Find out how the national program began from the first unsuccessful attempt in 1992 and a coincidental phone conversation in 1993, through the grass roots beginning, up to the end of the millenium, and now well into the 21st century.
For the western region leading third time, the City of Medicine Hat hosted the national tournament. The host committee, led byChad Foster, faced challenges in providing the number of diamonds needed to accommodate the 27 teams. The local parks, McCoy, Jeffries, and Kin Coulee were a great start. Athletic Park allowed a limited number of games. A record for the longest drive from the host location turned out to be worth the trip to Vauxhall Park, and the host then had five excellent diamonds.
A new division for players 57-and-over opened up the tournament in Vauxhall. Four teams, British Columbia Happys, Red Deer Legends, Saskatoon Sportsmen, and the Pleasant Valley (Yarmouth) Lakers were the first teams. The championship game saw British Columbia (Courtenay) win over Pleasant Valley in a game played by two of the teams furthest apart from each other, over 6000 kilometres.
An added special event took place between the first two games. With all four team gathered together on the diamond, Lyle Lorenz (Red Deer) was inducted into the CNOBF Hall of Fame. Lyle was instrumental in pushing for this age group.
In the largest division with nine teams, the 43+ division saw the Westlock Lions go undefeated downing the Scarborough Maroons to capture the Tier 1 Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy. The Riverhust Thumpers won the Tier 2 title in a 9-7 victory over Lacombe and took home the Phil Beaudoin Trophy.
In the Tier 1, Edmonton Capital City Padres survived a 6-4 loss to Tillsonburg in their first game before running up a four game winning streak and handling the Clive Alberta team 12-6 to walk away with the Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy.
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, rolled out the welcome mat for the fourth time. Following the success of previous tournaments, the 27 participating teams made the rounds to familiar ball fields like Gateway, one of the best parks for a championship game drawing hundreds of enthusiastic spectators. Other stops were at Veterans in town, Tusket, Brazil Lake, and Clare ball fields, each with unique features.
Darryl LeBlanc and his support group of workers knew not to mess with the Saturday evening lobster feast at Rudder's Seafood Restaurant on the waterfront.
An added feature was the streaming of games by “Bell Community” which provided a DVD of the tournament games in town and made the games available to the folks back home.
The CNOBF inducted two new members into its Hall of Fame. Rich Knight announced Sam Lamb (Tillsonburg) and hometowner George Purdy as the 2015 inductees.
On the diamonds, the hometown Yarmouth Gateways went undefeated in winning the 35+ championship before the hometown fans. The victory marked the second 35+ title for Yarmouth. The winner of the Tier 2 35+ was the Regina Drifters, regaining the title they won in 2013.
The Scarborough Maroons won their first Tier 1 championship in the 43+ over the Yarmouth Lakers. They have two Tier 2 titles from 2011 and 2012.
The Oakville Golden A's won their first 50+ title by defeating the defending champion Spring Lake (Alberta) Masters. The Oakville team collected their tenth Tier 1 championship after three in the 35+ and six more in the 43+, more than any other team.
Back to Ontario, thirty-one teams showed up for the start of round 8 in the city of Brampton, just outside of Toronto. In spite of two afternoons of torrential rain, the tournament managed to catch up by Sunday noon and the play-offs started. Dan Nall, James Flannagan, and the rest of the committee, did an excellent job of rescheduling games and keeping all involved informed on the website.
As a result, the tournament produced five champions. In the 50+ Division, the Spring Lake (Alberta) Masters won their second national title, their first in this age group, turning a third place pool finish into a 9-8 squeaker over the Barrie (Ontario) Red Sox. Second in their pool, Barrie had knocked off first-place Tecumseh (Ontario) Green Giants to reach the final game. After breaking a tie of five teams with a .500 record, the Courtney (British Columbia) Happy Islanders defended their Tier Two title against the Pleasant Valley (Nova Scotia) Lakers 6-2, breaking the Lakers streak of three 50+ championships in a row. This championship game featured two teams living the furthest away from each other than any other championship game participants.
Oakville Golden A’s regained their 44+ title that they lost last year, by dominating the 6 team pool and outscoring the competition 50-7. Their opponent in the final game, the host Brampton Black Pioneers, won their first game, lost their next two, then won two close play-off games to advance to face Oakville. Oakville halted the comeback thumping the Black Pioneers 12-0.
In the fourteen team 35+ Division, Brampton Gold Pioneers followed the Black Pioneers lead turning a 1-2 record into a play-off run imitating the Oakville Golden A’s. The Gold Pioneers outscored their opponents 29-2, shutting out the MMBL (Ontario) Marlins 7-0 to capture the Tier 2 crown. Burlington 49ers captured their first 35+ title since 2008 in the battle of championship teams from Ontario. The three-time champion Tillsonburg (Ontario) Old Sox were defeated 4-1 by the now three-time champion 49ers.
In the 35+ Division there were three second generation teams involved: Tecumseh Green Giants, Dufferin-Simcoe Braves and the Petit de Grat Red Caps. This augers well for the future of the CNOBF tournament. Other 35+ teams with more that one team included Burlington, Brampton and Scarborough. This is good to see, but we must encourage these five younger teams from Ontario to follow the lead of Petit de Grat and venture outside the home region to play in the national tournaments.
Voting on issues that were brought up at the Annual General Meeting has been completed. Items of interest that were passed were dropping the 44+ age group to 43+; a catcher may be replaced as soon as he reaches base, but must be replaced as soon as two are out. (all age groups); one pitcher may pitch three consecutive innings or nine consecutive outs
(all age groups).
An official process is now in place concerning player ejections.
Edmonton, under the leadership of Rainie Gervais, was the site of the 21st tournament, marking the completion of seven rotations through our three regions. Seven diamonds were utilized, including Telus Field (the city’s stadium). This number of diamonds made for trips to local communities, allowing the participants to see the surrounding area. Thirty-one teams showed up to play in our most northern location and to enjoy extra daylight to our days.
After two days of competition, the play-off picture was finally set. The championship game in the 35+ was a tight game until the Capital Tiger Padres had a big inning and thumped the Fort Saskatchewan A’s 14-4 in a battle of Alberta teams at Telus Field. The Padres reached their goal by eliminating the Woodslee Orioles (Ontario), two-time defending champions, 2-0. The Tier 2 title went to the Regina Drifters who subdued the St. Albert Cardinals (Alberta) 7-1 to take home the Kindersley trophy.
The 44+ category had only five participants. In semi-final action third place Medicine Hat Oilmen upset the defending five-time champion Oakville Golden A’s (Ontario) 7-4, ending their two-year hold on the trophy. In the other match, first place Regina Ghosts eliminated the Kindersley Klippers (Saskatchewan) 14-6. The Ghosts took care of the Oilmen 8-1 to claim their first 44+ title.
In the 50+ age group, the Pleasant Valley Lakers (Nova Scotia) scored two runs to capture their second title, the Paul Carruthers Memorial Trophy. The Lakers edged Spring Lake Masters (Alberta) 1-0 in the semi-final and then won 1-0 over the Spruce Grove Eagles (Alberta). This will be a record that can only be tied. In Tier 2, Courtney Happy Islanders (British Columbia), squeaked out a 12-11 victory over the defending champion Dufferin-Simcoe Rockers (Ontario).
For the first time, no voting was done on motions at the Annual general Meeting. All “teams in good standing” would vote by e-mail in September. A 57+ age group was proposed. The tournament entry fee was raised. Greg McEachern was introduced as the Vice-President of Technical Operations; his main duty is the maintenance of the CNOBF website.
Rich Knight pointed out that friendships developed at these tournaments were very important.
The tournament returned to Prince Edward Island for the first time in 12 yearswith Charlottetown serving as the host for the 33 teams.
In 50+ semi-finals Oakville Golden A’s (Ontario) hung on to defeat the Hamilton Stealers 15-12 while the Dufferin-Simcoe Rockers (Ontario) shutout the Spring Lake Masters (Alberta) 3-0. The Rockers then defeated the Golden A’s to take the Paul Carruthers Memorial Trophy, named in memory of the second CNOBF president and the Rockers’ team leader. It was Dufferin-Simcoe’s first 50+ championship after three titles in the 44+ division.
Oakville Golden A’s took their second consecutive, and fifth overall, 44+ championship with a convincing 8-1 victory over the Tracadie-Sheila Eagles (New Brunswick). In Tier 2 action Scarborough Maroons (Ontario) won a second consecutive title with a decisive 7-2 victory over Medicine Hat Rattlers.
Woodslee Orioles (Ontario) won their second consecutive championship blanking the host team, Charlottetown 5-0. In Tier 2 Petit de Grat Red Caps (Nova Scotia) crushed the Scarborough Maroons 15-5.
At the Annual General Meeting, to remain “a team in good standing”, teams have to be participating in the current tournament or have participated in one of the last six tournaments. Any vote affecting a particular age group, can only be voted on by teams of that age group. A proposal was forwarded to create the position of “commissioner”.
The city of Burlington (Ontario), across the harbour from where the first CNOBF tournament was held, welcomed 31 teams to the 2011 tournament. Four teams represented the host’s contribution for a total of 35 teams. Using five main diamonds and occasionally a sixth, a total of 32 games opened the tournament on Friday. Four diamonds had a full slate of six games each. Saturday saw another 32 games played with five diamonds playing to capacity.
There were three pools of six teams in the 35+ age group, nine teams in three pools of 44+ players, eight teams in the 50+ age division.
As the CNOBF started its seventh round through the three geographical areas of Canada, the competition heated up. Three teams completed the pool round with perfect records: Burlington Blacks (35+), Oakville Golden A’s (44+) and Red Deer Snowbirds (50+).
On Championship Day (Monday) the first championship game saw Red Deer (Alberta) claim their second 50+ title whipping the defending champion B.C Capitals 11-1. Pleasant Valley (Nova Scotia) defeated the Ottawa Braumeisters 12-5 to take the Tier 2 title.
In the 44+ division the Oakville Golden A’s (Ontario) outscored Petit de Grat Red Caps (Nova Scotia) 11-8 to win their fourth Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy. Two Ontario teams battled for the Tier 2 title with Scarborough Maroons belting the Barrie Red sox 11-1 for their first CNOBF championship.
The Tier One championship was wrestled away from last year’s defending champions as the Cadogan (Alberta) Nitehawks scored a 7-5 victory over the Yarmouth (Nova Scotia) Red Knights to take the Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy to Alberta for the first time since 1996. Petit de Grat Red Caps edged Brampton (Ontario) 11-9 to wrap up the Tier 2 title.
Rich Knight, who stepped in to fill the shoes of the late president, Paul Carruthers, chaired his first Annual General Meeting. Effort was made to begin a 55+ age division.
A sad note after this tournament was the passing of Terry Wilkinson, the hard working Tournament Chairman, in November.
The year 2010 opened with hopes for a great year for the C.N.O.B.F. For the first time, the annual tournament was going over the Rocky Mountains to Burnaby B.C. The committee was enthusiastically moving forward with great plans. However the passing of our president, Paul Carruthers, in May left the Federation without a leader. The fallout from that led to a shake-up in the Constitution, and for a period of time, a rudderless ship. In the fall, what the Federation needed to happen, did take place. Rich Knight, Ontario Director since 1994, stepped forward and volunteered to serve as president until the situation stabilizes. For this, we all owe Rich many thanks.
The Federation is still looking for people, players or even their spouses, to come forward and build up our strength again. There are still gaps in the operation because no one has offered to take on the vacant positions. If many come forward, the work for each becomes less.
The 18th annual championship tournament was played in the Burnaby area on six diamonds under ideal weather conditions, perhaps the best we have ever had. There was no rain, no fog, and the temperatures were quite comfortable.
When Monday rolled around, the first championship game, for the Tier 2 50+ title, saw the Richmond (B.C.) Monarchs take extra innings to edge the Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) Sportsmen 8-7. The Tier 1 battle between two B.C. teams was equally close with the former champions, the BC Capitals, regaining their title edging the White Rock Legends 11-10.
The 44+ division was won by the defending champions from Dufferin-Simcoe (Ontario). The Rockers, playing inspired baseball in memory of their late leader Paul Carruthers, defeated the Comox Valley (B.C.) Yankees 8-2, and took the Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy back home.
In the 35+ division, the Haney (B.C.) Dodgers captured the Tier 2 Kindersley Trophy with an 8-3 victory over the former champion Burlington Black 49ers. The Tier One championship was wrestled away from last year's defending champions as the Cadogan (Alberta) Nitehawks scored a 7-5 victory over the Yarmouth (Nova Scotia) Red Knights to take the Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy to Alberta for the first time since 1996.
Many thanks go out to Dan Taylor, Howie Snyder, Mike Willcox, and the great crew of volunteers who hosted a first class tournament in some great parks.
For the third time overall, and the second consecutive time in the Eastern Region, the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, hosted the 17th annual championship tournament, stepping forth in an emergency situation. As had been done in the past, the committee put on an excellent tournament, supported by a strong showing from the community.
The tournament started on time after a heavy rainfall on the Thursday, thanks to groundskeepers at all diamonds.
On championship day, the hometown Yarmouth Red Knights completed an undefeated run to claim the 35+ championship with a convincing 7-3 victory over a stubborn former championship team from Tillsonburg, Ontario. The Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy will stay in Roy’s home province once again.
Last year’s Tier One champions, the Burlington (Ontario) Black 49ers had to settle for the Tier Two 35+ Kindersley Trophy in an extremely exciting battle, squeezing out a 1-0, eight inning victory over another former champion from Tracadie-Sheila, New Brunswick. The run was the only one given up by Tracadie-Sheila in their three play-off games.
The 44+ division was won by another former champion, the Dufferin-Simcoe (Ontario) Rockers, who defeated the Burlingon Grey 49ers 5-3. The Rockers took home the Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy for the second time.
Another hometown area team stepped up to claim the 50+ championship. The Pleasant Valley Lakers, in their first tournament, defeated the Halifax Classics 7-2. An earlier tie with the Classics was the only blemish on the Lakers’ record.
The championship tournament returned to Hamilton for the third time, the first since 1996. For the first time the entire tournament was played on five diamonds all located within one complex.
At the Annual General Meeting, the membership passed a motion to create a new position of secretary-treasurer, and to allow proxy votes. In addition, it was announced that the Federation was in the final stages of becoming incorporated.
As part of the Opening Ceremonies, the Hamilton Oldtimers’ Baseball Organization held their league Hall of Fame presentation ceremony in front of all the teams from across Canada. Retired player and convenor, Wayne Jessop, was recognized for his contributions and leadership to the organization. In addition, Nicole (Beaudoin) Hamel, Chuck Beaudoin’s daughter, sang the national anthem as she did at the first championship tournament in 1993.
On championship day, the Burlington (Ontario) Black 49ers successfully defended their 35+ championship and held onto the Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy with an exciting 5-4 victory over the three-time champions from Tillsonburg (Ontario). In the Tier Two 35+, the host team, Hamilton Silverhawks, won the Kindersley Trophy by powering their way to a 15-2 victory over the first-ever team from Quebec, the Montreal Dodgers.
In the 44+ division, Oakville (Ontario) Golden’s A’s successfully defended their championship against their arch rivals from Spring Lake (Alberta) with a 6-0 white-washing. The Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy was presented to the champions by Marnie Beaudoin, Chuck’s widow.
The BC Capitals bounced back from a 1-2 pool performance to upset the 3-0 Burlington Silver 49ers 9-3 to capture the 50+ championship, and prevent Burlington from pulling off back-to-back double national championships.
The September newsletter introduced a few letters from the membership relating information or expressing opinions for all to read. It is hoped that this segment will add interest to the revitalized newsletter.
Congratulations to Fred Zucker, Lyle Lorenz, and the Red Deer players and volunteers for an excellent job in hosting our 2007 tournament. Their long wait to showcase their ability to handle our tournament, I hope, was very rewarding for all the workers.
This was my first visit to Red Deer and I marvelled at the “big city” facilities, both athletic and commercial, which Red Deer has along with its “small city” atmosphere. My visit was very enjoyable, but too short.
At the Annual General Meeting, a motion was made to name the 44+ Tier Two after yours truly. I thank Lyle Lorenz and Blair Hanna for the gesture.
The result of this action confused me because I thought surely such a gesture would be to name the oldest group trophy (the 50+ division) after an old guy like me. However, as it turns out, the two trophies in the 44+ division will now carry the Beaudoin family name: the Tier One, the “Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy”, and the Tier Two, the “Phil Beaudoin Trophy”. This, to me personally, is very special. To be closely linked with my late brother at the national level, is truly an honour. I will be forever grateful to Lyle and Blair, as well as those voting members who supported the motion.
On the fields, two teams from Burlington (Ontario) went home as champions, the first time two titles went home to the same city at the same tournament. The Black 49ers captured the coveted 35+ championship and the Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy in dramatic fashion, while the Grey 49ers took home the newly named Phil Beaudoin trophy in the 44+ division. Oakville (Ontario) Golden A’s won a tough struggle against Spring Lake (Alberta) to capture the 44+ Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy for the second time. This was Oakville’s fourth national championship.
In the Tier Two 35+ there was some irony as the Kindersley (Saskatchewan) Klippers walked off with the Kindersley Trophy. In the newly created 50+ division, it was only fitting that a host team, the Red Deer Vision Air Snowbirds, should win at least one of the trophies up for grabs, when they executed a dramatic last inning suicide squeeze play.
The eager anticipation of returning to Yarmouth, the scene of the second national tournament in 1994, saw the whole town jumping on board to support Keith Bridgeo, Darryl Leblanc, and the remainder of the hard-working host committee. The participants were not disappointed as seafood dinners and exciting baseball highlighted an enjoyable weekend. As is becoming the tradition, a little rain was thrown into the picture to alter the scheduling.
Championship Day on Monday was highlighted by a tightly played battle between the defending champions from Tillsonburg and an upstart team from Petit de Grat, NS, with the host province team earning a well-deserved 2-0 win. Mrs. Terry Boudreau happily and emotionally presented the “Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy” to the team from the Boudreau family’s hometown. This was certainly a storybook victory.
The Medicine Hat Cardinals captured the “Kindersley Trophy” with a close 4-3 win over nearby Tusket. In the 44+ division, last year’s runner-up from Barrie defeated last year’s champions and their next door neighbours from Dufferin-Simcoe to keep the “Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy” in Ontario. The Hamilton Stealers easily handled the weary Saskatoon Sportsmen to take the second divisional trophy to Ontario.
The Annual General Meeting saw Phil Beaudoin step down after 12 years as the C.N.O.B.F.’s only president. He was succeeded by vice-president Paul Carruthers, as preparations are made for the transition to wood bats for 2007.
Tillsonburg, led by the enthusiastic Sam Lamb, hosted the tournament and won the “Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy” for the third time (second in a row) in front of the hometown fans with an exciting bottom of the seventh, two out, walk-off home run and going 6-0 for the weekend. Black Creek, making their first appearance on the national scene, threw a real scare into the host team.
The “Kindersley Trophy” was taken down east by the Truro Bearcats with a well-played 3-1 win over St. Catharines. In the 44 -and-over division, the “Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy” was finally won by the ever-present Dufferin-Simcoe Rockers. Simcoe won the fourth title in a close 5-4 win over Chippawa to bring three trophies to Ontario.
The social highlight was a great barbecue dinner followed by some toe-tapping music and wild dancing.
A poem about the tournament was written by Betti Michael (Mrs. Millo Michael):
We are off again to "Tillsonburg"
We go there every day
Our mission -- be supportive
While we watch our Indians play.
With aching arms and tired legs
And knees that fail to bend
They struggle to hit one more run
And hope it does not end.
Old friends to reminiscence with
The ball game has it all
And the aching body rallies
When the umpire yells
Copyright © 2005 Betti Michael/"Mrs. Millo" All rights reserved.
The tournament returned once again to Medicine Hat under the leadership of Lawrence Gordon. The four teams from the Medicine Hat league cooperated to help present another memorable tournament. The social highlight, other than the beer tent, was the barbecued steak dinner on Saturday night.
On the diamonds the Tillsonburg (Ontario) Old Sox won the “Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy” for the second time while the “Kindersley Trophy” was awarded to the Sask-Alta Twiliters.
In the Masters’ (over-44) Division newcomers from Spring Lake (Alberta) walked off as winners of the “Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy” while the Chatfield (Manitoba) Cardinals captured the Tier Two title. The results provided a wide provincial distribution of winners.
Although there was no promise this time that it would not rain in Medicine Hat on this weekend, only an indication that 1998's rain storm was extremely rare, it did. Rain Saturday night set Sunday’s games back a few hours, although Sunday night’s rain did not affect the action. We are all thankful that we had left the area before the tornado touched down just north of the city on Tuesday.
Rob Landry headed up a strong committee which hosted a tournament held in four different Acadian Peninsula centres: Tracadie-Sheila, Caraquet, Lameque and Shippagan. The Opening Ceremonies had speeches with a bilingual touch and "O Canada" was sung in French for the first time at the national tournament. A fun night on the river's edge was held with lots of lively music, and all the shrimp, mussels and pickled herring one could eat. Sunday night was finished off with a lighted boat parade on the river and a fireworks display, courtesy of the town's weekend festival.
When the dust had settled, the host team (Tracadie-Sheila Aigles) had won a hotly contested division and the "Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy", their second national championship. The "Kindersley Trophy" stayed in New Brunswick also, as Caraquet Moosehead Dry worked their way through a complex play-off round to come out on top. The Masters' Division declared only one winner, due to a shortage of teams. For the first time as masters, the first ever champions from Oakville, now called the Golden Aces, captured the "Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy".
Although there was a lot of rain across Canada this weekend, none of it fell on the Acadian Peninsula until after all games were finished and teams were on their way home.
The tenth anniversary tournament was hosted by Paul Carruthers, Orville Jenkins, and the Dufferin-Simcoe (Ontario) Rockers on the occasion of their twentieth anniversary in oldtimers’ baseball. The tournament was played on five excellent small town county diamonds with the "Roy Boudreau Memorial Trophy" going to a new team called the Oakville (Ontario) Colts.
The "Kindersley Trophy" went to the Hamilton (Ontario) Stealers, one of three original teams still playing in this anniversary tournament; the other teams were the original championship team, the Oakville Golden A’s, now playing in the Masters’ Division, and the St. Catharines Cardinals.
In the Masters Division, the perennial winners from Tecumseh (Ontario) captured their unprecedented fourth consecutive championship winning the "Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy", while a new team of Masters, the Chippawa (Ontario) Indians took the new Tier Two championship trophy.
Beaudoin and Gordon were re-elected.
In Regina the host team, the Regina (Saskatchewan) Ghosts walked off the field as the first winners of the newly named "Roy Boudreau Trophy" as Tier One champions, while the Amisk (Alberta) Astros, 1998 winners, won the Tier Two "Kindersley Trophy". The Tecumseh (Ontario) Green Giants became the first team to cop three consecutive titles when they won the "Chuck Beaudoin Memorial Trophy" handed out to the Masters’ champions.
Neil Tulloch and Shane Simpson headed up the host committee as temperatures reached 35 degrees Celsius.
Prince Edward Island was the site of the millenium tournament. Under the leadership of Sheila Coffin and excellent weather conditions, the largest tournament was played with 29 teams competing for the titles. The Tracadie-Sheila (New Brunswick) Eagles captured the Tier One over-35 championship in their first tournament appearance. The Truro (Nova Scotia) Stella Jones Bearcats defeated the host PEI Die-Hards for the Tier Two title. The Tecumseh (Ontario) Green Giants became two-time Masters’ champs.
A special exhibition game of over-50’s was played to christen the new lights installed on the diamond at Morell. A banquet and dance was also held and everyone partied heartily.
Election results saw Beaudoin re-elected with Lawrence Gordon of Medicine Hat replacing Purdy as vice-president. The position of secretary-treasurer was dropped.
The 1999 tournament was held in Oakville, Ontario as the third round of tournaments began.
Rich Knight, the Ontario Director and manager of the two-time National Champion Oakville Golden A’s, headed up the host committee. Eighteen teams participated: fourteen in the original over-35 age group and four in the Masters division. Tillsonburg (Ontario) Old Sox, after coming close in the past couple tournaments, finally earned their championship; Calgary (Alberta) Cardinals took the tier-two title, while the Tecumseh (Ontario) Green Giants, contenders since the first tournament, captured the Masters championship. Social highlights included a banquet and an elimination draw for a trip, a Detroit Tigers-Toronto Blue Jays game, and a pub night and karaoke party.
The 1998 tournament involved the first bids to host the tournament from more than one centre. The successful bid took the tournament to Medicine Hat, Alberta and saw the introduction of a two-tiered format for over-35 players and the first playdown in theMasters’ division (over-45 years of age). In all twenty-three teams (a new record) took part: 16 in the over-35 and 7 in the over-45. Alberta provided thirteen and Saskatchewan six with Ontario adding three and Manitoba one. The Lumsden (Saskatchewan) Ghosts took the tier one title; Amisk (Alberta) Astros, the tier two; Red Deer (Alberta) Pro Collision Carstars won the first ever Masters’ championship. The tournament also featured the first national baseball olympics. The social highlights included a free pancake breakfast, a barbecue featuring buffalo burgers and prairie oysters (?), a banquet and dance highlighted by a strange accounting of the origin of baseball, and a "Last Man Standing’ windup party for those still around on Monday evening. In the elections Beaudoin and Purdy were re-elected while a constitutional change introduced provincial directors instead of regional. Five of the seven active provinces have a director. Sam Leonard of Oakville was elected to the new post of secretary-treasurer.
Belledune, New Brunswick hosted the 1997 tournament with a new high of eighteen teams involved. The host province had four entries, while Nova Scotia and Ontario added five each, P.E.I. two, and Saskatchewan and Alberta one each. Chairman Paul Daley and the host team from Belledune became the first Maritime team to win the title. The tournament was conducted as part of the "Belledune Days" festivities and included daily breakfasts and a lobster banquet at the Legion, and a dance featuring Rawlins Cross at the arena, both located next to the diamonds.
When no host surfaced for the return to Ontario in 1996, Hamilton became the first to host a second tournament. Sixteen teams were involved again with Ontario contributing seven, Nova Scotia adding five, and Saskatchewan, P.E.I., New Brunswick, and Alberta one each. Calgary defended their championship with outstanding pitching and defence combined with timely hitting. This election year saw Beaudoin returned as president with George Purdy of Yarmouth elected to the vice-president’s position along with six directors.
Because of limited involvement from Western Canada in the first two tournaments, it was necessary to seek out a western host for 1995. An invitation to do so was accepted by Tom Watt and the members of the Kindersley Klippers. So the tournament moved west to Kindersley, Saskatchewan with sixteen teams participating, including one each from British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and New Brunswick, four from Alberta, and six from Saskatchewan. This tournament saw the greatest number of provinces ever to participate. The Calgary (Alberta) Cardinals were crowned new champions in a one-run game against Belledune, New Brunswick in a weekend that included a dance, a Smokey Fry and, of course, a beer garden.
In 1994 Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, headed by Reg LeBlanc, hosted a 15 team tournament including one team from New Brunswick, two from P.E.I., five from Ontario and seven from Nova Scotia. Oakville Old A’s successfully defended their title as Canadian Oldtimers’ champions. Extra-curricular highlights of the weekend included a lobster boil at Killiam Wharf and a banquet and dance.
An executive was elected to conduct the business for the National Oldtimers’ Baseball Federation with first-year tournament chairman, Phil Beaudoin, elected president and second-year tournament chairman, Reg LeBlanc, elected vice-president. Regional directors were also elected, two each from the Eastern, and Central Regions and one from the uncharted Western Region.
John outlined what he felt were the criteria for hosting a national tournament to Phil Beaudoin, then president of the Hamilton Oldtimers Baseball Organization (H.O.B.O.), a house league of six teams playing oldtimers ball in Hamilton, Ontario. Phil believed that Hamilton met the necessary requirements and presented the idea to the H.O.B.O. executive which jumped at the opportunity. John gave Hamilton his blessing and plans were made to hold the first national tournament in Hamilton during the first weekend of August, which is a holiday weekend in some provinces.
Making contacts in Ontario was easy as Hamilton had a select team playing tournaments in the Vintage program. Wally Cassell, a H.O.B.O. player, took it upon himself to make contacts in Eastern Canada, starting with Montreal and working eastward. As a result of his tireless efforts, teams from Yarmouth, Noel Road, and Petit de Grat, Nova Scotia travelled to Hamilton in 1993 for the inaugural tournament.
The search in Western Canada was not so successful, but a team from Giroux, Manitoba did attend to provide representation from three provinces. Ontario filled out the eight team tournament with teams from Tecumseh, Oakville, St. Catharines and the host Hamilton.
After much groundbreaking, the tournament was played with each team playing all of the others for a total of seven games in four days. This would turn out to be a unique happening, the only time where there were few enough teams to attempt such a challenge. The players coped and, with arms hanging and legs wobbling, completed the tournament with Oakville (Ontario) Old A’s carrying off the trophy as the first national champions. Added activities included two busloads of fans to see a Blue Jays game (they won the World Series that year), a buffet style banquet with many prizes being given away, and entertainment by the M.C., John Ellis, a player from Hamilton.
The first attempt to play a Canadian oldtimers baseball championship tournament ended in failure. The idea belonged to John Duncan of Peterborough Ontario, well known on Ontario baseball diamonds, as a player, organizer and umpire. John was an executive member and a driving force with the Vintage Baseball Federation of Ontario, which consisted of more than twenty teams with players 35 years of age and over playing in weekend tournaments around the province of Ontario. John’s dream of a national program appeared to be up and going when plans were made to hold a tournament in Newfoundland in 1992. The plans fell through in the spring of that year.