Eight championships in 15 years for Regals
For 15 years, the Moose Jaw Regals dominated the Southern Saskatchewan Baseball League.
That team won eight championship titles from 1960 to 1975 — something that no other amateur team in Saskatchewan has accomplished.
Those players from that period were honoured at the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in the team category on Saturday in Battleford.
Also inducted were Larry Tollefson and Larry English as individuals in the player/builder category.
Tollefson, a product of Moose Jaw, now resides in Parksville, B.C. began his playing career in 1962 with the junior Regals. He was called up to the senior Regals midway through that season. He remained with the team until retirement in 1974.
“It was quite an honour and I am very pleased,” said Tollefson from Parksville. “It was absolutely amazing. We didn’t stop laughing for three days.”
Tollefson was named the league’s all-star catcher four times and was named to the Canadian national team in 1967. After retiring, Tollefson served as head coach of the Regals and led them to senior championship titles.
“For me to see Tolly (Tollefson) get inducted, which was long-time overdue, it was great to see him and the whole team inducted,” said Jim Baba from Ottawa, a former Regals player. “For me, he was a mentor. He was my first coach in ’73 and ’74 and coached us to the championship. He was a great mentor and I have been able to do a few things in baseball and some of that goes right back to taking some things from him that I learned and applying them. He was a great man and it was great seeing him.”
The Regals won the Southern Saskatchewan League title in 1961, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973 and 1974.
“The very best thing was to be there with all my teammates — that was really special,” stated Tollefson. “To be inducted as an individual is an honour, but to be there will all my teammates, that was the highlight, for sure.”
Tollefson was inducted after a couple of his former players sent in a nomination form. The committee then went over the possible names and they decided whom they were going to recognize in the 2013 class. It was more special for Tollefson though to be inducted the same year as the Regals.
“There were a couple things that are near and dear to me — my friend, Ned Andreoni was already in the hall of fame and for me to be in there with him was pretty special for me,” he stated. “The other thing was how lucky I was to be inducted in the same year that the Moose Jaw Regals were recognized.”
Not all of the players from that time frame were able to make the trip, but approximately 25 players did travel to Battleford for the ceremony.
“I introduced the Regals and I think the people in Moose Jaw would appreciate this — our bat boy when we started was Mel ‘Sarge’ Ostrom. I introduced him as part of the team,” he said. “I let the people there know that Sarge continued to be the bat boy for 40 years and he would have enjoyed being with us.”
Not only was the trip worth it from British Columbia for Tellefson and his wife, but it was also a family affair as well.
“My eldest daughter, her husband and my two grandsons were there. The two grandsons were a part of the opening ceremonies, which was really nice,” he said.
The Regals team plaque will be placed in Hunter’s Mens Wear in Moose Jaw.
“John (Hunter) was the former team president of ours,” explained Tollefson. “It was 13 years of Moose Jaw baseball that was recognized. That is a credit to all the players and all the fans that supported us over the years.”
English, a former Hazlet resident, now residing in Medicine Hat was also inducted. He won five straight batting titles. He coached Team Saskatchewan to the Canadian senior championship and a Saskatchewan team to the Canadian junior championships. He also worked as a scout for the Minnesota Twins for five seasons.
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