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Play Ball

I wonder if anything has been written about baseball in Canada, and it has - from all angles. There is even genealogy about the players!


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We will have our own semi-professional baseball league in Ottawa this year. We have had a different league in town before — the Ottawa Lynx, the Triple-A team for the former Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) and then the Baltimore Orioles — but this year, it is strictly an independent league: the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball, which is not associated with the major leagues. The team will be known as the Ottawa Rapidz and will have their season opener on May 22nd.

As I contemplate who will be the first to hit a home run of the baseball season, I wonder if anything has been written about baseball in Canada, and it has - from all angles. There is even genealogy about the players!

Baseball has a grounding in Canada. My father, Harold Barclay, and his two brothers used to play baseball in a league in Nova Scotia in the 1930s. Even today, I have a cousin who is an umpire for a baseball team in Lockeport, a town on Nova Scotia's South Shore. So there is a long tradition of baseball in my family, and in Canada, in general.

It is generally agreed that the first baseball team was the London Tecumsehs. The first game was held between the Tecumsehs and Woodstock, Ontario's Young Canadians, in 1868. They lost the game 89-46, and it lasted five hours!

They joined the Canadian Association of Base Ball Players in 1876, and in 1877, they joined the International Association of Professional Base Ball Players, a league to rival the National League in the States.

Modern baseball — as it is played today — was first played in Eastern Canada back in 1860.

Today, these teams live in books and peoples' memories, like the teams out on the Prairies (Western Canada) from 1948 to 1964.

The Western Canada Baseball website at includes information on players and teams in Western Canada, including Negro leagues and college teams.

He has a separate "I remember ..." page on the website, where people can write in about their experiences. It also includes a search feature!

And women have been players in baseball, too. They played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and their story is told through the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's website at

The museum is located in Southwestern Ontario and has 82 people in their Hall of Fame, including the late Canadian prime minister, Lester B. Pearson. In his youth, he had to make a decision between baseball and politics, and he chose politics!

They are open June 1st to October 1st from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, and on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Who will be the season's best player? Who wil hit the most home runs? We will find that out in September when the season closes.

Source Information: Canadian Connections, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2008.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

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