1939 Guelph Leaflets

1939 Guelph Leaflets

BACK ROW: Jim O’Connor, Joe Veroni, Lloyd Finkbeiner, Bev Strain, Jim Goolds, Bob Warden, Len Wilton, George Johnson, Orv Privet, Bill Maloney, Joe Kaine; MIDDLE ROW: Art Murdock, Charlie McGurn, Roly Hewer, Paul Kelly, Lionel Hannigan; FRONT ROW: Barney Hilson, Bill Kaine

The Guelph Leaflets had quite a run back in 1939.  They went 10-2 during the regular schedule but their season was just beginning as they fought their way through six rounds of playoffs to be crowned the Ontario Baseball Association Junior Champions. The days of a team having a starting rotation hadn’t arrived yet.

Len “Windy” Wilton was the team’s only starter and did 90% of the pitching using a blazing fastball and tricky curve.  Orv Privett was an American catcher who landed on the team because he was attending the Ontario Veterinary College and Lloyd “Apple” Finkbeiner (Guelph Sports Hall of Fame inductee, 2003) was the club’s star first baseman.  The outfield consisted of Charlie McGurn, Lionel Hannigan and Bob Warden. “Our pepper pots on the infield were shortstop Paul “Red” Kelly and third baseman Art Murdock” remembers the 92-year-old Warden. “Our coach was Joe Kaine (Guelph Sports Hall of Fame inductee, 1993), a real gentleman who lived for baseball.” Guelph defeated teams from Brantford, Galt and St. Thomas to claim the Junior Intercounty crown; then beat Owen Sound, reigning champion Niagara Falls, Toronto and the Chatham Catholic Youth Organization in the final.

The Leaflets had won game one in Chatham and then came home with the opportunity to wrap-up the championship with a win on their home diamond at Exhibition Park. But as luck would have it, Chatham jumped out to an 8-0 first inning lead. Despite that, Kaine left pitcher Windy Wilton in the game as his team chipped away before scoring five runs in the 8th inning to finally take the lead and the championship trophy. The crowd of over 500 fans joined in the celebration.

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Team category – on October 23, 2013