|Bill Aronec was an outstanding player in the 1940s and 1950s with the Margaret Rose Maroons, Northern Hotel and Ukrainian Legion Branch #141 senior men’s teams. Excellent defensively, he played both second base and the outfield. In 1951 when he was named to the 20th Century Community Softball League all-star team at centre field, Winnipeg Softball News reporter Sam Minuk wrote, “in our opinion, Bill Aronec is the best hitter in the city today.” In 2005, Aronec was inducted into the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame as a member of the 1950-1954 Northern Hotel/Ukrainian Legion Branch 141 championship teams. He passed away in 1996.
|Grace (Peckover) Bouchard
|Grace Peckover joined the CUAC Blues senior women’s team in 1955 and played until 1965 with the exception of the 1964 season. Nicknamed Yogi or Little Yogi, she became a fan and media favourite due to her leadership behind the plate and her daring play on the base paths. She was selected as the Greater Winnipeg Senior A Girls League MVP in 1956 and named to the first all-star team from 1958 to 1963. Bouchard was inducted into the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame in 2002 as a member of the 1965 Canadian champion Blues and again in 2005 with the 1957-1962 CUAC provincial championship teams. With her individual induction, she will become the third Bouchard in the Hall of Fame. Husband Cam was inducted as an athlete in 2004 and brother-in-law Leo in the all-around category in 2003.
|Harry Broverman pitched in Winnipeg intermediate and senior leagues during the 1930s. For the first three years, he helped Macs win the provincial intermediate title. In 1932, he also won the senior championship with Y.M.H.A. With Broverman on the mound, Y.M.H.A. won again in 1934 and continued to be one of the province’s best teams for the next few years. Based on newspaper reports, most would agree that he was the top pitcher of that era. After serving in the Air Force during World War II and pitching for several service teams, Broverman settled in B.C. He pitched for teams in Vancouver and Trail until 1955 when his career ended at age 42 due to a broken ankle suffered while sliding into third base. One of his many B. C. highlights came in 1951 when he helped Vancouver Girodays beat Northern Hotel from Winnipeg in the Western Canada senior men’s final. Broverman passed away in 1985.
|Bill Edwards was born in Brandon and has lived there all his life. His record on the diamond is proof that he is one of western Manitoba’s greatest players. In 1961 at age 17, he started playing tournament ball with ANAF Vets. From 1966 through 1980, the outfielder earned 13 all-star team selections in Brandon leagues and two when Brandon played in the Manitoba Senior A League. He captured the Brandon and District Fastball League triple crown in 1967 with a batting average of .493 plus 10 homeruns and 31 RBI. In 1973, his .588 average won the Brandon Centennial League batting title and he won it again in 1977 with .441. Edwards also was named most valuable outfielder in 1977. During his career, his teams - 7 Up, UCT, Esso Westman, Pizza Place, Esso Astros and Westman Merchants - won 11 league championships. He also played for one intermediate and four senior provincial championships teams.
|A Saskatchewan native, Ralph Ens came to Winnipeg at age 19. In his first season, he pitched for Dow Kings of the Winnipeg Senior A Men’s League and was named team MVP. That was the beginning of a pitching career that saw him develop into the dominant pitcher in our province. He pitched for Manitoba in the 1969 Canada Summer Games and in several Softball Canada senior men’s championships. In 1972 with the K&A Knights, Ens was the MVP in the Canadian senior men’s championship. The following season, he led Winnipeg Colonels to the first Western Canadian Fastball League championship. As the pitching ace of the Colonels during the 1970s when the WMFL received extensive coverage in the media, Ens became the province’s best-known softball player. During the 1980s, he was a member of Manitoba teams that won gold, silver and bronze medals in the Western Canada masters fast pitch championship.
|When the idea of a provincial softball hall of fame was first raised back in the early 1990s, sports reporter and historian Vince Leah wrote a column where he mentioned candidates from softball’s golden era of the 1920s to the 1940s. Earl Haines was one of several pitchers listed and Leah stated that he was the “first of the windmill hurlers.” While that may never be documented, the reporters of the 1930s described Haines as “a lanky trick-delivery star” and “an extra-ordinary pitching ace.” Haines primarily pitched for Maroons in the intermediate and senior diamond ball leagues where his “freak delivery” helped him rack up high strikeout totals throughout his career. In 1939 while with the intermediate champion Long Hats, he pitched a no-hitter and struck out 19. Haines passed away on May 20, 2005, less than two weeks after his sister Audrey Daniels, also a pitcher, was inducted into the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame.
|Mary (Gosulak) Hayes
|In 1941 when Mary Goshulak received the Kosman Trophy as the most valuable player on the CUAC Blues, the Canadian Ukrainian Athletic Club officials mentioned that she had seen more service with the club than any other player. That statement was accurate, as Goshulak had joined the team in 1932 at age 12 as its mascot. Her playing career that began in 1937 and ended in 1952 was an illustrious one. She helped CUAC win four provincial titles and captained the team from 1942 to 1950. A versatile infielder, her best position was first shortstop in the days when the game had 10 defensive players. When that position was eliminated, Mary Hayes moved to second base where she was named to the Greater Winnipeg Senior A Girls League first all-star team three times and the second team once. Always a top hitter, she won the league batting title in 1941. Hayes passed away in 2003
|Lloyd Penner began his senior softball career in 1966 with Black Knights of the Winnipeg Industrial Fastball League. He played for our province in the Canada Summer Games in 1969 and, between 1970 and 1981, was a member of 10 teams that represented Manitoba in the Softball Canada senior men’s championship. In the other two years, 1973 and 1974, the power-hitting outfielder played with the Winnipeg Colonels of the Western Major Fastball League. When Colonels won the WMFL title in 1973, Penner was the team’s top hitter and was selected to the left field position on the league’s all-star team. During his career, he was named to 11all-star teams at the industrial and senior level. He also helped Manitoba win one gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the Western Canada masters fast pitch championship.
|Dorothy (Dot) Rose
|When the CUAC senior women’s team was winning league and provincial championships from the late 1950s through 1973, Dot Rose was the pitcher who won the most games for the Blues. She joined the team in 1956 and played until 1973. During the years that all-star teams were picked, Rose was selected to the first team in 1956, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1965 and made the second team in 1959. She was the Greater Winnipeg Senior A Girls League MVP in 1961 and won the all-around player award in 1962. Rose was inducted into the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame with the 1957-1962 and the 1965 CUAC teams. In 1965, when Blues won the Canadian title, Rose, who over her career had gained a reputation as a clutch hitter, was the tournament’s top batter with a .667 average.
|When the experts talk about building a ball team, they often speak about strength up the middle. That is clearly something the champion CUAC Blues senior women’s teams had. Playing centre field during those days of glory, Alda Tait was in charge of the outfield. She had blazing speed, hit in the top part of the batting order and made things happen with her base running. Her great skill was recognized with six first-team all-star selections and one second-team between 1954 and 1964. In 1957 she received an outstanding outfielder award from the Greater Winnipeg Senior A Girls League and in 1966, she was an all-star at the Canadian senior women’s championship. Tait was inducted into the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame as a member of the 1957-1962 and the 1965 CUAC Blues teams.
|Isabel (Duncan) Thomson
|Isabel Duncan was a teenager in 1938 when she began her lengthy playing career with Winnipeg Ramblers of the Greater Winnipeg Senior Girls Softball League. Her position was second base, but she also pitched on occasion. In 1940, she was a member of the city and provincial champion Ramblers. In the early 1940s, she also began playing the outfield where she earned all-star honours with the Dan Davidson’s team. Noted for her strong hitting and excellent defence, she played at the senior level until 1953. She then served as secretary-treasurer of the Senior Girls League until 1958. In the spring of 1955, the league was informed that its home at Osborne Stadium was closing. Duncan and others spearheaded a move to Wesley Park. Her commitment to finding a new home for the league included financial support and countless hours of volunteer work.
|Bob Turner epitomizes the reason the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame established a category where an individual can be recognized for a variety of achievements and contributions. As a player, he played at the senior A level from 1971 to 1988 and then played masters for several seasons. Primarily a catcher, he was a leader with the Winnipeg Colonels of the Western Major Fastball League from 1975 to 1981and played for Manitoba in seven Canadian championships. In 1976, Turner also became a certified umpire. The certified level 3 coach has a coaching resume that is lengthy and successful with a highlight coming in 1998 when his Winnipeg Lightning team won the Softball Canada senior women’s fast pitch title. That year he was selected as the Softball Canada 3M coach of the year and Softball Manitoba fast pitch coach of the year. Since 1989, Turner has served on many softball committees at the city, provincial and national level primarily in the areas of player and coaching development and scoring and statistics.
1932-1937 Y.M.H.A. Senior Men
|During the six-year period of 1932 to 1937, the Y.M.H.A. (Young Men’s Hebrew Association) team won the Winnipeg Senior Diamond Ball League championship five times. The team also won the provincial senior championship in 1932 and 1934 and lost in the final the other four seasons. Men’s diamond ball was one of the most popular games in Winnipeg during the 1930s, battles between Y.H.M.A. and Uneedas were legendary, and the final game between the two rivals for the provincial title in 1932 attracted a crowd of 8,000 fans. Y.M.H.A. also played many games for charity and travelled to Minnesota and North Dakota for exhibition games with top American teams.
1973 Winnipeg Colonels
|When the Western Major Fastball League was formed in 1973, the goal was to bring high-level men’s softball to the Prairie Provinces. Under the ownership of Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame members Harry Bueckert and Art Penner and with support from Champs Food Systems, the Winnipeg Colonels entered the league. Although the team struggled during the regular season against the top competition from Saskatchewan and Alberta, Colonels pulled it together in the playoffs. After eliminating first-place Saskatoon Jacks in the semi-finals, Colonels beat Calgary Braves in the best-of-nine final and brought the first WMFL championship to Winnipeg.
1993-1997 Smitty's Senior Women's Fast Pitch
|Smitty’s represented Manitoba at the Softball Canada senior women’s fast pitch championship from 1993 to 1997 and brought home medals each season. The streak started with bronze in 1993, the team finished second in the country the following season, and won gold in 1995. The Canadian senior women’s title that Smitty’s won in 1995 was the first at that level for our province since CUAC Blues won the first Canadian championship 30 years earlier. The team then retained its Canadian crown in 1996 and again in 1997 and its success established Manitoba as our country’s leader in women’s fast pitch softball.