Local man collecting information on sports teams

Terry McEwan has scrap books on the entire Jr. 'B' Lincolns history, plus seven former fastball clubs

  • Biography   Thursday, February 4, 2021   Pat Payton
Terry McEwan is collecting information on the Jr. 'B' Lincolns as well as seven former St. Marys fastball clubs. He started the scrapbooks hobby about four years ago, one day after retiring from a 28-year career in the insurance business. McEwan is one of

Terry McEwan is collecting information on the Jr. 'B' Lincolns as well as seven former St. Marys fastball clubs. He started the scrapbooks hobby about four years ago, one day after retiring from a 28-year career in the insurance business. McEwan is one of

By Pat Payton
Terry McEwan is collecting information on one current team as well as seven former St. Marys fastball clubs.
And you might just be able to help him!
McEwan started the hobby about four years ago, one day after retiring from a 28-year career in the insurance business (Stonetown Insurance and later the St. Marys Insurance Group). He owned Mac-Lin Fuels for 22 years before that.
McEwan is one of the founding members of the Jr. 'B' Lincolns' Alumni committee and a former club executive member. He started by delving into the long and storied history of the Lincs -- a team he says that has definitely put St. Marys on the map.
Fellow Alumni committee member Jacques Cousineau was a big help and provided a lot of information, McEwan emphasized. It took the two men about four years to compile all the Lincolns' photos, write-ups, rosters and programs.
"We've put together 64 teams, up to this year," McEwan said in a recent interview with the Independent. "It's from 1956 to now. I've got every team, but I'm short six team pictures and six team programs.
"I talked to a lot of people involved with different teams over the years. There was an anniversary calendar (Lincs' 50th) put out in 2005 and I got a lot of stuff from it. I've got four books that are right full on the Lincolns."
McEwan regrets not having a team program from the 1975-76 season. The Lincs won the All-Ontario championship that memorable season, winning five playoff series, and McEwan was a member of the team executive. "It would be nice if somebody had a program from that season," he said.
For historic purposes, McEwan says it's important that a record of every Lincolns team be documented. Lincs are the second-longest running Jr. 'B' team in the province.
"When you meet somebody somewhere in the world, they usually know St. Marys because of the Cement Plant or the Lincolns," he says. "That's the first thing they say."
McEwan has learned a lot over the last four years gathering information on the various Lincolns' teams. "You could ask me about any Lincoln, and I can likely tell you something about him," he said with a laugh.
Scrap books on seven fastball teams
Terry McEwan is also putting together scrap books on four former men's fastball teams and three women's fastball teams which represented St. Marys.
The three women's teams are the Pullets (late 1950s and early '60s), Jets and Comets.
Terry's father, the late Gord McEwan, was the coach of the Pullets and his sister Loiey was the catcher on the team. Loiey Moir later played for the Canadian champion Kitchener Kieswetters fastball club. The Kieswetters competed at the World championships in Italy one year.
Clare Odbert and Jimmy Blackler were also on the Pullets' coaching staff, and Terry McEwan served as the team's bat boy. Other local players included: Erna Little, Donna Aldis, Marilyn May, Pat Hossack, Bernice Hunter, Marje Leslie, Elaine Gibb, Dawn Blackler and Nancy Aitcheson.
The Jets and Comets, meanwhile, groomed young players and got them ready to play for the Pullets, McEwan noted.
Former players such as catcher Lynne Rysnik and Janice White provided information on the Jets. "Lynne came in with a book pretty well full of information for me," he said.
Other local players on the Jets included: Sheila Crisp, Terry Bettridge, Jane Galloway, Pat Champion, Madge Leslie and Donna Gardner. Just a couple of players on the Comets were Donna Dickson, Barb Pfaff and Dorothy Davis.
Four men's teams
The four men's teams are the Lumber Kings, Chargers, Creamery Juniors and Selects, and all competed in the South Perth Men's Fastball League.
The Lumber Kings fielded championship teams in the 1970s and early 1980s. The Chargers and Juniors operated in the 1980s, and the Selects were a strong team in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They were a combination of players from the Lumber Kings and Chargers.
Former players such as Sam Corriveau and captain Brian Hughes provided information on the Lumber Kings. He noted that John Bell played 19 years for the Kings and Selects.
McEwan has a large amount of information on the Chargers and Selects, thanks mainly to the late Rose Near, who saved all newspaper clippings and photos on the two teams and put together two full scrap books. Two of her sons, Gary and Dennis, were members of those teams.
"Rose was fantastic; she kept all kinds of stuff," McEwan said. Also adding to the Chargers and Selects' scrap books were Jane Parkinson, and Brian and Jan Parkinson.
Providing information on the Canadian champion Creamery Juniors were Tony and Lisa McEwan, as well as assistant coach Richard Kennedy.
Terry McEwan added that he is still seeking additional photos and write-ups on the seven former fastball teams.
St. Marys a fastball hotbed in '80s
Back in the 1980s, McEwan remembers St. Marys being a fastball hotbed, with tournaments at Teddy's Field almost every weekend of the summer. The Lumber Kings, Chargers, Creamery Juniors and Selects all hosted tournaments on the long weekends.
"People used to live at Teddy's Field on those weekends, and I was one of them," McEwan recalled with a laugh. "They must have been a major money-maker for St. Marys because it brought so many people to town -- both players and fans.
"Tournaments would start on Friday night and go right through to Monday. Myself, I would go down for the day. There was food and refreshments out beyond the right-field fence. You just spent the whole day there. Fastball was major stuff in town in the '80s . . . and it was excellent ball."
Even on weekdays, fastball games would be played from 6 p.m. right through to midnight.
When the Creamery Juniors hosted the Ontario Eliminations in 1988, McEwan remembers a crowd estimated at 1,800--circling the entire park--watching the two-game final between St. Marys and New Hamburg. The Creamery Juniors won the two games, 7-3 and 5-0, to punch their ticket to the Canadian championship tournament in Lloydminster, Alta.
McEwan remembers the great pitching of Paul Horenberg and Marc Cameron, leading St. Marys to the provincial title that July weekend in 1988.
"We had some hellish good ball players on that team," he said. "I remember the one game, we got home at 3 o'clock in the morning from Teddy's Field." His oldest son Tony was a member of that talented Junior team.
McEwan also appreciates the help he's received while putting the history together of these numerous local teams. "I've had a lot of help from key people," he acknowledged.
He points out that the St. Marys Insurance Group (SIG) has been "very supportive" as well, providing him with an office to work from.
--In one of his fastball scrap books, Terry McEwan saved space for the late Teddy Blackman, the man who Teddy's Field was named after.
"My dad always had a soft spot for Teddy Blackman," McEwan says. "Teddy looked after that field for years, dragging the infield. He lived just beyond left field."
--When he finishes the scrap books on the fastball teams, McEwan suggests that he might donate them to the St. Marys museum or even the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
--McEwan serves as the treasurer on the Jr. 'B' Lincolns' Alumni committee. The Alumni currently has 80 members (former players and executive), he notes. The committee has honoured a handful of Lincs' teams to date, and also hosted the Paul Vanderspank Night last season. Vanderspank played five years for the Lincolns and was captain of the '75-76 All-Ontario championship team.