Newspaper article solves issue, or does it?
By Lyle Carter
If there's going to be a dispute in sports, it's good when it is a friendly one.
Former Truro resident Randy Cameron agrees and recently he drove from his home near Middleton to Truro in an attempt to solve matters once and for all.
"I wanted to see family members and a couple friends," said Cameron, now 78. "But, I also drove to Truro because of a softball dispute."
One of Truro's outstanding east-end athletes in his younger years, the left-handed first baseman played softball with the Montgomery Brothers and the MacPhee's Monarchs during the 1950s before joining the Brookfield Elks in 1960.
As Cameron, Terry Henderson and I met at Fletcher's Restaurant in Truro, Gordie Burnett joined in to act as mediator. We had all played for the Elks at one time or another.
And what a trip down memory lane it was. Finally, Cameron played his cards.
"Cambridge beat us when we played them in that Nova Scotia intermediate softball playoff series," he said. "It was in the early 1960s."
For further support Cameron had contacted Cambridge's former star pitcher Brian Bethune.
"I knew Brian in later years when we were both in the insurance business," Cameron said. "I telephoned Brian and I asked him what he remembered about a ball series against the Brookfield Elks. Brian said ‘we (Cambridge) beat the Elks two straight.' That's how he remembered it."
Henderson and I both disagreed.
"Cambridge did win the first game of the series in the valley," Henderson, playing coach of the Elks at the time, recalled. "But we came back the following Saturday in Brookfield and won two games. They started Carl Best on the mound in the first game and Bethune started the second."
During the next hour and 20 minutes, both sides brought up some interesting points. We seemed to be at a stalemate.
As things wrapped up it was agreed I would research some of the Elks history from the 1960s. The others were welcome to do the same.
A call to Gary Whittier of Berwick confirmed that his valley team had eliminated the Elks in a 1961 playoff series. Whittier felt Brookfield and Cambridge would have met the following year. Former Elks players John Matheson and Sterling Delaney both felt strongly the Elks had won the series against Cambridge.
But when Hugh Matheson was asked, it was a different matter.
"I think Cambridge beat us," Matheson said. "They had a better team."
I began to research old newspapers but Truro's Bev Young, a star catcher with the Elks during that exciting softball era, beat me to the punch.
"I have a write up I think you should see," Young told me. "If you are interested I'll bring it to you."
Young produced a Truro Daily News article from September, 1962. It described a comeback softball series victory by the Elks.
After losing Game 1 of a best-of-three intermediate C series in Cambridge 3-2, the Elks came back to sweep a doubleheader the following Saturday in Brookfield. The scores were 11-4 and 13-3. Key base hits were outlined in the writeup as were the team's battery mates.
Although this would seem to indicate those of us who said the Elks had won, were right, Cameron was ready with a rebuttal.
"Maybe there was another Nova Scotia playdown series between Cambridge and the Elks," Cameron said.
To this point, other than Cameron, no one I talked to remembers another series between the Elks and Cambridge.
But, in all fairness, it is possible.
There are bound to be a few clouds when you try to go back 50 years.
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There are many of us who would enjoy meeting hockey great Bobby Orr.
For Truro's Willa Evans, it has gone a step further.
Evans, 7, attended Bobby Orr To Make Hockey Fun camps the past two summers in Halifax and Moncton.
"Bobby said I was his little sweetheart," Evans said. "That's what he said. Bobby even kissed me on the cheek."
Evans, the daughter of Shawn and Lesley Evans and granddaughter of Dick and Marge Huggard, all of Truro, was joined this summer at camp by her five-year-old sister Lucy.
Orr, 63, a defenceman, scored 270 goals and had 645 assists for 915 points with Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks during the 1960s and 1970s. He won the Hart Trophy three times and the Conn Smythe Trophy twice during a career shortened by a knee injury.
Lyle Carter's sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.