“‘Twas a glorious day, how the band did play,
And the sun shone down so bright.
Though the paint was wet, everything was set,
A really wonderful sight.
A few fans roared, when Hammond had scored
In inning number one.
This was only a few, as most of them knew,
The fun had just begun.”
The first few lines from Opening Day at Pete’s Park, by Jim Robson, captures the spirit of baseball – the rush of excitement from the fans as rival teams face off, and the competition between players.
He was describing the first game at Telosky Stadium, which opened for the season on May 14, 1950, attracting as many as 3,500–4,000 fans for hard-fought games.
Pete Telosky, on his own land, with his own resources, built the stadium.
Telosky was a baseball player of some renown in the Dewdney League: he had earned a living playing baseball in the 1930s and into the 1940s, when he then retired and started to coach.
The Telosky family farm included the land that is now Thomas Haney secondary and Telosky Stadium, plus a further 40 acres south of Lougheed Highway.
Prior to construction of the highway, the farm had been one piece.
Lougheed cut through the Telosky farm, leaving a seven-acre parcel north of the highway.
Telosky’s decision to go ahead with construction of a new baseball filed stemmed from frustration with the district’s only playing field on the Aggie Grounds. The field was also used for livestock shows and competitions, and was choppy and cut up.
Telosky wanted a field that was just for baseball and decided to undertake building one on his own.
Baseball had always been an immensely popular in Maple Ridge, well before Telosky Stadium was built. The rivalry between the Haney and Hammond teams was famous.
D.M. Hartnell, owner and manager of Hammond Cedar, was known to travel Canada and the United States looking for good baseball prospects to hire to work at his mill so they could play on the mill team.
The new exhibit on display mid-September at the Maple Ridge Museum, “Line Drive, Centerfield!,” will feature memorabilia from both the Haney and Hammond teams, in addition to other stories about Maple Ridge’s rich baseball history, including artifacts from the Walker family, stretching multi generations.
Larry Walker Jr. was a right fielder in Major League Baseball from 1989 to 2005. Playing for the Montreal Expos (1989-1994), Colorado Rockies (1995-2004), and the St. Louis Cardinals (2004-2005), he got his start playing for the Alouettes, with which his father, Larry Walker Sr. (who played for both Hammond and Haney), coached.
As well, the exhibit will detail the history of the baseball glove itself, the different types and stitching, which have evolved since the late 19th Century.
The museum is also looking for more baseball artifacts to add to its collection. If you have any pieces that might be a fit, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 604-463-5311.
“Line Drive, Centerfield!” will be on display until spring 2017. The Maple Ridge Museum is open Sunday and Wednesday, 1-4pm.
– By Allison White, curator at Maple Ridge Museum.