1874 Guelph Maple Leafs

BACK ROW: Robert Emory, William Sunley, William Jones, George Kem SEATED: H. Myers, Thomas Smith, George Sleeman (Presdient), W. S. Smith, H. Spence IN FRONT: Charlie Maddock

BACK ROW: Robert Emory, William Sunley, William Jones, George Kem
SEATED: H. Myers, Thomas Smith, George Sleeman (Presdient), W. S. Smith, H. Spence
IN FRONT: Charlie Maddock

 

One of the best kept secrets in this city is the part Guelph plays in Canada’s baseball history. The first official baseball team in the Royal City was the Maple Leafs, formed in 1861. In 1869 the Maple Leafs won the Canadian championship winning a purse of $150.

In 1872, George Sleeman, a local brewer and then Mayor of Guelph, formed his own factory team called the “Silver Creeks”. It later amalgamated with the Maple Leafs, keeping the “Maple Leaf” name.

In June of 1874, Sleeman took the team to Waterdown, New York for the World Championship. They beat three American clubs to claim the title, with pitcher Billy Smith winning the long throw contest – 127 yards.

The team went on to travel North America winning 41 straight games at one point, making Guelph known as the ‘hometown of baseball in Canada’.

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – April 7, 1994