A 1960s BPOE Angels team photo. (Kimberley Bulletin File Photo)

Gathering of past Kimberley area baseball greats to be held in July

Organizing committee calling all Hobos, Dynamos, Tempests, Angels and Steelmen from the 1950s to 60s

Once again the cries of ‘Hobo, Hobo, Hobo’ or ‘Dynamo, Dynamo. Dynamo’ will ring out in Kimberley during this summer’s Julyfest. Only this time, it will not be coming from the bleachers of Coronation Park. It will be resonating throughout the halls of the Kimberley BPOE Elks Club.

Over the past six months, an organizing committee has been busy contacting anyone who played for, or were affiliated with, the Hobos, Tempests, Dynamos, Angels or Marysville Steelmen during the 1950s and 60s for a special reunion gathering.

“As the years fly past, none of us are getting any younger and we felt it would be a good thing to get together and say ‘hello’ before we start hearing about too many more ‘goodbyes’,” said former Hobos pitcher and third baseman Mel Johnson, who now resides in Trail, BC.

The idea for the get together was initiated by Johnson and fellow former Hobos infielder and outfielder Al Patterson, now of Sun City West, Arizona. The event is scheduled for July 21, immediately following the Julyfest parade at the Kimberley Golf Club until 4:30 p.m.

A meet and greet, filled with storytelling as well as food and drink will occur, and the festivities will then transfer down to the Kimberley BPOE Elks Club. According to ex-Hobo, Colin Patterson, any former supporters and their spouses are also welcome to join, provided they pay for their own food and drink.

For any baseball attendees and their spouses or guests who are available, the committee has also arranged a ‘Dugout Chatter’ evening function for Friday, July 20th. The informal gathering will take place in Marysville at the Bootleg Gap Golf Course from 6 to 8 p.m. with food and drink available off the menu.

In the late 50s and early 60s, the rivalry of the Hobos and Dynamos Senior baseball teams had the town of Kimberley split in two. During summertime head-to-head game on Thursday nights and weekends, the teams would attract 500 to 700 fans at Coronation Park.

Hobo supporters sat on the third base side, while Dynamo supporters gathered on the first base side of the bleachers. Post game refreshments were always held in separate venues, with Hobos and Dynamos rarely mixing voluntarily.

Joining the clubs in the high-calibre East Kootenay Senior league were teams from Cranbrook, Creston and Fernie, while tournaments also attracted top squads from Washington and Alberta. In the Junior circuit, the Hobos were affiliated with the Tempests, the Dynamos with the BPOE Angels, and they also played against the Marysville “Trader Dick” Steelmen and teams from the West Kootenays.

Most of the players, coaches, managers, trainers and widows of former players have been contacted, but the organizing committee urges anyone who played in that era who have not, “get in touch with them right away”.

Some Dynamos greats already committed to attending include Ray McNiven, Doug MacDonald, Ike Bodin, Pete Boisvert, Tony Brummet and Ron Livingstone. Hobo players in attendance will be Jim Ratcliffe, John Stone, the Kuntz brothers (Vern and Ken) and Jim Nelson.Others attending are BPOE Angels Jodi Chesham, Tempests Bobby James and the Marysville Steelmen’s Tommy Orr.

“We hope to have an ‘open mic’ for anyone who wishes to tell lies, sing a song or remember a funny story,” said committeeman Al Jobe, who had the unique experience of playing for almost all of the local teams in his day.

Further details along with the names of more attendees from all five teams will be announced at a later date.

Cranbrook Townsman

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