T-Birds to honour ’78 IBL baseball champs

Fourteen members of the 1978 senior Intercounty Baseball League championship team will take part in a 30-year celebration of the only IBL title ever won by a Hamilton club.

Those attending include manager Phil Duffy, coaches Pete Rosser and Enzo Fazio, and players: Brian Burke, Larry Mackie, Bill Tait, Skip Griese, Larry Buist, Larry Lasswell, Ron Buist, Dennis Santucci, Darrell Ostrosser, Jim Hrach and Dan Finan. Three members of the team – Chuck Beaudoin, Mike Lynch and John Crandell – will be remembered during a moment’s silence prior to the start of Saturday’s game (June 14) between the Hamilton Thunderbirds (known as the Cardinals in ’78) and the London Majors. Game time is 2:05 p.m. in Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium.

Other players from that team who might make an appearance are Larry Fischer, Terry Urquhart, Dan Creechan, John Foden, Mike Silvestro, and Doug McLean. The team ownership consisted of Earl Tally, Jack Jackson, Doug Smith, Ron McAnulty, Richard Ghent, Al Sample, Jim Erskine, and Blair Connell.

Hamilton won the league’s East Division by a game over the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Brantford Red Sox. Stratford Hillers won the West Division of the 10-team league by a game over the London Majors.

In quarterfinal playoffs, Hamilton defeated Brantford 4-2 in games, while Toronto took Guelph Forums 4-1, Kitchener Panthers won 4-1 over Stratford as London bested St.Thomas Elgins 4-1. In the semifinals, Hamilton took the best-of-five series with Toronto 3-1 in while London shutout Kitchener 3-0. The Cardinals captured the final by downing the Majors 4-2 in games.

On Sept. 1 at Labatt Memorial Park, Hamilton edged London 5-4 with the Majors bouncing back to tie the series four days later with a 9-7 win at Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium. Five days later, in London, Hamilton doubled the Majors 8-4 and then came home to win 9-5 and take a 3-1 lead in the series. Sept. 10 the Majors thrashed the Cardinals 8-1 but the following day it was over as the Cards edged the Majors 11-10 to wear Hamilton’s only senior IBL crown.

London led playoff hitting with a team batting average of .321, including 26 doubles and 15 stolen bases. Hamilton was third with a batting average of .286 with 21 doubles and 15 triples. London’s Reid Heffernan led all hitters with a .462 average in 14 playoff games including seven doubles. The Cards’ Jim Hrach was second with a .418 average including four doubles and three triples. Hamilton’s Terry Urquhart was eighth with a .327 average.