Among the nominees to the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame to be inducted at a banquet and celebration this Saturday in Battleford is that of Wayne Commodore of Sherwood Park, Alta., formerly of Swift Current, into the Individual Category as a player.
Wayne was raised in Val Marie in southwestern Saskatchewan in the 1960s. His early fastball experience led him to love the game. Wayne's eye for baseball was drawn to Swift Current, a hotbed for senior baseball, with the thought of having the opportunity to learn about the finer points of the game from coach Jackie McLeod, Saskatchewan's baseball icon.
When Wayne came to training camp in 1966, he had never played baseball. He tried several positions, including pitching, but found his niche as an exceptional outfielder, preferring right field. He had an exceptional arm and good speed, the characteristics of excellent right fielders, the most difficult outfield position to play.
His power at the plate was unmatched in the Southern Baseball League and Alberta Major Baseball League. He led both leagues in home runs on several occasions, while maintaining a top ten batting average.
Major League teams showed an interest in Wayne, but his age, 25, and experience was against him. One such scout was Pat Gillick, former general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, who, at that time, was scouting for the Houston Astros.
During his six years in the Southern Baseball League with the Swift Current Indians, he was the top player in the SBL. Highlights include:
- He was the First All Star selection as an outfielder in 1967, 1969, and second team in 1970.
- Two game-winning home runs and a game winning double in 1968.
- Three home runs in semi-final series against Moose Jaw Regals in 1969.
- Four doubles and two singles in Aug. 2 game against the Yorkton Cardinals in 1970.
- .317 batting average and top in league hitting in 1970.
There were many memorable moments during the years 1972 to 1983, when Wayne played in the Alberta Major Baseball League including playing two Canadian Senior Baseball Championship teams and a finalist in another.
Wayne also excelled in tournament baseball, like when he went 5 for 5, hitting four consecutive round trippers and a ground rule double against the highly touted Calgary Jimmies.
Wayne Commodore had an amazing baseball career and he was proud of the fact that he had the opportunity to play for his country as a member of the Canadian National Baseball Team at the World Championship in Nicaragua in 1973.
Wayne resides in Sherwood Park, Alberta.