Intercounty Baseball League

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Intercounty Baseball League
Intercounty Baseball League logo.png
Intercounty Baseball League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1919
No. of teams 8
Country  Canada
Most recent champion(s) Barrie Baycats
Most titles Brantford Red Sox (15)
Official website www.theibl.ca

The Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) is an independent baseball league located in the Canadian province of Ontario. The league was formed in 1919.

History[edit]

The IBL was founded in 1919 with just four teams — Galt, Guelph, Stratford and Kitchener, and is believed to be the oldest amateur men's league in Canada and also one of the best, regarding quality of play. During the early years, the league expanded to include the cities of London, Brantford, Preston and St. Thomas, Ontario.

It was previously known as the Intercounty Major Baseball League and the Senior Intercounty Baseball League. The teams play for the Jack and Lynne Dominico Trophy, which is awarded to the league champions. Jack and (and the late Lynne) Dominico own the Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Club.

By the mid 1930s, the InterCounty had established a reputation as one of Ontario's best amateur leagues.

In fact, when Stratford won the Ontario Baseball Association title in 1934, it was the League's fifth OBA title in a row. The League survived the Second World War in good shape, even though many players joined the armed forces. After the war, the League became professional in everything but name.

The InterCounty was considered by the professional ranks as an "outlaw" league at that time. The bidding war for players was fierce, and many ex major league players came to Ontario looking for a few last baseball bucks. So many came, in fact, that the League was considered on a par with many minor pro leagues. Great crowds came out to see the games, which were played under floodlights for the first time in the 1950s, and the senior league appointed its first commissioner, John Gillies, a London lawyer and former pitcher in the League.

The late 1950s and early 1960s were a tough time for the League. Teams came in and dropped out, and in 1962 and 1963 only five teams were entered; the lowest ever. But things got better in the 1960’s, starting in 1964. It was that year when Stratford rejoined the League as the city went on to become one of the league's premiere franchises. In 1969 the Inter County welcomed Toronto to the league for the first time on the heels of the folding of the International League's |Toronto Maple Leafs.

Labatt Park in London, ON, home of the London Majors.

Despite the competition from major league baseball coming to Canada, the InterCounty continued on. There were never fewer than eight teams in the League over the next two decades, and with Waterloo's return in 1978, the League comprised the same teams as in 1950. The growth hit a high point of 11 teams in 1979 when the Windsor Chiefs joined. It took a lot of dedicated people to run the League in this time period. Two of them, long time commissioner Reuben Halpern, who was in office from 1970 until 1986, and secretary Lorne Hamel were honoured by having the league's two divisions named after them in 1982. Hamel was the secretary from 1962 to 1997.

The League was down to six teams in 1998 however St. Thomas rejoined for the 2000 season followed by two expansion teams, the Barrie Baycats in 2001 and the Oshawa Dodgers in 2002, which brought the number of teams back up to nine. St. Thomas moved to Stratford in 2004 and the team was then moved to Mississauga for the 2008 season and operated as the Twins for two years before moving to Burlington in 2011. They were renamed as the Burlington Bandits in 2013.

The League also ventured into Eastern Ontario in 2010 with the admission of the Ottawa Fatcats, replacing the Oshawa Dodgers who suspended operations following the 2009 season. Ottawa dropped out following the 2012 season as the city chose to pursue a minor pro team for 2015.

On July 8, 2006, in Barrie, Ontario, the league's "New Era IBL All-Star Classic" game between the Barrie Baycats and the IBL all-stars was played with Barrie defeating the IBL all-stars 7–2.

On August 21 and 22 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario, the Ottawa Fat Cats hosted the "New Era All-Star Classic" between the IBL All-Stars and the All-Stars from la Ligue de Baseball Senior Élite du Québec (LBSEQ).[1]

On July 11, 2015, in Barrie, Ontario, the league's "All-Star Game" between the Barrie Baycats and the IBL all-stars was played with the IBL All-Stars defeating the Barrie Baycats 13–4.

Current member teams[edit]

Intercounty Baseball League
Team City Stadium Capacity Founded
Barrie Baycats Barrie, Ontario, Canada Coates Stadium at Barrie Community Sports Complex 1,500 2001
Brantford Red Sox Brantford, Ontario, Canada Arnold Anderson Stadium 2,000 1911
Burlington Bandits Burlington, Ontario, Canada Nelson Park 1,000 2011
Guelph Royals Guelph, Ontario, Canada David E. Hastings Stadium at Exhibition Park 1,400 1919
Hamilton Cardinals Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium 3,000 1953
Kitchener Panthers Kitchener, Ontario, Canada Jack Couch Baseball Park 1,400 1919
London Majors London, Ontario, Canada Labatt Park 5,200 1925
Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto, Ontario, Canada Dominico Field at Christie Pits Park 3,000 1969

Past teams[edit]

Former Intercounty Baseball League Teams
Team City Stadium Founded Folded/Moved
Burlington Twins Burlington, Ontario, Canada Nelson Park 2011 2012; renamed Burlington Bandits
Galt Terriers – later as Cambridge Terriers Galt, Ontario Dickson Park baseball field 1919 1984
Guelph C-Joys Guelph, Ontario Exhibition Park 1964 renamed Guelph Royals
Hamilton Cardinals Hamilton, Ontario Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium 1958 2005; renamed Hamilton Thunderbirds
Hamilton Thunderbirds Hamilton, Ontario Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium 2005 2012; renamed Hamilton Cardinals
Kitchener Legionnaires Kitchener, Ontario Victoria Park 1957 renamed Kitchener Dutchmen
Kitchener Dutchmen Kitchener, Ontario Jack Couch Stadium. Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex 1957 renamed Kitchener Panthers
Kraven Knits Stratford, Ontario National Stadium 1974 1976; renamed Stratford Hillers
Listowel Legionnaires Listowel, Ontario John Bell - Listowel Memorial Park 1940s?
London Chester Pegg Diamonds London, Ontario Labatt Park 1960 1962; renamed London Majors
London Pontiacs London, Ontario Labatt Park 1963 1970; renamed London Avcos
London Avcos London, Ontario Labatt Park 1970 1974; renamed London El-Morocco Majors
London El-Morocco Majors London, Ontario Labatt Park 1974 1975; renamed London Majors
Mississauga Twins Mississauga, Ontario Meadowvale Baseball Complex 2009 2011; moved to Burlington and became the Burlington Twins
Niagara Falls Mariners Niagara Falls, Ontario Oakes Park 1985 1989
Oakville Oaks Oakville, Ontario 1956 1958
Oshawa Dodgers Oshawa, Ontario Kinsmen Stadium 2002 2009
Ottawa Fat Cats Ottawa, Ontario Ottawa Baseball Stadium 2010 2012
St. Thomas Elgins St. Thomas, Ontario Emslie Field, Pinafore Park 1948 as the Legion until 1953 1961; re-emerged in 1976 and folded again in 1996
St. Thomas Storm St. Thomas, Ontario Emslie Field, Pinafore Park 2000 Moved to Stratford in 2004
Stratford Hillers Stratford, Ontario National Stadium 1976
Stratford Storm Stratford, Ontario National Stadium 2004 2006; renamed Stratford Nationals
Stratford Nationals Stratford, Ontario National Stadium 2006 2008; moved to Mississauga and became the Mississauga Twins
Waterloo Tigers Waterloo, Ontario Bechtel Park Ball Stadium 2000 2003
Windsor Chiefs[2] Windsor, Ontario Mic Mac Park 1979; 1969 in the EssexCounty Senior League 1981; left for Detroit Federal League in 1982

League staff[edit]

  • Commissioner: John Kastner
  • Registrar: Jason Little
  • Treasurer/Statistician: Herb Morell
  • Umpire in Chief: Rich Panas
  • Marketing Manager: Ryan Harrison
  • Umpire Scheduler: Chris Teliatnik
  • Media Relations Manager: Cory Smith

Champions[edit]

The winning team is awarded the Jack and Lynne Dominico Trophy.

Other awards presented include:

  • Rawlings IBL Player of the Year Award/John Bell Memorial Trophy
  • IBL Rookie of the Year/Brian Kerr Memorial Trophy

Notable past players[edit]

References[edit]

  • Intercounty Major Baseball League's 1998 Record Book by Editor Herb Morell and Dominico Promotions Inc.

External links[edit]