|1948 . . . Brandon, the power on the prairies ... London Majors, North American champs|
Brandon (Manitoba) Greys emerged as the power on the prairies, while the London, Ontario, Majors beat the American champions to take the North American "sandlot" title.
In the city's return to semi-professional baseball, Brandon captured the pennant in the newly formed Manitoba Senior League and went on to defeat the Winnipeg Reos in the playoffs. In the biggest tournament in the west, Greys beat a tough Sceptre squad to take first prize at Indian Head, Saskatchewan.
With a core of imported players, the Greys led the way in providing a home for former Negro leaguers who began to find fewer opportunities across the border as Jackie Robinson's integration of the major leagues, in 1947, marked the beginning of the end of the Negro leagues.
"Five imported Negro stars, Coney Williams (above), Bus Quinn, Thad Christopher, Raphael Cabrera (right) and Steve Wylie proved a sound investment for the backers of the Greys as they turned a "good" club into a "dream team". (Brandon Sun, December 30, 1948)
The Greys, who opened the season with three loses, romped to 58 wins in their 75 game schedule. They finished 28-5-1 in league play. A 17-game winning streak was just one of the highlights. Wylie (12-1), Quinn (10-1) and Jack Sinclair (10-5) won 32 games. Christopher finished second to Elmwood's Terry Sawchuk (above) in the batting race. Quinn came third. Sawchuk batted .376 to take the crown.
MANITOBA SENIOR LEAGUE
(Brandon defeated Winnipeg Reos in the playoff final to capture the Manitoba Senior League title.)
SASKATOON & DISTRICT
Winnipeg Tribune's 1948 Manitoba Senior League All-Star team -- Catcher: Gus Merlevede, Reos, First base: Hugh Gustafson, Elmwood, Second base: Jack Raleigh, ANAF, Third base: Ian Lowe, Brandon, Shortstop: Coney Williams, Brandon, Left field: Jack Vicars ANAF, Centre field: Ed Leier, Elmwood, Right field: Bill Antoniak, Reos, Utility: Terry Sawchuk, Elmwood, Pitcher: Johnny McManus, Reos, Manager: Jack Hind (Winnipeg Tribune, August 19, 1948)
Eddie Morris guided the Edmonton Eskimos to the title in the Alberta Big Four Intercity League. Esks downed Calgary Buffaloes in the final series.
The Muskogee Cardinals were among the barnstorming teams to hit the prairies after the war years. The Cardinals played in Camrose, Alberta in 1948, beating the locals 9-8. The Camrose Canadian of July 21st carried a little information about the Cardinals :
"The Cardinals, a darky club, were the champions of the Southwest from 1934 to 1947. It remains to be seen whether they will be champions for 1948 or not. They are highly publicized but are reported to be one of the best teams of their kind. Those who have seem them play report they put on the best show any touring ball club has ever shown. They play to win, but add enough comedy to the game to give you your money's worth."
The paper also mentioned an upcoming
series with another barnstorming team, the Oakland
Beavers. Among the other touring teams were the Ligon's
All-Stars, House of David, Kansas
City Monarchs, San Francisco
Cubs, Birmingham Stars and San Francisco
Ontario, the London Majors of the Intercounty Baseball
League, defeated the Fort Wayne (Indiana) General Electrics in a
best-of-seven series to capture the North American Sandlot
championship. Fort Wayne was fresh from winning the National
Baseball Congress title in the United States.
In the Southern Saskatchewan League, veteran Gayle Shupe fired a no-hitter June 18th as Weyburn Beavers shutout Wilcox Cardinals 3-0. Shupe, a former Winnipeg Maroon of the Northern League, fanned ten. The win stopped a three-game losing streak for the Beavers.