Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees for 2020

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Media Release

For release October 28, 2019, at 11:00 am

The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum is proud to announce its 2020 inductees.

The inductees include outstanding players, builders, and teams who have left their legacy both on and off the baseball field.

Individuals:         Ron Arnst                      Les Charles                               Blaine Fortin

                           Andrew Halpenny         John Kroeker                            Morris Mott

                          Kalam Paull

Minor Club Teams:     Carman Goldeyes Midgets 1994-95/Juniors 1997-2000

                                   Elmwood Giants Juniors 2002-2007

                                   Cardale Cougars Bantams/Midgets/Bisons 1971-75

Special Team:               Portage Athletics Midgets 1991

Honourary Life Member:     Jack Callum

 

The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame will hold its 24th annual induction banquet on Saturday, June 06, 2020, 5:00 pm, at the Morden Event Access Centre where the Hall of Fame is located.

Tickets-Adult $75 until May 26, $85 May 27-June3: Children $20, available from: Jack Hrehirchuk; 114-10th Ave SE, Dauphin, MB, R7N 2H1; 204-638-6923; jhrehirchuk@wcgwave.ca.  David Taylor, Neepawa -204-476-3843, taylord@brandonu.ca.  Joe Wiwchar, Morden, 204-822-4636, mbbbhof@mts.net. Morris Mott, Brandon, 204-726-5167, mott@brandonu.ca. Tickets also available online at www.mbhof.ca

Ron Arnst (1950---) Winnipeg MB

 Ron grew up playing minor ball in Saskatchewan and as an adult he continued his love for baseball by becoming a well known and respected radio play-by-play and in-house game announcer. While serving as station manager at radio CKLQ in Brandon from 1977-88 he was a great supporter of the Manitoba Senior Baseball League by broadcasting and calling local games. He also did play-by-play of Western Canada Championships and announcing at Canadian National Senior Championship tournaments held in the Westman area. Ron was part of the organizing committee that brought the 1991 World Youth Championships to Brandon. Since 1994 Ron has been the park announcer for the Winnipeg Goldeyes home games with the Goldeyes 1994 Northern League title in their rookie season. one of many highlights of his distinguished announcing career.

Les Charles (1963---) Didsbury AB

As one of the better players in the Souris minor baseball program Les was expected to be a leader and his skill along with an unselfish attitude earned him respect at a young age. He went on to an outstanding career in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League from 1978 to 1993 as a pitcher and hard hitting infielder.   Les was a second team all-star in 1985, 1986 and 1987 with his hometown Cardinals. Joining Riverside in 1988 he earned two more second team and a first team all-star selection and retired with 21 pitching wins and a .300 lifetime batting average. He won a national championship as a member of the 1981 Bison team, as they took the gold medal in Sarnia, ON. In 1985 Les was a member of Team Manitoba at both the Nationals in Nova Scotia and Westerns in Vancouver. In 1989 he represented Manitoba at Westerns in St. Albert, AB.

Blaine Fortin (1977---) Lundar MB

By the time Blaine completed his 16-year old season in 1994 he had already compiled a resume worthy of Hall of Fame admission. That year alone he played at the Midget, Junior, and Senior level and played on the Provincial Youth Team. He was also chosen to play on Team Canada at the World Youth Championships in Brandon where he batted .346, led the team in RBI’s and hit one of the longest home runs ever seen at Kinsmen Park. He was named Manitoba’s Minor Player of the Year in both 1993 and 1994 and Baseball Canada’s Youth Player of the Year in ’94. His talent and awards caught the eye of the Toronto Blue Jays who drafted him in the sixth round and 3rd Canadian overall of the MLB Entry Draft. After three years of professional minor league ball, 1995-97 for Blue Jay affiliates in Dunedin, St. Catherines and Medicine Hat, Blaine retired. The highlights of Blaine’s pro career included being chosen to go to Toronto to catch Roger Clemens in January 1997 and being invited to Blue Jays spring training that year. Back home he played Senior ball for Baldur and Teulon along with the 1997 season for the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Since his second retirement Blaine has been very active for the past 20 years coaching and administering minor ball in the Interlake district and serving Baseball Manitoba in clinician, coaching, and committee capacities.

Andrew Halpenny (1972---) Winnipeg MB

Andrew started his minor ball career in his hometown Selkirk but soon advanced to represent Manitoba at the national and international level. In 1989 He was all-star catcher for the Manitoba Youth team at the National Youth tournament held in Brandon. In 1990 Andrew was catcher for Team Manitoba and then for Team Canada at the World Youth tournament in Cuba. His catching talent earned him a scholarship to the National Baseball Institute in Vancouver and in 1993 he represented Manitoba at the Sumer Games in Kamloops. In 1994 Andrew was signed by the Winnipeg Goldeyes and spent three years with the team. In 1997 Andrew opened Rookies Baseball Experience, Canada’s first indoor baseball and softball teaching facility. He helped 117 high school athletes get college scholarships at Canadian and American baseball programs. Andrew has also acted as a regional scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Major League Scouting Bureau.

John Kroeker  (1948---) Stonewall MB

Manitoba’s own “field of dreams” exists today in Stonewall thanks mainly to the efforts of John Kroeker. Opened in 1995 and known as Diamond #1, Quarry Park, it is a world class facility with lights, that has attracted provincial and national tournaments as well as visitors to the Stonewall facility. John built it and they came, starting with the 1995 National Midget tournament and followed by back to back Canada Cups in 1997-98. John had been active in Stonewall baseball since 1987 when he joined the Minor Baseball executive and he also coached Minor ball from 1987-93. Along the way he chaired several baseball committees and in 1994 was named Baseball Manitoba Volunteer of the Year and Manitoba Sport’s Federation Volunteer of the Year. After many years away John has recently returned to Stonewall and continues his volunteer work for baseball and Quarry Park.

Morris Mott (1946---) Brandon MB

Morris grew up playing both baseball and hockey in rural Saskatchewan. Although now better known for his hockey career, Morris was good enough on the diamond to be inducted as a player into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. Morris played some senior ball after moving to Manitoba but his work with the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame has been instrumental in its success. He was part of the original group that established the Hall of Fame and he hosted the first two induction banquets in 1997-98 at Brandon University. Morris has continued on the Board of Directors for the Hall of Fame ever since and has produced the handsome souvenir programs for the annual Induction ceremonies for all 24 years of banquets.  Over seven years, 2013-19, Morris’s strong leadership served the Hall of Fame well as Board Chairman.

Kalam Paull (1972---) LaSalle MB

Kalam Paull has an outstanding baseball resume, longer than his pitching arm. Starting in 1989 he was a member of the Manitoba Youth Team and helped pitch the Elmwood Giants to a provincial Midget title. In 1990 he dominated locally as a MJBL all-star and Top Pitcher as he led his Junior team to the league championship and was named Manitoba’s Junior Player of the year. He also won the bronze medal game for the Manitoba Youth Team at Nationals and was selected to Team Canada 18-Under team where he started in the medal round against Cuba. He again dominated the MJBL in 1991 by throwing two no hitters and being named MVP and top Pitcher. Kalam next took his talented arm to US college ball for four years along with a season at the National Baseball Institute in Vancouver and two summers of Senior ball for Moose Jaw. He turned professional with the Winnipeg Goldeyes and spent seven years, 1997-’02,-’04, in the Northern League with five teams. He pitched for the 2000 Canadian National Senior Team in Panama and spent two years, 2001-02, pitching winter ball in South America. Back home in Manitoba for 2003 he was named Playoff MVP as he led the Brandon Marlins to the MSBL championship.

Minor Team: Carman Goldeyes Midgets-‘94-95/Juniors ’97-00

This talented group of players dominated the Manitoba Midget classification for two years and many went on to continue winning even more championships with the Junior Goldeyes for four years. The Midget team of 1994-95 were twice Winnipeg Minor and Manitoba champions. In 1995 they captured the Western Canada title before bringing home a silver medal from the National Midget tournament held in Stonewall. The Carman Juniors were the first team in league history to win four straight Manitoba Junior League titles. They also won the Manitoba championship all four years and earned silver medals at the 1997 and 1998 Western Canada Championships.

Minor Team: Cardale Cougars: Bantams/Midgets/Bisons 1971-75

The tiny hamlet of Cardale managed to dominate Manitoba minor baseball form 1971-75. With a core group of nine local players coached by Graeme Shaw, the team prevailed over some of the largest communities in Manitoba and Canada. Only future major leaguer Terry Puhl prevented them from claiming National titles in 1971 and 1973. The 1971 Bantam team represented Manitoba at the Western Canada Bantam Championships in Westlock Alberta and lost the gold medal game to Puhl’s Melville team. Representing Manitoba again in 1975 at the first National Canadian Midget Championship in Barrhead AB Cardale again had to settle for silver as Puhl picked up the save for Melville in the final game. However, the small town team earned great respect as the local paper said “It was like David going against Goliath...a group of Goliaths.” The 1975 Bison edition of the Cougars captured the Western Manitoba Bison Baseball League pennant and playoffs but finally lost to Winnipeg in the provincial final.

 

Minor Team: Elmwood Giants Juniors -2002-2007

The Elmwood Giants Juniors were a major force in Manitoba Junior baseball during the years 2002 to 2007, continuing the strong Elmwood tradition. They represented the province all six years in either Western Canada or National championships. Four times they were Manitoba Junior Baseball League and provincial champions (2003, 2005, 2006 & 2007) and attended the Baseball Canada National events. Their best performance was at the 2006 nationals, where they were unbeaten in round-robin play but lost two close games to finish 4th. The other two years they hosted the Western Canada championships at Koskie FIeld, placing 3rd both years.

 Special Team:  Portage Athletics Midgets 1991

The ultimate achievement for the 1991 Portage Midgets was winning the National Midget Championship held in Saskatoon. No Manitoba Midget team had ever achieved this goal before and none have been able to accomplish it since. After defeating Brandon for the provincial title they were forced to pick up several Westman and Winnipeg area players due to a shortage of local players able to participate. They managed only one practice with the combined players and were heavy underdogs for the Nationals. However in the round robin pool they soundly defeated Saskatchewan and Ontario before dropping a 3-0 decision to B. C. They then eliminated the Atlantic region in the semi-final and trounced B. C., 11-3, in the final. Overall the Athletics scored 28 runs and surrendered only nine while displaying strong hitting, outstanding pitching and sound defense throughout the tournament.

Honourary Life Member: Jack Callum (1936...)Winnipeg

The first Honourary Life member selected by the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame is Jack Callum of Winnipeg. An Honourary Life Member is an individual who has shown outstanding dedication and service to the organization. He was a member of the Board of Directors from 1998 to 2017. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2003 to 2011. As Chairman he was responsible for two important initiatives. First, he worked tirelessly to make the local Morden Committee an important contributor to decisions made by the Board. Second, he was the person most responsible for the success of our Museum expansion project in 2008-2010. He spent countless hours planning the expansion, raising money, and consulting with contractors, lawyers, and members of the Board of Directors. Since stepping down as Chairman, Jack has continued to volunteer on large Hall of Fame issues. He helped extend our lease agreement with the City of Morden and most recently stimulated our establishment of a Heritage Trust Fund in order to take advantage of a Province of Manitoba financial opportunity for museums.

Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum Board of Directors 2019-2020

Chairman- Dan Giesbrecht, Winkler (332-1100); Vice Chair- Morgan de Peña, Winnipeg (771-7656); Treasurer- David Taylor, Neepawa (476-3843); Secretary-Don Schmall, Neepawa (476-2345); Museum Manager/Director-Joe Wiwchar, Morden, (822-4636)

Directors- Morris Mott, Brandon (726-5167); Al Kinley, Winnipeg, (338-9603); Jack Hrehirchuk, Dauphin (638-6923); Gladwyn Scott, Carberry (834-3460); Scott Neiles, Winnipeg (981-9802); Bill Kirkup, Souris (483-3116); Murray Zuk, Souris (483-2687); Mike Labossiere, Brandon (726-1710); Hank Lemoine, Winnipeg (254-2539); Gerry Palidwor, Springfield (995-8227); Al Robertson, Hamiota (764-2002); Ross Tycoles, Reston (877-3614); Kevin Booker, Winnipeg (799-4294); Ron Seafoot, Wawanesa (824-2113); Baseball Manitoba-Winston Smith, Winnipeg (488-0765);