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100 Years of… Chatham-Kent Playing Ball

I wrote The History of Baseball in Chatham ‘N Kent. It is 450 pages of baseball in all the communities. Included is a list of all the local players who made it to the Major League Baseball, of which there were nine. They were from Walpole Island, Chatham, Ridgetown, Tilbury, and Bothwell.

This book is historical, and a real keeper. There is a story of “Mr. Baseball,” Archie Stirling, and one of the area’s greatest athletes, Wilfred “Boomer” Harding.

This history goes back 100 years, with four years of research involved in the making. It was printed locally at Express Copies and Printing in Chatham.

Some more interesting chapters include “Girls Like to Play Ball Too.” This is a pictorial history of girls  playing ball, reaching back to 1910, North Buxton’s girl’s ball team. There are pictures of some great girl’s ball teams, including the Florence Chicks, all-Ontario champions in the 1950’s, and the girl’s Bantam team from Highgate that won all-Ontario honours in 2012. In the book, there is a picture of a girl’s ball team from every decade.

Another chapter, and the only one that is not local, is the entire list of major ball teams, their original names, and their retired numbers.

The beginning of the book delves upon the history of baseball in Canada, moving up to our local ball teams and players.

Also included are articles on ball teams that came to your community to do a benefit game. These were not your ordinary ball teams. First there was Donkey Baseball, a great crowd pleaser. On the serious side there was “The House of David” ball team. This team was always an attraction by their extra-long hair and beards, a doctoring of their religious order, out of Bar Harbour, Michigan.

If interested, you can purchase a book for $50 by contacting me directly at
519-436-9873 or

Editorial written and provided by:  Fred Osmon
Photo taken by:  CK Senior

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