Eight individuals and three teams will be added to the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. Andy Boehm, Doug Hamm, Scott Kwasnitza, Alex Turk, Lee Fisher, Corey Koskie, Wes Rathwell and Bill Whitehead will be inducted along with the 1965-67 Brandon Parklane Juniors, the 1973-78 McAuley Blazers and the 1974-78 Kalieda K's. The 15th Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame induction banquet and ceremony will take place June 4th at the Morden Recreation Centre.
Rathwell played junior and senior baseball in Nesbitt. For a span of over 20 years commencing in 1951, he played second base and was the leadoff batter for the Riverside Canucks, initially in the South Central League and then in 1961, in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League. In 1968, Riverside was Manitoba and Western Canadian Champions. In both 1965 & 1968 he was named first team MSBL all-star and was sixth in league batting. He has coached the Riverside Juniors, Wawanesa, and Glenboro in the South Central League. He coached the league all-stars and Glenboro in the Western Canadian Championships in 1975 – 1977, winning a silver medal in 1977 in Czar, Alberta. During his Riverside career, he was an integral part of the team that was so successful in many tournaments. He participated in baseball as a player, coach and umpire for 35 years.
Hamm played for Morden in the Little League Canadian Western Championships in 1973. In 1980, he played for the Carman Goldeyes Junior team. In 1981 & 1982 he was selected to play for the Provincial all-star team, which competed in the Canadian Championships. Hamm began a 20 year carrer with the Morden Mohawks in 1981. He captured the Border League Rookie of the Year award, was the league batting champion in 1982, 1987, 1988 & 1989 and was a three-time MVP. He was named to the league all-star team 15 times. Hamm helped the Mohawks win 13 Border League titles and was named Baseball Manitoba's Intermediate player of the year in 1993.
Whitehead played his minor baseball in Roland in the mid 1960's. He then played for the Carman Goldeyes and helped the team win several Provincial Junior Championships. From 1976-1989 Whitehead played centre field for the Carman Goldeyes in the Red Boine Senior Baseball League. He was a perennial all-star and was consistently among the leaders in batting average and homeruns in the Redboine Senior Baseball League. Whitehead played against touring national teams from Japan, Korea as well as Canada's National Team.
Boehm played minor baseball in Portage la Prairie. He played at Des Moines Area Community College at Boone Iowa & Georgia Southern Division. He was a member of the National Youth Team in 1979 and played senior ball for 22 years (1983-2004) with Dauphin, Neepawa, Brandon Marlins, Baldur, Brandon Cloverleafs, St. Boniface, Carman and Portage. He was an Assistant Coach with Team Manitoba 18 & under team (2008) and Head Coach for the Canada Games Team in 2009 in Charlottetown.
Koskie began his baseball career with the Elmwood Giants organization in 1989. In 1991, he played for the Manitoba Youth Team. In 1992, he led the Giants to a Provincial Junior Championship. In 1994, he was drafted and signed by the Minnesota Twins and assigned to Elizabethan in the Gulf Coast League. After four seasons in the minors, Koskie began his Major League career in 1998 playing third base for the Twins. In 2005, he played for the Toronto Blue Jays and 2006 with the Milwaukee Brewers. In all, he played in the Major Leagues for nine seasons, played 989 games, had 3399 at bats & posted a lifetime batting average of .275. Koskie was named Manitoba's Male Athlete of the Year in 1999 & 2001.
Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame Chairman Jack Callum
Kwasnitza played minor baseball at Kirkfield-Westwood where he was a consistent league all-star. In the period between 1974 and 1983, he played in 10 straight provincial championships and in 1981, played with Team Manitoba at the Canada Games. He was a coach for the Manitoba Youth team in 1989 & 1997, winning a bronze medal in 1989.
Turk began his association with baseball as a member of the Elmwood Giants who won the Provincial Juvenile Championship in 1924. He was the catcher & captain of the Junior Giants in 1925 & 1927 when they won the Provincial Championship, defeating the Brandon Maroons each year. In 1927, the team was undefeated at the Western Canadian Championships in Regina. After World War II, he played a major role in the reforming of the Giants organization, serving as President for a number of years.
Fisher began his career in Roblin at the age of 16 in the senior pro, six team Man-Sask League. While playing for Roblin at a tournament in Rosetown, he helped the team defeat the Indian Head Rockets in the semi-finals & pitched Roblin to a victory over a touring Cuban All Star team in the final game, with the team winning $1,000.
The McAuley Blazers had a .599 winning percentage in 21 years (1973-1993) in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League. Records held by the team include: 1975 least runs allowed in 21 game season (56), 1976 most games won by pennant winner (23) and most consecutive innings not scored on (42). The team finished first in their division in 1974, 75 & 76. In 1975, the team was the MSBL and Manitoba Senior Baseball champions and were runners up in 1976. In 1977, the players hosted three games in the Canadian Championships as well as the Korean touring team. The Blazers excelled in tournament baseball winning the Birtle (2), Belmont International (2), Kenosee (5) and St. Lazare (several) tournaments.
CJRB's Barry Lamb asked Blazers shortstop Sam Jamieson to talk about the teams induction into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame
The Kaleida K's, who played their home games in Manitou, were Border Baseball League Champions four out of five years (1974, 1975, 1976 & 1978). The K's won seven tournaments in southern Manitoba in 1978. During that five year period they won 20 tournaments and played 220 games.
The Brandon Parklane Juniors represented Manitoba in Junior Championships three consecutive years. They were finalists in 1965 and 1966 in the Western Canadian Championships. In 1967, the team won the Canadian Junior Championship in Saskatoon.
Parklane Juniors pitcher Mark Fisher talked about the ballclub