Amateur Baseball Thrives

Sudbury Keenanites team photo - 1909.  Photo courtesy of "Homegrown Heroes: A Sports History of Sudbury".Although professional baseball was short lived, amateur baseball was still a mainstay.  Junior teams filled the need for baseball and in 1909, a town league was formed in Sudbury.  Teams were called "Keenanites", "Cochranes", "High School", "Northern Star", and "Crescents".  These teams would play each other at McKinnon's Hall.

The amateur league had the misfortune of inheriting the debts from the days of professional baseball in the community.  The amateur players decided to take it upon themselves to clear up the debt and they hosted a Vaudeville-style entertainment evening to raise funds.

In the spring of 1913, a district league was formed encompassing the Sudbury, Copper Cliff, and Creighton ball clubs.  This league was called the Nickel Belt Baseball League.

Each of the three clubs put up a $50 bond to ensure that teams consisted only of resident players and the league decided to hire only official league umpires to ensure impartiality.  The new league invigorated fans and helped to propel the popularity of the sport for an additional fifty years.

In 1914, INCO provided the Nickel Belt Baseball League with a championship cup known as the Monell Cup.  A contest was begun in which the team that won the cup three years in a row would become the permanent owners.  This challenge sparked intense competition and despite regulations, teams began importing players to win.


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