportive and sport loving family who farmed in the Oak River Area. The Paddock name is associated with numerous sports not only in that area but across Manitoba and Canada. Gord has played an active role in all capacities as a player, coach, manager, and executive and most importantly as a very supportive parent. He was always recognized for his athletic ability, his work ethic, his modestly, quiet personality, and his willingness to help others. Gord played competitive senior baseball for many years (1982-2011) competing in both AA & AAA. He was selected by Baseball Manitoba as senior AA player of the year in 1992. In 2015, the last year of the MSBL, he managed the Oak River Dodgers to the League & Provincial Championship. This was a highlight in a long distinguished coach/managers career that started in 1997 & included coaching minor, highschool, AAA & Sr. AAA. Gord has worked very hard for more than 35 years to develop bother baseball and hockey in the Oak River Area. A mentioned earlier Gord was raised in a very athletic family, headed by mother and father, Alvina and the late John Sr. At this time I would like to acknowledge the complete Paddock family who I would ask to stand, Personally I would like to mention that Lorna and I had the pleasure of supporting and working with John Sr. and Alvina when Gord and Russ were adolescents. We have many great memories, It is now my pleasure to present this MBHOF award to Russel who will receive it on Gord behalf.” 

Al Robertson

David Nychyk

David Nychyk has over 35 years of being involved with baseball in Manitoba as a player and a coach. He has played on six provincial champion teams from Midget to Senior AAA and is a two time Western Canadian Senior Champion with the 1990 Teulon Cardinals and 2002 Elmwood Giants. Dave was also an all-star wherever he played highlighted by being named tournament MVP at both the 1985 Midget Provincial championships and the Senior AAA 1990 Westerns. From 1989-95 David had an outstanding career playing for and coaching US college teams. He was a member of the 1995 Manitoba all-star team that defeated the Canadian National Team. In 1992 Dave founded the Legion 141 Senior Baseball Club and served as vice president of the North Winnipeg Baseball Association for eight years. David was the recipient of the annual Manitoba Junior Baseball League’s Brian Domes Awards in 1995 for dedication to baseball in Manitoba. In 2013 he was named Baseball Manitoba’s High Performance Coach of the year. He now coaches the Winnipeg Junior Goldeyes Baseball Academy, supported by Home Run Sports.

“Good evening all, tonight it is appropriate that one top beat off hitters to ever play a game in Manitoba, I want to invite up David Nychyk to come forward please. It is my honor to tell you about David, id like to turn to page 4 in your program and read some of the fantastic details about his playing career and his coaching career. Whatever level he was at, whether that was a player or a coach he excelled, when I sat down to eat today Bob Picken came up to me and said he had just finished interviewing David, for the Hall of Fame. I asked how it went and you know he kinda said it in a how I could describe I think it is a perfect description of David, he said the interview was Bubbly. Secondly, if you look at the picture of David in the program and its a picture that is kind of giving you a shrine in the Hall of Fame, you might say Dave wash your face. But you know what, I think thats an appropriate picture for David to be remembered by. He was always a hussler, a scrambler, if he was on your team you loved the guy, if he was on the other team not so much. After his tremendous playing career he was on just so many champion games that there are too many to pick and the other thing too is that if his team wasn’t there somebody would always pick him up to go and play with them. Since his retirement from playing he has taken a real leadership role in the development of baseball in this province. Through companies, the Home Run sports academy and the college development program, he has given hundreds of kids the opportunity to develop their skills, get better as players, travel down to the states, play against tough competitions, on great facilities, to make contact with colleges down in the states, they may get the opportunity to then go played down somewhere in the states as David did. And he is providing that opportunity too, a lot of young baseball players that 10 or 15 years ago never had that opportunity, so to finish it off I just would like to welcome David Nychyk into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.”