The Baseball Brat

There is a little confusion over where T.J. Bennett is really from.

As it turns out, he was born in Lethbridge but didn’t spend a whole lot of time here.

The reason: his father was a baseball coach for a new Pioneer League team in 1992. That background gave us context on how the 26-year-old has lived his baseball life.

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Tokyo Fan Club

It was a contingent of Hall-of-Fame baseball talent that Western Canada had never seen before and hasn’t seen since.

When Major League Baseball (MLB) stars descended upon Alberta in October of 1934 on their way to Vancouver to board a ship for Japan, the group of legendary players included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Gomez, and Moe Berg.

The only thing more compelling than the celebrity aura they brought to each stop was the newspaper ink they generated on their 19-game barnstorming tour of North America, which included 12 contests in Canada, in the lead up to their Asian tour.

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Last Of The Baby Jays

Erik Kratz represents the end of an Alberta era. He is the last active player in Major League Baseball who spent time with the Medicine Hat Blue Jays.

He was part of the last Pioneer League team to come through Athletic Park in 2002.

We caught up with his old manager Rolando Pino to talk about Kratz and his improbable journey to baseball folk hero.

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Going the Distance with Kinsella

For William Steele, the Kevin Costner baseball movie Field of Dreams offered an introduction to the world of Alberta author William Patrick Kinsella. It was a common entry point for many fans of the Order of Canada recipient.¬†What Steele didn’t know at the time was that he would devote decades of his life to researching and writing about the controversial author and his literature.

The result of Steele’s labour is the recently-released biography Going the Distance: The Life and Works of W.P. Kinsella. The book provides an extensive look at Kinsella’s early life, his adult years working odd jobs, and his ultimate success as an author. It also explores the Edmontonian’s writing – which generally fell into two categories: baseball stories and aboriginal tales – and the response to his somewhat controversial books.

Our own Ian Wilson of Alberta Dugout Stories had an hour-long conversation with Steele about Going the Distance.

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