Softball

Softball-Jim Morrow

Jim Morrow

 

 

JIM MORROW: LARGER THAN LIFE SPORTS FIGURE

 

There has been an extensive amount written about the impressive success of The Cobourg Angels organization. Teaching, practicing, organizing, high expectations and the capacity to attract talent are all factors that have been highlighted in the substantial historical record preserved by the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame.

 

During my years with the Senior Angels, I was fortunate to witness all of those factors at play. Yet, my experience tells me that one element has received less attention because it is very difficult to measure. Of the many outstanding athletes, builders and coaches from the past and present in the area, I only recall a few individuals that outwardly projected an animated love of the game and the sheer joy of being immersed in the competitive moment.

 

If you followed Major League Baseball in the 1960’s, you would recall how Willie Mays and Ernie Banks projected a radiant joy and enthusiasm for the game. In the current era, Blue Jays George Springer and Vladi Guerrero project a similar energy. Local outstanding athletes that had similar qualities would be Margie Matthews, Jim Bradford, Ewart Timlin and Ross Quigley.

 

Most of the Angels players of the Paul Currelly era, fondly remember Jim Morrow’s influence. Jim consistently provided encouragement, good humour and friendship to players, coaches and supporters alike. I believe that Jim had a huge impact upon the year-to-year loyalty and commitment of the players. The team environment was happy and easygoing until the first pitch. Their cohesiveness allowed the team to maximize their talent and sustain a rare level of excellence throughout the years that Mr. Morrow was associated with the Paul Currelly Angels.

 

It is also my impression that Jim’s out sized personality overshadowed the fact that he was an absolutely outstanding athlete in his own right and his accomplishments in and around the Hastings and Peterborough area are significant but less well known even to many of the Angels players he coached.

 

So how did Jim Morrow, a first-rate athlete, become such a significant and long-term contributor to the Paul Currelly Angels? The explanation begins with Jim’s formative years in and around Hastings, Ontario.

 

As Jim never spoke much about himself beyond family members and close friends, he perhaps left the impression with us that enthusiasm was his only strength. As a youth in the 1950’s, it became evident that Jim Morrow was a highly talented athlete. Hockey and fast pitch softball, as it was for most male athletes of the era, were Jim’s main athletic pursuits.

 

During his teenage years, Jim was the captain of the 1948-1949 provincial champion Hastings Midget hockey team and he followed up in 1949 as a major contributor to the local fast pitch Junior provincial championship team. It soon became evident that Jim’s talents and successes would lead to expanded opportunities in nearby Peterborough. As his local nickname suggested (later to be revealed), he brought a rare talent to the Peterborough fastball league.

 

During the 1950’s, Jim played Junior hockey with Peterborough and was a fixture as a player in the first rate Peterborough City Softball League. This league played its games at the East City Bowl (a softball facility that was constructed in a natural amphitheatre beside the Otonobee River). The unique facility soon became a hub that attracted some of the very best fast pitch softball players in Ontario and beyond. Pitching was elite during this era.

 

One of Jim’s favourite stories from his playing days in Peterborough was his fence clearing homer off of legendary hurler and American Mormon missionary Ray Judd. This was a very rare accomplishment as Judd only had apparently one recorded loss during his 5 year local tenure.

 

Unofficially, the league was such a good draw, that fans gathered in very large numbers sometimes exceeding a thousand fans for highly anticipated games. During an interview with the Peterborough Examiner well after his retirement, Judd said that for some games, fans climbed the trees lining one side of field while others climbed to the rooftop of the adjacent Quaker Oats building on Hunter Street.

 

Jim Morrow’s career in the league spanned the late 1940’s into the mid 1950’s. Many in the Peterborough area that attended games as players, officials and fans returned to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the league. After a stellar career south of the border and internationally, Judd returned for the festivities as did many of his contemporaries.

 

Jim Morrow belonged in very esteemed company indeed and given his warm and outgoing personality, his family agreed that he would have been in his glory during the celebration. Jim passed a year prior to the event.

 

Later on, after Jim ended his playing career, he shifted his focus to coaching in the Hastings area and directed an OASA Intermediate team to a provincial championship. The accomplishment foreshadowed what was to be his most successful coaching stint of his fine career.

 

The development of a young player often rests upon natural talents, early coaching and parent encouragement. Jim and Marg Morrow’s daughter Su had benefited from all of these advantages and when it became evident that she was an outstanding fastball talent in her own right, she joined the Angels as a teenager and predictably Mom and Dad came too and eventually took up residence in Cobourg.

 

Most local sports fans would agree that very little ever escaped Paul Currelly’s eye when it came to talent. Currelly found a gem in Jim Morrow! In very short order, Jim became the Angels’ first base coach and formed an enduring on field partnership with Paul. Over the years, a very close friendship also emerged between Paul and Marian Currelly and Jim and Marg Morrow.

 

I want to leave the anecdotes and stories for the former players to tell. For me, I often remember the times when Jim would roll up to our house and take my 2–3-year-old son for a ride in his transport truck. While not anything to do with fastball, it was everything to do with kindness and generosity. A big truck rolled in but it was a giant of a man who drove it.

John Hayden Sr.

ADDENDUM:

Jim Morrow Memoirs

Margie Matthews:

When I think of what Jim Morrow meant to our Angel softball teams, the first two words that come to mind are dedication and support.
He was all about 'team'. Depending on where our games would be, he would sometimes show up in his truck tractor. He always wanted the players to succeed. His enthusiasm with his big personality and fun nature made him and Paul Currelly a magnificent coaching match.

Fond memories indeed of Jim 'Long-Ball' Morrow.

 

Nancy Cronin:

Jim Morrow or Jim Bob as I liked to call him was a special man and great coach of the Cobourg Angels. It is really hard to come up with a few words to describe the impact he had on me as a ball player and as a person. For a kid from Belleville who had an opportunity to experience the culture of the Angels that he and Mr. Currelly nurtured was life changing for me.

It was so evident from my first season with the Angels that Jim loved life, loved Margaret and his kids and his other family the Angels. His dedication to the team was unwavering. On a number of occasions he would pull up to the diamond in his transport truck in the middle of a delivery run.  I remember the first time I witnessed this and I was totally blown away. 

If I had to name Jim's best qualities I would say hard work, loyalty and his sense of humor.  He incorporated all of these qualities into his coaching style. I like to think that he helped to instill those same qualities in me as a person.

Nancy Cronin Angels 1980-1991

 

Jennifer (Dalgarno) Ashley:

It’s impossible to think of Mr. Morrow without a big smile coming to my face. He was such a breath of fresh air to be around. When coaching, he was always very helpful and positive and made everyone feel like they mattered. His fun-loving sense of humour helped to bring the team together and build team chemistry. He constantly had us in stitches. His knowledge of the game and his coaching expertise made us all better players. I will always cherish the many years I was able to spend playing for Jim Morrow and Paul Currelly.

Jen (Dalgarno) Ashley, Cobourg Angels 1989-1990

 

Jackie Dusenbury:

Mr. Morrow was one big kid!  And that’s one of many reasons why we loved him.

He made coming to the ball park fun. He always had a smile on his face, except when he was yelling at his daughter Su! Ha! He was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and cared about his players to the point that he would play caps with them at tournaments! Lol

He was the type of coach that you would do anything for because you wanted to win so badly for him…. He was a one of a kind😊

 

Nancy Jane Dalgarno:

Mr. Morrow helped raise me and for that I am so very grateful. As a player on the Cobourg Angels, I spent many years being coached by him both on and off the field. He helped instill in me a moral compass that included respect, humility, teamwork, and a love of life which continues to guide me in all I do. I look back on my Cobourg Angel’s days with such love, fondness, and always with a smile. I feel privileged to have been able to spend my youth and early adulthood with my Angel family and to be a part of the amazing (and sometime crazy) experiences we had with Mr. Morrow. He was a truly wonderful coach and friend—one who always made me laugh while encouraging me work hard. To this day, I consider Mr. Morrow one of the most influential people in my life.

 

Patsy Currelly Hand:

It is an honour to add to my reflections of Jim Morrow or as I called him, Mr. Morrow. 

I first met Mr. Morrow when he came to his daughter Suzanne’s first game with the Cobourg Angels (1977) in Trenton.  He started the year as a parent and by the end of the year had a spot on the bench as assistant coach.  He was a wonderful addition to our team not only because of his knowledge of the game but because of his larger-than-life personality.  Over the years, we would learn about his own athletic abilities in both Hockey and Softball.  As the story goes, while playing softball in Hastings he was known to hit many out of the park home runs earning him the title of “Long Ball Morrow”. 

 Mr. Morrow lived life to the fullest! He was committed and dedicated to our team, to his family and to his job.  His voracious laugh could be heard anywhere on the diamond and his personality uplifted and melded our team into a family.  Now, on the other side of this joyous, wonderful man was the ferocious intensity that would sometimes be directed at the umpires (On more than one occasion, he was tossed from the game).  This intensity was of course justifiably supported by his fellow coaches and his players.  As a player, having your coaches stand up for you in this matter made you feel respected and protected and again, reinforced the feeling of family. 

Mr. Morrow drove transport for a living.  His route was from Toronto to Ottawa.  I distinctly remember walking with him after a game at Victoria Park to where the Y is now, to his truck that was parked and still running (to keep his load cool).  He had timed it so that he could stop on route to come coach the game and then continue to his destination.  I was stunned to think that he had so many more hours of work ahead of him. 

 

Dedication, Commitment.   In those days the truckers would be on their CB radios and he told me that after a game, he would get on the radio and transmit how the Angels had done.   His trucker buddies would enquire about the games and Mr. Morrow could go on for hours about his beloved Angels.   He said, “Everyone knows about the Angels”. 

Mr. Morrow was One-of-a-Kind.  He was a second father to many of his players.  His personality complimented my dad’s and they not only had a very successful team, they just enjoyed being around each other, on and off the field.  During the off-season once the Morrows were back from the Cottage, every Saturday night would be spent together watching the Leafs and enjoying treats made by the wives.  They travelled together to both coasts in Canada, seeing the sights and of course watching a few amateur ball games! 

Their friendship and the cohesiveness of their qualities, established the foundation for the success of the Cobourg Angels.

 

 

 

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Ann & Dick Raymond

Raymonds-heads

Ann & Dick Raymond

Dick and Ann Raymond have devoted a considerable amount of their lives to fulfilling a single desire, to make their beloved Grafton a better place and as a result of their tireless work and organizational skill they have forever changed, and enhanced, their community. Dick Raymond’s lifetime of volunteerism can be traced back to 1962, when as a 19-year-old, and still not old enough to drive, he started coaching a team in the Cobourg Community Hockey League (CCHL). As a coach, Dick would lead three teams to provincial hockey championships, in addition to a Provincial Women’s Softball Association (PWSA) Bronze Medal with the Cobourg Bantam Angels in 1989. But it is as an organizer and administrator that Dick has had the largest impact. In addition, to a five-decade long tenure with Grafton Minor Hockey, which saw him at various times serve as the organization’s President, Vice-President, past President, coach, equipment manager, bingo organizer, fundraiser, etc.., Dick was one of the founders and lead organizer for the Grafton Fastball Tournament for its four-decade long existence, while also serving on the Grafton Arena recreation committee for forty years, thirty-five of which saw him operate the Grafton canteen. And then there was all the hours put in to construct the Grafton facility itself, 5 ball diamonds, all the backstops, the scoreboard, fencing the diamonds, the playground, score keepers’ benches, etc. all bear the handprint of Dick Raymond. But Dick was never alone in his efforts, in fact he represented one-half of a formidable team. Every step of the way, at every event, every fundraiser, was Dick’s wife Ann. A true team, Dick and Ann would not only work together, but complement each other, so while Dick was organizing, it was Ann placing the calls and answering the phone. Despite both holding full-time jobs, and raising a family, and despite being tired most nights, both Dick and Ann Raymond always found the energy and the time to give of themselves for the greater good of their community and the people of Grafton.

Elaine Devlin

Elaine Devlin

Elaine Devlin

Born in Indian River on July 27, 1964, Elaine Devlin resided in Cobourg, Colborne, and Grafton for a decade and has maintained her athletic connections to our community ever since. Before moving to our area Elaine had already established herself athletically as an all-star goalie and a member of numerous OWHA (Ontario Women’s Hockey Association) gold medal teams and as one of the best softball pitchers in the province winning ORSA (Ontario Rural Softball Association) Midget and Junior provincial titles in 1981, 1982 and 1983 with Douro and Keene; two OCAA (Ontario Colleges Athletic Association) Silver Medal’s with Fleming College and numerous Peterborough Women’s City League titles. In 1985 she attended Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas on a scholarship where she played in the NCAA softball circuit. Still the holder of seven school records she was Gulf Star Conference Female Athlete of the Year; Most Outstanding Player and won a Conference Championship. Recruited to play for the Cobourg Angels, by Paul Currelly in 1984, over the next five years Elaine and her teammates medaled 9 times at the provincials, including three golds, a period of sustained excellence that was due in large part to Elaine’s pitching prowess, which didn’t go unrecognized by the opposition as she was recruited by other teams 3 different times to represent Ontario at the Canadian Championships. Since her time playing in Cobourg, Elaine has continued to contribute to the sport by coaching and attending pitching clinics during the off-season to help the next generation of hurlers hone their techniques. It would be hard to imagine an honour, accomplishment in Softball that has eluded Elaine. Beyond pitching a countless number of no-hitters and perfect games, Elaine Devlin has competed in a total of 34 Provincial championships (14 gold, 12 silver, 4 bronze), 17 Canadian championships (4 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze), and at least 5 World Championship/International competitions (1 gold, 1 bronze) and has coached at 20 Provincial championships (5 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze), 12 Canadian championships (2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and 3 World Championship/International competitions, winning gold each time.

Team or Principal Name

Roger Cole

Roger Cole head

Roger Cole

Referred to by no less an authority than Layton Dodge as “the finest softball pitcher between Oshawa and Kingston”, Roger Cole’s quarter-century career was marked by continued excellence, countless awards, and a right arm that never seemed to grow tired. Born in Cobourg on July 27, 1954, Roger Cole’s pitching career began in the Plainville Township League in 1965. Over the course of the next four-plus decades an almost uncountable number of accolades and awards came his way including 9 OASA medals, 2 Perfect Games, at least 10 (maybe 12) No-Hitters, multiple MVP and Top Pitcher awards in both the Cobourg Men’s Softball League and the Hamilton Township Men’s Softball League, and countless league, Provincial, Canadian, and World Championships, mostly with the Cold Springs Cats. In 2003, Roger was given the Milestone Award, after recording a total of 2059 career strikeouts in the Cobourg Men’s Softball League, a testimony to his talent and his stamina. But that only tells part of the story. Simply put, to see Roger Cole pitch was an “event” - one that drew both admirers and the curious from far around just to see him throw, and to bear witness to a continuous parade of overmatched hitters try to make contact, and at times a befuddled catcher attempt to catch, Roger’s famed “drop ball”. But beyond his own personal and team accomplishments Roger was a strong believer in the Cobourg Men’s Softball League, often taking younger players onto his team, encouraging them, and giving them a place to play when other teams wouldn’t. Those teams were often more concerned with winning that season’s league championship, whereas Roger was more concerned with the long-term health of the league itself, even if it came at his team’s own expense. This nurturing of younger players, and personal sacrifice for the league was recognized in 2006 when Roger Cole was the recipient of the Dedication Award by the Cobourg Men’s Softball League.

Team or Principal Name

Allan Burnham

Al Burnham

Al Burnham

Born on August 31, 1952 in Cobourg and raised on the Burnham Family Farm, like many children of the time, Al Burnham was first introduced to bat and ball in elementary school during the recesses and lunch hour that helped break up the day. Coincidentally, the Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association was formed in the late 1950’s, and Al was part of that first group of youngsters who signed up. And thus began a two decade long playing career that saw Al Burnham become one of the top Fastball players; in the area, in the province, in Canada, and ultimately, in the world. A member of the Cobourg Juveniles that captured the Ontario “B” Championship in 1971, Al, now playing with the legendary Cold Springs Cats, would be part of three more provincial championship teams, OASA Intermediate C titles in 1975 and 1976, and in 1980 an Ontario Senior A fastball championship. Thanks to his proficiency at the plate Al quickly gained a reputation from teammate and opponent alike as a clutch hitter, and when combined with his understated demeanor, he was christened with the nickname “The Iceman”. From 1984 to 1992, Al Burnham was an integral part of five more Senior “A” Ontario championship teams, 4 Canadian Senior A championship teams, and in 1987 and 1988 he was named to the All-World second team both years at the International Softball Congress championship. At the 1991 ISC championship, held in Sioux City, Iowa, and playing for Owen Sound, the World Championship runner-up, Al Burnham was named All-World first team … the culmination of a lifetime spent on the diamond all the way from Cobourg to the World Championship.

Team or Principal Name

Ross Quigley

Ross Quigley head

Ross Quigley

No one ever loved Cobourg – it’s people, its history, and the community itself – more than Ross Quigley. A lifelong Cobourg resident, born in 1944, Ross quickly developed the passions that would stay with him throughout his life, first as a player and soon branching out to coaching and refereeing. Concurrently, Ross also began a life a giving back to his beloved hometown, starting in his teenage days while working at Sommerville’s Sporting Goods when on Christmas Eve he would dress up as Santa Claus and personally give out gifts to children … to his later tenure as the President of Legion Softball, as well as his organizing the annual All-Summer Sports Parade, a summertime affair which at one time spotlighted each of the local softball/baseball/soccer teams. Ross also was long involved with many local organizations where he helped to push through countless enhancements to our town’s community. Starting with a desire to preserve the sporting history of the town, Ross began the process of what would eventually lead to the establishment of the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. While not the sole person involved, Ross was the driving force behind the idea, the creation, and finally, the establishment of the Hall, behind the scenes and also as both the public face and most enthusiastic supporter. And it is through these efforts that Ross has made an invaluable historical contribution to our town by bringing the sporting history of Cobourg out of the past and preserving it for future generations, through his discovery of long lost sporting events, or in gathering artifacts, to most notably shining a renewed spotlight on the builders and the athletes who through the passage of time slowly receded from active memory only to have Ross, through his tireless work and commitment, bring them back to the prominence and the local understanding that they so richly deserve. In 2021, Ross Quigley was recognized at the annual Cobourg Civic Awards ceremony as the recipient of The Angus and Bernice Read Volunteer Award, which is given to an individual whose volunteerism, leadership, commitment and actions have improved the quality of life for a large spectrum of the population in Cobourg.

 

Team or Principal Name

Softball-Fastpitch-Ann & Dick Raymond

Ann-Dick Raymond

 

 

Ann & Dick Raymond

 

Dick and Ann Raymond have devoted a considerable amount of their lives to fulfilling a single desire, to make their beloved Grafton a better place and as a result of their tireless work and organizational skill they have forever changed, and enhanced, their community.

 

Dick Raymond’s lifetime of volunteerism can be traced back to 1962, when as a 19-year-old, and still not old enough to drive, he started coaching a team in the Cobourg Church Hockey League (CCHL). As a coach, Dick would lead three teams to provincial hockey championships, in addition to a Provincial Women’s Softball Association (PWSA) Bronze Medal with the Cobourg Bantam Angels in 1989. But it is as an organizer and administrator that Dick has had the largest impact.

In addition, to a five-decade long tenure with Grafton Minor Hockey, which saw him at various times serve as the organization’s President, Vice-President, past President, coach, equipment manager, bingo organizer, fundraiser, etc. Dick also served on the Grafton Arena recreation committee for forty years, thirty-five of which saw him operate the Grafton canteen.

 

Dick and Ann along with Jack and Pat Kernaghan were the founders and lead organizers for the Grafton Fastball Tournament. Grafton officials did not jump to the idea of hosting the Tournament when the opportunity presented itself so Ann and Dick Raymond took on the financial responsibility for the first tournament.  It was the first of a four-decade long existence.

And then there was all the hours put in to construct the Grafton facility itself, 5 ball diamonds, all the backstops, the scoreboard, fencing the diamonds, the playground, score keepers’ benches, etc. all bear the handprint of Dick Raymond.

Dick was never alone in his efforts, in fact he represented one-half of a formidable team.

 

Every step of the way, at every event, every fundraiser, was Dick’s wife Ann. A true team, Dick and Ann would not only work together, but complement each other, so while Dick was organizing, it was Ann placing the calls, answering the phone, arranging for volunteers and volunteering herself, running the errands, arranging advertising, awards and tournament merchandise.

Despite both holding full-time jobs, and raising a family, and despite being tired most nights, both Dick and Ann Raymond always found the energy and the time to give of themselves for the greater good of their community and the people of Grafton.

 

 

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Comments

Submitted byDonnie and Mar… (not verified) on Thu, 06/16/2022 - 18:29

A good job well done! Thank you for all those hours spent volunteering!

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Softball-Elaine Devlin

Elaine Devlin

 

Elaine Devlin

 

Elaine Devlin was born in Indian River, a rural area of Peterborough, the eldest of six children.  Her parents made things work, providing their children with various opportunities, including playing sports.  She played City League Softball in Peterborough and played in the Ontario Rural Softball Association. 

As a teenager, Elaine would go to watch the Cobourg Angels play against the Lakefield Kingdon Lumber Ladies. It was amazing to watch and she hoped that one day she would be a good enough softball player to play at that level. She couldn’t believe it when she got invited by Paul Currelly & Jim Morrow to play for the Cobourg Angels, starting in 1984. She was apprehensive, not sure if she was good enough, but thanks to an amazing coaching staff, fantastic catchers, and supportive team members and her own personal commitment to the sport she loved, she thrived in Cobourg.

Elaine Devlin’s contributions to sports locally and her astounding athletic accomplishments, both in our area and elsewhere, have been exceptional.

 

Elaine resided in our area for a total of 10 years (Cobourg, Colborne, and Grafton), and has maintained athletic connections to our community throughout her life. She also worked in local schools for 6 years – 3 at St. Joseph’s, in Cobourg, and 3 at St. Mary’s, in Grafton. During these years, she coached many school teams in a variety of different sports. Elaine is a character in Judy Peers children’s book “Shark Attack”, which features a few other local softball legends, too, such as Marty Kernaghan, and is dedicated to Elaine’s favourite coach, Paul Currelly.

Her competitive softball career was catapulted in 1984 when she was recruited by Paul Currelly and became a Cobourg Angel. She played for the Angels from 1984-1989. She was recruited by Sam Houston State University, in Texas, where she played out her 2 years of eligibility and set season records for saves, shutouts, and ERA as well as a career record for ERA’s (which stands as of 2019). She still holds top 7 records for Sam Houston pitching in seven categories despite the fact she only played for 2 years, where most pitchers play for 4.

 

Needless to say, Elaine has earned many MVP awards and was, and continues to be, recognized both locally and provincially over the years for her incredible talents. One of her most prestigious MVP awards was at the Canadian Championships where she was tournament MVP and had an ERA of 0.00. During her time playing with the Cobourg Angels, the team medaled 9 times at provincials, including 3 golds, largely influenced by the fact that her pitching was phenomenal. During these years, she was picked up by other teams 3 times to represent Ontario at the Canadian Championships. She pitched many no-hitters.

Since the 1980’s, she has coached and run pitching clinics, helping the Junior Angels organization.   Elaine was instrumental in developing the Colborne Ladies team, while living in the Grafton area.

 

“Dev” has competed in 34 provincial championships, 17 Canadian championships, and at least 5 World Championships/International competitions (1 gold, 1 bronze) and has coached at 20 Provincial championships (5 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze), 12 Canadian championships (2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), and 3 World Championships/International competitions (3 gold). Phenomenal!

Elaine is the kindest person off the field. She would literally give you the shirt off her back. However, on the field there is a different person on the mound.  She is sportsmanlike but is very competitive and very hard on herself to be perfect.  It was this conviction for perfection that literally made her appear as a bull with fire coming out of her nostrils!!  Angels catcher, Patsy Currelly states, “That was an intimidating face to confront as a batter. 

As a catcher, it was perfect!  The batters were literally shaking in the batter's box and to top it off, she could hit the target nearly 100% of the time.  She was a catcher’s dream (although a couple of times I would have to come to the mound to slow her down and also for my own protection – she sometimes had a habit of throwing her mid-60 mph fastball over the plate after the signal was called but before I could get the glove up and get set!).  She never shook off a call – Never –(which is unheard of), and was the best pitcher I ever caught.  Ever.  She is someone I can call a forever friend.  Her determination, commitment to team play, to teammates, to coaches and the art of her sport are unheard of.” 

 

Elaine also played hockey (goalie) for both the Rice Lake Rebels and Baltimore Predators, winning an OWHA provincials with Baltimore, in 1989. When she played with Rice Lake, it was “Sr. A” which was the highest level of women’s hockey at the time. All the national team players played in this league so she was participating at a very high level. In 2019, she coached the District 12 55+ women’s hockey team (which includes CDSHF catchment area) to a provincial championship victory, in Huntsville, and will be attending the Canadian Championships in Kamloops, B.C., with the team in August 2022.

In 2011, Elaine was involved in a horrific car accident and suffered a head injury which ended her playing career. She still stays involved in sports as much as her injury allows her to, including coaching. Since her injury, as a coach, she was won 2 World Masters Games championships (softball), a PWSA bronze medal, and a hockey provincial championship with a local team in the 55+ Ontario Winter Games.

She still volunteers in schools when she is able and volunteers with the Ontario Brain Injury Association in supporting others in their brain injury recovery. She sits on their board of Directors (which includes the Cobourg catchment area). She also sits on the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board First Nation, Metis and Inuit Advisory Committee.  Her motto is “Passion, Determination, Caring”. Elaine believes everyone has gifts and it is important to share the gifts with which we are blessed.

 

ADDENDUM: Angels Stats

1984 – Elaine is visited at her home by coaches Paul Currelly and Jim Morrow (knowing dad it was probably in the Fall of 1983 that he went to visit but not sure of that).  I know that Elaine was a little apprehensive and not sure if she was “qualified”.  I know that they told her not to worry and that “all she had to do was throw strikes, they had the team to field whatever came their way”.    1984 was the Angels first ever Senior Tier II Ontario Title with a record of 44 wins and 6 losses including a 34 game winning streak to start the season and included the Ontario Title.

        - Elaine threw a no-hitter that year and had a grand slam home run.  She pitched a 17 inning game vs Agincourt Senior Tier I winning the game and was upset when she wasn’t slotted as the starting pitcher for the next game which was less than 30 minutes to start time. She said she was “in a groove” and that she was!! She was voted the teams MVP that year.

1985 - Ontario Senior Tier II gold medal Champions over Norwich.  The Angels go undefeated in the Provincial tournament. Elaine allows only 2 runs in 20 innings.  She is selected for the Ontario Junior Summer Games Team and receives a scholarship to Sam Houston University in Texas.

1986 - Silver medalists Ontario Senior Tier II championships loss to Sarnia, finalists Mildor Classic tournament.  Winners of Metro League regular season.

1987 - Ontario Senior Tier II Gold medalist vs Sarnia, Elaine pitches all four games and gives up 16 hits, has 30 strike-outs and 6 walks. 

 - Ontario Senior Tier I finalist vs Dorchester (after playing 3 back-to-back games). Elaine Devlin MVP of Tier I tournament after pitching 43 innings .

Team also were Ontario Regional Gold Medalist vs Belleville, Metro League Champions. In a Metro League game she pitches 14 strike-outs in a row and totals 20 strike-outs for the game. 

1988 - The team moves up to Senior Tier I and play in a 14 team league.  Teams are as close as Pickering and as far away as upper New York State.  Many weekends spent playing double headers.  The Angels have a successful season including Ontario Senior Tier I Silver Medalists vs Oakville and Ottawa Tournament Champions.  Elaine Devlin is named MVP of the Tier I tournament with a 0.64 ERA over 42 innings.  She is picked up by Oakville to go to the Canadians in Newfoundland. 

1989 - Eastern Division Senior Tier I League Champions, Milverton Classic tournament champions vs St. Catharines.  Elaine Devlin is picked up by a BC team to play in an International Tournament in New Zealand. 

 

 

 

 

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Softball-FastPitch-Roger Cole

Roger Cole

 

 

Roger Cole

 

Roger Cole was born on July 27, 1954, at the hospital in Cobourg, Ontario.  He was the youngest of five boys born to Mildred and Glen Cole. He grew up and still resides on his family farm near Plainville, with his wife Donna, in Hamilton Township.

 

For Ed, Ross, Paul, Allan and Roger, travelling to Cobourg to play Legion softball or CCHL hockey was not an option. Summers were spent playing ball at home or at public school pickup games. Winter months involved playing local pond hockey with his brothers and neighbours. Roger and Donna raised two wonderful daughters who went on to get married and bless them with 4 beautiful grandchildren. 

 

Once old enough, the Plainville Men’s Softball team was the game of choice. Roger and Harry Jeschke played on the team as 13-year-olds and were used occasionally as outfielders or pinch hitters. Roger was 4’10” at the time and was quite successful at drawing walks. Ewart Timlin was one pitcher that struck Roger out. No one could have predicted that Ewart would eventually be the one to have the greatest influence on Roger’s pitching career.

 

Although dabbling in pitching, Roger never really started until 1972 when, in grade 13 at the age of 18, he and his high school buddies decided to put a team in the formidable Cobourg Men’s Softball League. This was the start of his illustrious pitching career. His men’s league team, Wilburn Construction, struggled to win many games in the early years. 

 

Roger went off to Guelph and obtained his Honours BSc (Agriculture) degree and graduated in 1976. While at Guelph he met Donna and they were married in July of 1976. Daughters Angela and Shannon followed several years later. Donna played varsity hockey at Guelph so the girls followed in their parents’ footsteps — hockey in the winter and softball in the summer. Donna got heavily involved in coaching and managing girls’ hockey teams in the area. Roger and Donna co-coached the first Senior Ladies hockey team out of Cobourg. 

 

In 1973, Roger played on Bill O’Neill’s Juvenile B Ontario Championship team. In 1975, Ewart Timlin signed Roger to the Cold Springs Cats and he pitched on that team for over thirty years, winning back-to-back Intermediate C Ontario Championships in 1975 and 1976. At the age of 50, while pitching in the 2004 Ontario Masters Championship tournament in Port Perry, Roger sustained an arm injury which ended his playing career. He wasn’t prepared to hang up his cleats so he transitioned into a coaching role and went on to co-coach the Cats.

 

As well as playing for the Cats, Roger played in the Peterborough City League (for 2 years), the Hamilton Township Men’s Softball League (from the age of 13 until the league stopped running), and the Cobourg Men’s Softball League (from 1972 until it stopped running). He played for Fraserville, Plainville, Crossroads, Murray Thompson Auto-body, Wilburn Construction, Meadowvale Aces, Bruce & Ricks, Everett’s Astros, and eagle.ca. He coached and managed the Hamilton Township league teams and the Cobourg league teams from the late 80’s until the leagues folded.

 

Roger was known for his pitching longevity and stamina and would often pitch 3-4 games in a week. In 1978, Roger won tournament MVP at the Deck Transport Invitational tournament in Lakefield, Ontario. He pitched fifty-four innings on that weekend for the Cats, then the next day pitched a Cobourg Men’s league game. He was named top pitcher in 1979 in the Eastern Ontario Fastball League with a 0.5 ERA. He also received the top pitcher award in the Oshawa City League in 1980.

 

That same year, the Cats moved up to the Senior A level of competition and surprised everyone by winning the Ontario Championship in London. They became the first and only local team (to date) to win the Senior A title and went on to represent Ontario at the Canadian Senior A Championships in Saskatoon. While in Saskatoon the Cats defeated both the gold and silver medalists in the round robin. Roger pitched both games, allowing only one run in two games. That was the only loss the gold medal Nova Scotia team took. In 1989, Cold Springs won an Intermediate B Ontario title and Roger was named top pitcher. In 1995, he helped Baltimore to an Intermediate B Ontario crown.

 

The Cold Springs Cats moved to the Masters division and won Ontario titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Roger was named top pitcher in 1996 and 1997. The team also won back-to-back Canadian Masters Championships in 1997 and 1998.  At the 2000 Ontario Masters Championships (at the age of 47) he was named tournament MVP after pitching 5 1/2 games in one weekend. In all, Roger played on nine Ontario Championship teams and two Canadian Masters Championship teams, while several Hamilton Township League and Cobourg Men’s League Championships were also claimed.

 

Roger played and managed teams in the Hamilton Township Men’s Softball League and the Cobourg Men’s Softball League (CMSL). In 2003, he received a milestone award from the CMSL with 2059 strikeouts and counting. He also received a dedication award in 2006, and served many years on the CMSL executive. He received multiple MVP and top pitcher awards in both leagues, pitched two perfect games and 10-12 no-hitters during his 30+ years of pitching.

 

During his playing and managing years, Roger concentrated on giving younger players a place and a chance to play. Many turned out to be good ball players and even better people, and he was most proud of that.

 

In the winter, he followed his daughter’s hockey but also played himself, in a recreational league in Bewdley. He joined the Rice Lake Oilers team in 1989 and played for 28 years, retiring at the age of 63. A highlight of the year was always the annual Oilers tournament that has been going on for close to 40 years.

 

Softball is a team game and none of Roger’s personal achievements would have been possible without the great cast of ball players amassed by Ewart Timlin. He is quick to point out that his journey would not have been possible without his Mom, Dad and brothers who would manage the workload on their dairy farm while he was at the ballpark.

 

His wife, Donna, was also a huge supporter and made many sacrifices so he could pursue his dreams. Roger continues to work on his family farm, enjoys spending time with his family and grandchildren, and now satisfies his love of sports on the golf course. 

 

 

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Softball-Fastpitch-Al Burnham

Al Burnham

 

Softball-Fastball – Al Burnham

 

At one time or another most children pick up a ball and a bat and at some point, as they grow towards adulthood, many of them progress to playing in a local house league. In those formative years some of them advance their skills to such a degree that they are fortunate enough to be chosen to play on a Rep team that travels out of town to compete against the best players and teams from other towns throughout the province.

 

A very select group of these players are lucky enough to star on a Provincial championship team.

Far fewer still one day will have their names attached to a Canadian championship team.

And the rarest of all players are those able to say that they were part of an international championship team.

Al Burnham was such a player.

 

Born on August 31, 1952 in Cobourg and raised on the Burnham Family Farm, located on Hwy #2 between Cobourg and Port Hope, like many children of the time, Al was first introduced to bat and ball in elementary school during the recesses and lunch hour that helped to break up the day. Coincidentally, the Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association was formed in the late 1950's, and Al like many of his schoolmates were part of that first group of youngsters who were signed up.

 

“It seemed like all the kids in town were playing ball”, Al remembers today. “My Dad signed me up for ball, and my parents (Dick and Louise) drove me into town for all the games and practices. I guess I just fell in love with the game.”

For Al Burnham this was the beginning of what would become a two decade long playing career that saw him become one of the top Fastball players; in the area, in the province, in Canada, and in the world.

 

A product of the “Golden Age” of local Fastball in the 1960's and 1970's, Al, who had been a member of the Cobourg Juveniles that won an Ontario “B” championship in 1971, was one of many players who participated in the numerous leagues that thrived in the area, such as the Port Hope Town League, Cobourg Town League, Haldimand League, Cobourg Industrial League, and the Hamilton Township League. Each of these leagues were well led, very organized and highly entertaining, drawing huge crowds, especially at playoff time, and not only in Cobourg or Port Hope, but also in the surrounding villages like Bewdley, Harwood, Baltimore, Plainville, or Cold Springs.

 

A hamlet, just north of Camborne, Cold Springs would probably qualify as the unlikeliest place to spawn a provincial Fastball powerhouse, but that was what happened at the dawn of the 1970’s, when after years of competing locally, the Cold Springs Cats, seeking a better level of competition approached the Peterborough City League in the winter of 1974 seeking admittance, and despite misgivings about their ability to compete, Cold Springs was reluctantly added to the league in time for the 1975 season. A subsequent first place finish on the league and the OASA Intermediate C title put those initial doubts to rest.

 

The following season, 1976, saw the “Cats” repeat as Ontario Intermediate “C” Champs and then four years later, in 1980, the “Cats” added the Ontario Senior “A” fastball championship to their ever-increasing trophy case.

Al Burnham was a strong part of this legendary team’s nucleus … so strong in fact that Larry Bodashefsky, the first Canadian player to ever be inducted into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame in 1997, wrote upon his induction that “I’d like to recognize a teammate from Cobourg, Ontario whom I played a number of years with. Al Burnham (“Iceman”) stayed under the radar wherever he played but was by far the best R.B.I. man I’ve had the pleasure of competing with.

 

From 1984 to 1992, Al Burnham was an integral part of five more Senior “A” Ontario championship teams, 4 Canadian Senior A championship teams, and in 1987 and 1988 he was named to the All-World second team both years at the International Softball Congress championship, and in the 1991 ISC championship, held in Sioux City, Iowa, and playing for Owen Sound, the World Championship runner-up, he was named All-World first team … the culmination of a lifetime spent on the diamond all the way from Cobourg to the World Championship.

 

 

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