1948 . . .  Brandon, the power on the prairies ... London Majors, North American champs


(Brandon Sun headline, August 26, 1948)

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.

Coney WilliamsWith 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)

Terry SawchukThe 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.  

1948 Stats
1948 Rosters
1948 Tournaments
1948 Ligon All-Stars
1948 Minot Merchants

Brandon Greys       25  8 
Winnipeg Reos       15 15  8.5
Elmwood Giants      12 17 11.0
Winnipeg Vets        7 19 14.5
Brandon Sun, Aug 9, 1948

(Brandon defeated Winnipeg Reos in the playoff final to capture the Manitoba Senior League title.)

1948 Game Reports/Playoffs
1948 Photo Gallery
1948 Snapshots
1948 Brandon Greys

1948 Bowsman
1948 Gilbert Plains

1948 Delisle Gems

Regina Caps
Wilcox Cardinals
Notre Dame Hounds
Liberty Eagles
Weyburn Beavers
Moose Jaw Oilmen
1948 Game Reports

NESBL History

Edmonton Eskimos
Edmonton Cubs
Calgary Purity 99
Calgary Buffaloes

1948 Snapshots

1948 Game Reports  
1948 London Majors  



Sawchuck would go on to a Hall of Fame career as a goaltender in the National Hockey League.  The Winnipeg native captured NHL Rookie of the Year honours in 1951 and was named the league's best goalie four times.

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."

Barnstorming, 1948The 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 Sea Lions.


In 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.

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