2023 Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE FOR NOVEMBER 8, 2022

The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame will host its 25th induction banquet on the evening of June 3, 2023, at the Access Events Centre in Morden. Eight individuals and four teams will be inducted. The individuals are Corey Billaney of Boissevain, Jeff Bouchard of Winnipeg, Junior Brake of Boissevain, Keith Carriere of Winnipeg, Patti Hacault of Holland, Laurie Langrell of Warren/Winnipeg, Thomas Smith of Steinbach (deceased), Todd Smith of Hamiota (deceased). The four teams are the Minnedosa Mavericks 2006-2015, the Reston Rockets 2009-2013, the Hamiota Juvenile Royals 1966, and the Norwood Community Club Juvenile/Junior Baseball Team 1953-1956.

Tickets for the banquet are available through the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame website, www.mbhof.ca. Follow the links to 2023 banquet.
 

INDIVIDUALS

COREY BILLANEY, (1977-    ), BOISSEVAIN
Born and raised in Boissevain, Corey played his minor ball in that town. He was an elite level catcher from an early age.  In 1993, 1994, and 1995 he was chosen for Manitoba's Youth Team. He joined the senior Boissevain Centennials of the South West league in 1994 when he was 17. Two years later he scored the winning run in the final game as the Centennials won the provincial AA championship. The next time this team won provincials was in 2017 when Corey was the coach. He still is the coach, along with fellow inductee Junior Brake. He played mostly with Boissevain but also with Neepawa and Birtle in the Manitoba Senior League. He has been inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame three times as a member of teams. In Boissevain he had a lifetime batting average of .388 and was selected 14 times to a South West League all star team. In 27 of the 28 baseball seasons from 1990 to 2017, Corey played in at least one of the championship tournaments for Manitoba, Western Canada, Canada.

JEFF BOUCHARD (1965-    ), WINNIPEG
He grew up in St. Boniface and played on provincial championship teams from St. Boniface at both Bantam and Midget levels. He was primarily a catcher. Jeff joined St. Boniface Legionnaires Juniors of the Manitoba Junior League in 1984 and for the next three years was an all star. Then he joined St. Boniface Native Sons in the Red Boine Senior league and was part of teams that won six consecutive league championships, six consecutive provincial Senior championships, and one Western Canadian championship. In 1985 he had a season that would be very difficult to match. In Junior with the Legionnaires he was Manitoba Junior league MVP and an all star. In Senior with the Native Sons he was Baseball Manitoba Senior Player of the Year. At the Canada Summer Games (for players 21 and under) he hit .450 with three home runs and led Manitoba to a silver medal. Since 2000 he has been coaching, especially at various age levels with the Bonivital Black Sox and Winnipeg South Chiefs. In both 2015 and 2021 he was selected Baseball Manitoba High Performance Coach of the Year.

JUNIOR BRAKE (1971-    ), BOISSEVAIN
Junior has lived in Boissevain almost all his life. He was an outstanding pitcher in Senior ball for twenty five years. In one season he played with Killarney Lakers in the Border league and was chosen Rookie of the Year on a team that took the league title. Between 1988 and 2017 he played primarily with the Boissevain Centennials of the South West League, and his team won their league's championship nine times. They also were provincial Senior AA champions on four occasions. At the AA championship in Grandview in 1996 Junior was tournament MVP. He was top pitcher in his league in four different seasons, and the batting champ in two different seasons. In 2009 and 2015 he was picked up by Baldur Regals who represented Manitoba at Western Canadian AA championship tournaments. They won Westerns in both years, and in 2009 Junior was selected top pitcher of the tournament. Since 2017 he has been coaching the Centennials and coaching the South West League all stars at provincials.

KEITH CARRIERE (1970-    ), WINNIPEG
Keith played through Bantam with Canadian Polish Athletic Club, where he was a pitcher and an infielder. Then he joined Legion 141 Midgets for two years and was Baseball Manitoba Minor Player of the Year in 1987. From 1988 to 1991 he was with Legion 141 in the Manitoba Junior League. He made three all star teams, played in the 1989 Westerns as a pick up by Elmwood Giants, and also made the 1989 Canada Summer Game team. In 1989-90 he attended Victor Valley College in California on a baseball scholarship. From 1991 to 1999 he played Senior with Legion 141 in the Red Boine League, then from 1999-2004 he was with Elmwood Giants of the Winnipeg Senior League. He was part of the strong Elmwood teams that won two gold medals and one silver medal at Westerns. He was a perennial all star in both the Red Boine League and the Winnipeg Senior League, and in 2000 he was MVP in the Winnipeg League. Since 2010 he has coached or helped to coach his two boys, both AAA players in the North Winnipeg Minor Baseball Association.

PATTI HACAULT (1947-    ), HOLLAND
She was born in Brandon. Her family was involved in establishing ski resorts both in Manitoba and North Dakota. She attended high school in Manitou Manitoba, Bismarck North Dakota, and Hannah North Dakota. She went to university in Bozeman Montana. She was a competitive alpine ski racer and has been a free lance artist who has exhibited and sold art throughout Canada. Since 2000, she has been a reporter for the Treherne Times. Patti has always had a passion for baseball. She has coached many teams in Holland, Treherne, and Pembina Hills. Since 2002 she has held numerous executive positions in the Pembina Hills Minor Baseball league. For twelve years she has been a member of Baseball Manitoba's Girls Committee. Rod Leduchowski and Blaine Fortin say that without Patti Hacault there would be no girls' baseball in Manitoba. In 2011 she was selected Baseball Manitoba's Volunteer of the Year and Sport Manitoba's Volunteer of the Year. In 2017 she was inducted into Baseball Manitoba's Honour Society.

LAURIE LANGRELL (1939-    ), WARREN/WINNIPEG
Laurie was raised in Warren and started to play organized baseball there at the age of 13.  At age 16 he played some games for Warren Seniors. He played also with Warren Juveniles. In 1957 the Juveniles beat Columbus Club for the city Juvenile championship. The deciding game went 17 innings. Langrell had five hits, and stole third base five times. Then he played two years with Warren Juniors in the Winnipeg Junior League and two years in the Parochial League. Next he joined Balmoral Orioles in the Winnipeg Senior League. Laurie's best year with Orioles was 1967 when he was both league batting champion and MVP. He hit .407 and stole 25 bases. Later he played with Stonewall in the Winnipeg Senior league and with Warren in the Interlake League. He was also an excellent hockey player, a member of the 1959 Winnipeg Braves, the last team from Manitoba to win the Memorial Cup.

THOMAS G SMITH (1908-1982)
T.G. Smith was born in Mather but spent more than twenty years of his working life in Steinbach. He managed the local branch of the Royal Bank. He came to Steinbach in 1946 and was a constant advocate for youth recreation in a Mennonite community that was not convinced of the value of organized sports for youngsters. Smith himself had played sports until at age 21 he had to have one of his legs partially amputated. He organized the construction of a hockey facility, the T. G. Smith Arena, now incorporated into the Southeast Event Centre. Then, in the mid-1950s, he organized Little League Baseball. Initially in 1955 there were three teams. By 1966 there were seven. T G Smith did everything—coached, organized fundraisers, took boys to out-of-town games and tournaments, constantly reinforced the values of sportsmanship and team play. By 1968 when he retired to Winnipeg Steinbach's Little League program was thriving, now under the guidance of George Pauls. Many of his Little League players were members of the Steinbach Millers of the late 1960s, inducted into our Hall of Fame in 2015.

TODD SMITH (1969-2019)
Todd Smith was arguably the best shortstop ever to play in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League. He was from Hamiota and from Beaver level through Senior he competed in eight provincial championship tournaments, nine Western Canadian championship tournaments, and five National championship tournaments. In 1989 he was part of Manitoba's Canada Summer Games team. He played in the Manitoba Senior League for six seasons in total with Hamiota and Virden. He was on five all star teams and won the batting title in 1991 with a .442 average. In 1993 he joined the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux team that attended the NCAA Division 2 National championship. In 1994 he played professional baseball with the Chillcothe Paints of the Frontier League. In 1995 and 1996 he was a member of the Weyburn Beavers that won the Canadian Senior A championships in the latter year. He was a good hitter, a good base runner, but observers were most impressed by his powerful arm.


TEAMS

NORWOOD COMMUNITY CLUB JUVENILE AND JUNIOR TEAMS 1953-56
The Norwood Community Club Juvenile team of 1953 won all exhibition and league games in Winnipeg and then defeated West End Memorials in seven games for the City championship. Then they won the provincial final series against the Neepawa Cubs. With this provincial victory came the Free Press trophy. By 1955 the Juveniles were Juniors and won the Greater Winnipeg and District championship, defeating the Elmwood Giants Juniors in the finals. In 1956 the Norwood Juniors had 11 returning players from the 1955 team, and again they defeated Elmwood Giants for the city and district championship. On all three championship teams the Manager was Max Maunder, the Coach was Dick Roche, the Assistant Coach was Babe Warren.  The team was fortunate to have three outstanding pitchers, Vic Buffet, Marc Rajotte, and Jim Mattson, along with dangerous hitters such as Ab Hansford, Gerry Kendall, Ron Baert, and George Pratt.

MINNEDOSA MAVERICKS SENIORS, 2006-2015
The Santa Clara League has been an important league in Manitoba baseball and has included teams from Carberry, Plumas, Neepawa, Ste. Rose, Portage la Prairie, Austin, Dauphin, Ebb and Flow, Arden, and Minnedosa. The Minnedosa Mavericks have been the most notable team in this League. The Mavericks won ten straight championships between 2006 and 2015, and for six years, 2006-2011, they never lost a game in league or playoff competition. At provincial championships they lost in the finals three times and in the semi -finals four times. This team of primarily local players was coached over the years by Orville Madill until 2012 and then Colton Spraggs. Many players such as John Hutton, Mitch Hutton, Brad Roth, Nick Krutkewich were recognized with league awards for MVP or Top Pitcher. Four players were part of all ten championship teams—Kevin Sandstrom, John Hutton, Devin Foord, and Andrew Richards.

RESTON ROCKETS, 2009-2013
The Reston Rockets became a force in Manitoba Senior AA baseball early in the 2000s. In 2007 the team decided to join the Manitoba Senior Baseball League and see what they could do at the AAA level. By 2009 the Rockets were one of the better teams in the League. From 2009 to 2013 they won two pennants (2010, 2011) and two championships (2011,2013). They represented Manitoba at two Canadian championships (the 2011 team went in 2012, and the 2013 team went in 2014). During the five years 2009 to 2013 a Reston Rocket won the MSBL batting title every year. Ross Tycoles was named MSBL Coach of the Year four times during the Rockets eight years in the league. Mitch Olson of the Rockets was Senior AAA Player of the Year in 2011 and 2013. Teammate Rory Tycoles won the same award in 2012. Names of Rockets players such as McKinnon, Truscott, Young, Mayert, Bodell, Lochhead, Stober, Koop, Henderson frequently appeared on MSBL all star teams. Now, many of the former Rockets are in leadership roles in AA Senior or youth baseball around the province. The Reston Rockets will be our Hall of Fame Game team for 2023. At a home game on or close to June 3, the Winnipeg Goldeyes will wear the uniforms of the Reston team, and Reston along with all other inductees will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony.

HAMIOTA ROYALS JUVENILES, 1966
The Hamiota Royals Juveniles of 1966 were Western Canadian champions. This was as far as they could go because no national championship event existed. The players on the team were almost all from Hamiota. A couple of Oak River boys were also on the roster, Once the team won the province two key players were added. They were Lou Morrison of Hartney and Mark Fischer of Riverside. Hamiota edged out the South End Sioux of Winnipeg 1-0 to win the championship of Manitoba. They went on to Western Canadians at Mount Pleasant Park in Regina. In the first two games they beat Red Deer Ramblers and lost to Regina Maroons. Then they played Red Deer in a semi-final and won 9-5 behind Mark Fischer on the mound. This meant that Hamiota would meet Regina in the final. Hamiota won handily,13-2. Lew Morrison struck out 14 batters. Meanwhile Mel Smith, Dennis Sparling, Rick Robinson, Mark Fischer, Don Coombs and Dick Coombs led the team at the plate.

HONOURARY LIFE MEMBER

GLADWYN SCOTT
After the Hall of Fame's induction banquet in the spring of 2022, the Board of Directors of the Hall of Fame decided that next year we would announce that Gladwyn Scott had been selected an Honourary Life Member. However, by August 2022 it became clear that Gladwyn's health was failing quickly and we could not wait. We quickly arranged for a small celebration on Gladwyn and Marguerite Scott's front lawn. We informed Gladwyn that he had been chosen for this honour. He was the man most responsible for the establishment of the Hall of Fame, and a tireless worker on behalf of the organization. We will present the memorabilia associated with this award to Gladwyn's family on June 3, 2023, and Gladwyn's name will be added to the plaque in our Museum that lists all Honourary Life Members.