Brandon Cloverleafs 1954-1960

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.

Don Sumner

Played for Virden, Souris, Brandon Athletics, Brandon Cloverleafs before becoming an umpire and-then an administrator. Has served M.S.B.L. as Secretary-Treasurer, statistician, or in some other capacity for 35 years.

Jim Scott

Born in 1908, he was the catcher and often the manager for McConnell`s strong teams of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. A highly respected leader on and off the field.

Red Sangster

Born in 1924, he has spent more than 40 years as a coach, manager, and promoter in northen Manitoba, first in Flin Flon and then in Thompson. Thompson`s new (1992) ball park is named after him.

Murray Richardson

Born in 1927, Murray played professionally in the Dodgers organization in late 40s and early 50s. He played locally in Carman, Minot, McConnell, Hamiota, Virden, The Pas. Richardson helped organize Oil Dome League while acting as Virden’s Athletic Director, 1958-1967. Also served as Recreation/Athletic Director in North Battleford and Hamiota.

Ab Richardson

Born in 1910, pitched for McConnell, Bradwardine, and Hartney before becoming an umpire, where he made his mark on the game. Was umpire-in-chief for M.S.B.L. for several seasons, and conducted countless umpiring clinics. He was also rewarded honourary life membership in M.S.B.L. Ab was also inducted into the M.B.A. Honour Society in 1971. President of M.S.B.L. in 1966, 1969, 1970.

Pete Rettie

Born in Brandon in 1930, he was a top pitcher in the late 40s and the 50s with Norwood juveniles, Rosedale juniors, and St. Boniface Native Sons seniors. Once pitched 33 scoreless innings in playoffs for Rosedale juniors.

Irv Powers

Played with Brandon Cloverleafs, 1955-57, but an industrial accident cut short his playing career. He went on to coach and manage Cloverleafs for 23 years, and in the 1970s and early 80s he coached several provincial representatives in regional or national championship events.

Evelyn Moroz

Born in 1924, she was an excellent all round athlete who played 6 seasons in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Made first all star team in this league in 1950, and other all star teams in 2 other seasons. Inducted in 1988 into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

Johnny Menzies

Menzies was a fleet footed centre fielder for the DOKEY Tiger Winnipeg Senior Baseball team. He was the league batting champion in 1932 with a .400 average. In 1927 he had surpassed this with a .464 average but had not played enough games to win the title. The DOKEY Tigers were league champions in 1931 and 1932. Menzies also starred in Holland and Virden where he taught school and with the Rivers C.J.A.T.C. as an Air Force officer.