Professional Baseball

Baseball game in progress - 1908.  Photo courtesy of "Homegrown Heroes: A Sports History of Sudbury".During the early 1900's, professional baseball was a very profitable sport for communities, and in the spring of 1908, Northern Ontario created its first professional baseball organization.  The North Shore Baseball League consisted of teams from Sudbury, Copper Cliff, Webbwood, and Massey.  Community teams would recruit professional ballplayers from Southern Ontario to play in the league.  The first league president was Alex Beath, a local jeweler.

A local Jesuit priest, Reverend Father Lefebvre, provided the ball teams with a field on which to play.  He permitted the players to use the grounds near the Roman Catholic cemetery at a cost of $10 per year.  The new baseball field was named Victoria Park and the first game played there was between Sudbury and Copper Cliff.

With the inception of professional baseball in the area, the caliber of play had improved significantly.  This sparked an increased interest in baseball, prompting local stores and businesses to close for a few hours on game day so that everyone could go and enjoy the game.

Baseball, like other local sports, had difficulty finding and keeping a field on which to play.  As such, it was the first sport in Sudbury to officially request local government involvement in offsetting expenses and in providing adequate fields for use.

By 1908, the North Shore Baseball League was starting to come apart as funds could not be secured to pay the players.  In the end, only Copper Cliff managed to maintain its professional team through the support of INCO.


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