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L'Âge d'Or du baseball québécois. Après 40 ans de disette, les Royaux connaissent enfin des moments glorieux et remportent quatre championnats entre 1941 et 1949. Ils peuvent compter sur les meilleurs espoirs des Dodgers, dont Duke Snider, Don Newcombe et le grand Jackie Robinson (voir nos deux textes). La Ligue Provinciale, qui a fait relâche pendant la Guerre, revient en force. Elle peut compter sur plusieurs joueurs-étoiles bannis des ligues majeures pour avoir fait le saut dans les ligues mexicaines au retour de la guerre. Drummondville, en 1949, comptera notamment sur Vic Power, Max Lanier et Sal Maglie!

 1945 ROYAUX DE MONTRÉAL / Article: Bill Young
Jackie Robinson avec les Royaux de Montréal. Collection Baseball HOF
Jackie Robinson and 1945 Royals

They came to the table. Sixty years ago this autumn (2005), Jackie Robinson came to Montreal and started a journey that changed the face of baseball forever.

On October 23, 1945, the young African-American shortstop, fresh off an all-star season with the Negro American League's Kansas City Monarchs walked into the Delorimier Stadium offices of Montreal Royals' team president, Hector Racine, sat down, and signed a contract to play for the International League club in 1946.

Never before in the 20th century had such a thing happened in baseball. Never before had an African-American been so openly invited onto the playing fields of Organized Baseball.

And never again would the game be the same.

Up until this moment, all of Organized Baseball had unflinchingly adhered to a strict, albeit unofficial, colour barrier, what author Art Rust, Jr. described as a series of "private agreements [intended] to maintain the game's 'white purity.'"

Its roots reached back into the 1880s when certain of baseball's opinion-setters began taking brutally vocal exception to the small numbers of blacks then entering the game. Perhaps the most notorious bigot was the legendary Cap Anson who one time in Toledo, when confronted by Moses Fleetwood Walker, one of two blacks on the home team, is famously reputed to have yelled, "Get that nigger off the field."

Rust maintains that because of Anson's popularity and power in baseball circles, he, "almost single-handedly sped up the exclusion of the black man from white baseball until 1946." That was the year Jackie Robinson first suited up for the Royals.

By 1890, at all levels, from the major leagues to their affiliated minor leagues, segregation ruled. Occasionally, teams might try to pass off an especially talented African-American as a Native Indian, or declare that a dark-skinned Latin was actually Caucasian, but these ploys always failed. Organized Baseball was white, end of discussion.

Over the years, African-Americans looking to play the game banded together to form their own teams and leagues. By the 1930s, a loose but functioning structure of Negro leagues had developed, with two loops, the Negro National and American Leagues, considered major league.

Their showcase event was the annual east west All-Star game. Usually played before a full house at Chicago's Comiskey Park, these matches increasingly revealed the sophisticated skill-levels of many of the participants. It was getting ever harder to claim that blacks were not talented enough to play the white game. Change was inevitable, but when?

Attitudes began shifting during World War II as large numbers of African Americans enlisted in the United States military to fight - and die - for their country. For many, the contradiction was unacceptable. A black man could be asked to surrender his life in the defence of freedom: he was just not free to play baseball.

But still, the colour barrier could not be breeched - not until Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, decided to take matters into his own hands.

A devout man, Rickey considered that segregation in all its forms was abhorrent, especially in baseball. The practice offended his Christian principles and by 1945 he was ready to challenge it head on.

He was also a brilliant baseball tactician. Responsible for a number of the game's advances, most notably the development of those holding pens call the 'farm system,' Rickey was relentless in his hunt for new talent. Well aware of the riches buried in the Negro Leagues, he was determined to be the first to stake a claim.

The Dodgers' president fully understood that breaking through baseball's colour barrier would be a delicate operation - one wrong step and the damage would be incalculable. The player selected to lead the way would have to be capable enough to leave no doubts as to his playing ability and strong enough to withstand the bitter vituperation that would come his way from all sides. It took some time - but when Rickey met Jackie Robinson he knew he had found the man he was looking for.

Although born in the Deep South, Robinson had grown up in California where he soon developed a reputation as an outstanding athlete. At UCLA, he had the unusual distinction of earning a letter in four different sports - track and field, basketball, baseball, and football.

Robinson joined the army following Pearl Harbour and earned the rank of second lieutenant. It was here he encountered the full force of white supremacy for the first time - he faced a court martial for having refused to move to the back of a bus - and by the time he received his honourable discharge in 1944 he was firmly resolved to combat racism in every way possible.

Robinson began civilian life playing shortstop for the stellar Kansas City Monarchs. Although he shone on the field, he recognized that this was not enough - he was searching for a bigger challenge. Thus when Branch Rickey summoned him to Brooklyn and outlined his plan, Robinson was ready.

There was never any question as to where Robinson would begin his career in integrated baseball. Before he could even consider joining the Dodgers, he would first have to prove his mettle and gain acceptance in the minor leagues. To accommodate this transition, Rickey selected the relative obscurity of the International League, and what he considered to be the most accepting of all cities on the Dodgers' map, Montreal.

Noted sports writer, Tom Meany, wrote, "Rickey felt that he had the ideal spot in which to break in a Negro ball player, the Triple A farm in Montreal where there was no racial discrimination." And Dink Carroll of the Montreal Gazette echoed, "the absence here of an anti-Negro sentiment among sports fans . . . was what Mr. Rickey doubtless had in mind when he chose Montreal as the locale of his history-making experiment."

In fact, Jackie Robinson was far from the first African-American to play professional baseball in Quebec. As baseball historian Christian Trudeau has pointed out, blacks were part of the local semi-pro and independent league scene as far back as 1924, if not before. Chappie Johnson, a veteran of the Negro Leagues, frequently brought his touring All-Stars to the province where they were so well received that he eventually sponsored an all-black team in a Montreal circuit. By the mid-1930s there were several blacks, including locals Charlie Calvert and Chico Bowden, playing in the independent Provincial League and elsewhere in

Rickey, who had left no stone unturned in his crusade to draw African-Americans into mainstream baseball, would have known of this history. He understood that while racism was certainly present in Montreal, it was not the virulent factor of daily life that so dominated much of America. If Robinson was to have any chance to gain acceptance, he believed, Montreal was the best bet available to him.

Robinson himself acknowledged the importance of this choice. "I owe more to Canadians than they'll ever know, " he once said. "In my baseball career they were the first to make me feel my natural self." William Brown notes in his excellent Baseball's Fabulous Montreal Royals how Robinson declared years later that had Montreal not supported him in 1946, "I might not have had the courage to go on."

Rickey had been very deliberate in his march toward baseball integration, but when in the autumn of 1945 he was finally ready to act -when he had selected the man to break through the wall - he acted quickly. On very little notice, and without tipping his hand, Rickey arranged for Robinson to be in Montreal on October 23 and formally sign with the Royals. The press were summoned, but not told why.

And so when Hector Racine introduced Jackie Robinson as the newest member of his baseball team and invited him to sign a contract, the reporters in the room reacted with stunned silence. Baseball was about to be integrated - and they had not seen it coming.

Then, almost as one, they broke for the telephones, clamouring over each other in their haste to be the first "to relay the incredible news to their editors." What Le Petit Journal would call a, " veritable revolution in the world of baseball," had begun.

And it had begun in Montreal.

 

 1946 ROYAUX DE MONTRÉAL / Article: Bill Young
Jackie Robinson and 1946 Royals

There is a famous photo, taken in Montreal on October 23 1945, of Jackie Robinson signing the contract that established him as the first black in Organized Baseball in the 20th century. Seated in the Delormier Downs office of Hector Racine, president of the Montreal Royals and surrounded by Racine, Branch Rickey, Jr., and Royals' vice-president, Romeo Gauvreau, his ebony countenance shining in the photographer's light, Robinson is staring ahead and smiling, a man, it would seem, equipped and confidently ready to step into the unknown. As a harbinger of all that lay ahead, it is remarkable.

The news of Robinson's signing spread in shock waves throughout the baseball world. Montreal's Le Petit Journal called it a «bomb in baseball.» Across the United States reaction was swift and very mixed.

The president of the Negro American League, J. B. Martin, was one of the first off the mark, congratulating Dodgers' president Branch Rickey for his moral courage. «I feel,» he declared, «that I speak the sentiments of fifteen million Negroes in America, who are with you 100 per cent and will always remember the day and date of this great event.»

The gentlemen in Organized Baseball's highest offices tended to be more closed-mouthed and non-committal. Typical was William E. Benswanger, president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who stifled discussion with the terse riposte, «it is an affair of the Brooklyn and Montreal clubs whom they may sign, whether white or coloured.»

Among those favourably disposed, Horace Stoneham, president of the New York Giants, hailed the signing as «a fine way to start the program,» and promised «to scout the Negro League next year, looking for younger prospects.» (Which in fact he did.)

Perhaps the strangest reaction came from Joseph A. Brown, whose Buffalo Bisons in the International League would be called upon to host the Robinson Royals in 1946. «Very surprising,» he said, «it's hard to believe. I can't understand it.»

The commissioner of minor league baseball, Judge William Bramham, a southerner, set the sights of his bombast directly on Rickey himself. Referring to the Brooklyn boss as the type of carpetbagger who use the Negroes for their own purposes, Bramham blustered, «Whenever I hear a white man, be he from the North, East, South or West, broadcasting what a Moses he is to the Negro race, right then I know the Negro needs a bodyguard!»

There were a few comments from players. Future Brooklyn Dodger and Hall-of-Fame shortstop Pee Wee Reese, a Louisville native who would do as much as anyone in uniform to pave the way for Robinson at the major league level, but who in 1945 was just out of the army and still untested, reacted in a personal way.

«Just my luck,» said Reese. «The first Negro to be signed to a contract in modern Organized Ball not only had to be signed by the Brooklyn organization, but he also had to be a shortstop.»

Another Hall-of-Famer, Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians had previously confronted Robinson on post-season barnstorming tours and characterized him as «good field, no hit.» Feller posited that, «Jackie will be in a tough spot. I'm not prejudiced against him, either, and I hope he makes it good. But frankly, I don't think he will.»

Satchel Paige, also a Hall of Fame member and best-known of all Negro Leagues players + indeed, many thought he would be the first African-American to integrate the major leagues - was especially gracious. «They could not have picked a better man,» he said.

Dixie Walker of the Dodgers claimed to have no objection to the signing of Robinson - as long as he played on another team (!), while old-time great Rogers Hornsby pronounced categorically, «It won't work out.»

Perhaps the frostiest reception came from The Sporting News. Considered 'baseball's bible,' the St. Louis, Missouri publication seemed unnecessarily determined to dampen whatever delight surrounded Robinson's signing.

Calling it a start, «toward an effort to solve a problem which has been agitated by high-pressure groups more than Negro baseball circles themselves,» the weekly suggested that the story was being accorded greater importance than it merited. «Robinson has not been signed by the Dodgers,» it huffed, «and insofar as has been discerned, will never play for the Brooklyn club at the National League level.»

The Chicago Defender took a different tack. By underscoring the contradiction that lay buried in all the rhetoric, it drew attention to the irony of America, supposedly the cradle of democracy, having to send the first Negro in baseball to Canada in order for him to be accepted.

Montreal's bemused Le Petit Journal called the signing a plus for Montreal and offered assurances that the city would welcome Robinson with open arms.

For a time it appeared as though some agency or other might attempt to block Rickey and Robinson's efforts and re-establish the colour line + but this did not happen. The Kansas City Monarchs, from whom Robinson had been taken without compensation, accepted the verdict. The commissioner of major league baseball, Happy Chandler, refused to intervene, and his minor league counterpart, the voluble Judge Bramham, in spite of his personal views, followed suit. International League president Shag Shaughnessy asserted that, «the signing of any player is up to the particular club involved. If he makes good and is the right type, he plays.»

The first small battle had been successful, and soon enough the chatter subsided. Jackie Robinson was now a member of the Royals, and come spring he would make his first appearance on the field in a Montreal uniform. That would be time enough to re-open the debate.

Robinson used the winter to join a team of Negro Leagues all-stars barnstorming through Venezuela. An outstanding crew, they represented a veritable Who's Who of black baseball in America, and included future major leaguers Roy Campanella and Sam Jethroe, both of whom would later play for the Royals, and Quincy Trouppe, who spent 1949 in the Eastern Townships as a catcher for Sal Maglie and the Drummondville Cubs.

Robinson returned to California when the tour ended and on February 10 1946, married his long-time sweetheart, Rachel Isum. Less than three weeks later they were wending their way to Florida and the start of spring training.

Life would never be the same again. But that is another story.  

 1947 EASTERN TOWNSHIPS / Article: Bill Young
John Lee Pomoski avec les Royaux en 1930. Collection Alexandre Pratt
The Day John Pomorski pitched 20 innings

By the time John Pomorski dragged his aching forty-two year–old body back to the mound for the twentieth time that afternoon, there was nothing but the barest hint of a setting sun still hanging above the horizon. Twenty innings. Never, in all his years of baseball, had Pomorski ever experienced anything like it.

It was September 7, 1947, and John Pomorski, manager and pitcher for St-Maurice de Thetford Mines in the Eastern Townships Independent Intermediate League, was locked in what had become an ultra-marathon baseball game against Les Forestiers Catholiques de Drummondville (Drummondville Catholic Foresters – so named because they were sponsored by the Drummondville Chapter of the Order of Foresters.)

Pomorski’s mound opponent was René Latour, who had stepped in to relieve a tiring Leandre Couture, Drummondville’s premier pitcher, in the eighth inning, and had remained in the game. 

For nineteen innings the two sides had battled, and still they were tied - at three runs apiece. Pomorski was throwing only fastballs, now. It did not matter that he could barely pick up his catcher's signs in the fading light of early evening; the hitters couldn’t see the ball leaving his hand his hand anyway. All he needed was a target.

John Pomorski is a legend of sorts in Quebec baseball circles. Brooklyn-born, he was a tall, lean right-handed pitcher who had come to Quebec in 1930 as a member of the Montreal Royals. Except for the briefest of stays with the American League Chicago White Sox in 1934; he spent much of that decade in the International League, most of it with the Royals. His best year in Montreal was 1931, when he was 17-9, with an ERA of 3.33.

Pomorski continued to make this province his home even after he could no longer play at the higher levels. In 1941 he went 15-10 with Trois-Rivières in the Canada-American League, and following the war had a stint in the Provincial League. Pomorski remained a baseball presence in Quebec well into the 1950s. He died in Brampton, Ontario, in 1977.

***

The capacity crowd that filled the Thetford Mines ballpark had come expecting to see their favourites make quick work of the boys from Drummondville. But from the moment that Pomorski threw his first fastball to open the game, what they got instead was a pitchers' duel of epic proportions.

In the four-plus hours since the umpires had first called, “Au jeu!” at 2:30 pm, the game had offered everything - great pitching, clutch hitting, sound defensive work, and devilish good fortune. There had been more action, more ecstasy, more disappointment than ever seemed possible.  And still they were playing!

This was the third in a best of five semi-final series between the teams. Thetford took the first two games by convincing scores, 11-5 and 12-4. One more win would put them in line to confront Plesisville for the league title.

Pomorski was sharp from the start, striking out several batters early and inducing others to hit into the easy out. Nevertheless, Léandre Couture matched him pitch for pitch, fanning fewer but consistently keeping the ball away from the Miners’ big bats. 

Drummondville drew first blood, in the fourth inning, Shortstop St-Germain slashed a double into left field, and after taking third on a throwing error, scored on Léandre Couture’s single.

The score remained at 1-0 through seven innings, with both pitchers continuing to bear down, giving the hitters little good to swing at.  Until the bottom of the eighth - when things took a dramatic shift.

Léandre Couture, who had allowed no runs and only two hits up to now, suddenly ran out of gas, and before René Latour could come on in relief to put out the fire, the Miners rallied, racking up two quick runs to move ahead, 2-1.

The Thetford faithful were overjoyed.  Three more outs and victory was theirs. “Bring on Plessisville,”  they cried.

Alas, it would not be that simple. The Foresters ("Our lads of the forests" to Drummondville’s LA PAROLE weekly), still had one more turn at bat, and they took full advantage. 

Even as victory celebrations began to break out in the stands, Elisé Couture found the sweet spot on a Pomorski fastball and hammered it deep to centre for a long triple. Atchez Morissette quickly followed with a bloop single beyond the reach of the shortstop to bring him home, and before anyone fully realized what had happened, the game was tied.

Latour held the Miners scoreless in the bottom of the ninth, and with the tenth inning beckoning, this day's long journey into the night was about to begin in earnest.

After nine innings: Drummondville 2; Thetford Mines 2

Both teams had their chances in the early stages of extra innings, but neither could bring a runner across the plate.

Finally, in the fifteenth, it happened. First, ‘Doc’ Duplain, the Foresters’ catcher, and then second baseman Allard, singled cleanly off Pomorski, and when Thetford backstop Vandal could not handle a René Latour pop-up, Duplain scampered home with the go-ahead run.

But even this was not sufficient! After quickly setting down the first two batters and sending the paying customers scurrying to the exits, Latour hung a curve to Paquette who drove the ball down the line for what looked to be a sure double.

However, just as the outfielder was about to corral it and toss it to the infield, the bounding ball struck a rock and ricocheted into a drainage ditch.  In the time it took to dig it out, Paquette rounded the bases and crossed home plate with the tying run.

Immediately, dejection gave way to pandemonium, and with hope renewed, the fans now turned on their heels and scrambled back into the stands for the start of inning sixteen.

After fifteen innings: Drummondville 3; Thetford Mines 3

But there would be no more scoring. Through the next five innings, in the creeping darkness of the day, fatigue set in and the two pitchers just took over.

And now to start the twentieth, as he stood drained but unbowed on the mound, John Pomorski well knew that unless somebody got very lucky, no one would be crossing home plate again this day.

With deliberate precision, he sailed through his half of the frame, as did his counterpart, Latour, both hurling fastballs into the inky blackness.

When the home plate umpire could no longer clearly see the outfield, he knew that play would have to be halted. And so, at the end of the twentieth inning, with arms upraised to signal his decision, he reluctantly moved out toward the pitcher’s mound and called it a day.

Final score: Drummondville 3; Thetford Mines 3.

Les Forestiers Catholiques                   000 100 001 000 001 000 00 – 3 12 4

St-Maurice de Thetford Mines              000 000 020 000 001 000 00 – 3 12 3

Couture, Latour (8) and Duplain;  Pomorski and Vandal.

***

Twenty innings of baseball and nothing resolved. Except that those present had been witness to one of the greatest games ever played in the Eastern Townships.

As it turned out, echoes of this match were to resonate long after the last player left the field. By its inconclusive nature, the game soon gave rise to a series of misadventures – a story for another day perhaps - that ultimately had both Thetford Mines and Drummondville claiming the league title. Within the month, both went on to play for a version of the Provincial Championship. Each lost.

As for the match itself, it remains today one of the longest games by innings ever played in Canada. It is certainly the longest game ever to end in a draw, the longest game ever for which no winner could be declared.

And then there was John Pomorski, valiant beyond measure.  In twenty innings, from start to finish, he had kept the opposition at bay, surrendering only three runs and twelve hits, and establishing a standard for endurance on the mound that will never be matched. 

 

 1947-49 LIGUE PROVINCIALE / Article: Christian Trudeau
Les Cubs de Drummondville en 1949. Collection Christian Trudeau
Les belles années de la Provinciale

Après les années prometteuses des ligues « hors-la-loi » des années 30, la Ligue provinciale a connu une période difficile. La ligue vit une première saison catastrophique dans le baseball organisé en 1940, ruinée par une température exécrable et bien sûr la guerre. Cette dernière met fin aux activités de la ligue par la suite, étant remplacée par de petites ligues locales, qui incluent des bases militaires.

            Avec la fin de la guerre revint les grands projets, notamment le rêve du baseball organisé, qui est toujours très présent. Québec et Trois-Rivières retournent dans la ligue Canado-Américaine, et Granby et Sherbrooke se joignent à la Ligue Frontière, qui a des équipes aussi en Ontario et dans l’État de New York. Les villes restantes sur le territoire de la Provinciale s’organisent dans des ligues modestes. Pendant ce temps, Sherbrooke et Granby connaissent des saisons misérables, avec des équipes peu talentueuses et de longs et coûteux voyages. Sherbrooke finira par déclarer faillite à la toute fin de la saison, et les deux villes quittent la ligue après la saison.

            Avec le retour de ces deux grands marchés, on peut espérer la formation d’une nouvelle Ligue Provinciale. Une seule ombre au tableau : Omer Cabana, propriétaire depuis deux décennies des équipes de Granby, a de grandes ambitions pour son jeune fils Gérald : il veut absolument le voir évoluer dans le baseball organisé, et pour se faire il déménage ses pénates et son club de baseball à Geneva, New York, pour rester dans la Ligue Frontière.

            Sans Granby, la ligue manque de cohésion géographique. Aux grands maux les grands remèdes, Maurice Guillet, propriétaire de l’équipe de Sherbrooke, met sur pied un autre club à Granby. Bien entendu, cela jette un doute sur la crédibilité de la ligue, le Granby Leader-Mail refusant toute couverture. Mais, avec des clubs situés à Granby, Sherbrooke, St-Jean, St-Hyacinthe, Drummondville, Farnham, Acton Vale et Lachine, les clubs peuvent retourner à la maison après chaque match, en plus de permettre les fameux programmes doubles aller-retour du dimanche qui allaient devenir la marque de commerce de la ligue.

            Les débuts de la ligue sont plutôt modestes. Rapidement, il devient clair que Lachine ne peut suivre le pas, et elle quittera la ligue avant la mi-saison. L’organisation est chaotique : on assiste à un grand nombre de protêts, l’horaire est des plus bizarres, certaines équipes jouent 90 matchs, d’autres 65, les mêmes équipes s’affrontent à répétition. Le calibre n’est pas mauvais, mais les gros noms sont rares. La plupart des bons joueurs sont locaux : Roger Bédard (274-11-28) et Roger Vaillancourt (14-5)  à Granby, Léo Dupont (,295-2-21) et Louis Poliquin (13-2) à Drummondville, René Valois (,313-2-21) et Jacques « Coco » Tarte (10-7) à Farnham, Maurice Guérin (,301-1-26) et Guy Langlois (,315-3-37) à St-Jean ainsi Roger Ste-Marie (,340-3-30) et Jean-Paul Tétreault (9-10) à Acton Vale.

Les joueurs locaux sont entourés de quelques vétérans des ligues mineures qui allaient adopter le Québec pour plusieurs années, comme Johnny Bezemes (,376-2-14) à Drummondville, William Clovinsky (,298-1-56) et Kermit Kitman (,317-0-29) à St-Hyacinthe ainsi que Eddie Debs (,389-4-39) et Ernie Balser (10-3) à Granby.

Mais, la ligue fait preuve de beaucoup d’imagination pour recruter des joueurs capables d’améliorer l’équipe et/ou d’attirer les foules. On allait profiter pleinement du fait qu’on était hors du réseau du baseball organisé.

Première cible : les joueurs de hockey et les athlètes en général. Sherbrooke aligne les jeunes Normand Dussault et Gilles Dubé, qui allaient tous les deux jouer avec le Canadien dans les années suivantes. Drummondville y va avec la vedette du présent, le « Rocket » lui-même, Maurice Richard, qui l’instant de quelques matchs, sera leur troisième-but/voltigeur. Maurice montre une puissance certaine, mais le manque de pratique le rattrape : un roulant lui fracture le nez au troisième coussin. Il quittera la ligue au début juillet, probablement sous la pression des Canadiens.  Granby n’a pu trouver de joueurs de hockey, mais embauche Frank Morris, vedette de la CFL qui se débrouille fort bien au baseball (,276-6-31).  Dans les années suivantes, ce sera Fred Thomas avec Farnham et Sherbrooke, un futur Harlem Globetrotter et membre du temple de la renommée canadien de basketball.

Deuxième cible : les joueurs boudés pour la couleur de leur peau. En plus de Manny McIntyre, un joueur local de hockey que Sherbrooke recrute pour son club de baseball, plusieurs autres joueurs Noirs font partie de la ligue, un phénomène encore rare, Jackie Robinson faisant ses débuts à Brooklyn cette saison-là. Farnham mène le bal, entamant une longue relation avec les Negro Leagues. Fred Morefield (,322-7-34), Jimmy Johnson (,243-1-29) et LeRoy Sutton (3-12) font partie intégrante de l’équipe. St-Jean recrute ailleurs, du côté asiatique. La guerre avec le Japon à peine terminée, voici que Kaz Suga, ancien membre de l’équipe niponne Asahi, de Vancouver, se retrouve au cœur de l’alignement des Braves, frappant pour ,311-6-20.

Troisième cible : les « Mexican Jumpers ». À la suite de la fin de la guerre, les joueurs de baseball abondent, mais le nombre de places dans les majeures reste inchangé : le niveau de talent explose et rapidement, deux millionnaires mexicains, les frères Pasquel décident d’attirer, à grands coups de liasses de billets, des joueurs des majeures pour former une ligue pouvant compétitionner avec les majeures. 17 joueurs des majeures et beaucoup plus des mineures acceptent l’offre. Parmi ceux-ci, on retrouve les Québécois Roland Gladu, Jean-Pierre Roy et Stan Bréard. Après une première saison fructueuse en 1946,  la ligue, qui avait des ramifications politiques, commence à couper les vivres, et de plus de plus de joueurs quittent, même si aux États-Unis, ils ont été suspendus. Les premiers à trouver du travail sont les Québécois, qui ont la Ligue Provinciale dans leur cour. Roy revient parmi les premiers et a le temps d’avoir une fiche de 12-5 avec St-Jean. Gladu revient à la fin de la saison avec St-Hyacinthe. Celui-ci aurait vendu l’idée aux dirigeants d’investir dans les salaires de ces grosses vedettes, qui pourraient amener le meilleur calibre et surtout les plus grosses foules qu’ait jamais connu la ligue. C’était trop tard pour 1947, mais l’idée allait faire son chemin pour 1948.

Sur le terrain, Granby devance St-Jean pour le championnat, mais en séries les champions sont surpris en première ronde par Drummondville, qui se rend en finale, mais est battu par St-Jean.

Forts de cette saison fructueuse, on corrige le tir en améliorant l’organisation, notamment en embauchant plus d’arbitres et en uniformisant l’horaire. Acton Vale quitte la ligue, laissant six organisations bien établies. Les différents propriétaires commencent à délier les cordons de la bourse pour la saison 1948.

À Sherbrooke, Roland Gladu est engagé comme gérant et il amène avec lui plusieurs de ses anciens coéquipiers au Mexique et dans les ligues d’hiver : le voltigeur Francisco Coimbre (,312-8-66), le receveur Lauro Pascual (,232-2-35), le joueur d’avant-champ Jorge Torres (,305-5-57) et les lanceurs Rodolfo Fernandez (6-7) et Wilfredo Salas (3-4) forment le contingent latino-américain de l’équipe. En juin, s’ajoute à eux le puissant cogneur cubain Claro Duany, qui devient le Barry Bonds de la ligue, frappant pour ,365-27-90. À ce groupe se greffent les déserteurs mexicains Adrian Zabala , ancien des Giants de New York qui aura une fiche de 18-8, Paul Calvert, lanceur québécois qui sera presque imbattable (11-1) et le vétéran Ralph McCabe (10-5). Gladu lui même est au sommet de sa forme (,368-11-78) et mène l’équipe à un championnat facile en saison régulière.

Le reste de la ligue n’est toutefois pas en reste. À St-Jean, James « Buzz » Clarkson, une vedette des Negro Leagues qui aura une brève chance dans les majeures avec les Braves en 1951, à 38 ans, défonce la ligue en frappant pour ,408-31-75. Il forme un duo remarquable avec Bobby Estalella, un déserteur mexicain qui a une ligne tout aussi impressionnante de ,374-24-95. Au monticule, le héros local Jean-Pierre Roy est dominant (19-9), tout comme son collègue Terris McDuffie, qui à 42 ans, vient s’amuser et se prouver à lui-même qu’il peut réussir, après avoir dominé pendant 15 ans dans les Negro Leagues. Il a une fiche de 19-8  au monticule, et un dossier de ,342-5-20 au bâton. Roy, qui n’a pas été puni aussi sévèrement que les autres déserteurs, car il n’était pas sous contrat, est réintégré en août et quitte la ligue, avant de revenir pour les séries.

St-Hyacinthe connaît une deuxième moitié de saison endiablée, mené par le vétéran Paul Martin (,356-16-74), de retour au Québec après de bonnes années dans les mineures. Il est épaulé au bâton par l’ancien des majeures Connie Creeden (,430-8-71), le receveur local Oscar Galipeau (,304-16-55) et le vétéran des ligues mineures Gene Nance (,335-14-91). Au monticule, Pete Blumette (11-6), qui avait obtenu 20 retraits au bâton dans un match la saison précédente, est de retour comme as lanceur.

Granby a un alignement beaucoup moins impressionnant, mais sa combinaison de vétérans des ligues mineures, comme Joe Monteiro (,358-13-110) et Ernie Balser (15-14) lui permet de rester autour de ,500. La ligue regorge alors de joueurs tentant de cacher leur identité, peu de joueurs voulant être associés à une ligue hors-la-loi. Ça semble être le cas de celui qui se cache derrière le nom de Gene Oliver, un premier-but qui serait sorti de nulle part pour être nommé gérant de l’équipe, frappant pour ,373-6-65.

Drummondville a aussi un alignement plutôt terne, avec le lanceur Jimmy Pearce (10-8 et une carrière dans les majeures à venir) comme seul fait saillant. Mais, en fin de saison, tout change alors que Stan Bréard et le voltigeur Danny Gardella, en provenance du Mexique, viennent donner un coup de main. Gardella, qui avait frappé pour ,272-28-71 avec les Giants de New York en 1945, deviendra célèbre pour le procès qu’il intentera et gagnera finalement contre le baseball majeur, au sujet de sa suspension.

Farnham ferme la marche au classement, mais est une formidable attraction. Ayant peu de moyens pour rivaliser avec les autres en termes de salaires, l’équipe se retourne vers les Negro Leagues d’où elle tire parmi les meilleurs éléments. Joe Atkins (,384-31-97)., Gabe Patterson (,365-9-28) ainsi que les frères Dave (,365-27-93) et Willie (11-15) Pope font l’envie de toutes les équipes de la ligue.

En séries, les nouveaux ajouts de Drummondville s’avèrent un échec, l’équipe perdant en 3 matchs consécutifs. Sherbrooke bat Granby et St-Hyacinthe fait de même avec St-Jean en demi-finales. La finale s’avère passionnante. Tirant de l’arrière 4-2 dans la série 5 de 9, les Athlétiques de Sherbrooke revinrent de l’arrière pour forcer un neuvième et ultime match. Devant ce qu’on appelle alors la plus grosse foule de l’histoire du baseball à Sherbrooke, soit 5147 spectateurs, Saints et Athlétiques se disputèrent un match complètement fou le 27 septembre. Une mêlée générale éclata en deuxième manche, impliquant les joueurs des deux équipes, les arbitres, la police et quelques spectateurs. Une fois l’ordre rétabli, les A’s prirent les devants 9-7, avant de voir les Saints créer l’égalité en 9e manche. Après deux retraits en fin de 9e manche, les Athlétiques mettent sur pied une poussée, Jorge Torres faisant marquer Pierre Taillefer avec un simple pour donner la victoire et le championnat aux Athlétiques.

Frustrés par leur expérience, les membres de la direction de Drummondville veulent mettre le paquet pour la saison 1949. Ça tombe bien, car les déserteurs mexicains sont de plus en plus isolés. Les équipes ambulantes de Max Lanier sont boudées, sous peine de représailles, et la plupart se retrouvent à faire d’autres boulots pour survivre. C’est ainsi que Drummondville peut signer Lanier (8-1), lanceur étoile des Cards en 1943-44 et Sal Maglie (18-9), relativement inconnu à l’époque, mais qui avait encore 114 victoires dans les majeures dans le bras. Tex Shirley (13-3), ancien des Browns, complète la rotation aux Cubs. Du côté de l’attaque, en plus du retour de Gardella (,283-15-59), on amène un autre déserteur mexicain, Roy Zimmerman (,247-22-73), en plus de recruter des Negro Leagues le vétéran Quincy Trouppe (,277-8-37), qui allait avoir une brève chance avec les Indians quelques années plus tard et les jeunes espoirs Victor Pellot, alias Vic Power (,345-9-54), futur joueur-étoile des majeures, et Roberto Vargas (12-9), qui passa la saison 1955 dans les majeures.

Granby continue sa stratégie d’attirer des vétérans des ligues mineures, pas nécessairement des gros noms, mais des joueurs qui auraient dû être dans les meilleurs circuits mineurs. C’est suffisant pour le deuxième rang. En plus de Monteiro (,292-19-66) qui est de retour, on retrouve Bud Kimball (,314-21-88) et John Cordell (14-11), en plus du lanceur local Alfred « Duke » Duperron (13-10).

Sherbrooke conserve les services de Gladu (,305-19-81), Duany (,290-22-99) et Zabala (8-6), en plus d’ajouter Harry Feldman (2-4), Fred Martin (4-4), Ralph Schwamb (4-4) et Ebba St-Claire (,290-8-58), tous des vétérans du Mexique et des ligues majeures.

St-Jean perd Clarkson, Estalella et Roy, mais compense en signant le vétéran des Negro Leagues Quincy Barbee (,342-26-86), les déserteurs mexicains Alex Carrasquel (1-4), Myron Hayworth et Lou Klein (,265-1-3) et le vétéran des majeures Don Savage (,299-7-40). Terris McDuffie (12-10) est de retour comme as-lanceur et pour attirer les foules. Chet Brewer, une autre légende des Negro Leagues, vient aussi faire son tour (fiche de 4-2). 

À Farnham, Joe Atkins (,253-21-71) et Dave Pope (,293-22-87) sont de retour comme piliers de l’offensive, appuyés par le jeune Al Armour (,348-8-67). Willie Pope (12-10) est de retour au monticule.

La venue de Walter Brown (9-11), qui était avec les Browns de St-Louis la saison précédente, n’aide pas St-Hyacinthe, qui chute en dernière place, malgré de bonnes performances de Paul Martin (,316-4-47) et Gene Nance (,289-15-62).

Tout fonctionne pour le mieux pour la Provinciale, qui est constamment dans les nouvelles partout en Amérique, d’abord pour les signatures des gros noms, puis chaque fois qu’il y a du nouveau dans les procès de Danny Gardella et de Max Lanier et Sal Maglie contre le baseball majeur. Finalement, tout éclate le 13 juin, alors que le baseball majeur réadmet les déserteurs mexicains.

Le président de la ligue Provinciale Albert Molini se fait rassurant, clamant  haut et fort que les joueurs sont heureux au Québec et qu’ils y termineront la saison. Toutefois, la réalité est tout autre : Sherbrooke perd dans les jours suivants Zabala, Feldman et Fred Martin, Max Lanier quitte Drummondville, alors que St-Jean perd Carrasquel et Lou Klein, ce dernier rachetant son contrat pour 1500$ après quelques matchs seulement, retournant directement à St-Louis.

Toutefois, certains restent, soit par manques d’offres dans le cas des joueurs plus marginaux, soit, aussi surprenant que cela puisse paraître aujourd’hui, parce qu’on leur offre plus pour qu’ils restent ici. C’est l’approche de Drummondville, auprès de Gardella, Zimmerman et Maglie. Ce dernier aurait reçu 15 000$ à 20 000$ pour terminer la saison avec l’équipe, beaucoup plus que ce qu’il aurait obtenu ailleurs.

La question de la source de cet argent demeure ouverte. Les communautés se sont ralliées derrière leurs équipes, et on ne manque pas l’occasion de passer le chapeau suite à une victoire importante, question de donner les bons incitatifs à nos joueurs… Il semble fort probable qu’une partie de cet argent était issue des fortes sommes pariées sur le match de la ligue. On retrouve de nombreuses rumeurs sur l’implication des dirigeants de la ligue dans ces réseaux de paris et de potentiels matchs truqués. Le parcours de Drummondville en séries illustre bien cette possibilité.

Sur le terrain, la saison doit se poursuivre, et on veut maintenir l’intérêt des amateurs, qui ont rempli les stades depuis le début de la saison. On leur amène quelques vétérans des ligues majeures sur la pente descendante, question d’avoir quelques noms connus, comme Johnny Corriden, Bill Brandt et Lou Knerr à Sherbrooke, Charles Brewster à St-Hyacinthe et Walt Signer et Glenn Gardner à St-Jean. Sherbrooke retourne aussi dans ses racines cubaines, attirant un joueur qui avait été considéré par Branch Rickey pour être le premier Noir dans le baseball organisé, Silvio Garcia. Pas très doué défensivement et sans position fixe (il joue partout à l’avant-champ), celui qui roule sa bosse dans les ligues cubaines, mexicaines et les Negro Leagues depuis une douzaine d’années frappe pour ,315-4-76. La puissance allait suivre dans les années suivantes, Garcia se payant le luxe d’une triple couronne dans la Provinciale dès 1950.

Les champions de la saison régulière, Drummondville, triomphent difficilement de St-Hyacinthe en demi-finale, qui nécessite le maximum de 9 matchs. St-Jean sort les champions défendant, Sherbrooke, alors que Farnham voit ses efforts récompensés par des victoires sur Granby, puis en demi-finale sur St-Jean.

À la surprise de tous, Farnham tient bon dans la finale, et pousse la série à la limite de 9 matchs. Drummondville envoie son as Sal Maglie au monticule contre le vétéran Willie Pope. Farnham mène 1-0 en 7e manche lorsque Drummondville explose pour 5 points, en route vers le championnat.

La notoriété et le succès de la ligue fait en sorte que les dirigeants ne peuvent plus ignorer les demandes d’adhésion au baseball organisé. Le président Albert Molini donne sa démission en échange du statut de Classe C pour 1950.

Si la ligue obtient ce qu’elle voulait, elle laisse de côté cette grande liberté d’action qui caractérisa ces belles années de la Provinciale. Après quelques saisons de grande autonomie, la ligue tombera dans le réseau des clubs-écoles qui allaient être une cause importante de son déclin.

 

 1949 LIGUE PROVINCIALE / Article: Bill Young
Danny Gardella: Drummondville Cub and Baseball Original 

In Drummondville they called him “Dangerous Dan”.

The first among a parcel of major leaguers to jump to the Mexican League following World War II, Danny Gardella played right field for the powerful Drummondville Cubs of the Provincial League in 1949. His clutch play, both at bat and in the field, were critical in helping the club gain first place in the standings and win the overall league championship.

A baseball original, Gardella was a popular figure in Drummondville where his out-going nature and unexpected antics made him a fan favourite. He loved Canada, he once said, and remembered Drummondville as a “very interesting town. Nice, flat”, where “the fans were good. Excellent.”

Gardella was a prankster, and at a game it was not unusual to see him, in full uniform, walk across the playing surface, on his hands. A colleague tells of a recent visit to Gardella’s home in Yonkers, NY, when he responded to her knock by striding to the front door, upside down. 

Danny Gardella passed away on Sunday. March 6, 2005, just days after his eighty-fifth birthday. His death was been widely commented upon at the time, principally because he is recognized as the first major leaguer ever to challenge baseball’s infamous reserve clause, the paragraph in the standard players’ contract that bound a player to his team for life.

Danny Gardella broke into the National league in 1944 with the New York Giants and played with them through the 1945 season, when he batted .272 and connected for 18 home runs, eighth best in the National League. Teammates included Roy Zimmerman and Sal Maglie, both of whom would later join him in Drummondville.

In 1946, as former players began returning from military service, Gardella recognized that his chances of remaining with the Giants were slight. And so when the president of the Mexican League promised him $8000 plus a bonus of $5000 to play south of the border, he made the jump. Because he was an unsigned player at the time, he believed that, technically, he was not breaking a contract. He was, however, in violation of the reserve clause.

Gardella’s exodus set off a rash of other signings with Mexican League officials, enough to prompt baseball’s High Commissioner, Happy Chandler, to decree that “all players who jumped their contracts or violated their reserve status would be banished for five years, unless they returned to their teams before opening day.” This threat was soon applied as promised, at all levels of organized baseball, and with absolute authority.

For the jumpers, the Mexican experiment turned out to be less than expected and by late 1947, Gardella, and most of the others had returned home, to be met by locked doors and limited prospects. Gardella, convinced that he had a case against the Giants and organized baseball, initiated legal action seeking $300,000 in damages. And the jumpers, running out of places to play, now turned to the Provincial League.

At this time, the Provincial League was an independent operation, beyond the control of organized baseball, and in the eyes of many, an outlaw league.

The league offered a high calibre of ball, readily accommodating anyone who could play the game, be they Latin Americans, Negro League veterans, displaced major leaguers, talented Quebecois, or Mexican League jumpers.

Among a slew of very good clubs, the best of the lot was the Drummondville Cubs in 1949. Its line-up included such major leaguers as Max Lanier, Sal Maglie, Vic Power, Tex Shirley, Roy Zimmerman, and of course, Gardella, along with perennial Negro League All-Star, Quincy Trouppe - a wealth of talent that many believed could best the Triple-A Montreal Royals of the International League, if given the chance.

Sal Maglie remembers Gardella as a funny person, an acrobat.

“He would run around the bases and go into home plate making a somersault and landing on the plate.”

One evening during the Drummondville summer, Maglie invited Gardella over for a steak dinner, but Danny didn’t show. Gardella later explained that on his way to the Maglies, he had met up with the team’s official scorer, an undertaker by profession, who was on his way to an accident scene. Gardella decided to accompany him, and according to Maglie, “helped the undertaker embalm the guy, believe it or not.”

None of this seemed to hamper Gardella’s baseball accomplishments. Playing right field in 1949, he had a good year, batting .283, with 17 home runs and 80 runs batted in, and, as his regular appearance in game reports reveals, playing aggressive, and entertaining baseball.

Gardella’s best performance occurred in early July, when, according to La Parole, "’Dangerous Dan’ accomplished a unique feat . . .against St-Hyacinthe. He hit three home runs - the first time this has been done in the league this year - and knocked in 8 runs, as the Cubs defeated the Saints 10-4.” The third home run was a grand slam!

Gardella was named to the league All-Star game, and, reported La Parole, “made the prettiest catch of the night in the 13th inning and saved the North team from defeat.”

To be sure Gardella was a crowd pleaser. Typical was an incident that occurred in the fourth inning of a June home game against Sherbrooke, when former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher, Fred Martin, pitched him inside. As the La Parole correspondent noted, Gardella was “sent flying, flipping over twice and landing with elegance on his posterior, all to the great amusement of the crowd. Danny got back up, furious at this assault on his dignity and drove Martin's next pitch over the right field fence, one of the most formidable blows ever seen on these grounds.”

Gardella carried his solid play into the post-season. In the best-of-nine semi-finals against St-Hyacinthe, he opened strongly with a single and home run in the first game. Then, with both teams tied at four games apiece heading into the finale, he and Sal Maglie took charge. Maglie held the Saints to four hits and only one run, striking out 10, and Dangerous Dan drove home five of the seven runs the Cubs scored that night.

Gardella’s playoff heroics continued into the first game of the finals against Farnham when Maglie’s shutout pitching and his grand slam homerun cemented a 7-0 victory. It took the Cubs nine games to win this series and the league championship. In the final match, as Maglie once again prevailed, Gardella scored the Cubs’ first run of the game.

Meanwhile, Gardella’s lawsuit was working its way through the justice system. In February 1949, a federal appeals court had decreed that it warranted a full trial, and this decision had put the baseball authorities very much on their guard, especially as Gardella’s was not the only legal action facing them. Other players, including both Sal Maglie and Max Lanier, had also launched similar legal proceedings,

In mid-June, Commissioner Chandler, fearing the prospect of looming court battles, lifted the banishments and offered a form of amnesty to the Mexican jumpers. Shortly afterward, Lanier and Maglie came to an agreement with major league baseball, and before the year was out, so did Gardella, albeit not without a fight.

He had devoted much of the 1949 season to preparing for the trial and for his day in court, and it was only with great reluctance that he finally accepted his lawyer’s advice to settle.

His lawyer (who was working on a fifty-percent contingency fee) insisted that it would be impossible to claim compensation for lost earnings because, in fact, Gardella had made more money in Mexico and Drummondville that he would have earned with the Giants.  The settlement was for $60,000, the equivalent of 6 years salary, and a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.

“It was baseball which was so wrong,” Gardella told author William Marshall. “So undemocratic - for an institution that was supposed to represent American freedom and democracy.”

Gardella began the 1950 season with the Cardinals, but after only one game was summarily dispatched to Houston, where he batted .211 before being given his unconditional release. Typical of his unconventional nature, when it came time to bid Houston adieu, Gardella, with a coat and travelling bag in hand, waved a grand farewell to all - from the top of the outfield fence!

“I’ve been climbing outfield fences all my life,” he said at the time. “ I might as well leave Houston climbing one.”

Danny Gardella made one last attempt to prolong his baseball career – by returning to Quebec and the Provincial league. In 1951, he signed on with Trois-Rivières but could do no better that hit a lowly .178, with three homers and twelve runs-batted-in.

And with that, his adventure in baseball had come to an end - but not his place in baseball history. Danny Gardella will be forever remembered for that time in 1949, when as a member of the Drummondville Cubs, he stood up to the captains of baseball industry and rattled them to their very core.

 

 1949 LIGUE PROVINCIALE / Article: Bill Young
Now pitching for Drummondville: Sal Maglie

More than fifty years ago, on Tuesday, October 4, 1949, Sal Maglie took to the mound under the lights at Drummondville's Piste de Course ballpark and delivered one of the most memorable moments ever in that city’s baseball history.

The Drummondville Cubs, the class of the Quebec Provincial League, were hosting the resilient Farnham Black Sox in Game Nine, the last game, of the league finals. Knowing that the fate of their entire season was riding on the outcome of this one match, more than 3500 Drummondville fans had braved the evening chill and now huddled together within the massive grandstand behind third base, shivering in nervous anticipation. Tonight, the winning team would walk away with the League trophy: the losers would just walk away. Hopes and expectations of the entire town, not to mention the odd wager or two, and indeed, Drummondville's very reputation as a sporting center, hung in the balance. And they were counting on Sal Maglie to deliver.

Today Sal Maglie occupies a place in baseball history, remembered for his outstanding exploits with baseball's National League New York Giants of the early 1950s. But that came later. In 1949, Sal Maglie was a thirty-two year old pitcher whose career appeared to be on the down turn. He was well aware that he was running out of time, that he might never again have a chance to play on a championship team - and so he took this opportunity very seriously.

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A native of the Niagara Falls, NY area, Sal Maglie had been a career minor league pitcher who eventually worked his way up to the 1945 New York Giants, where he enjoyed modest success. However, with the end of World War II, former players began returning to their respective clubs, and Maglie saw that there would be little chance of his keeping a spot on the Giant’s roster. Thus, when given an opportunity to jump to the Mexican League - at this time actively recruiting players from the majors and high minors - he took the plunge.

A significant number of other players also made the same decision, such that the game's supreme authorities, led by High Commissioner Happy Chandler decided to set an example and banned them from all organized baseball for a period of five years. The jumpers would not be eligible to return until 1951.

After two years in Mexico, Maglie and most of the imported players called it quits and returned home – only to find they had run out of places to play. By 1949, Sal Maglie was at the nadir of his career. Now completely out of baseball,  he was pumping gas at the service station he owned in Niagara Falls, low on hope and desperately needing to be saved..

Fortunately for him, salvation took the form of the Quebec Provincial League, poised to embark on what many would regard as its greatest year ever. A stellar pool of players had become available – Quebecers, displaced major leaguers, young Latins, Negro League veterans, Mexican League jumpers – and every team in the loop was bent on recruiting the best talent it could find.

The Drummondville Cubs manager, Montrealer Stan Bréard, himself a career minor leaguer and jumper, had known Sal Maglie from their days down south and signed him on for $600 a month. 

Drummondville was delighted. On March 24, the daily LA PAROLE reported (my translation):

                   The big news of the week for our baseball fans has to be the official signing of well-known pitcher, Sal Maglie, formerly with the New York Giants of the National League. Maglie’s contract was received Monday night, duly and properly signed¼ Stan Bréard, who knows him well, is convinced that he will be a sensation in the Provincial League.

As indeed he was.

Sal Maglie was not Drummondville's only high profile signing. The legendary Quincy Trouppe, perennial All-Star in the Negro League came on board. So did ex-Giants Danny Gardella and Roy Zimmerman; and pitcher Max Lanier, a former all-star with the St. Louis Cardinals. Other regulars included: Victor Pellot, who would later gain fame in the major leagues as Vic Power; Roger Bréard, younger brother of Stan; Joe Tuminelli, a Dodger farmhand who preferred Quebec; and Conrado Perez, a Latin breaking into integrated baseball.

The Cubs got off to a great start as did the league, and in spite of certain surprises along the way, interest remained high throughout the season. Commissioner Chandler unexpectedly rescinded his ban on Mexican jumpers in mid- June, and while this did affect some teams – Lanier was the only one of the Drummondville nine to leave – the league continued to deliver excellent ball and draw good crowds.

Sal Maglie remained behind for several reasons. He was earning good money, he did not yet consider that he was ready to compete for a position with the Giants, and of greatest import, he believed he was honour-bound to fulfill his commitment to Drummondville.  

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The regular season ended in early September, and although the Sherbrooke, St-Jean and Granby sides had all taken their run at the Cubs, Drummondville walked away with the pennant, finishing eight games ahead of second-place Granby. Maglie led the league in pitching with an 18-9 record. And now, Drummondville’s post-season run, an inconceivable circus of highs and lows, was about to begin.

The Cubs had every right to feel confident going into the league playoffs, if for no other reason than that their first round opponents would be the lowly St-Hyacinthe Saints who had ended the season twenty-seven games out.

As a result, the Cubs were not prepared for the rude awakening that greeted them, and while, ultimately, they did manage to slip past the Saints, it took them the full nine games and more than a little luck. Their less than stellar performance prompted whispers in certain quarters that not was all on the up-and-up. Rumours that some players, or even umpires, had taken money were exacerbated when Jean Barette, writing in LA PATRIE, branded the Cubs/Saints series “Arrangé!”

These rumblings ceased to be relevant, however, once Sal Maglie had bested St-Hyacinthe’s Walter Brown, formerly of the St. Louis Browns, to nail down the series. In a twinkling, despair had turned to joyous celebration. The Sporting News reported that admirers had showered Maglie with gifts and money worth $700 following the last out.

But the hard part still lay ahead. The Farnham Black Sox would see to that. Anchored deep in the league’s second division throughout the regular campaign, the Black Sox had been the surprise of the post-season. Handily, they had first dispatched St-Jean in the quarterfinals, and then Granby, and were now poised to pull off the greatest upset of all, besting the powerful Cubs. Farnham had a solid formation made up of experienced veterans, several of whom had survived the rigours of the Negro Leagues and winter ball. They were not easily intimidated.

Through the first eight games, fickle momentum played no favourites. The Cubs took the first two games, lost the following pair, won Game Five on Sal Maglie’s four-hit, 2-0 shutout, split the next two, and then with victory in their grasp, lost Game Eight. The stubborn Black Sox had succeeded in neutralizing Drummmondville’s strengths and were still in the hunt. And one more time, fortunes were about to rest on a last, winner-take-all, final game.

Sal Maglie had been outstanding throughout the playoffs. In five starts he had won four, lost none, saved another game in relief and maintained a batting average that was among the best on his team. Against Farnham, in two encounters, Maglie was yet to concede a run. And tonight, in the autumn chill, with everything on the line, he was being called upon one more time.

The game is still remembered as everything one could hope for in a final contest. Facing Maglie on the mound was the venerable Willie Pope, long a stalwart of the Negro Leagues and ace of the Farnham staff. Both had come to win, and for inning after pressure-filled inning, both bore down, giving away nothing. Maglie struck out ten batters in the game, Pope nine. Maglie issued no walks: Pope surrendered one, intentionally.

Farnham was first to put up a run, capitalizing on what the local papers called a lucky home run. In the fourth inning, Al Wilson hammered a long drive to centre field and as Pellot and Gardella converged on the ball, it dropped between and rolled to the fence. By the time Pellot could recover it, Wilson had round the bases and scored.

Pope managed to hold the lead until the seventh before Drummondville finally rallied, and when the dust had settled and the cheering stopped, five runs had crossed the plate, enough to seal the victory. They had done it. At last, the Cubs were truly champions.

One more time, Sal Maglie had prevailed: four hits, ten strikeouts and a 5-1 victory. His last game in Drummondville and it was a masterpiece. The Cubs had required ten wins to earn the title. Maglie had delivered five of them.

LA PAROLE spoke for the fans:

The baseball season now concluded will long be remembered in Drummondville. It offered some of the most brilliant play that we could ever hope to see in a community like ours. It brought us the championship, and glory to the name of Drummondville and to its citizens.

The town held a reception for the team the day following. Head table guests included Stan Bréard, Sal Maglie and Sal’s wife, Kathleen. The league trophy was presented, and Maglie was lauded for the contribution he had made to the city.

His year in Drummondville had run its course, but not his career. In 1950, in New York, Sal Maglie would experience the rebirth that for several years placed him among the premier hurlers in the National League. Drummondville, or so the locals insisted, had prepared him for this challenge. And they were delighted.

 

 1949 LIGUE PROVINCIALE / Article: Bill Young
Now pitching for Drummondville: Sal Maglie

More than fifty years ago, on Tuesday, October 4, 1949, Sal Maglie took to the mound under the lights at Drummondville's Piste de Course ballpark and delivered one of the most memorable moments ever in that city’s baseball history.

The Drummondville Cubs, the class of the Quebec Provincial League, were hosting the resilient Farnham Black Sox in Game Nine, the last game, of the league finals. Knowing that the fate of their entire season was riding on the outcome of this one match, more than 3500 Drummondville fans had braved the evening chill and now huddled together within the massive grandstand behind third base, shivering in nervous anticipation. Tonight, the winning team would walk away with the League trophy: the losers would just walk away. Hopes and expectations of the entire town, not to mention the odd wager or two, and indeed, Drummondville's very reputation as a sporting center, hung in the balance. And they were counting on Sal Maglie to deliver.

Today Sal Maglie occupies a place in baseball history, remembered for his outstanding exploits with baseball's National League New York Giants of the early 1950s. But that came later. In 1949, Sal Maglie was a thirty-two year old pitcher whose career appeared to be on the down turn. He was well aware that he was running out of time, that he might never again have a chance to play on a championship team - and so he took this opportunity very seriously.

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A native of the Niagara Falls, NY area, Sal Maglie had been a career minor league pitcher who eventually worked his way up to the 1945 New York Giants, where he enjoyed modest success. However, with the end of World War II, former players began returning to their respective clubs, and Maglie saw that there would be little chance of his keeping a spot on the Giant’s roster. Thus, when given an opportunity to jump to the Mexican League - at this time actively recruiting players from the majors and high minors - he took the plunge.

A significant number of other players also made the same decision, such that the game's supreme authorities, led by High Commissioner Happy Chandler decided to set an example and banned them from all organized baseball for a period of five years. The jumpers would not be eligible to return until 1951.

After two years in Mexico, Maglie and most of the imported players called it quits and returned home – only to find they had run out of places to play. By 1949, Sal Maglie was at the nadir of his career. Now completely out of baseball,  he was pumping gas at the service station he owned in Niagara Falls, low on hope and desperately needing to be saved..

Fortunately for him, salvation took the form of the Quebec Provincial League, poised to embark on what many would regard as its greatest year ever. A stellar pool of players had become available – Quebecers, displaced major leaguers, young Latins, Negro League veterans, Mexican League jumpers – and every team in the loop was bent on recruiting the best talent it could find.

The Drummondville Cubs manager, Montrealer Stan Bréard, himself a career minor leaguer and jumper, had known Sal Maglie from their days down south and signed him on for $600 a month. 

Drummondville was delighted. On March 24, the daily LA PAROLE reported (my translation):

                   The big news of the week for our baseball fans has to be the official signing of well-known pitcher, Sal Maglie, formerly with the New York Giants of the National League. Maglie’s contract was received Monday night, duly and properly signed¼ Stan Bréard, who knows him well, is convinced that he will be a sensation in the Provincial League.

As indeed he was.

Sal Maglie was not Drummondville's only high profile signing. The legendary Quincy Trouppe, perennial All-Star in the Negro League came on board. So did ex-Giants Danny Gardella and Roy Zimmerman; and pitcher Max Lanier, a former all-star with the St. Louis Cardinals. Other regulars included: Victor Pellot, who would later gain fame in the major leagues as Vic Power; Roger Bréard, younger brother of Stan; Joe Tuminelli, a Dodger farmhand who preferred Quebec; and Conrado Perez, a Latin breaking into integrated baseball.

The Cubs got off to a great start as did the league, and in spite of certain surprises along the way, interest remained high throughout the season. Commissioner Chandler unexpectedly rescinded his ban on Mexican jumpers in mid- June, and while this did affect some teams – Lanier was the only one of the Drummondville nine to leave – the league continued to deliver excellent ball and draw good crowds.

Sal Maglie remained behind for several reasons. He was earning good money, he did not yet consider that he was ready to compete for a position with the Giants, and of greatest import, he believed he was honour-bound to fulfill his commitment to Drummondville.  

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The regular season ended in early September, and although the Sherbrooke, St-Jean and Granby sides had all taken their run at the Cubs, Drummondville walked away with the pennant, finishing eight games ahead of second-place Granby. Maglie led the league in pitching with an 18-9 record. And now, Drummondville’s post-season run, an inconceivable circus of highs and lows, was about to begin.

The Cubs had every right to feel confident going into the league playoffs, if for no other reason than that their first round opponents would be the lowly St-Hyacinthe Saints who had ended the season twenty-seven games out.

As a result, the Cubs were not prepared for the rude awakening that greeted them, and while, ultimately, they did manage to slip past the Saints, it took them the full nine games and more than a little luck. Their less than stellar performance prompted whispers in certain quarters that not was all on the up-and-up. Rumours that some players, or even umpires, had taken money were exacerbated when Jean Barette, writing in LA PATRIE, branded the Cubs/Saints series “Arrangé!”

These rumblings ceased to be relevant, however, once Sal Maglie had bested St-Hyacinthe’s Walter Brown, formerly of the St. Louis Browns, to nail down the series. In a twinkling, despair had turned to joyous celebration. The Sporting News reported that admirers had showered Maglie with gifts and money worth $700 following the last out.

But the hard part still lay ahead. The Farnham Black Sox would see to that. Anchored deep in the league’s second division throughout the regular campaign, the Black Sox had been the surprise of the post-season. Handily, they had first dispatched St-Jean in the quarterfinals, and then Granby, and were now poised to pull off the greatest upset of all, besting the powerful Cubs. Farnham had a solid formation made up of experienced veterans, several of whom had survived the rigours of the Negro Leagues and winter ball. They were not easily intimidated.

Through the first eight games, fickle momentum played no favourites. The Cubs took the first two games, lost the following pair, won Game Five on Sal Maglie’s four-hit, 2-0 shutout, split the next two, and then with victory in their grasp, lost Game Eight. The stubborn Black Sox had succeeded in neutralizing Drummmondville’s strengths and were still in the hunt. And one more time, fortunes were about to rest on a last, winner-take-all, final game.

Sal Maglie had been outstanding throughout the playoffs. In five starts he had won four, lost none, saved another game in relief and maintained a batting average that was among the best on his team. Against Farnham, in two encounters, Maglie was yet to concede a run. And tonight, in the autumn chill, with everything on the line, he was being called upon one more time.

The game is still remembered as everything one could hope for in a final contest. Facing Maglie on the mound was the venerable Willie Pope, long a stalwart of the Negro Leagues and ace of the Farnham staff. Both had come to win, and for inning after pressure-filled inning, both bore down, giving away nothing. Maglie struck out ten batters in the game, Pope nine. Maglie issued no walks: Pope surrendered one, intentionally.

Farnham was first to put up a run, capitalizing on what the local papers called a lucky home run. In the fourth inning, Al Wilson hammered a long drive to centre field and as Pellot and Gardella converged on the ball, it dropped between and rolled to the fence. By the time Pellot could recover it, Wilson had round the bases and scored.

Pope managed to hold the lead until the seventh before Drummondville finally rallied, and when the dust had settled and the cheering stopped, five runs had crossed the plate, enough to seal the victory. They had done it. At last, the Cubs were truly champions.

One more time, Sal Maglie had prevailed: four hits, ten strikeouts and a 5-1 victory. His last game in Drummondville and it was a masterpiece. The Cubs had required ten wins to earn the title. Maglie had delivered five of them.

LA PAROLE spoke for the fans:

The baseball season now concluded will long be remembered in Drummondville. It offered some of the most brilliant play that we could ever hope to see in a community like ours. It brought us the championship, and glory to the name of Drummondville and to its citizens.

The town held a reception for the team the day following. Head table guests included Stan Bréard, Sal Maglie and Sal’s wife, Kathleen. The league trophy was presented, and Maglie was lauded for the contribution he had made to the city.

His year in Drummondville had run its course, but not his career. In 1950, in New York, Sal Maglie would experience the rebirth that for several years placed him among the premier hurlers in the National League. Drummondville, or so the locals insisted, had prepared him for this challenge. And they were delighted.

 

 1949 LIGUE PROVINCIALE / Article: Bill Young
Kiyoshi Suga, a Story of Baseball and Hope

Kiyoshi Suga is a friend of mine, and while you might not realize it if you were to meet him on the street, he is also a part of Canada's baseball history. These days, Kiyoshi lives quietly in Ile Perrot, on the outskirts of Montreal, with his wife Margaret. But once, he was a member of the fabled Asahi baseball team of Vancouver, a distinction that has taken him all the way to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, where the Asahi were inducted in 2003.

Kiyoshi Suga is a survivor of the "Ghost Towns" of British Columbia, the internment camps to which Japanese-Canadians were exiled at the start of World War II, and by his very being, he tells a story of Canada. His is a story of triumph and great loss, a story of disinheritance and redemption, a story of hope. But, at its core, it is a story about baseball.

Kiyoshi Suga was the youngest of three brothers associated with the Asahi, a team comprised of Japanese-Canadians that dominated senior baseball on the west coast throughout much of the early Twentieth Century. Perennial champions, their skill and their style of play were mesmerizing, their fame legendary.

Mr. Suga's siblings, Ty and Kaz, were regulars on the Asahi, excelling both as pitchers and in the field. Because he was too young to join them, Kiyoshi became the Asahi traveling secretary, keeping the important pieces in place.

The Asahi's final triumph - and it truly was final - came in the fall of 1941, only weeks before December 7, when Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Nothing would ever be the same again.

A stark, haunting photo of the 1941 Asahi teams reveals twelve young men basking in the fullness of their lives, confident, happy, and to the last fiber of their being - baseball players. Who could have ever imagined the life altering changes ahead?

Following Pearl Harbor, the government of Canada declared war on Japan and immediately decreed all Japanese-Canadians to be enemy aliens. During what Kiyoshi calls, "the darkest period of my life," everyone of Japanese origin on the west coast, residents and citizens alike, including every member of the Asahi baseball teams, was sent inland to internment camps, what the residents called 'Ghost Towns'. Families were spilt up, with their possessions confiscated and practically given away at public sales.

Conditions in the Ghost Towns were unimaginable. No running water, no proper facilities, makeshift shelters barely keeping out the snow and the cold. "We would have to scrape the frost off our windows - from the inside," recalls Kiyoshi Suga. "It would be an inch thick, or more." Death from pneumonia was commonplace, especially among babies and the aged.

Nevertheless the community proved to be resilient, and as daily living established its own rhythms, internees started to play baseball. Gloves and uniforms and hats were pulled out of dusty suitcases, grounds were prepared, and teams drawn up.

Informal matches, often captained by former Asahi members, became common occurrences. Baseball, which had brought such joy and satisfaction to the community before the war was once again serving, this time to offer up a restored sense of pride - and hope renewed.

At war's end the internees were given a bitter choice- move east or go 'back' to Japan: the stalwart West Coast Japanese- Canadian Society, along with its beloved Asahi, simply vanished.

Kiyoshi Suga moved to Montreal to join brother Kaz who had begun a lengthy career playing baseball in Quebec, but not before stopping for a year in Vernon, where he met his future wife, Margaret - and was the catcher for a local team.

In Montreal, Kiyoshi helped establish the Nisei baseball team in the City League. Based in Lafontaine Park, this popular Japanese-Canadian squad won the league championship in 1949, and Kiyoshi was named to the league All-Star squad. The Nisei club was also the first to play a night game at Lafontaine Park, following the installation of floodlights in the early 1950s.

As Kiyoshi and Margaret strove to make Montreal their home and raise a family, baseball receded into the background. Adherents of Japanese Buddhism, Kiyoshi had the honour in 1952 of organizing and hosting an official visit to Montreal by the Lord Abbott, or Head, of their faith. Kiyoshi still has the photographs

And the story of the Asahi baseball organization and its significance fell from view. Until recently.

Principally due to the efforts of survivors and their families, the saga of the Asahi is once again becoming known, and this in turn, is drawing new attention to the reality of the internment camps.

An Asahi reunion took place in October 1972, opening the door to other activities. A book, Asahi: A Legend in Baseball, by Pat Adachi, followed, and then a film, Director Jari Osborne's moving Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story. In 2002, the team was both celebrated by the Toronto Blue Jays at SkyDome and feted by the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre.

The greatest honour was yet to come. In 2003, along with major league stars, Joe Carter (Blue Jays) and Kirk McCaskill (White Sox), the Asahi team was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. When, with great dignity, the few surviving Asahi members took the stage - the sparkle of their playing days still glistening in their eyes - participants were moved to tears. It had taken sixty years for the accomplishments and example of this outstanding formation to be recognized, but finally the Asahi were to become enshrined among the legends of our game.

Kiyoshi Suga was selected to accept the nomination on behalf of the team. A powerfully eloquent representative who keeps alive the fullness of victory, tragedy and wonder that shaped the great Asahi, he spoke passionately about the significance of the moment

To the question, did he still have faith in Canada, Kiyoshi Suga declared, "Yes! Most definitely yes! Canada is the greatest country in the world in which to live!"

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There is a postscript to this story. On Thursday, April 28, 2005, the Ashai were officially inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. And later this summer, in Vancouver, a new Asahi Baseball team exhibit, Levelling The Playing Field, The Legacy of the Asahi Baseball Team, will be unveiled. It promises to be something to behold.

 

 1949 CAN-AM ET PROVINCIALE / Article: Daniel Papillon
L'âge d'or du baseball à Québec

(Suite des années 30) La période suivante peut-être considérée comme étant l’âge d’or du baseball à Québec.  En 1949, le propriétaire de l’équipe, M. Ulysse Ste-Marie qui en a assez des insuccès, apporte plusieurs changements.  D’abord, on change de nom, dorénavant ce sera les Braves.  Puis on signe un nouveau gérant, Frank McCormick, vétéran 1er but du baseball majeur, principalement avec les Reds de Cincinnati.  McCormick a eu une très belle carrière dans le baseball.  Il fut nommé joueur le plus utile à son équipe dans la ligue Nationale en 1940.  Il participe également à plusieurs parties d’étoiles.

Le propriétaire des Braves, avec l’aide de son nouveau gérant, attire à Québec quelques vétérans des ligues mineures tels ;  « Butch » Lawing, « Moose » Shetler, Hal Erickson, Pete Elko ou Mike Fandozzi.  L’équipe se hisse au premier rang et les Braves sont champions de la ligue Canado-Américaine.

 
Québécois dans MLB
S. Robertson (1940-41,43,46-52)
Joe Krakauskas (1937-42, 1946)
 P  Paul Calvert (1942-45, 1949-51)
 P   Roland Gladu (1944)
 P   Jean-Pierre Roy (1946)
 
Du Québec à MLB
John Bassler (1940 TR)
 P  Del Bissonette (1940 Québec)
 P  Joe Boley (1938-39 Sorel, 1940 Drum.)
 P  Joe Cicero (1938-40 St-Hya. 1941 Qc)
Doc Gautreau (1940 Sherbrooke gérant)
Sam Langford (1940 Granby)
 P  Glenn Liebhardt (1939 Qc 1940 Granby)
Alex Pitko (1940 TR)
 P  Jean-Pierre Roy (1940-41 Trois-Rivières, 1947-48 St-Jean)
Wally Schang (1940 TR)
Charles Schesler (1939-1940 St-Hya.)
Mel Simons (1940 St-Hyacinthe)
Charlie Small (1940 Dru-TR, 1941 TR, 1942 Qc, 1946 Granby)
Charles Sutcliffe (1940 Qc)
 P  Hank Winston (1939-40 TR)
Dick Aylward (1946 Qc)
Hank Biasatti (1942 TR)
Frenchy Bordagaray (1946 TR)
Stew Bowens (1941 Qc)
George Bradshaw (1947 TR)
Mitch Chetkovich (1942 Qc)
Frank Doljack (1941 TR)
Pete Elko (1949-50 Qc)
Hal Erickson (1949-50 Qc)
 P  Roland Gladu (1940-42 Québec 1947 St-Hyacinthe, 1948-49 Sherbrooke)
John Glenn (1950 TR)
Herb Gorman (1946 TR)
Pete Gray (1938, 1942 TR)
Ray Hathaway (1946 TR)
Billy Hunter (1948 TR)
Garland Lawing (1949-50 Qc)
Ed Lyons (1941 Qc)
Frank McCormick (1949 Qc)
Alex Mustaikis (1949 Qc)
Danny O'Connell (1947 TR)
  P  John Leo Pomorski (1938 Drummondville, 1941 TR) 
Lou Rochelli (1947 TR)
Wally Schang (1941 TR gérant)
Mel Simons (1938-39 Mtl, 1942 Qc)
 P  Bill Brandt (1949 Sher)
Charles Brewster (1949 St-Hya.)
Walter Brown (1949 St-Hyacinthe)
 P  Paul Calvert (1948 Sherbrooke)
Alex Carrasquel (1949 St-Jean)
James Clarkson (1948 St-Jean)
John Corriden (1949 St-J. et Sher.)
Connie Creeden (1947 Sherbrooke, 1948 St-Hyacinthe)
Larry Drake (1949 St-Hyacinthe)
Bobby Estalella (1948 St-Jean)
 P  Harry Feldman (1949 Sherb.)
 P  Danny Gardella (1948-49 Drum.)
Glenn Gardner (1949 St-Jean)
 P  Roland Gladu (1947 St-Hyacinthe, 1948-49 Sherbrooke)
Myron Hayworth (1949 St-Jean)
Ed Head (1948 TR gérant)
Otto Huber (1948-49 Granby)
Al Javery (1948 St-Hyacinthe)
Lou Klein (1949 St-Jean)
Lou Knerr (1949 Sherbrooke)
 P  Max Lanier (1949 Drummond.)
 P  Sal Maglie (1949 Drummond.)
 P  Jim Mains (1949 Farnham)
 P  Fred Martin (1949 Sherbrooke)
 P  Ralph McCabe (1948 Sherb.)
Jimmy Pearce (1948 Drummond.)
John Phillips (1947 Sherb-Drum.)
 P  Dave Pope (1948-49 Farnham)
 P  Vic Power (1949 Drummondville)
 P   Jean-Pierre Roy (1947-48 St-J.)
Ebba St-Claire (1947 St-Jean, 1949 Sherbrooke)
Don Savage (1949 St-Jean)
Ralph Schwamb (1949 Sherbrooke)
Tex Shirley (1949 Gby-Drumm.)
Walt Signer (1949 St-Jean)
 P  Quincy Trouppe (1949 Drumm.)
 P  Roberto Vargas (1949 Drumm.)
Woody Williams (1949 St-Hya.)
 P  Adrian Zabala (1948-49 Sherb.)
 P  Roy Zimmerman (1948-49 Dr.)
 
Des Royaux à MLB
Bob Addis (1949, 1955) 
Morrie Aderholt (1944)
Ed Albosta (1942)
Stan Andrews (1944)
Pat Ankenman (1943)
 P   Toby Altwell (1947, 49-51)
Dan Bankhead (1949, 51-52)
 P  Jack Banta (1944-48, 50)
Red Barkley (1943)
Rex Barney (1943)
Vic Barnhart (1948)
Boyd Bartley (1943)
Eddie Basinski (1944,)
Dick Bass (1940)
Joe Becker Sr (1939-40)
Hank Behrman (1948)
Boze Berger (1940)
 P   Bruno Betzal (1945 gérant)
Jimmy Bloodworth (1948)
GIbby Brack (1943)
Ralph Branca (1944)
Rocky Bridges (1949-50, 52)
Gus Brittain (1945)
Cy Buker (1946)
Roy Campanella (1947)
Al Campanis (1943, 46-47)
Paul Campbell (1941)
Ben Cardoni (1946)
Tex Carleton (1941)
Clavin Chapman (1940)
Paul Chervinko (1938, 40)
Bob Chipman (1942-43)
Walt Chipple (1943-44)
Gino Cimoli (1949-52, 54-55)
 P   Chuck Connors (1948-50)
Claude Corbitt (1941)
John Corriden (1943-45)
Bill Crouch (1939-40)
 P   Cliff Dapper (1942, 48)
Curt Davis (1946)
Otis Davis (1946)
Peaches Davis (1940)
Lindsay Deal (1939-40)
Dutch Dietz (1943)
Red Durrett (1944-46)
Lou Fette (1940-41)
Wes Flowers (1941, 43)
Dee Fondy (1949)
Jack Franklin (1944)
Herman Franks (1941-42, 46)
Carl Furillo (1942)
Charlie Fuchs (1944)
Joe Gallagher (1946)
 P   Charlie Gassaway (1941)
Charlie Gelbert (1942)
Al Gerheauser (1947)
Charlie Gilbert (1940-41)
Al Gionfriddo (1948-51)
Tony Giulani (1940)
 P   Roland Gladu (1932-33, 1945)
Herb Gorman (1943)
Reggie Grabowski (1939-40)
Jack Graham (1941-43)
Hal Gregg (1943)
 P   Oscar Grimes (1948-49)
Lee Grissom (1940)
Bert Haas (1939-40, 51)
John Hall (1948)
Chris Hartje (1939-40)
Gene Hasson (1939-40)
Ray Hathaway (1945-46)
Joe Hatten (1942)
Ed Head (1941)
Ed Heusser (1947)
Al Hollingsworth (1940)
Alex Hooks (1938, 43)
 P   Dixie Howell (1941-43, 46,54, 56)
Johnny Hudson (1941)
Roy Hughes (1940-41)
Ira Hutchinson (1940)
Woody Jensen (1941)
 P   Sam Jehtroe (1948-49)
Spider Jorgenson (1946)
Alex Kampouris (1941-42)
Chet Kehn (1941-42, 46-47)
Hal Kelleher (1945)
Newt Kimball (1940)
Clyde King (1948-50)
Barney Koch (1944)
Jack Kraus (1942)
 P   Wayne LeMaster (1933, 39-40)
Roxie Lawson (1941)
Steve Lembo (1949-50)
Turk Lown (1948-50)
Red Lucas (1940)
Max Macon (1940-43, 54)
Harry Matuzak (1940)
Gene Mauch (1943-44)
Pat McGlothin (1949-50)
Paul Minner (1948)
Gene Moore (1942)
Bobby Morgan (1948-49, 51)
Ed Morgan (1942)
Glen Moulder (1946)
Van Mungo (1941)
Steve Nagy (1942, 46)
Sam Narron (1949)
Earl Naylor (1946-47)
 P   Don Newcombe (1948-49)
Roy Nichols (1945)
Bill Norman (1940)
Luis Olmo (1943)
Roberto Ortiz (1943)
Charlie Osgood (1944)
Erv Palica (1947)
Salty Parker (1945)
Lee Pfund (1947)
 P   Bud Podbielan (1948-49, 51)
Jake Powell (1941)
Steve Rachunok (1940-41)
Marc Rackley (1946, 48)
Pep Rambert (1941)
Pete Reiser (1940)
Xavier Rescigno (1939-40)
Lew Riggs (1946)
    P  Jimmy Ripple (1929-35, 40)
Jackie Robinson (1946)
Lou Rochelli (1943)
Billy Rogell (1940)
Stan Rojek (1942, 53)
Chet Ross (1946)
Don Ross (1939-41)
Schoolboy Rowe (1942)
 P   Jean-Pierre Roy (1944-46, 1949)
Mike Sandlock (1947-48)
Art Schallock (1948)
Howie Schultz (1945)
George Schmees (1949-50)
Walter Sessi (1947)
Vince Sherlock (1942)
George Shuba (1946, 50-51, 56)
John Simmons (1948, 52)
Duke Snider (1944, 48)
Tuck Stainback (1940)
George Staller (1940-41)
 P   Ed Stevens (1944-45, 47)
Glen Stewart (1942)
Gus Suhr (1940)
Clyde Sukeforth (1941 gérant)
Tom Sunkel (1943-44)
Tommy Tatum (1942, 46)
Joe Tepsic (1948)
Tim Thompson (1949-50, 52-54)
Al Todd (1945)
Gil Torres (1947)
Mike Ulisney (1944)
Johnny van Cuyk (1947-49)
Porter Vaughan (1941)
Kermit Wahl (1949)
Fred Walters (1941)
Tommy Warren (1944-45)
George Washburn (1943-44)
Bill Webb (1943)
Les Webber (1945)
Dick Whitman (1947-48, 53-54)
Kemp Wicker (1939-41)
Grady Wilson (1949)
 P   Frank Wurm (1945)
Chink Zachary (1944, 48)
 
Photos / Pictures
Ab. 1940. Elmer Lach. L'as du Canadien joue à Longueuil
1940. Royaux de Montréal. Photo d'équipe à la gare. E-mail.
Ab. 1940. Roland Gladu (Athlétiques de Québec). Photo.
1941. Royaux de Montréal. Photo. E-mail.
1941. Wayne LeMaster, West, Sample, Gassaway, Rocke (Royaux). Photo. E-mail. 
1941. Ligue de baseball Richelieu. Calendrier
1941. Ligue inconnue. Club de baseball Valleyfield
1942. Ligue Can-Am. Photo d'équipe des Athlétiques de Québec
1943. Photo de l'équipe Hull-Volant A.A.A.
Ab 1943. Parc Sauvé (Valleyfield). Carte postale
1944 à 1949. Équipe de baseball de Marieville
1945. Buck Tanner et Wurm (Royaux). Photo. E-mail
Ab. 1945. Roger Bréard. Photo avec l'équipe des World All-Stars
1945. Jack Banta, Claude Crocker, Jack Miller, Ed Krasauskis, Paul Stephens, Buck Tanner et Frank Tyler (Royaux)
1945. Yeager et Kitman (Royaux). Photo. E-mail
1945. Stan Bréard et Ed Stevens (Royaux). Photo. E-mail
1946. Roger Bréard (2B). Photo avec une équipe inconnue
1946. Page couverture d'un programme d'un match entre les Maple Leafs de Toronto et les Royaux de Montréal
1946. Clay Hopper et Bruno Betzal (Royaux)
1946. Ligue provinciale. Photo du club de St-Hyacinthe, champion
1946. Stade de baseball de Granby.  Photo
1948. Bert Shotton (Dodgers) et Clay Hopper (Royaux). E-mail
1948. Les Royaux de Montréal gagnent la 32e petite Série mondiale. MGR Clay Hopper est félicité par MGR Walter Alston, de St.Paul. 
1948. Victoire contre Rochester dans le premier match des séries le 15 septembre. Premier plan SP Don Newcombe, Oscar Grimes. Deuxième plan C Cliff Dapper et OF Sam Jethroe.
1948. Photo d'équipe des Athlétiques de Sherbrooke
1948. Joueurs des Athlétiques de Sherbrooke: Gilles Dubé, Normand Dussault, Johnny Kuniey, Lauro Pascual, Fred Pfeifer, Tony Ross, Pierre Taillefer
1948. Adrian Zabala, des Athlétiques de Sherbrooke
1948. Lauro Pascual et Paul Calvert, des Athlétiques de Sherbrooke
1948. Roland Gladu, des Athlétiques de Sherbrooke
1948. Wilfredo Salas, Normand Dussault et Adrian Zabala, des Athlétiques de Sherbrooke
1949. Deux photos du Québécois Paul Calvert avec les Senators de Washington
1949. Photo d'équipe des Cubs de Drummondville
1949. Hal Lanier, des Cubs de Drummondville
1949. Photos des Athlétiques de Sherbrooke 
1949. Photo d'équipe des Black Sox de Farnham
1949. Joe Monteiro, des Red Sox de Granby
1949. Del Bissonette, gérant des Maple Leafs de Toronto
1949. Maurice Descarreau journaliste, Ulysses Ste-Marie propriétaire des Braves de Québec et Frank McCormick.
1949. Cubs de Drummondville. Photo des lanceurs
 
 
 
 
Sources
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Merritt Clifton( 1982)
Quebec Baseball outside Montréal (in Dominionball)
Christian Trudeau (2095)
Integration in Quebec: More than Jackie (in Dominionball)
Christian Trudeau (2095)
Pro Baseball in Montreal (1928-1960)
Robert Verner (1995)
Diamonds of the North
William Humber (1995)
Les Royaux de Montréal depuis 1890
Gérard Gosselin (1948)
Les fabuleux Royaux. Les débuts glorieux du baseball à Montréal
William Brown( 1996)
Lexique français-anglais de l'Action sociale (1935)
100 ans de baseball à Trois-Rivières
Jean-Marc Paradis (1989)