The Siglunes Athletic Association was an organization the spanned over sixty years, from the 1920’s to the 1980’s, and was designed to support athletics in a large area of the west central Interlake of Manitoba. It covered a large rural area from the school districts of Siglunes, Vogar, Hayland, Darwin, and the Narrows. It’s most important function was to organize an annual sports day and to sponsor a baseball team that would compete successfully against the best senior baseball teams in the province.
For Three generations the rosters of the Siglunes Seals Baseball team reflected many of the same names- Freeman Johnson, Larson, Sigfusson, and Sveistrup. As the players of each generation matured, so did the calibre of the teams improve. Such was the case with the team in the late ’20’s, the one in the ’50s, and finally with one in the ’70s.
The nucleus of the roster that made up the Seals team during this period started out as a junior team in 1947. Most of them were 14 and 15 years of age. Unfortunately, there was little competition for a team in this category, with Ahern being the only centre that could offer any. The following year, in order to get some playing experience, this junior squad began entering some senior tournaments. One by one, individual players were called up to play with the senior team.
By the early 1950’s the Seals were a dominant team at tournaments stretching from Gypsumville in the north to Warren in the south, and every village and town in between. In 1953 the team’s record stood at 32 wins and only 3 losses. The following year it played 26 games and lost only the last one. At this time three different trophies were available for open competition in the Interlake- the Kirwan Cup, sponsored by A. W. Kirwan, the localMLA, the Anderson Trophy, sponsored by James Anderson, and the Drery Cup. In 1953 the Seals won them all. No team from the Interlake had more plaques on those trophies than Siglunes. At one stretch on July 1, 2, and 3 in 1959 the team took first place at tournaments at Ashern, Grahamdale, and Siglunes. Total prize money was $325.00.
The Seals also held their own against many teams from larger urban centres from outside the Interlake. Teams such as the Dauphin Redbirds, Neepawa Cubs, St. Boniface Native Sons, Transcona Atomics and Fort Whyte were just some of the teams that the Seals met and defeated at tournaments. The Siglunes Sports Day, held on the first Sonday in July each year, and attracting some of the top teams in the province, was consistently won by the home team. From 1953 to 1956 the Seals won their own tournament by defeating Poplar point, Warren, Plumas, and Chatfield in the final games of those four tournaments.
During the period from 1953 to 1959 the personnel of the Siglunes Seals changed very little. Only at shortstop did players change when Charles Freeman, Eggert Eggertson and Keith Halldorson successively starred at that position. For most of the time, other members of the team included pitchers Sigmar (Siggi)and Flovent Sigfusson, Lorman Larson, and Stephan Reykdal, catcher Gisli Sigfusson, first-base Ivan Larson, second-base Marvin Svistrup, third-base willie Paul, and outfielders Hal and Kenneth Sveistrup, Skapti Sigfusson, Ronald Larson and Herman Johnson. Team managers during this time were Dave Eggertson and Oscar Sveistrup.
Without exception, all Siglunes Seals were from farm backgrounds. This meant that Sunday was usually the only day for practice or games. This fact made the teams’ success all the more extraordinary. Any costs incurred were the responsibility of each player- gloves, transportation, entry fees, etc. Every cent earned by the team was turned back to the Siglune Athletic Association, which in turn provided uniforms, bats, and some other equipment. Such a relationship suited everyone just fine – the community, the fans, and particularly the players, who played for the love of the game, rather than for monetary gain.
Back Row: Flovent Sigfusson, Ivan Larson, Lorman Larson, Hermie Johnson, Skapti Sigfusson, George Demyer
Front Row: Hal Sviestrop, Charles Freeman, Gisli Sigfusson, Oscar Sviestrup
Manager: Marvin Sveistrup
Missing: Eggert Eggertson, Keith Halldoorson, Herman Johnson, Ronald Larson, Stephen Reykdal, Sigmar Sigfusson, Kenneth Sveistrup, Dave Eggertson (manager)