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