The Pas Teepees 1959–1964

1959 Polar League Champs

After World War II, a senior baseball team in The Pas played exhibition games against teams from northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan communities such as Bowsman, Flin Flon, Nipawin, Melfort, and Sturgis. Touring teams from the USA, including the Legion Colored All-Stars, also played in The Pas. The team also travelled to tournaments in both provinces.

The players included the brother battery of pitcher Ken Smith and catcher Claude Smith, Arvid (Swede) Grant, Sten Wadelius, Steve Anaka, Rene Raulins, and Rene McKinnon. In later years, they were joined by a younger group that included Claude Kozik, Ron Cox, Cliff (Ticky) King, George Hiatt, and Kenny Gair.

Locally, games were played on The Pas Collegiate Institute grounds until the early 1950s. When the school division decided that it needed a new high school, a decision was made to build it on the school playing field south of the present building. Because there was not another suitable playing facility in the community, the beginning of construction led to the end of organized baseball, not only at the senior level but also for younger teams. While the school opened in the spring of 1954, the town did not have a senior team again until 1956.

Formation of the Polar League

In the Spring of 1956, individuals in Flin Flon and Cranberry Portage decided to get together to see if there was any interest in forming a senior men’s baseball league in the north. A major component of the DEW Line had been established in Cranberry Portage so the population of the small community located on Hwy. 10 between The Pas and Flin Flon was on the rise. This meant that the DEW Line people were looking for recreational opportunities for the young men working there.

A meeting was scheduled for a Sunday in Cranberry Portage. Kent Morgan, a teenager from The Pas, was in Flin Flon that weekend to see an SJHL playoff game so some of the people going to the meeting suggested that he attend on his way home. The discussions indicated that there was interest in forming a league with two teams from Flin Flon and one from Cranberry Portage. Morgan said that he would approach people in The Pas to see if a team could be formed and a playing field found.

Morgan initially contacted Arvid Grant about the idea and Mr Grant agreed to bring together a group of baseball people to discuss the idea. Once there seemed to be enough interest and it was determined where the team could play its home games, a notice was placed in the local paper, The Northern Mail, by Morgan, who was a freelance sports reporter for the paper, to recruit players. Initial practices were held in the small Winton field near The Pas Lumber Company.

In 1960, The TeePees finished first in regular season play and then met Creighton Economy Braves in the semi-final. The series went five games with the TeePees winning the rubber match 10–2. Lynn Marlowe was the winning pitcher and Dick Laframboise had three hits. The final with the Stylers from Flin Flon actually went eight games as the first game ended in a 5-5 tie. The Pas won game two 14-9, but Styler bounced back with a 9–0 victory to even the series. Ron Cox’s grand slam homerun was the big blow in the TeePees 6-3 win in game four. Stylers won the next two games 4–1 and 2–1 to move ahead 3–2. Catcher George Konik stole home with the winning run in the second game. The Pas won the championship beating the Stylers 6–1 behind Claude Kozik’s first inning three-run homer and then 4–2 in game eight. Marlowe drove in the winning run with a pitch hit single in the top of the seventh and pitched the bottom of the inning in relief of winning pitcher Bernie Lanigan. Marlowe with a record of 10–2 on the year was named league MVP.

In 1961, the same two teams reached the Polar League final with Stylers coming out on top in the best-of-seven series 4–1. Stylers Al Longmore was named league MVP. The following season the league expanded to six teams when a second team from The Pas called Trappers was accepted. The second team provide an opportunity for graduates from the minor ball program in The Pas to compete at a higher level. Coached by Marv Hill and George Hiatt, the young Trappers included Ted and Gerry Rock, Jack Ashely, Norm Engen, Gerry Foster, Paul Bayda, Wally Kowbuz and Gerry Yee. Several later played for the TeePees.

That year the TeePees won their third Polar League crown in four years beating Johnny’s Cardinals in the best-of-seven final. The series was tied 2–2, but the Cardinals won a 4–3 battle on Labour Day Sunday to move ahead. The TeePees then fought back the following day in game six to beat the Cardinals 10–5. Don Miller was the winning pitcher with Ron Cox, Harvey Beech, Barry Rowley and Millar leading the way at the plate with two hits. Orest Strocel contributed to the attack with two RBI. The Pas then captured the title with a 7–3 win in the second game of the doubleheader. Millar was the winner in relief of Wally Hausknecht while Rowley and Bill Donaldson led the attack with two hits. The Northern Mail reported that “the fleet-footed Donaldson scored five runs in the DH and played solidly in the outfield” and “second baseman Ron Cox was at his peak Monday. He was particularly brilliant in the second game.”

The Siglunes Seals 1953–1958

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.

Pilot Mound Pilots 1963

The Pilots, in the early and mid-sixties, were always the team to beat in the Manitoba Border League which extended from Manitou to Cartwright. They were always a powerhouse in League and Tournament play and had good pitching and solid hitting. As one opponent said, “most of them were left-handed, consistent hitters”. They won Border League Championships in 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, and 1967.

Their outstanding year was in 1963 when they captured the Manitoba Intermediate B Championship. In the Manitoba Final, they scored a 3-0 victory over Angusville with Brian Hodgson giving another outstanding performance by tossing a no-hitter.

Dauphin Redbirds 1958-1963

The Dauphin Redbirds of 1958-1963 had a core of great players who all figured into the teams success. They had solid pitching and solid fielding, and good and solid hitting.

The Redbirds were oustanding when it counted. In the days of Tournament Baseball they were difficult to beat. They won in Elphinstone, Birtle, Gilbert Plains, and Ste. Rose in 1958.

Also in 1958 the Dauphin Redbirds defeated Binscarth in 4 games in a best of 5 series to advance to the Northern Manitoba Finals. They then beat Erickson 8-2 and 11-3 to advance to the Manitoba finals where they were defeated by the Brandon Cloverleafs.

In 1959 the Redbirds were strong again in Tournament play, winning in Dauphin and Bowsman and losing in the final at Grandview. In the Provincials they lost to Brandon Again 6-2 and 6-5 in 10 innings.

In 1960 the Redbirds won the Tourney in Elphinstine and won in Roblin and Yorkton. The Redbirds went on to defeat Binscarth 2-1 and 5-4 in the Provincials to win the North- (no further games were played). Dauphin then joined the MSBL in 1961 and played Mediocre baseball all summer untill the playoffs. They beat Binscarth in the Semis and beat the Hamiota Red Sox in the final. The Series went 7 games. Dauphin won 3 at home and Hamiota won 3 at home.

The series featured great pitching by both sides, as well as great running in the series. Bob Kabel stole 2nd, 3rd, and home to score the winning run in the bottom of the 8th inning to edge Hamiota 4-3 in game 6 of the Series.

The seventh game in Hamiota was attended by the biggest crowd seen in the area.In a well played game the Redbirds beat Hamiota 6-3. Bob Kabel and Jerry Shumanski hit homers off Glennis Scott. Bill Murray made a great double play, Al Evanson made a game saving running shoe string catch in left field and Dick Lafromboise caught a huge blast off the bat of Don Smith.

Dauphin won the Manitoba Stark trophy Championship by defeating the Oakland Braves 13-1 and 13-3 in the Manitoba Finals.

In 1962 Hamiota returned the favour by beating the Redbirds 4 straight after an opening day tie. In 1963 Dauphin lost to Riverside in 6 Games.

Individual Accomplishments:
Dauphin had two batting champions in their lineup- Bob Kabel who won in 1962 and Bill Berezinski in 1961.

All Stars were Kabel, Jerry Shumanski, and Dennis McAuley.

Cam Walker

Walker was a player and a builder, as well as an excellent pitcher. He was with the 1973 Manitoba beaver finalists (2 hitter, 11 Ks), in 1975 was with the Manitoba bantam champs (12 k`s), and the Western Canada silver medallists. Walker started playing with the Souris Cards in M.S.B.L. at the age of 14 as 3 B, and in 1979 was selected for the National junior program. Walker enrolled at the Indeian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa, where they defeated the Montreal Expos Was Palm Beach (Class A) minor league team. In 1981 Walker moved to Western Kentucky University where he has a 7-1 record with team leading 60 k`s. In 1982 Walker was Western Kentucky’s co- captain with 8-3 record played summer ball at Barrhead AB, and was league all star in 1981 and 1982. Walker pitched and beat Team Canada (4 hitter & 8 k`s), he was added to the Team Canada roster for Intercontinental Cup, and pitched the opening game against Panama winning 7-2 with 8 k`s. After graduation from Western Kentucky Walker received a $40,000 signing bonus from Milwaukee Brewers. Walker had offers from the Blue Jays, Yankees, Braves, Reds, Giants and Angels, and from 1983-88 played “High A” ball at Stockton in California League. Walker played AA at El Paso in Texas League and one year of winter ball in Mexica. In 1989 Cam Walker returned to Alma Mater as pitching coach and in 1992 became the head coach of Indian hills Falcons, which he still holds today. Walker led his club to Junior College (JUCO) World Series in 1993, 95, 97, 98 & was named Region XI coach of the year and ABCA Louisville Slugger Coach of the year each time.