Almost 100 players and widows will ‘cross home plate’ and be in Kimberley for a local 2018 baseball reunion.
The boys of summer are pumped up and intending to be a significant part of Kimberley’s JulyFest weekend. Players and widows of historical teams of yesteryear will attend most of the events scheduled from Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22 representing five baseball teams of their era.
The Kimberley Dynamos and the Kimberley Sorensen Hobos dominated the senior baseball circuit in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.
The battles the Hobos staged against the Dynamos are locked in the memory bank of many old-timers. A rivalry that defined baseball in Kimberley at the time, the town was basically split down the middle in supporting either the Dynamos or the Hobos.
After games, Dynamo players and fans went off to the Kimberley Hotel to support John Achzener and drink his beverages. Hobo players and fans, on the other hand, were off to the Canadian Hotel with coach ‘Cougar’ McLay to patronize Jack ‘Windy’ Kavanaugh’s establishment.
The ballpark itself was even split in two with the dividing line dropping almost straight down from Garnet Bannatyne’s perch in the announcing booth. Neither team ever wanted to give an inch lest they lose the opportunity for bragging rights in the sports crazy town.
Three Junior Baseball teams also existed. The Kimberley Tempests were affiliated with the Hobos, the BPOE Angels were tied in with the Dynamos and just three miles down the road were the Marysville Trader Dick Steelmen. Those teams also had intense rivalries and collectively managed to dominate the East Kootenay junior league.
Three days of events will allow the players from all five teams to renew friendships, trade stories and enjoy the Julyfest activities. S
Scorecard ‘line-up’ for the weekend
Batting leadoff will be a ‘Dugout Chatter Meet and Greet’ function at Bootleg Golf Club on Friday at 6 p.m.
Second spot in the order will be the JulyFest parade on Saturday morning. The reunion boys say they hope to have the largest and noisiest contingent in the procession. Kimberley’s ex-BPOE Angel, Barry ‘Moose’ McKay of McKay Contracting and Frank Sandor of Sandor Rentals in Cranbrook have provided flatbeds. A huge Banner will warn parade spectators that the baseball boys are right behind.
Handling one side of the banner will be John Achtzener’s daughter Gail. As well as being very well known as the coach of the 1937 World Hockey Champion Kimberley Dynamiters, John was a huge supporter of baseball and other amateur sports teams in Kimberley.
Holding up the other side of the banner will be Mavis Wynn, an import from Victoria, B.C. Her father was none other than Rusty Wynn. A terrific ball player, Wynn was even more noteworthy for his ability to mentor and coach players of all age groups in those high profile baseball years in Kimberley.
At the all-important third spot in the batting order is the huge Saturday gathering at the BPOE Elks Hall.
It will begin immediately following the JulyFest parade for all reunion attendees, their partners and families. A feature of the gathering will be an ‘open mic’ session where many stories will be offered up to the crowd. Dynamo management icons Ray McNiven and Doug MacDonald will probably take a spot on the floor. Hobo’s Ron ‘Slicker’ Brown and Al Jobe are also expected to make a brief appearance.
The fourth spot in the lineup is the clean-up spot, the final event of the weekend. It is a 9 a.m. ‘Farewell Breakfast’ on Sunday morning at Bootleg Gap Golf Club. All the stories will have been told and breakfast will be a final opportunity to gather phone numbers and email addresses.
T-Shirts and caps of all five teams have been produced by Big Magic Design on Spokane Street in Kimberley. Most of the returning players have purchased their colors, but sales are also open to the public by dropping by the store or calling 778-481-5262.
Some of the Sorensen Hobo players who will be in attendance are Jim Ratcliffe, Jim Nelson, John Stone, the Kuntz brothers and John Kosiancic. Longtime Hobo sponsor Chris Sorensen will also participate in all the events. Dynamo stalwarts will include Red Mellor, Ike Bodin, Carlo Johansen, Ron ‘Sandy’ Livingstone, Sam Calles and ex-Provincial Cabinet Minister, Tony Brummett.
On the Junior side, the BPOE Angels will be led by Jim Crewe, Jack Leggett, Norm Stewart, Bobby Muir and Barry ‘Moose’ MacKay. Kimberley Tempests will include Jim Murphy, Ken Brown, Bob Lafortune, Terri Kinrade and Kimberley Councilman, Albert Hogland.
Marysville Trader Dick Steelmen standouts who will be coming are Al Jobe, Wayne Iverson, Gerry Carter and Bob Dick. Murray Luker (deceased) who played through every year of Steelmen existence will be represented by his wife Maureen. Notable also is the fact that ex-Kimberley Mayor Jim Ogilvie (deceased) coached the Steelmen for several years. He will be represented by his wife Gail.
Hobo’s steady infielder Ed Johnson of Comox, B.C. had a great quote as he prepared to come across home plate to Kimberley for the reunion.
“We still have enough guys to field a team….along with our various support equipment such as canes, walkers and wheelchairs,” he said.
Committeemen who organized the weekend event are Hobo’s Mel Johnson (Trail), Al Patterson (Arizona), Al Jobe (Cranbrook) and Colin Patterson (Cranbrook).