Weyburn, SK: Community Induction into the Sask. Baseball Hall of Fame — August 17, 2019
Weyburn is a community that has been deeply involved in the building of baseball players, teams and facilities since 1900. The love of baseball is prominent thanks to the support of local businesses, volunteers and organizations, including the Prairie Sky Coop, the City of Weyburn, Weyburn Rebekahs, Weyburn Young Fellows, Weyburn Legion Branch # 47, Weyburn Credit Union and more. Support is a two way street, as the Beavers Western Canada Baseball League [WCBL] team is often involved in helping other local organizations including the Weyburn Humane Society, the Silver Seals Swim Team and more. Most of the players and other people involved in Weyburn baseball went on to become prominent leaders in the community.
The first recorded baseball game in Weyburn was 1901 when citizens of Weyburn beat the Railroad team. The second game was on July 19, 1902 when Robert C. Sutherland pitched the first of two games for Weyburn vs. North Weyburn. Weyburn players of note included George Beischel, Dr. R M Mitchell, Joe Mergen’s SR. and Alf Woods. Rains forced withdrawal from the diamond but it did not withdraw the future of baseball in Weyburn.
Jack and Bill Mertz came to Weyburn before 1906, bringing with them a great interest in baseball. A team started and led by OS Mitchell, brought in a battery from Toronto which helped them to capture the Soo Line League Championship. That moment laid the foundation for many years of top caliber and exciting baseball in Weyburn.
It is believed that in 1935, when the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League barnstormed Saskatchewan, the team stopped in Weyburn on their way north.
The Weyburn Beavers played in the Southern Saskatchewan League from 1937 to 1964. In 1948, Joe Warren [Warren Drugs], donated a large score board for Harvey Field, named after Pop Harvey, [now named Tom Laing Park], and with many volunteer hours of work, it was made into a first class facility. Les Wilder hit the first home run out of the new park! Other notable Beaver players of the 1945-1954 era, included Keith Covert, Ralph Hogg, Dave Huff, Jim Burge along with Gaylr Shupe and his brothers Blaine, Doug and Jack.
Baseball diamonds and parks continue to be popular places in Weyburn and are used by both recreational and semi-pro sports teams, all of which are supported by local associations and volunteers. Tom Laing Park is the current home of the WCBL’s Weyburn Beavers.
With local and corporate community support, baseball remains a strong force in the community of Weyburn and is proud of its strong minor league system and its facilities, with eyes on expansion in the future.
Weyburn is an excellent example of how a community has, and continues to contribute to the rich history baseball history of Saskatchewan!