David Shury's legacy lives on at Saskatchewan ball hall

Dave Shury was the founder of the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame in Battleford, Sask. Photo Credit: Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

Dave Shury was the founder of the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame in Battleford, Sask. Photo Credit: Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

By Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

When he was a teenager, David Shury headed to the hockey rink on many occasions and skated on the ice not realizing how he really got there.

A few years later, the truth came out. Tests showed he had a neurological disorder that ultimately would affect his mobility and speech.

"It was similar to multiple sclerosis. He was probably in his early 20s when he diagnosed but the signs were there when he was younger,'' his widow Jane explained.

Yet, he never took to complaining. His mind and spirit transcended any disabilities he endured. He became a lawyer, who main ambition was to celebrate Saskatchewan's rich baseball heritage when he wasn't involved in politics and the legal profession.

Realizing there was nobody honouring the province's baseball heroes, he set out to do something about it. By the early 1980s, his diligence was starting to pay off. By 1983, the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame was officially founded and the first inductions took place in 1985, although it would be another five years before a museum would land in the equation.

"It wasn't just Dave. He had a lot of other people interested in it but he was the instigator, the promoter,'' said Mrs. Shury, who is the hall's president and CEO and gets help from assistant Ina Williams. "The sole purpose of the Hall of Fame is for two reasons, to collect and display memorabilia of the rich baseball history in our province and to honour those who have contributed to our rich history.

"Dave had his own collection and over the years, he got a lot of stuff from a lot of people. Many of the memorabilia items come from those who have been inducted. In 1990, we were able to get a museum in Battleford when we got a church for the summer. It had electricity but no lights. It was a summer thing.''

Then in 2003, the hall was fortunate enough to be able to purchase its own building on 22nd St. The facility is now open year round.

On Aug. 19, the organization's keynote event will be staged: the 33rd annual induction ceremony at the Alex Dillabough Centre on 28th St. in Battleford.

"It is always such a sentimental, memorable day where old acquaintances reminisce and make new memories they cherish the rest of their lives,'' Mrs Shury said. "It's a most memorable day for the inductees.''

To be inducted in the individual category are Moose Jaw's Don Anderson, Garry Anderson of Marengo, Cliff Campbell of Disley, Robert Faith of Lafleche, Kindersley's Jamie Flanagan, Garnet Hansent of Weyburn, Al Herback of Kincaid, the Regina trio of Ross Mahoney, Don Pankewich and Jim Fink, the late John Batey of Macklin and the late Norm Arngrimson of Mozart.

Being inducted in the team category are the Wawota Pats and Broadview Buffaloes. In the family category, the Woodard clan from Colgate will be enshrined while in the community category, the Hohenlohe school district and the village of Mervin will be feted.

A crowd of between 350 and 425 people are expected on induction day which will feature an informal luncheon and museum tours in late morning and early afternoon. The induction banquet and ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. If you haven't been to Battleford, you will see what is believed to be Canada's largest baseball bat on display.

So David Shury's legacy lives on. He spent his last 40 years in a wheelchair promoting Saskatchewan baseball until his death in 2008 at age 78. The Shurys were married for 52 years. She was training to be a nurse and he was going to law school when they met at a dance.

Long before he pushed for the Saskatchewan Hall of Fame, Shury was part of a contingent that helped form the Saskatchewan Baseball Association in 1955. He was a secretary of the Canadian Federation of Amateur Baseball at one point and helped organize the initial Team Canada squad for the 1967 Pan Am Games.

The Wilkie, Sask. native was named the first life member of Baseball Canada in 1972 and was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. His résumé is aptly noted in the publication Canadian Who's Who.

Danny Gallagher is guest speaker at the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony Aug. 19. He nominated Ross Mahoney, one of this year's inductees.