1928 – 1945

The World…July 4, 1928 “The locals shut out Loggieville 6-0 last evening on the College diamond before a large, but moneyless, crowd of fans. Veno pitched his first game of the season, having a no-hit, no-run game to his credit. The error column shows two for Chatham and 4 for Loggieville. Cady and Landry umpired. It is peculiar to note that though the fans are anxious for baseball, the majority would rather let their loose change nest in their pockets than contribute to the upkeep of the team. It is a disgrace to our sporting public to think that only $1.20 is realized at the game of baseball. Come on, sports, wake up, dig down in your pockets and help the boys carry on!”

After winning this league title, Chatham went on to capture the North Shore crown by defeating Campbellton by 5 runs in a 2-game total point series. This subsequent victory vaulted them into the provincial finals against McAdam. In the first game against McAdam the locals lost ten to one, and the Commercial adds, “They were not accustomed to playing in a stone quarry, which the McAdam field has been likened to.” Stone quarry or not, however, the visitors left Chatham 2 days later with the provincial crown, while the Chatham nine graciously settled for number two. With the advent of the thirties and The Depression, baseball fell on hard times in Chatham and many players opted for the rapidly growing sport of softball, as it was much more economical. However, enough ardent followers of baseball remained to keep the game going. Among these loyal disciples were an intermediate group of players known as the Wildcats.

In 1931 they defeated the established senior team by a score of 4-3. Two seasons later Chatham pulled out of the Miramichi Baseball League and were eagerly replaced by the Wildcats. This team was composed of the following: Lee Creamer, Catcher, Ed Bernard, Pitcher, Ned Flieger, Pitcher, Ray Butler, Pitcher, William Cady, First Base, Ant Veno, Second Base, Douglas McDonald, Third Base, Wmilly Jardine, Short Stop, Roy Creamer, Left Field, Vince Moar, Center, Field, Bud McLean, Right Field, Ray McLaughlin, Utility Fielder, and Clarence McDonald, Utility Fielder. With the Seniors out and the Wildcats in, the Miramichi Baseball League was now made up of Loggieville, Newcastle and the Wildcats.

The 1934 season saw a return to the league of an official Chatham senior team. The same season also witnessed the addition of a new squad, namely the Chatham Head Fence Busters. With the league now sporting four teams, rivalries were hard to suppress, with a naturally inevitable one being that between Chatham and Newcastle. It is said the Ball Park would be packed for these ball games, with a person crossing the river to cheer on the “favorites.” These games might have received most of the attention but it seems that in 1936, while nobody was looking, Loggieville walked away with the league title and carried on this momentum to win the Maritime Intermediate Championship. Quite a big feat for such a tiny village.

Junior baseball also had its roots in the “hungry thirties.” In 1933, a Junior team, called the Shamrocks, was formed and entered provincial play-downs. This team operated successfully throughout the 30’s and turned into a fine “feeding team” for the senior and intermediate squads. Most Chatham baseball teams of the era played out of the race track park, which, as its name would suggest, was located in the center (or infield) part of the race track. With everybody having fallen on hard times, there was no money to travel to games in trains, or even very often in cars, so teams just took whatever transportation was available and they were thankful to have that.

Most teams managed to get one or two cars, but the majority of the players were relegated to the back of one of Loggie’s trucks loaned by the establishment. This was fine in July and August but got just a bit cool come playoff time. To quote one ballplayer of this era who had this experience on a trip to Moncton, “Oh, it was beautiful on the way down with sun on our face and the breeze blowin’ through our hair, but we goddamn near froze to death comin’ home.”

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