Erindale Lions Little League: Erindale History/Past Presidents

Erindale Little League History

There was no illustrious fanfare back in 1960. No captivating picture layouts graced the pages of the community newspapers to announce Erindale's first attempt to form an organized minor baseball system. Little, if anything, was mumbled over the area radio outlets and certainly no television stations rushed to the sand lots to film the opening toss. But that was over 35 years ago and the small dream kicked around by a handful of enthusiastic parents has since blossomed into an enviable success culminated by the hosting of the 1974 Canadian Little League Championships. Although historic accounts of the Erindale Little League foundation is somewhat moulded from the day-to-day preoccupation of managing such a vast organization, league veterans have produced a sketchy outline having recently pitted their minds to the premier test. In fact, it wasn't until the actual drawing up of the presentation to Little League superiors, in a bid to secure the Canadian Championships, that Erindale people truly reflected for the first time and realized their tremendous accomplishments. John McColl and Hyl Chapple were two gentlemen most remembered for their initial efforts of nurturing a baseball organization from the embryonic stages. Through their guidance, registrations were held for neighbourhood kids who wanted to pick up a bat and ball and be graded for their talents through the watchful eyes of umpires and coaches. By 1963, the fledgling loop was expanded proportionally in teams, players, diamonds, and most importantly, dedicated volunteers. The local Lions chapter, realizing the merits of such an organization, created a total community involvement by offering several team sponsorships. Headed by the active members Ed Frawley, John Bower, Ron Sprang and Arch Brodie, the Lions became practically obsessed with the idea of allowing young people an opportunity to play baseball. It wasn't long before Lions club members were spending endless hours assuming such unfamiliar roles as coaches, managers, league officials, and even umpires! On June 30th, 1965, formal documentation was implemented and Jack Gorill was elected the first president of the Erindale Lions Little League Baseball Association. However, it wasn't until two years had passed that the league actually received official word from Williamsport, PA., that it had been accepted as a chartered member of the Little League Association. That was the added incentive Erindale people patiently strived for in their short seven year stint. Now, proudly flying the banner Erindale Lions Little League Baseball Association created an even larger aura of enthusiasm toward construction of the best facilities for their boys . In a final act as president, Jack Gorill, along with Crawford Wells, and Ken Evans, verbally laid out plans for the building of yet another dream - a major little league stadium! Despite the lack of monetary direction from town council, league officials pursued the harsh realities of funding such a vast project and the newly elected executive introduced hockey pools and other self-help programs to raise the necessary funds. The following year saw Don Blair take over the presidential duties and a continued effort was made to follow the fund raising trend set by the previous executives. The welcoming of a new decade coincided with several additions which indicated an image bolstering of not only the Erindale Association but also the entire Little League baseball program throughout the country. Along with the introduction of T-Ball by Chuck Brown, which resulted in considerable expansion of Erindale's already extensive baseball agenda, reveries became a reality with the official opening of the $40,000 stadium project by June 18th, 1971. This time, fanfare and celebration attracted all facets of the media and the bubbling pride displayed by the dedicated workers responsible for realizing the dream at the time has not lost any of its effervescence even many years later. And rightfully so, when one considers the manner in which the project was achieved. Players, coaches, managers and parents toiled in shifts along side construction workers to complete the complex. Combined with the hard earned $17,000 by the Erindale Lions Little League, area companies and individuals offered generous donations both in cash and materials. According to Jack Garbig, who was formerly the league's secretary, treasurer, head umpire, publicity director and co-chairman of the stadium building committee along with Ken Evans (whew! Gives you an idea of the dedication of these people) there is secret formula to building a major little league stadium. It's a matter of finding the suitable site considering the aesthetic value.... and then finding people who are willing to devote about ten hours per day, seven days per week! Jack Garbig's quote delves into the philosophy to Little League baseball the Erindale folks have managed to foster since casually discussing the prospects of forming a minor loop. Little League ball in Erindale has certainly meant more than just a night out at the ballpark. The 650 boys and girls, countless parents, tireless officials and conscientious executive members have been thrown together by a common bond - the athletic and characteristic development of young people. That particular Erindale Lions Little League Baseball family has grown stronger with each successive year and with Chuck Brown head of the clan in 1972 and ‘73, groundwork was laid for the culmination of all the sacrifices and long hours of work - the hosting of the Canadian championships. It took the competent leadership of Erindale's 1974 president, Earl Foster, to fulfill all the obligations and shift the working forces into full throttle for the August tournament. Erindale was honoured by the city of Mississauga for hosting the most outstanding sports event in 1974. In 1977, Erindale realized that with the growth of the community they must reduce their boundaries to conform with the population within the Little League rules of charter. The executive, with the guidance of District Administrator Jack Gorill, reduced the boundaries to exclude the very fast growing area of Erin Mills. In order for the children of Erin Mills to continue to enjoy baseball, Erindale assisted the new area to obtain a Little League charter and helped them to form a league. This league became Erin Mills Little League Baseball Association in 1978. In the summer of 1977, a fire destroyed the stadium clubhouse, which housed the press box, equipment room, and concession stand. Once again the community rallied and had a new building for the opening day of 1978. By 1982, a great number of children had graduated from the Little League and Senior League programs, plus a midget team in the Mississauga League, and wished to continue to play baseball. Interest in the Toronto Blue Jays also contributed greatly to the popularity of the game. The Erindale Association realized their responsibility to provide a program for boys above the age of 15. In 1982, another midget team was formed and participated in the Ontario Baseball Association (OBA) league. By 1986, juvenile, junior and senior teams evolved and a new full sized facility was required to accommodate the increased number of teams. After many meetings and negotiations with the city of Mississauga, a new facility was built on the Ninth Line with the understanding that the Erindale Association would participate with the upkeep and maintenance. This was achieved with the help of boys who had come through the little league system and continue to coach, organize, and operate the program. This facility, due in part to maintenance performed by volunteers, is considered as the premier diamond for amateur baseball within the Golden Horseshoe. Erindale has always had a softball program for girls, mainly participating in house league, with some very successful bantam and midget teams. The success of Little League was very obvious, so it was decided to form a girls Little League softball program. In 1995, Erindale hosted the Girls Major Softball Eastern Canadian Championships. The Erindale Association had witnessed the growth of Challenger baseball in the United States and other parts of Canada. The Challenger division is a program designed by Little League headquarters to allow physically handicapping children to play the sport. With the assistance of Erinoak Treatment Centre for the Physically Disabled, Erindale participated in the formation of a Challenger division, giving handicapped children many hours of fun and self esteem. This is indeed, a very gratifying and essential accomplishment. Administrating and maintaining the facilities is a new job performed by many dedicated volunteers, twelve months a year. Success is due to total community commitment. It is essential that young people graduating from the programs be encouraged to stay involved. After more than 35 years of baseball in Erindale, Little League continues to be an integral part of the social fabric within the community. The Lions Club continues to be a major supporter.

Written by: Earl Foster in 1996. Earl passed away in January 2007, taking with him a piece of our history.

Past Presidents

1965-1967 Jack Gorill 
1968          D. Whitehead
1969-1970 Don Blair
1971-1973 Chuck Brown
1974          Earl Foster
1975          D. McAllindon 
1976-1977 Jack Garbig
1978          D. Luchetta
1979          D. Pratt
1980          Wayne Baswick
1981          T. Christie
1982-1985  Bill Tough 
1986          Don Blair
1987          Steve Hartery
1988          Mark Baxtor
1989          Nick Christian
1990          Dave Lincoln/Mary-Lynn Cooney 
1991          Mary-Lynn Cooney 
1992          Vic Howard
1993-1994 Bill Young
1995-1997 Anne Dundon
1998-1999 Lyn Brown
2000-2001 Gordon McDonald
2002-        Anne Dundon

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