July 14th - August 20th, 2016
A Brief History of Baseball in Saskatchewan
The first recorded baseball game in Saskatchewan, then still part of the North West Territories, took place on May 31st, 1879, in Fort Battleford. The match was between a team of North West Mounted Police and Fort Battleford townspeople, and was held in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. After this game, baseball was woven into the sporting DNA of our province.
Migrants from Eastern Canada and the Eastern and Midwestern United States brought baseball to Saskatchewan. From 1907 to 1921 there were professional baseball teams in Moose Jaw, Regina and Saskatoon, playing in the Western Canadian League. In the 1920s cash tournaments in the province brought teams from across the prairies and the United States to play. The American teams were made up of black players who had been segregated from competition and ex-major leaguers, some of whom had been banned by Major League Baseball. At this time baseball replaced soccer and cricket as the major summer sport. After the Second World War this type of baseball would explode and draw even more teams, from further away, for even larger tournament prizes.
In the 1940s and 1950s organized play began across the province. Governing bodies appeared to regulate the sport in the province. Competitive baseball in Saskatchewan has been governed by many organizations over the years: the Saskatchewan Junior Baseball Association (1942), Saskatchewan Amateur Baseball Association (1959), the Saskatchewan Minor Baseball Association (1953), the latter two merging to form the Saskatchewan Baseball Association (1985), and today it’s known as Saskatchewan Baseball. Regardless of the name, it was the mission of each organization to spread baseball across the province. Today, it would be difficult to find any city, town or even village in our province without some organized play.
Saskatchewan has long been a hotbed for baseball in all its forms, baseball, softball and fastball. Our province’s players have made an impact at all levels of amateur and professional baseball. All ages and genders enjoy the game for the fun and the competition. From the minor to the major leagues and pick-up games to the Olympic Games, Saskatchewan athletes, builders and teams continue to make their mark.
-excerpt from exhibition essay by Brock Gerrard, Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame