1960 – 1969

The Spring of 1960 brought forth the baseball season. The Chatham Baseball Ironmen were in the Miramichi Valley Baseball League with teams from Chatham Head, R.C.A.F., Sillikers and Douglastown. The Ironmen defeated Douglastown in the final game in Miramichi League, but lost to St. Stephen in the New Brunswick finals of the Intermediate League. The members of the team were Greg Morris, Bill Lordon, Ron Hachey, Ken Cripps, John Lordon, Bernie Blakely, Joe Flanagan, Art Leggatt and Wally Jimmo.

The Chatham Ironmen Baseball team continued in the M.V.B.L. with Douglastown, R.C.A.F., and Chatham Head. The team was almost the same as ’60-’61 with just a few additions, such as, Whalen, Richard, Keating, Simpson, Sproul, Whalen and O’ Donnell. The Baseball Ironmen lost in the M.V.B.L. and thus could not continue play in the New Brunswick Intermediate League.

In Baseball the Ironmen played in the M.V.B.L. with Chatham Head, Douglastown and R.C.A.F. The Ironmen lost that year to Douglastown 4 games to 0. The team, which consisted of players like Cuffy McLaughlin, Neil O’ Brien, Billy Whalen, Joe Flanagan, John Lordon, and Wally Jimmo, had played well. The Ironmen almost didn’t make the final when they were down three games to one to R.C.A.F. but came back to win the series 4-3. The Ironmen were missing an outstanding pitcher in Art Leggatt. Art had been signed by the Cleveland Indians and was doing very well while playing for the Dubuque Packers in Iowa. The Packers were the single ‘A’ ball team for Cleveland and they played in the Midwest Baseball League.

Baseball did have its high in Chatham when the Chatham Midgets beat Fredericton 3 games to 2 in the finals to win the New Brunswick Midget Baseball Championship for the second year in a row. The Midgets then went on to capture the Maritime Midget Championship which was held in Chatham. The Midgets, under Coach Greg Morris, beat P.E.I. in a double header to take the Maritime Championship. Nova Scotia did not enter a team into this tournament. Some members of the Championship team were Danny Kenny, Peter Nevin, Gerald Gallant, Paul Paradis, Keith MacDonald, Reg Trevors, John Russell and Paul Saunders.

The Chatham Bantam all-star team also did very well. The Bantams beat Bathurst 2 games to 1 to win the New Brunswick Baseball Title. Team members’ names were not available.

The Spring of ’65 brought forth a problem for the Chatham Baseball Ironmen. Willie Jardine, coach of the Ironmen for 7 years, had called it quits. Thus Wally Jimmo stepped in as player-coach of the Ironmen to fill the coaching void. The Ironmen continued in the M.V.B.L. with Douglastown, Chatham and R.C.A.F.(later to be replaced by Newcastle)! Chatham had a good year and ended up beating Douglastown in the finals. The Chatham Ironmen then advanced to the semis where they beat Bathurst 3 games to 0 in Intermediate ‘A’ Baseball playoffs. The Ironmen were then in the finals against Memramcook. The team then hit another snag. Wally Jimmo left for Quebec to accept a teaching position. However, he was replaced by Greg Morris. Wally Jimmo did not forget his team, though. He drove from Quebec to Memramcook to pitch a great game, which he won. But even with Wally’s great effort the Ironmen lost the Intermediate ‘A’ finals to Memramcook. Some of the Ironmen were Benny Walker, Wade MacDermaid, Brian Estay, Cuffy McLaughlin, Wally Jimmo, Eddie MacDermaid, Greg Morris, Billy Daley, Joe Flanagan, Neil O’Brien, Kenny Cripps and Dobby Hill.

Art Leggatt who was Chatham’s only hope as a pro ball player, decided not to return to his ball team. He did not get cut, because he was promoted to ‘AA’ Ball. Art said it was because his family could not go with him. He was thinking of going to the Quebec Senior League but decided to stay and play for the Ironmen. The Ironmen continued in the M.V.B.L. with Chatham Head, Tracadie, Newcastle and Douglastown. The Ironmen did very well during league play and wound up playing Douglastown in the first round of the M.V.B.L. playoffs. The Ironmen prevailed with a four game sweep of Douglastown and advanced to face Tracadie, who they also swept 4 games to 0. This sweep of Tracadie gave the Ironmen the M.V.B.L. crown. The Ironmen then had to face the Moncton Schooners in Intermediate ‘A’ playoff action. The Ironmen fought hard and gave the Schooners a good series but to no avail, losing 3 games to 2. The members of the ’66 Ironmen were Brian Estey, Art Leggatt, Ken Cripps, Wally Jimmo, Guy Sorel, Richard ‘Cuffy’ McLaughlin, Eddie MacDonald, Bill Whalen, John Lordon, Peter Nevin and Brian King. The Ironmen also decided to enter a new league that was just being formed. This league was the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League and the members were Moncton, Marysville, St. John, Memramcook and Chatham. This league would begin for the ’67 season, yet the Ironmen would also continue play in the M.V.B.L.

The 1967 edition of the Baseball Ironmen had one of its greatest seasons to date. The Ironmen were competing in the M.V.B.L. with Douglastown, Newcastle, Tracadie and C.F.B. Chatham. The Ironmen were coached by Joe Cook and team members were Greg Morris, Richard McLaughlin, Art Leggatt, Ken Cripps, Ed Russell, Wally Jimmo, Neil O’Brien, Guy Sorel, Danny Kenny, Ed McDermaid, Lee Sonier, John Lordon, Peter Nevin, Dave Whitty, Sherman Murray, Junior Lordon and Bob McEachern.

The Chatham Ironmen first won the M.V.B.L. and then went on to play Memramcook in quarter final action of the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League. The Ironmen won the series three games to one. The next obstacle for the Ironmen was Moncton which they also defeated three games to one. Chatham was now in the finals of the New Brunswick Senior League against Saint John – St. Peter. Chatham won the series and its first senior Title in the same fashion as the other series 3 games to 1. The New Brunswick Champs set their sights on the Maritime crown and the only obstacle was the Hamsport Shamrocks and the Shamrocks proved to be too much for the Ironmen, beating them two games to one. The Ironmen had led one game to 0, but the Shamrocks came back. The Ironmen may not have been Maritime Champs but they proved that they were a force to be reckoned with. Keith MacDonald of Chatham tried his luck with pro Baseball when he signed with Boston and started playing for the Greenville Red Sox of the west Carolina (Class A) Baseball League.

In 1967 Richard “Cuffy” McLaughlin, the outstanding hitter for the Chatham Ironmen, was picked up by the Fredericton Junior Vikings to go to the Canadian Junior Baseball Championships in Saskatoon.

The Baseball Ironmen began the ’68 season as the NB Senior Champs and they proved to everyone they deserved the name.

The Ironmen began by winning the MVBL which contained: Newcastle, Douglastown and Chatham Head. The Ironmen’s next victim was the Moncton Schooners in the semifinal series of the Senior Baseball League. The Ironmen easily defeated Moncton and went on to the finals against Marysville for the Senior title. Chatham fans were not disappointed in the Ironmen because the Ironmen beat Marysville 4 games to 2 for the Ironmen’s second consecutive senior baseball crown. Chatham’s next series was for the Maritime Senior Championship. The Ironmen repeated their ’67 Maritime series by losing 2 games to 1 to Dartmouth. The ’68 team members are: John Lordon, Cuffy McLaughlin, Ken Cripps, Greg Morris, Art Leggatt, Bill Daley, Wally Jimmo, Eddie MacDermaid, Lee Saulnier, Brian King, Guy Sorel and Ed Russell.

Joe Cook was honored by the Town of Chatham for his contribution to Chatham athletics. Cook was a popular sports figure and coach of the Chatham Baseball Ironmen.

The Chatham Baseball Ironmen of ’69 were playing in the eastern NB Baseball League with Moncton Cubs, Moncton Tigers, Buctouche, Newcastle, and Fredericton. The Chatham team won the league by beating Fredericton in the league final but lost to Milltown in the NB Senior League Finals

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