Botha was a den of baseball stars

What a wet week we had so far this past week, with Old Man Winter roaring up his face for the first time

Botha Baseball Club 1911 – Back row-L-R: Roy Snyder

Botha Booster

What a wet week we had so far this past week, with Old Man Winter roaring up his face for the first time after the summer break, starting on Sept. 6, with rain falling on Friday, Sept.12.

According to what I heard, the last time we had snow in September was in 1993. So hopefully the weather starts smartening up and we get a decent fall. Boy, the nights are getting colder, too, with frost hitting some nights. So hopefully it will be a while before winter decides to show its face again after the long winter we had last year.

Seeing sports are happening around the country again, and floor curling and carpet bowling will be starting up again soon, let’s look back over the time at the pioneers that came to this little village. A lot of pioneers that came to the Botha area were from the United States, baseball was the dominant sport for many years. Apparently back then, before the skating rinks were built, they skated on lakes and sloughs when they were totally frozen. So the game of hockey was not invented, yet. When settlers came from the British Isles, they brought the game of soccer with them. Foot racing and horse racing became very popular then too, after soccer was brought in to the area.

The first ball diamond was located at the Les Eyestone farm just NE 28-39-18-W4 location. This was about five miles north of Botha. The team was first known as Happy Hollow.

At Stettler, the first annual celebration was held on July 6, 1906. Botha Team was one of the four teams who entered the ball tournament, and Botha defeated Stettler 2 team, 9-4. By 1910, Botha was on the map as Botha, and no longer known as Mayville and Botha, became the local point of baseball.

In the early 20s, Botha played in a league called the Lone Pine League, consisting of teams around the Botha area. The Sod-Busters were entirely made up of Botha farmers living around the town.

There was one game that should be mentioned that was between Stettler and Botha on January 25-26th in the year 1930-1931.Stettler won that game that time, but being that early in the year, no games have been recorded being that early in the year. Boy, that must have been a chilly game to be watching that day, as there has been no games before that date or after that date, that anyone knows about.

There were several good players in the Botha area at that time, but I must mention three that went further in their career. One of the players was Fred Seyer (son of Walter’s), had a long and successful career in baseball. He played semi-pro baseball in the State of Delaware for four years while attending college there. He played for the Calgary Dodgers in 1962 and from 1968 to 1974, he played with the Edmonton Tigers in the Alberta Major Baseball League. He also appeared in five Lacombe tournaments.

Graeme Greenlee also spent two years with the Lacombe tournament and one year with the Drumheller Star Mines in the Alberta Major Baseball League.

The third one I would like to mention was a lady named Gloria Greenlee. She loved playing softball and Gloria was a left hand player. So being left handed she was able to do both pitch and played first base in her junior team in Red Deer and thenceforth for a number of seniors, a women’s teams in Edmonton and Calgary as a member of the provincial championships. The highlight of her career came in 1978 when she was a member of the Canadian Champion New Westminster team, which competed in the World Championship Tournament in El Salvador, where they won the silver medal.

So as you can see Botha was well known for their ball team, and they can boost about having such great players.

In 1928, the first open-air skating rink was built, and hockey than became well known. Botha now has a adequate indoor skating rink which is quite active in the winter months. This was due mainly to the initiative of Bob Erickson.

Botha’s two storey Curling Rink was first built in 1928 by Volunteers. Walter Johnson was the local carpenter and Alf Erickson drilled the well. All the volunteers at that time were very much appreciated for their help and a big thank you to all that help out yearly to maintain the skating rink even today, for everyone’s enjoyment.

So as you can see the pioneers were involved in sport activities besides all the hard work they had to do on their homesteads, which is right on.

Every Wednesday, are busy at the seniors’ centre, starting out with coffee time at 10 a.m., where everyone is very much invited, then starting at 1 p.m. carpet bowling starts up, so this game will be starting up again soon, so keep your eyes open for the starting date. With both of these activities, they would love to see everyone join them for a great time.

Starting at the end of the month, quilting time will be up again, too, so make sure you grab your quilting items and head down to join the ladies at the seniors’ centre for another year of quilting. Everyone is invited to join them.

Bingo happens again the evening of Tuesday Sept. 30 at 7:15 p.m. So make sure you record this somewhere and come out that evening for a great time. Who knows you could be the next big winner.

On Sunday Sept. 28, they will be starting up the Old Time Dances for another year and they would love to see everyone join them. It was advertised early that it was going to be the Midnight Pals band entertaining the crowd that afternoon, but unfortunately they will not be able to attend. Instead the Black Velvet band will be entertaining the group that afternoon, so thank you for doing this for them. Black Velvet is a fantastic band and everyone enjoys their music, so make sure you come out on the 28th, to the Botha Hall.

These dances start at 1p.m. with a pot luck luncheon taking place journeying the dance, so they would love everyone to bring sandwiches/buns or desserts with you, your choice. They hope to see everyone come out for these. For more information on this dance or any upcoming dances please call Doug Haustein at 403-742-3994.


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