Once again, the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony recognized the outstanding accomplishments of those involved in baseball in Saskatchewan.
The 34th annual induction dinner took place at the Alex Dillabough Centre in Battleford Saturday. Though it was a somewhat smaller crowd than previous years, it was still a day for the province’s baseball community to come together, share stories and honour their own.
In addition to the induction dinner, there was an informal luncheon at the Legion Hall in Battleford, as well as tours at the Hall of Fame during the early afternoon where pictures of all the inductees were posted on the wall.
A total of 15 inductees were recognized.
Bye Braun of Cut Knife was inducted as a player/builder, mainly for his longtime efforts playing and coaching with several Wilkie Brewers championship teams.
Murray Eddy of Saskatoon was inducted as a player, known for his hitting and pitching abilities with various clubs including the Yorkton Cardinals, Asquith Braves and Regina Red Sox.
Gary Frank of Regina was inducted as a player/builder, having played for teams such as the Saskatoon Patrick Liners and Regina Capitals. Frank also played pro baseball in the Toronto Blue Jays system for three seasons and recalls playing alongside a number of players who eventually made it to the big club including his former roommate Lloyd Moseby and Dave Stieb and Jesse Barfield.
“I was fortunate, when I played with the Blue Jays, I played with a lot of guys that made it to the big leagues. A lot of my roommates made it there,” said Frank.
He was appreciative of all the people who helped him along the way in his baseball journey. “You don’t get here by yourself, but you’re up here by yourself.”
James D. Golightly of Eatonia, whose baseball career spanned almost four decades in Eatonia and with other teams, was inducted as a player/builder.
Induction weekend brought back a lot of memories for Golightly. One highlight was playing for the Sask/Alta All-Star team in 1968, where he recalled hitting a double to drive in two runs in one game.
He also recalled a game in 1957 when Golightly was hit by a pitch. But he didn’t move, so “they made me hit again and I hit a grand slam. The pitcher was quite upset, but that was his fault.”
The late Joseph E. Haberman of Regina was inducted, as a player. He played senior baseball with various Regina teams through the 1920s and ‘30s, which included many provincial championships. His grandson Doug was there to accept on his behalf.
The late Harvey Johnson of Regina was inducted as a player/builder, spending many years with the Regina Capitals and Red Sox. He was also long-time statistician on broadcasts of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Harvey passed away in May. His wife Sandy was at the ceremony to accept the induction plaque.
Arnold Lund of Lloydminster, Alta., credited with building a baseball dynasty coaching with the Lampman A’s in the 1980s, was inducted as a builder.
Lorne Nielsen from Wilkie, a longtime Wilkie Brewer, was inducted as a player/builder.
“I started at 20 years old with the Wilkie Brewers,” said Nielsen. “The team was kind of in transition and I ended up being a player/coach right from the time I was 20 years old.”
He said induction to the Hall of Fame was “a great honour. A lot of the people that are going in, I played with or against and I nominated them as well. It’s just a great pleasure to be going in with them.”
Jack Sell of Bowden, Alta., was inducted as a builder having been an umpire since 1982 for various leagues and organizations in Saskatchewan and elsewhere.
Shane Simpson of Regina, a longtime member of the Regina Jets who also competed in international tournaments in the United States and Mexico, was inducted as a player/builder.
Simpson was a co-founder of the Jets in the Molson League along with fellow inductee Neil Tulloch, and, along with Tulloch, revived the Grey Ghosts in the Soo Valley League that eventually became the Regina Ghosts.
Randy Trautwein of Leader was inducted as a player for his role as a left-handed pitcher with the powerful Leader Barons baseball team.
Presenter Dan Reynish said that it was at age 15 that Trautwein cracked “one of the most elite lineups in the history of Sask/Alta league” with the Barons, who would dominate in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Trautwein was also active as a hockey and curling competitor.
Neil Tulloch of Regina was inducted as a player/builder, for his efforts playing for, and later coaching and managing, various teams in Regina including the Regina Jets and the Regina Ghosts.
“I guess I’ve played baseball, men’s baseball, in six decades, so I’ve been at it a long time,” said Tulloch. The Ghosts are still in existence, and Tulloch notes his sons have been running the team, so he remains peripherally involved in that way.
“It’s been a good run,” he said.
The Carlyle Cardinals were the lone inductee in the team category. David Lemieux accepted on behalf of the team; he has been part of the team for the past 20 years as shortstop and coach, coinciding with the club’s greatest era of winning on the field.
“It’s been lots of hard work and dedication from our guys over the years to make it successful,” said Lemieux.
Of his teammates, he said “everyone is really excited and just kind of honoured to be part of it all.”
A large contingent of Carlyle players were on hand to accept their plaques from Jane Shury.
The Keller family from Wilkie was inducted in the family category, in recognition of the multiple generations of family members involved in the game.
“The ball, not just the baseball tradition but the ball tradition, is handed down in our family,” said George Keller, the second son of Joe Keller, who was one of the original Kellers involved in baseball in the area. George noted his own boys are now active in the game as well.
A large contingent of Kellers were on hand for the induction. Bruno Keller represented the family in accepting the plaque. The families of both Joe and Ed Keller also took part in a slo-pitch game at Don Ross that afternoon.
Finally the town of Leader was inducted in the community category, on the strength of the tradition of the Leader Barons. The former Barons team had operated under several names going back to 1918. Leader mayor Craig Tondevold accepted on behalf of the community.
There were also a number of special presentations made. The two special merit awards went to Access Communications North Battleford (David Dekker accepting) and also to CTV for running complimentary 30-second pieces during the baseball season about the Sask. Baseball Hall of Fame (Lorne Hararen accepting).
Nielsen provided the response on behalf of the inductees.
“I would like to thank Jane, Ina and the rest of the board for what they have done for us and continue to do,” he said. “Your work touches many people. Please don’t hesitate to stand up and make a difference.”
As is tradition, the event ended with the singing of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.