Extra Innings – News from the Ball Hall

On the last day of the Museum’s regular season, Wayne Murray and Nelda Oliver had the pleasure of meeting a long-time friend of CBHFM, Bradley Marin.

An employee of Waterloo-based GHD Limited, formerly Conestoga–Rovers and Associates, Bradley helped develop the original Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame facility. The work included completing a site wide tree inventory, complete topographic survey, providing design for the main entrance and parking facilities, providing design for the initial underground services, and completing grading for the large ball diamond. Other members of the team included Jack Ferenczy, Chris Hunter and Ron Schwark, one of the company’s owners.  According to Bradley, they enjoyed working on the facility and still reminisce over their time doing so.

A prized possession is the “Build It and They Will Come” shirt that Marin received for his efforts during the original build.  He says,”I hope one day to re-gift this treasure shirt to one of my grandsons who are both active in the game and collect baseball memorabilia. Until a few years ago, I still enjoyed playing the game on a regular basis. Multiple and repeated leg injuries suggested it might be time for me to do more swimming than running of the bases.”

“It was nice to be there on the last day of the season and to have an opportunity to watch the Ontario junior boys practice. Given my ties with the facility, it was an honour to serve the Town of St Marys during the original build. During our visit my grandchildren were extremely excited to see the home plate that Joe Carter hit his legendary home run.  The more recent events are closer to them as they have seen it happen so many times on the TV. With the support of their father and mother (Octavio and Jen) they have got out to see many MLB parks in person.”  Thank you, Bradley!

In other news, we’re taking a moment to remember in particular two Ontario-born Inductees who fought in the Second World War.  Both spent early days in their careers with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League and both pitched for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics before and after the war, albeit with differing results.

Penetanguishene’s Phil Marchildon was drafted from the mines of Sudbury and called up to the majors in 1940 at the age of 26. After a satisfying season in 1942, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, turning down assignment as a physical instructor to become a tailgunner.  His plane was shot down and, while Phil and one other crewmate survived, he spent the next three years as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III, the camp made famous by the movie “The Great Escape”.

When Marchildon returned to the majors, he had brief periods of success on the mound, but his wartime trauma caught up with him.  He wound up his career in 1951 with Toronto and was released, subsequently returning to his home town.  He was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 1982 and honoured at the Toronto Sky Dome on July 1, 1995. Throwing out the first ball that day, he was celebrated as a Canadian hero for his baseball talent and for his bravery in World War II. Phil Marchildon died on January 10, 1997 in Toronto at the age of 83.

Toronto-born Dick Fowler was a lanky (6″5″) 18-year-old when he dazzled the Toronto Maple Leafs brass at training camp in 1939. The local sensation debuted with the hometown squad in 1940, and Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics purchased his contract later that same year.  His first big league start was on September 13, 1941 and he played for the Athletics until 1952.

After his first full season in the majors, Fowler was called for military duty and served in the Canadian Army for three years.   Returning to the majors, the powerful right-hander would no-hit the St. Louis Browns on September 9, 1945. He remains the only Canadian to throw a no-hitter in the big leagues.

Dick Fowler was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.  He died in Oneonta, NY on May 22, 1972. He was only 51.

Inductee birthdays in November:  3 – Paul Quantrill, 9 – George Wood, 13 – Pat Hentgen and Wayne Norton, 18 –  Rocky Nelson, 27- John Haar and 28 – Frank O’ Rourke.

Ahead for CBHFM:  November is shaping up as a busy month, with more action than usual for the off-season.  Visitors coming to the Museum in November include author Chip Martin, Inductee Allan Roth’s son Michael Roth and 60+ attendees of the 1st Annual Canadian Baseball History Conference.

On Wednesday, November 9, Scott spoke to the St. Marys Men’s Breakfast Club at The Westover, while CBHFM Board Member David Morneau will be at the St Marys Golf and Country Club on Sunday, November 13 to present the Hall’s Strategic Plan to the history conference.

Our next bingo at Bingo Country Stratford takes place on Sunday, November 20 at 1 p.m.  And don’t forget our Christmas Silent Auction, running from November 14-December 15.  This year we have more than 50 great items, both sports-related and non-sport.  Details on our website: baseballhalloffame.ca

Finally, on November 29, we will be announcing the winner of the Jack Graney Lifetime Media Achievement Award.  On December 2, the 2016 winner of the James ‘Tip’ O’Neill Award, presented annually to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals, will be announced.

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