By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network
Looking to increase your knowledge of baseball in this country?
Head to London Nov. 3 and 4 to attend the third annual Canadian Baseball History Conference being organized by Andrew North at the Old Courthouse on Ridout St. North.
One of the most interesting presentations at the conference will be a live radio recreation of the championship game of the International Association played on Oct. 2, 1877 between the host London Tecumsehs and the Alleghenys of Pittsburgh. The game was staged at Tecumseh Field in London as Fred Goldsmith of London squared off against Pud Galvin in a pitcher's duel.
Long-time veteran sportscaster Jim Van Horne calls the play-by-play of this simulated game and colour commentator Bill Humber provides historical content. Chip Martin is the on-field reporter and North provides post-game analysis. This presentation lasts 75 minutes and should be a dandy.
"I’ll be at the podium at the beginning and end, while the other three will be at a table at the front for the game portion,'' North explained. "It’s likely taken us 20-25 hours of prep so far, as we had to derive a plausible game scoresheet first.''
As far as other presentations go, there are some exciting projects up on the table.
Heidi Jacobs takes a look at documentarian Jack Calder. In looking at Calder, Jacobs said, "I argue that his skilled journalism and evocative, reflective, and nuanced documentation of the Chatham Coloured All-Stars can be seen as working toward breaking down racial barriers within Canadian sports.''
Stephen Dame's project is A Second Strike: Baseball and the Canadian Armed Forces During World War Two.
Warren Campbell is on deck to talk about mascots in Canadian Baseball. One of his mentions is the Famous San Diego Chicken, alias Ted Giannoulas, who I feel should be in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He was nominated a number of years ago and is currently under review by the hall's veterans' committee.
John Dunkle will chat up The Ontario League of 1930: How a bunch of semi-pro ballplayers from Pennsylvania became a professional league in Canada.
The combo of Stephen Harding and Stephanie Radu zero in on the topic: "What is Archived is Not Lost: Researching Baseball in London.”
Gary Gillette examines the fabled Manitoba-Dakota league of the 1950s and Bob Barney argues that London’s Labatt Park boasts the distinction of being the world’s oldest, continuously operated ballpark.
Dennis Thiessen's topic is a familiar character: James (Tip) O’Neill, the Woodstock Wonder and his rise to fame as an amateur pitcher before he became a champion hitter.
The History of Baseball as Depicted in Postage Stamps is a presentation made by David Schulz.
How did the Blue Jays get started? Maxwell Kates chronicles how Toronto's baseball dream became a reality. The paper is to be included in an upcoming book on expansion teams.
Fred Toulch focuses on Montreal Royals players and events during the period 1947 through 1957.
Tim Blaker looks at The (Batting) Order of Canada: Canadians in MLB Batting Orders From 1930 To Present Day.
The aforementioned Bill Humber's topic is Changing the Narrative. The 2018 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee wants people to know that Canadians had a hand in the formation of baseball.
"At every stage of baseball’s modernization, there was Canadian content, from its early folk roots, to its continuity of play, to experiments with a unique regional variant, to its off-the-field organization, and perhaps most significantly in the model provided by cricket,'' Humber says.
You will also see a live interview done by North with Bruce Prentice, the founder of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame when it first set up shop in Toronto decades ago.
"I think the lineup of papers is our best yet. And a number of presenters and other attendees are coming from the United States,'' North said.
I'll be there to do a book signing for my just-released book Blue Monday: the Expos, the Dodgers and the Home Run That Changed Everything. The signing is scheduled for 2:45-3:15 during a break on Nov. 3. And I will available again at 4:30 that day to accommodate more people. Several other authors, including Chip Martin, are expected to have their books available.
The registration fee is $70 and to register, you can email Andrew North at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can send a cheque made out to Andrew North to: 398 Queen St. E., P.O. Box 3305, St. Marys, Ont. N4X 0A6.
"We are grateful for the assistance, financial and otherwise, of Tourism London and the London Department of Parks and Recreation. They have provided us access to Labatt Park, and their support has helped us secure a quality venue and catering while keeping registration fees reasonable,'' North said.
And speaking of North, here's a tip of the hat to him for what he's doing: helping to preserve baseball history in Canada.