Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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The boys sitting around shooting the breeze out at Gerald Chudley''s decided to get a regular ball team together. They decided on green and white uniforms and the name was to be "SHACKERS".

This was because of a little shack they used to party in. It was brought in with the help of Grant Mitchell, Ed Redlin and others. The uniforms arrived with the right color but the name was "SLACKERS" not "Shackers".

The Slackers were very popular at Ed Kuharski''s, Polonia Picnics and ball tournaments throughout the country side. They played at tournaments from Elgin in southern Manitoba over to Glenboro, MacGregor, Portage, Carberry, Brandon, Virden, Moore Park and north as far as Rorketon, Elphinstone, Dauphin, Onanole, Glenella, Plumas, and all local fairs.

There are many memorable events in the colorful era of the Slackers Fastball Club. At MacGregor Fred Bonnett pitched five games and won four, final game was called on account of darkness with the score two all, the other team was Winnipeg.

We played in the Provincial C finals at Portage in 1974 placing second to Clanwilliam Greys B side.

In that tournament we played the Thompson Tavern Cubs defeating them 7-1. They were the defending champions. We also went to Flin Flon and played in the Provincial B finals in 1972. The ball club was involved in all community activities. They held dances, tournaments and picnics. They donated money to the Brookdale Community Club. They had a float in the 1970 Parade held in Brookdale.

Their ideas were unique, never afraid to tackle any job, and provided many many hours of entertainment to all their fans and opponents. They were almost feared by many teams.

The pitching staff included: "Breaking Ball Bonnett", "SLO-O-O-O-OW" Pitch Chudley (Gerald) "12 Ball Lawrence" (Jim) - Lawrence faced 3 batters and walked them all before being pulled. "Bean Ball Bear Guinn" (Bob), "Fire Ball Helgason" (Ron), "Cross em up Koz" (Allan Kozoroski), "Windmill Reidles" (Ray and Terry), and "Nipper" (Willerton). The catchers were George Strohman, Donald Simpson, Rick Fiskel and Bob Guinn.

The Slackers outfield was one of the fastest and quick minded in the area - Jim Lawrence and Allan Griffith. One game comes to mind when a high flyball was hit to center field. The opposition team had a runner on first. "Yipper" Lawrence called for the ball, the batter never ran to first and the runner held on at first. Jim caught the ball and dropped it, picked it up and threw it to second base.

The second baseman threw it to first for a double play. Then the rhubarb and argument were on!!! The other outfielders were Jack Tremain, Terry and Ray Reidle, and BillThorn.

We had three outstanding third basemen over the years, George Whyte, Bob Guinn and Wilson McKee. Clare Swanson held second base.

The Slackers were one of the toughest defensive fielding clubs in Western Manitoba due to the coaching ability of George Strohman. A ring was presented to "COACH" in appreciation. The Slackers organization was well run with such notables as George Strohman better known as "COACH", Donald Simpson as treasurer, John McKee had the distinctive honor of keeping tab on the refreshments account. He held reign with an iron hand keeping only one bottle opener and one book which mysteriously disappeared with a few tabs unpaid.

The wives and girlfriends of the players were to be commended for their staunch and loyal support.

They were diligent in dragging out the babies and young children, and keeping their men fed with picnic lunches, hot dogs and hamburgers. Farm homes were open to all strays when tournaments were cancelled on account of rain. Many poker and cribbage games were played wellinto the wee hours of the morning. Thank God we were all young and foolish! The Slackers were indebted to many people in the community. The late Harvey McFarlane was one of the main umpires who travelled many miles with little pay. Merv Dagg also officiated for a few years. The late Percy Chudley also spent endless hours ordering merchandise for our tournament concession booth.

There were also a few sad moments. Thorn''s straw stack was struck by lightning. This was noticed when we were coming home froma Slackers'' dance "early", at 6 a.m.. Gerald Chudley had a ball hit his nose and broke it. Gerry Thorn had torn ligaments in an ankle. George Strohman tore the ligaments in the knee. Rick Fiskel had cracked ribs as a result of a collision at home plate. Connor McDonald injured his leg. BillThorn fellinto a drain while running back to catch a fly ball which was hit over his head at Polonia. He lay very still until we all got there. The ambulance had been called, the stretcher was dragged across the playing field, allin vain, Billwas only embarrassed not hurt.

Many memories have been rehashed over the years. One reunion was held at Lake Katherine at Clear Lake in 1977. This was a year after the Slackers had hung up their spikes. Those in attendance came from Weyburn, Selkirk, Gilbert Plains and Winnipegosis. Almost everyone of the old club showed up along with a few others who wished they were former Slackers.

Over the 15 years the Slackers played, many strong friendships were made. The players, their wives, girlfriends and children allgot along together.

The fewdisagreements were diplomatically handled.

Others who took part in helping us when we were short handed were: Lorne Fraser, Garry Reidle, Bruce Mitchell, George Bee, Les Walker, Allan Hockin, Kevin Shadlock, Donny Bilkoski and Gord Campbell.


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