Village of Gray to be inducted to Sask. Baseball Hall of Fame

Submitted

The Village of Gray, Saskatchewan will be inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame, Community Category, now planned for Aug. 15 in Battleford.

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What began in the Buck Lake District, before towns were even named, was the commitment of settlers to the game of baseball. July 4 was chosen for the annual Gray Sports Day. A baseball team in Gray was a given until the late 1980s.

An era of some success for Gray baseball was in the late 1950s. One July they played 36 games in 31 days. In 1957 as it never rained there was no summer-fallow to work. The team played in as many tournaments as possible that year.

In 1959 the team was invited to play a game in Plentywood, Mont. Players were thrilled to play under lights. This was a big deal! They lost by one run, but had a magnificent time with many stories to tell of their adventure.

As time passed, the younger players made up the team and, by the mid 1960s, they changed the name of the team to the Gophers. A Gopher highlight in the mid 1960s was beating Lang in the first game of the Lang Sports Day, the result being that the home team would not be in the final that night. Lang had historically always been in the final, and usually won. The Gophers were quite competitive in the late 1960s and 1970s. Their Sports Days were anticipated for days in advance. Along with competitive baseball, the food booths had the best food in the land.

The end of the Gophers era included players that then became the Bucs in the mid 1970s. Coached by Larry Shostal in these final years, 1970-1984, the team may not have been as successful as the Gophers, but did compete in the Soo Line League and attended the myriad of sports days around the area.

All citizens of the community of Gray were “all hands on deck” to host the baseball teams coming to town. Everyone got involved with the grounds, scheduling the games, the umpires, manning the food booth, the clean up, baking pies, ordering concession food and more.

This support over the past 80 years of senior baseball in the Village of Gray, Saskatchewan, a community with a population of less than 100, has recognized and preserved some memorabilia of this baseball history displayed in the 306 Sports Hall of Fame. This is the Gray Museum, located in the Gray rink. The number 306 is the highway number that goes through Estlin, Gray, Bechard and Ricetin, the area included in the Gray Museum.

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