Friday, January 27, 2006

1930's Girls Softball in GPK

I was looking at some old documents I had from about 1930 that demonstrate what a hotbed for girls’ softball Greenfield Park was at that time. Four of the pages are from a program given out at the games.

It all began with three teams – the Emeralds, the Cardinals and the Royals about 1927. After a couple of years of play in the Park, the girls wanted a bigger challenge, so they entered one team – the Cardinals – in the Major Ladies Softball League in Montreal. This league was a going concern in the city. They played an entertaining brand of ball that attracted almost as many fans as some of the men’s leagues.

My mother Edythe Hineson, (she spelled her name that way then) played on the Cardinals. Others on the team were Alice Hayman, the catcher, from Mackayville; Barbara Hicks, whose memories are in my book; Charlotte Hall lived on Burton St.; Dorothy Shirley who lived on the corner of Elm and St. Charles Road; Jessie Kirk, the aunt of Ricky and Robbie Kirk; Dorothy Biel, the daughter of the town’s barber at that time (before Bud the Barber); Kitty Parker who lived on Springfield near Kipps Store; Betty Banning, probably related to Brenda Banning; Dorothy Burgess who lived on Third St. near the Perras’ stables; and Sarah Sexton, for whose family Sexton St. is named. The coach was George Carter who lived in what is now Mackayville, near the Guy La Patatte Restaurant, on Edward Blvd. now Churchill. (This will be known by most steame and poutine eaters still in the Park.

The Park produced so many excellent girl softball players that teams in Montreal, often companies, hired the girls to play on their company teams. You will notice that the M.A.A.A. club, one of the top sports clubs in Montreal, had two Park players on their squad – Barbara Groves – the aunt of the late Warren, Jeff, the late Bonnie, Randy, Margie and Timmy Groves of Regent St. People will also recall that Barbara worked for many years as a cashier at the A&P on Devonshire Road (now Victoria). Also Rennie Denyar, the aunt of Eric (Rick) Denyar who lived on the corner of Third and Empire next to Chalmers Store.

Greenstripe Ladies A.C. had two Park players on their team: Violet Zinniker, the sister of Bill and John Zinnicker, whose stories are also in the memories section of my book. Also Theo Keeley, a tremendous runner as well as ballplayer, who lived on King Edward Ave.

Note also the way the telephone numbers are indicated: for example – ATlantic 4539 or our South Shore numbers:
ORchard 5173.

The Sectretary of the Murray’s Athletic Club was Hilda Strike who won a silver medal for Canada in I believe the 1932 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

I also included a photo of my mother rouding first base after a hit. I don’t know where the photo was taken but it was probably not in the Park. She also doesn’t appear to be wearing a Cardinals jersey, so it probably dates to after 1932.
My mother continued to play in the Montreal Major Ladies Softball League with many other Parkers after the Cardinals folded. They even played indoors in the Montreal Forum in the winter; and an all star team of Montreal girls traveled to New York City to play against the Roverettes, the best women’s softball team in the Eastern U.S. They played indoors there as well, in Madison Square Gardens. The U.S. girls won easily.

John Riley
Thanks John

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