Plummer: Vancouver’s fight for Sunday baseball

From SABR member Kevin Plummer at Montecristo Magazine on May 18, 2018:

Braving chilly and overcast weather on August 26, 1956, baseball fans flocked to Capilano Stadium—the picturesque ballpark now known as Nat Bailey Stadium—to watch the Vancouver Mounties, in the midst of a disastrous inaugural season in the Pacific Coast League (PCL), face the Portland Beavers. The doubleheader itself was mostly uneventful, apart from fisticuffs erupting between the starting pitchers. The event’s true significance came as the city’s first quasi-legal Sunday baseball game.

For decades, Vancouver sports promoters had been trying to land a team in the PCL, the most prestigious of the minor leagues. Baseball diehards pointed to the success of the recent British Empire Games, and that the newly-founded BC Lions were drawing 20,000 each match, as proof Canada’s third-largest metropolitan area was ready for big-time sport.

So, it was large news in the summer of 1955 when C.L. “Brick” Laws entered negotiations with city officials about relocating his Oakland Oaks to Vancouver. Despite being one of the league’s most successful teams on the field, the Oaks had a run-down stadium and attendance was in free-fall; Laws was looking for greener pastures for his money-losing club. Vancouver had Capilano Stadium, a four-year-old ballpark at 33rd Avenue and Ontario Street, sitting vacant since a lower-tier professional team had folded the previous fall.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 18, 2018. Last Updated: May 18, 2018.