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Rockets once ruled Indian Head


They were called the Indian Head Rockets, a team in the Negro League of the 1950s. Indian Head is a small farming community east of Regina, Saskatchewan.  In Saskatchewan, one might think hockey is king here.  But you may find the sport fourth or even fifth on the list of activities most popular in the province.  Football, baseball, curling; those three sports have solid following in the province of Saskatchewan.  Football comes from over 100 years of the Green and White, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders are the only professional team of any sport here.  Curling can be attributed to such greats as the late Sandra Schmirler of Biggar, Ed LukowichStefanie Lawton and Rick Folk.  And then there’s baseball.

Terry Puhl (former Houston Astro), Aldon Jay “Lefty” WilkieTerry Donahue (who played with the All American Girls Baseball League), and Ralph Stanley Buxton are just a few of the names that trace back to Saskatchewan with professional baseball.  For a time, however, we had the Indian Head Rockets, one of several teams that played in the Negro League.  The players who were part of that 1950s team still remember Indian Head.  Some went onto the Big Leagues, playing for the Boston Red Sox, the St. Louis Cardinals and other teams in the Majors.

It’s said the story of the Indian Head Rockets would make a great movie.  Read more on the Rockets at the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

“I was scouted, but it didn’t happen. I was drafted for the Korean War and the teams I guess forgot about me. No regrets. Canada was a tremendous experience. Indian Head was the most enjoyable time of my life.” ~Willie Reed, former player with the Indian Head Rockets

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2012 in Life, randomness

 

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Take me out to the ball game!


Members of Team Canada celebrate as a run is scored in Canada's gold medal winning victory over the United States at the Pan Am Games in Mexico on Wednesday.

When one thinks of baseball heroics, they often look to names like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson or Hank Aaron.  Even the stories, whether true or fictitious, are from far off places.  The closest baseball stories come to Saskatchewan would be the Toronto Blue Jays of the early 1990’s, winning back to back World Series titles and taking the trophy north of the border for the first time in it’s history.

Sure, there is Terry Puhl, an outfielder who played with the Houston Astros, was born and raised in Melville, Saskatchewan.  But most often when Saskatchewan is thought of, it’s usually how flat the country is.  How cold it is in winter.  How many hockey players we have and don’t have an NHL team.  We also happen to rabid football fans, as our only professional team in any sports happens to be a member of the Canadian Football League.  But baseball usually isn’t thought of by people outside of Saskatchewan when they think about this province.

That should put Andrew Albers in pretty decent company, then.  Albers was on the mound for the gold medal game as Canada took on the United States at the Pan Am Games in Mexico.  The North Battleford native pitched six and two third innings, striking out eight, and letting only six hits, as he helped lead Team Canada to it’s first ever gold medal at any baseball event.

It makes sense, really, that people from Saskatchewan should have a passion for baseball.  Look at every small town in this province.  You’ll find four things.  A hockey arena, curling rink, a golf course not far away.  And baseball diamonds.  Most often, those diamonds aren’t far from the hockey arena.  Every July 1st, in the area I live and work now, there’s the small village of Conquest that has a slow pitch tournament.  Conquest also still has a baseball team for junior high and high school aged kids.  Even though the village no longer has a school.

There are kids that dream of playing on those perfect grass fields that grow up in Saskatchewan.  We aren’t known for baseball, but Team Canada’s 2-1 victory over the United States for Pan Am Games gold, just made that dream a little more achievable.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Sports

 

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