This team was one of the greatest amateur baseball teams ever assembled in Manitoba. It might be a long time before baseball fans are ever treated to a team like this again.
This was a proud team with a rich history and tradition. It all started back in 1948, before Brandon had any organized minor baseball. A bunch of young kids, pumped up from listening to the World Series, got together at a south end softball diamond. They each threw in two dollars for equipment, drew a name from a hat, and the Brandon Cloverleafs Baseball Club was born.
Dressed in uniforms that consisted of black sweatpants and white t-shirts, the young team played in pick up leagues and took in baseball tournaments around the country. They coached and managed themselves. They practiced and played on the Mental Hospital diamond with practices sometimes lasting 7 or 8 hours. As time passed, some players left the team and others took their place. Each year the team became more successful and eventually the club moved their games to the new Kinsmen Stadium.
In 1951 they joined the Central Manitoba Baseball Association, which at that time included 8 leagues with 40 teams. By 1954 the Cloverleafs had one of the most feared and exciting baseball teams in the history of the sport in western Manitoba.
From 1954 to 1960 the team won seven C.M.B.A. championships. They had great depth and were a perfect blend of youth and experience, strength and speed, pitching and fielding. Their playoff record during those years was a phenomenal 36 wins vs. 5 losses. In 1956, they played 60 games, won 54, lost 4, and tied 2. Three years later they won 38 of 44 starts.
They dominated the baseball tournament circuit, often winning premier tournaments such as those in Neepawa, Indian Head, and Keewatin. They also won various exhibition games with American teams, including one against the touring Kansas City Monarchs of the American Negro League. They won this game 15-7.
They had developed from a rag-tag bunch of kids into one of the finest amateur teams in Manitoba. Their success often hinged on a special magic that went beyond talent. They were good friends. They worked together and stuck together. They were a family, and the family included wives, girlfriends and relatives.
It seems only fitting that the Cloverleafs of this era are the first team inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. They were an outstanding team, and many members contributed to baseball after their playing days were over.