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In 1957, baseball in Erickson was placed on the proverbial back-burner. Those previously responsible for initiating and perennially re-organizing the team were undoubtedly disappointed that no one had stepped forward for the task. Erickson's Annual Sports Day carried a sense of emptiness! Without a men's senior baseball team for whom to vent one's joy and admiration! The local fan base was compelled to accept the circumstances as a sign of changing times.
In 1958, there was an abbreviated but very success ful resurgence. As someone once said, 'necessity nurtures action'. Spurred by this elementary ideal, I began an earnest recrniting program which included such participants as:
Ernie Ullberg, Ralph Gusdal, Eddie Crabbe (from Neepawa), Eddie Strank (from Shoal Lake), Del Hanson (RCMP, Wasagaming), Dennis Holmlund, and so on.
Compelled by the need to improve my teacher's certificate, I departed from Erickson on June 30, 1958 to pursue two summer school courses at the U. of M. Constantly I kept my ears open for results from the North Central Baseball League. The news was most enlighten ing! The team had jelled into a winning unit and was playing remarkably. Riding on the savvy and ability of veteran left-hander Del Hanson, Erickson emerged as the 1958 N.C.B.L. Champions.
To this day I take solace in those three most enjoy able seasons; I had made a minute contribution towards the companionship and camaraderie which prevailed in the two separate groups of men. The two beautiful base ball jackets (1955 and 1958) with which we were rewarded, are living proof.
To me personally, the game of baseball profoundly influenced my family's life style for over 35 years - from the 17 year old youngster playing infield at Sundown, MB to coaching and managing many noteworthy teams. There were the Balmoral Orioles, the C.u.A.C. Blues, the St. Boniface Native Sons, the Giroux Athletics, the Transcona Buccaneers, to mention but some. These opponents competed in either the Manitoba Senior Baseball League (Eastern Division) or the Red-boine Senior Baseball League. To acknowledge this long and dedicated promo tion of baseball in Manitoba, I was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Association Honour Society III November 1993.
In 1997, through the foresight and leadership of one Gladwyn Scott (originally from McConnell) and his committee, the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum was incepted. In each of 1997, 1998 and 1999, twenty inductees entered the Hall. On June 10, 2000, twenty more players, builders and officials will be honoured at Morden, MB. Yours trnly will join the year 2000 group in the builder
category. The threshold into the new millennium offers an even more significant feeling of appreciation.
To update the latest developments within the MBHOF & M, and particularly for the baseball followers in Erickson, a profile on Del Hanson, who performed so brilliantly in 1958, has already been submitted to the selection commit tee for review and future consideration.
To participants whom I may have overlooked, I convey to you my deepest apologies.
In closing, lets try to recall those boys of summer, who so proudly wore the beige, red and blue unies with Erickson emblazoned on their jerseys. Those of us who thus far have been spared, can envision Big Norm preparing the line-up, Dennis blazing the fastball into Walter's mitt, and trnsty John and Leonard (the latest arrival to report to camp) shagging flyballs in the outfield. Sha ... gging flyballs? Why, of course. Dick has just been elevated from G.M. to fungo-batting. You know! They're in a league of their own.
Footnote: Andy Alexiuk taught school (Erickson Jr.
High) January 1955 thm June 1958.
OTTER LAKE RESORT
In the late 1960's three couples from the Brandon area, O'Neil's, Bouley's and Humphries', were the first regular campers at Otter Lake.
In 1971, Cliff and Shirley Lundman formally started Otter Lake Resort. The initial draw for many was the opportunity to have a hands-on farm experience along with their camping experience. It was not unusual to have 15 curious onlookers as milking was being done or a calf was being bom. The kids really enjoyed the puppies and the kittens and Larry's hen house tours. Horse back riding and the hayrides were other popular activities. Due to health reasons Cliff and Shirley sold the family farm in 1978, however, they retained the resort area.
Currently the resort has expanded to approximately 140 cottages. Cottage owners still enjoy the peacefulness of country living for their weekend and vacation getaways. Winter activities such as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are also enjoyed by some. Every August long-week end, a Family Fun Day is held which is kicked off with a Kiddies Parade, a variety of games, socializing and ends with a campfire and fireworks.
Shirley and Reg Montgomery continue to manage the operation.