Join the conversation:

A look back at when Toronto's pro baseball team struck out

A look back at when Toronto's pro baseball team struck out

Posted by PanamericanWorld on September 04, 2016

Toronto’s professional league baseball team in the International League, known as the Toronto Maple Leafs, played a total of 41 seasons in the stadium located at the southwest corner of Lake Shore Blvd. and Bathurst St.

The team’s illustrious history came to a sad and not unexpected end on Sunday, Sept. 4, 1967.

Would a pro ball team ever play again in this city? Read on.

As the 2016 Major League Baseball season winds down our Blue Jays are looking pretty good giving the fans every reason to believe the team will win the American League championship and then the World Series.

But while the Jays have been around since 1977 (and have two World Series championships to the team’s credit) there was a time not too long ago when the idea of another pro baseball team being a welcome addition to the Toronto sports scene was almost laughable. That’s because the previous pro team, while enjoying many successful years as both a winning team as well as one that made money for the owners, had by Canada’s Centennial Year fallen on hard times.

In fact, our guys finished sixth in a league of eight teams with last place going to the Syracuse Chiefs, the same team that defeated Toronto 7-2 in the Leafs’ final game exactly 49 years ago today.

The attendance that year was a mere 67,216 — a figure that exemplified just how much pro baseball had suffered in Toronto plummeting from a record stadium attendance of 446,000 in 1952 just two years after the law was changed to permit professional baseball to be played on Sunday. A couple of things that may have cut into that nearly half-million figure were the introduction of local TV in 1954 and Sunday movies in 1961. Or maybe, just maybe it was because the team lacked enough talented players to win more than 65 games out of a total of 140 that last season.

Interestingly when it became apparent that the team, which was the direct descendant of a team that played its first game in May 1886 in a “stadium” built for $7,000 on the east bank of the Don River south and west of the Queen and Broadview intersection, was about to “strike out,” Harold Ballard (no booing please) suggested his NHL hockey team might be interested in purchasing the franchise.

But, for a variety of reasons the once coveted Toronto franchise was sold to Louisville, Kentucky for $65,000. The Toronto club declared bankruptcy. Professional baseball was dead in Toronto. Would that lack of interest ever return? Why not ask the 40,000 or so fans that attend almost every Jays home game.

Link To Full Article: 

Facebook comments



Monthly newsletter featuring articles hand picked by our country managers from the best content across PanamericanWorld.



Monthly newsletter featuring articles hand picked by our country managers from the best content across the Caribbean Region on PanamericanWorld.

PANAMERICANWORLD COUNTRIES