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The Pioneers: Calgary Cardinals

If Russ Parker’s middle name isn’t “Persistent”, maybe he should look at changing it.

After having been in discussions about bringing an affiliated team to Calgary for half a decade, he finally succeeded in 1977 with the Cardinals.

In our final installment of “The Pioneers”, we look back at Calgary’s involvement with the league and what it took for Parker to bring future stars through Foothills Stadium.

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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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2019 Projections for Mike Soroka

As pitchers and catchers report for spring training duty in Florida, Calgarian Mike Soroka finds himself on the cusp. On the cusp of what exactly remains unclear, but suffice to say, it’s a big season for the 21-year-old Atlanta Braves right-hander. 

Last year at this time, Soroka was chasing the dream of his first start in Major League Baseball (MLB). He achieved that on May 1, 2018 during an impressive victory over Noah Syndergaard and the Mets at New York’s Citi Field. 

The 2015 first-round pick of the Braves followed that up with four more starts – posting a 3.51 earned run average (ERA), a 2-1 record and 21 strikeouts over 25.2 innings pitched in the majors – before injuries sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

What will a healthy Soroka do for an encore? If 2018 proved anything to the PBF Redbirds alumni it’s that getting there is only half the battle – staying up with the big club is the other half.

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1 Thru 9: Jaxson Hooge

He’s a Calgary kid who grew up playing all the time at Tourmaline Field in Okotoks, but outfielder Jaxson Hooge has always been a rival of the Dawgs. 

It makes sense then, that the former Pro Baseball Force (PBF) Redbird ended up playing for the Medicine Hat Mavericks.

The 6-foot-1 right-handed batter is back for a second season with the Mavs this year, after putting in a second-team, All-American campaign with the Tabor College Bluejays in Kansas.

We caught up with Hooge and gave him our batting lineup full of questions. Here’s what he had to say for our “1 Thru 9” feature. 

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Once Upon A Time

It was a fairytale ending. 

After a plucky cast of characters was assembled, they set out on an epic journey. At several points during this obstacle-laden trek, it seemed like all hope was lost and the battle was done. 

But every fairytale needs a happy ending. A starry-eyed hero must emerge at just the right time to strike an unexpected and lethal blow to the enemy. A valiant and trusted companion must struggle through adversity to ensure his lovable mates win the fight.

And in the end, a prince and princess must bring new hope to the land. 

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