1954 Montreal Royals Team Photo . . . Dick Whitman

He lost his big league job to Duke Snider and had to compete for playing time with Roberto Clemente, but Dick Whitman still managed to forge out a 13-year career in professional baseball. Born in Woodburn, Ore., in 1920, Whitman played for the semi-pro Silverton Red Sox alongside future big leaguers Johnny Pesky and JoeContinue reading “1954 Montreal Royals Team Photo . . . Dick Whitman”

1954 Montreal Royals Photo . . . Ken Lehman

He pitched two scoreless innings in the 1952 World Series against the powerhouse New York Yankees and in parts of five major league seasons in total, but Ken Lehman experienced his greatest success on the diamond in Montreal. In three seasons with the Montreal Royals from 1953 to 1955, the six-foot left-hander won a JuniorContinue reading “1954 Montreal Royals Photo . . . Ken Lehman”

1954 Montreal Royals Team Photo . . . Humberto (Chico) Fernandez

It’s not easy being a prospect when the player you’re touted to replace is a perennial all-star and fan favourite. That’s the position that Humberto “Chico” Fernandez found himself in after he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as a 19-year-old in 1951. Once the slick-fielding shortstop was in the Dodgers’ system, it seemed thatContinue reading “1954 Montreal Royals Team Photo . . . Humberto (Chico) Fernandez”

1954 Montreal Royals Team Photo . . . Gino Cimoli

Who was the first player to walk to the plate in a major league game on the West Coast? The answer is Gino Cimoli, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound San Francisco native who was selected to bat leadoff for the Dodgers in their first regular season contest representing the city of Los Angeles. With his friends andContinue reading “1954 Montreal Royals Team Photo . . . Gino Cimoli”

1954 Montreal Royals Team Photo . . . Don Thompson

*This is part of my ongoing series of articles about members of the 1954 Montreal Royals. While manning left field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Don Thompson threw out New York Yankees second baseman Billy Martin to end Game 4 of the 1953 World Series. But while this toss was one of the highlights of Thompson’sContinue reading “1954 Montreal Royals Team Photo . . . Don Thompson”

How did Roberto Clemente hit at Montreal’s Jarry Park?

Roberto Clemente appears comfortable and serene as he signs autographs for an eager group of kids in the above photo that was snapped at Jarry Park in 1970. But if you examine this baseball legend’s numbers in Montreal during his professional career, you’d have to think that Clemente was frustrated for much of the timeContinue reading “How did Roberto Clemente hit at Montreal’s Jarry Park?”

Canadians should remember Roberto Clemente on 40th anniversary of his death

*This article has been adapted from an article I wrote in 2002. When historians talk about legends that are part of Canadian baseball history, they often mention Babe Ruth (hit his first home run in professional baseball in Toronto) or Jackie Robinson (played in Montreal before breaking Major League’s baseball colour barrier). Seldom do theyContinue reading “Canadians should remember Roberto Clemente on 40th anniversary of his death”

The 1954 Montreal Royals team photo . . . Billy Harris

His first professional baseball contract was signed in a quintessentially Canadian setting. New Brunswick native Billy Harris was competing in a hockey tournament in Buchans, Nfld., when Brooklyn Dodgers scout Bill O’Connor secured the stocky 19-year-old’s signature on a piece of paper. Although the five-foot-seven Harris was a standout stickhandler, it was his right armContinue reading “The 1954 Montreal Royals team photo . . . Billy Harris”

The 1954 Montreal Royals team photo . . . Roberto Clemente

When I worked at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys in 2008 and 2009, I found myself fascinated with a 1954 Montreal Royals team photo. From 1939 to 1960, the Royals were the Triple-A farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers, so baseball immortals like Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella and DonContinue reading “The 1954 Montreal Royals team photo . . . Roberto Clemente”