The Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame has announced the induction of two nominees.
The Climax Cardinals baseball team will be inducted into the team category. The Varjassy family of Kipling will be enshrined in the family category.
Climax, located in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan, came into being in 1923 with the arrival of the railroad. The first improvement to the village was the building of a baseball diamond in 1923. The first organized team was sponsored by the village and was named the Advertisers, because of the advertisements carried on the shirts of the uniform. An American pitcher named Wizzler was the only one on salary. The nucleus of the team was catcher H.E. [Co.] Comartin, pitcher Gordon Ramsey, first baseman Dick Morrison, second baseman Bob Morrison, third baseman Casey Morachin, shortstop Monkey Wyman, outfielders George Morey, Frank Davidson and Oscar Homme and manager Bob Robinson. By 1930, the Advertisers updated their name to the Climax Cardinals.
More imports were added in 1934. The club's top pitcher in 1936 was import Van Slate, who later went on to play in the Baltimore Orioles organization.
By 1936, under the guidance of Robinson, baseball tournaments were the main income. The Climax Cardinals joined the American Baseball League. They were the only Canadian team in the league and took top honours in 1936 winning 44 of the 48 games played en route to the championship.
In the 1950s ball tournaments and the White Mud League kept the Cardinals busy. This league included teams from Shaunavon, Gull Lake, Dollard, Eastend, Loomis, Frontier and Claydon. In 1962, the Climax team joined the Border League.
In 1968, the South River Baseball League began and Climax Cardinals won the League Championship in1969. The league consisted of Climax, Frontier, Shaunavon, Gull Lake, Tomkins and Hazlet. In 1973, Consul and Eastend joined the league. Swift Current followed in 1975. The 1980s were a carryover from the 1970s as the Cardinals won championships in 1987, 1988 and 1989.
From 1954 until the present, Ken Mything and John Gardner have been a part of the team's executive.
The Varjassy family of Kipling contributed to Saskatchewan baseball history as a family, through sons Bob, Fred, Don, Jerry, Ed and cousin Allan Varjassy.
Bob played minor baseball at the age of seven as a pitcher in peewee, bantam and midget leagues. He was a member of the 1971 Saskatchewan Kipling Midget Champions. It earned them a berth in the Western Midget tournament in Victoria, B.C. For a number of years Bob played with Regina Midget Maroons' Pete Noll. Bob continues to play twilight baseball with the Kipling Knights.
At seven years old, Fred started playing baseball with the Kipling peewees. He pitched and played outfield. Fred also played in Victoria and continues to play with the Kipling Knights.
Don started playing baseball at an early age. He was also coached by Jerry Wasnick, and played in Victoria. He returned from Calgary to play in the twilighter tournament.
Jerry was a pitcher and catcher in peewee, bantam and midget baseball. He came back from Meadow Lake to play in the twilighter tournament.
Ed also started playing baseball at seven. He played with the peewee, bantam and midget teams as a pitcher and an outfielder. He has played in the Kipling Knights twilighter tournament since 2003.
The Varjassy boys' father, Kal, coached and managed Kipling baseball teams.
Cousin Allan Varjassy began playing ball at five as a catcher and pitcher. He often played up an age category alongside Ed. Allan was the catcher for the Kipling Hornets senior baseball team in the Producers League, returning from university in the summer to play with both the senior team and the Varjassys. In 1982, Allan played with Kipling minor baseball's Kipling Hornets and caught for the Wawota Royals Midget baseball team in the provincial playoffs. In 2001, Allan played with Kipling in the twilight tournament in Shaunavon, playing with Bob, Fred, Jerry and Ed. Their team finished second in the tournament. In 2003, Kipling hosted the twilighters tournament with Kipling having Bob, Fred, Don, Jerry, Ed and Allan on the team. Allan continues to play in the twilighters tournament and received his 10-year plaque in 2013, having missed a couple of years.
The Climax Cardinals baseball team and the Varjassy family will be inducted Aug. 16 in Battleford.