THE SWIFT CURRENT INDIANS BASEBALLTEAM [1950-1975] SWIFT CURRENT, SK. will be inducted into the Team Category of the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame, Saturday, August 15, 2015, at Battleford, SK.
The Swift Current Indians Baseball Team from 1950 through 1975, has a storied history that is marked by effective leadership, commitment and unconditional support from the community.
It was during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s that Swift Current became a hotbed for baseball in the Southern Baseball League.
In 1959 they won the league championship, in 1963 the league championship.
In 1965 the SBL pennant and league championship, in 1972 the SBL title then in 1973 they won the SBL pennant.
Also, the team won the 1961 South Saskatchewan Baseball League
The Indians participated in several prestigious invitational tournaments that typically were annual events involving teams from other provinces and the USA, winning the tournament in Swift Current in 1969, and runner up in Kenossee tournament in 1974.
Swift Current was a hotbed for baseball during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Regular season games typically drew 600 fans to the park, many season ticket holders. Playoffs drew several thousand fans, creating a great deal of excitement and emotion!
A committed core of volunteer community members served on the team’s executive, promoting baseball in the community.
The 1950’s. The Swift Current Indians entered the Southern Baseball League [SBL] in 1950. Jackie McLeod, well known for his prowess in baseball was the playing manager of the team that had an array of talented local and imported players. In the early 50’s the team at times combined with Sceptre, and during most of the 50’s, took a hiatus from the Southern League and played exhibition and tournament baseball. Many of those on the Swift Current roster also played with other teams in the area.
In 1959, the Indians re-entered the Southern League under the guidance of long time baseball guru, Alex Maxwell, as manager. Alex assembled a strong array of talented players that went on to finish in a strong second place behind the Estevan Maple Leafs who had lost only one game that season. The Indians had finished the regular season in second place. Swift Current went on to defeat the Moose Jaw Lakers in the semi-final series with the Weyburn Beavers in the best of three finals to win the 1959 league championship. A young, talented team for future senior baseball in Swift Current.
The 1960’s.The Indians success continued in the early 60’s, placing no lower than 3rd place in the league standings and making appearances in league playoff finals in 1960, 1961 and 1964. They won the league championship in 1963, and even a bigger year in 1965 when they won the SBL pennant , posting a 17-7 win and loss record and went on to defeat the highly touted Regina Red Sox, 4 games to 3, in the leagues best of seven championship series. They also won the league championship in 1965. The 1965 team had a rich combination of good pitching and great hitting. Ron McKechney won the SBL batting championship and Bob Lewis won the home run derby.
Top pitchers for the Indians that year were Jackie McLeod, Reg Cleveland [future Major Leaguer], and Doug Modrell, a combination that consistently shut down opponents.
Through 1966 to 1969, the team remained competitive with flashes of brilliance and lots of potential, but, failed to win either the pennant or league championship. Fan support remained strong. Coaches during the 1960’s were Jackie McLeod, Paul Springer, Dennis Williams, Ron McKechney and Harvey Nybo.
The early 70’s The Swift Current Indians team was very competitive. Starting slowly in 1971, they went on to win 13 out of their last 16 games to finish the regular season with 17 wins and 13 losses then advancing to the playoffs. They eliminated Yorkton Cardinals in the semi-finals, advancing to the finals against Moose Jaw Regals. The Regals emerged SBL champions defeating the Indians in the seventh game of a very hot contested series. In 1972, the Indians finished second in the league, advancing to playoff action against Yorkton Cardinals. After eliminating the Cardinals in 5 games, the Indians then defeated Regina Red Sox in a marathon series that went 9 games with 2 games left tied because of darkness, winning the final series on September 8, 1972 to capture the SBL title. In1973, the Indians won the league pennant but lost to Moose Jaw Devons in the league playoff final. Again, in 1974, the Indians lost to Moose Jaw in the leagues best of 7 final. Coaches during the1970’s were Jack McLeod, Harvey Nybo, Brian Keegan, Wayne Pusch and Dwayne Dekowny
Following 1975, the Swift Current Indian baseball team disbanded.
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