Baseball

Charlottetown All Stars, 1946
Courtesy of the Guardian newspaper

Baseball is a variation of the English game, rounders, and a later form of it called townball, that was played in Massachusetts at public meetings. The first game in Canada on record was played in Upper Canada (Ontario), on 4 June 1838 as a celebration of the Government’s victory over insurgents the previous year. The game was played in the Maritime provinces in the 1860s and 1870s, however it was not until 1877 when the  the  St. Lawrence Club was established in Charlottetown.

Summerside’s first baseball team, the Prince Edwards, had begun at about the same time and challenged Charlottetown to a match game on July 2, 1877. They were not able to agree on an age limit so the game was never played. However, on June 28, 1878, St Lawrence and Prince of Wales played the first organized baseball game in Charlottetown. Teams representing Pownal Square and Rochford Square played one another a few days later.  They were named for the areas in which their players practiced.

Rochford would play the newly formed, Fort Augustus team at the community’s St. Patrick’s Day picnic in 1879. Rochford was more experienced and won the game by 38 runs.  This was the first rural vs. urban game  that took place but many more would follow.

During the First World War, baseball, like many other sports was not played. On July 9, 1919 however, the first game of the season was played at Charlottetown’s CAAA Grounds. Mayor Wright even threw the first pitch to open the season!

The 1920s were a growth decade for baseball when local leagues organized and played one another for the title of provincial champions. Even Lieutenant Governor Frank R. Heartz was a fan! In fact, he was the patron the the City League. City residents attended the games regularly, with the opening game of the 1926 season attracting over 1500 fans.

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