Newest members of Manitoba’s baseball HOF
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This article was published 16/11/2022 (205 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame announced its 2023 induction class at media conferences in Brandon and Winnipeg on Nov. 8. Eight individuals and four teams will be inducted at the 25th induction banquet at the Access Events Centre in Morden on June 3, 2023.
The Winnipeg inductees are Jeff Bouchard, Keith Carriere and Laurie Langrell. Joining them will be Corey Billaney and Junior Brake from Boissevain, and Patti Hacault from Holland. Thomas G. Smith, a builder from Steinbach, and Todd Smith, one of the best shortstops ever to play in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League during his time with Hamiota and Virden, will be inducted posthumously.
A catcher, Bouchard played for St. Boniface provincial championships teams from bantam to senior level, winning several all-star and top player awards. In 2015 and 2021, he was named Baseball Manitoba high-performance coach of the year. He comes from one of our province’s most outstanding baseball and softball families. His grandfather, Augustine, was a top pitcher, primarily in St, Boniface from 1921 to 1950, and managed the senior Native Sons in the 1940s. His father, Cam, who coached Jeff with the senior Native Sons, and his mother Grace (Peckover), also a catcher, have been inducted into the provincial softball hall as players.
Carriere played from midget to senior with Legion 141 from 1986 to 1999, earning several all-star selections. He then joined the senior Elmwood Giants and helped them win two gold medals and one silver at the Western Canadian championships. Langrell, who grew up in Warren, led his hometown team to the city juvenile title over Columbus Club in 1957. He played junior for Warren and in 1967, with the Balmoral Orioles, he was the Winnipeg Senior League batting champion and most valuable player. Hockey fans will remember Langrell as a star forward with the 1959 Winnipeg Braves, the last Manitoba team to win the Memorial Cup.
Billaney and Brake coach the Boissevain Centennials of the South West League, but they both have impressive playing records, primarily with their hometown team. A catcher, Billaney joined the Centennials in 1994 and went on to earn 14 South West all-star team selections. Brake was named the league’s top pitcher four times and won two batting titles between 1988 and 2017, when the Centennials won nine league championships.
Born in Brandon, Hacault coached in Holland, Treherne and in the Pembina Hills Minor League. Recognized as a leader in girls’ baseball in our province, her work earned her both Baseball Manitoba and Sport Manitoba volunteer of the year honours in 2011.
This year’s hall-of-fame teams are the 1953-56 Norwood Community Club juvenile and junior teams that won three city championships, the 1966 Western Canadian juvenile champion Hamiota Royals, and the 2006-2015 Minnesota Mavericks and the 2009-2013 Reston Rockets seniors.
Baseball has a different selection procedure than the halls of other sports and, in the opinion of this columnist, it’s an excellent one. The baseball group does not honour players and builders in separate categories but instead recognizes the accomplishments of individuals across the sport. Past HOF chairman Morris Mott said the selection procedure did have separate categories in the early years but made the switch because it seemed that almost every candidate for induction was some kind of a player and/or builder.
In Manitoba baseball, at least, it seems to be the norm for many players to move into other areas of the sport, such as coaching, officiating and administration, after their playing days. The Softball HOF honours versatile nominees with an all-around category. The Manitoba Sports HOF also has an all-round category, in which it places individuals whose accomplishments could have earned them induction as either players or builders.
T. Kent Morgan
Memories of Sport
Memories of Sport appears every second week in the Canstar Community News weeklies. Kent Morgan can be contacted at 204-489-6641 or email: email@example.com