On their way to the the finals, the Fairbanks Alaska Goldpanners defeated the Binscarth Manitoba Orioles 4-0 during mid-round action. Floyd Bannister picked up the win, pitching the first five innings. He struck out nine and gave up one hit, a single by Binscarth first baseman Ron Low. Bannister was relieved in the sixth inning by Jeff Jens and Ed Motta mopped up in the ninth. Dauphin Redbird Ross Stone, a pickup for the tournament, pitched well in a complete game effort allowing four runs on seven hits. He was aided by five double-plays. Dave Rottman and Ron Fallon collected the other two safeties for Binscarth.
1974 OPENING DAY LINEUP
Dale Gies, Cf, .404
Don Gies, LF, .282
Dave Rottman, P/SS, .353 (5-2)
Ron Low, 1B, .293
Herb Andres, RF (Bristol Tigers
of the Appalacian League)
Reggie Parton, OF/SS, .306
Ron Falloon, 3B, .240
Glen Hodgson, 2B, .208
Larry Kearns, .318
Les Lisowski, P, .313 (8-1)
Bruce Bremer, P, .270 (4-5)
Garth Neville, P .175 (4-3)
Dave Rottman was the opening day pitcher against the Neepawa Cubs at home in Binscarth in front of a packed house. The Orioles were trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth when Rottman hit a three-run homer to send the game into extra innings only to lose it in the tenth -- a sign of things to come. The O’s bounced back after their opening day loss, and at the halfway mark of league play, Binscarth was leading the MSBL Western Division by a full game with a 13-3 record. On June 8th, Rottman was arrested and escorted by the FBI to Fort Carson, Colorado where he was put into solitary confinement for three days and faced five years of hard labor at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary for desertion. After two more weeks in the stockade, Rottman was released from the U.S. National Guard a second time. He was discharged the 1st time in 1971 but apparently the military misfiled or lost his discharge papers. He returned to Binscarth 10 pounds lighter and managed to defeat Brandon, however, the rest of the season began to slide for Rottman and the rest of the Orioles. At the All-Star break, only outfielders Dale and Don Gies were living up to expectations. Dale Gies was leading the league in homers with five, and with Donnie, were the MSBL’s fourth and sixth-best hitters at .385 and .357 respectively. Rottman was only showing flashes of his old self as he was 5-2 including a 6-1 victory over the Grandview Lakers where he struck out 18 including Cal Poly San Luis Obispo slugger Mick Ongarato three times who wound up finishing second in the MSBL’s batting race with a .391 average. Ongarato would move on to sign a professional contract and advance as far as AAA Pawtucket of the International League. His best years with the Red Sox organization were in 1976 while with the Elmira Pioneers of the New York-Penn League where he hit .358.
It was shortly after the midway point when the wheels began to fall off the big Oriole machine. The whole team went in a slump. They lost eight of their next nine games and were getting ready to embark on an all-night 600-mile bus trip and enter the Calgary Baseball Tournament where some of the best teams from Western Canada would be competing. The tournament was nearly half over by the time most of the Oriole players got out of bed that afternoon. Jim Lemon Jr., the son of the major-league hall of famer, and the Calgary Giants had already beaten the lowly 3-17-1 Kindersley Kippers 9-3 in the tournament’s opening game. Lemon pitched a complete game but gave up three runs on ten hits. Red Deer had eliminated tournament favorite Moose Jaw and the Barrhead Cards were on their way to ousting the barnstorming University of Berkeley Golden Bears from California. The game against the Jimmies was to be played that night and was showcased as the tournament’s premier match featuring the Binscarth Orioles, Manitoba’s best team a year ago, versus the home town 14-8 Jimmies. The Jimmies featured pitcher John Fitzgerald from Fresno State, pitcher Steve Powers from the University of Arizona who would later sign a pro contract with the Angels, outfielder Russ McKee who previously played professionally for the Watertown Expos, and manager Marion Stephens from West Hills Community College in Coalinga, California. The pitching match-up were Los Angeles, California native Brian Kingman and fellow Californian Dave Rottman, Manitoba’s ace a year ago and last year’s Canadian Senior Baseball Championship Tournament MVP. Earlier in the spring, Calgary’s Brian Kingman was drafted by the California Angels in the twelfth round of Major League Baseball’s annual June draft while pitching for Santa Monica Community College in Southern California. Instead of signing a pro contract, Kingman opted for the University of California at Santa Barbara, and now for the summer, the Jimmies of Calgary.
CALGARY TOURNAMENT- July 27th, 1974
A can-of-corn fly ball to center field with two outs and no one on base was lost in the stadium lights and allowed Calgary clean-up hitter John "Boom Boom" Self an opportunity to bat with the score tied at two apiece in the bottom of the eighth inning. "Boom Boom" boomed one over the left field wall that proved to be the game-winner as the Jimmies advanced with a 4-2 victory. Brian Kingman allowed just one earned run and fanned 13 to lead the Jimmies to a 4-2 win over Binscarth. The seven-hitter won Kingman the tournament's best pitching award. Jim Lemon Jr., son of famed Cleveland Indian slugger Jim Lemon, was named tournament MVP. Brian Kingman returned to California where he suited up with the Gauchos of the Univ. of Calif. at Santa Barbara. On June the 18th, he signed a professional contract with the Oakland A’s as an amateur free agent. He was sent to Boise, Idaho of the Northwest A- League where he compiled a 4-6 record with an ERA of 3.89. He spent the following season with Chattanooga of the AA Southern League and went 14-11 with a 2.64 ERA. After spending two more years in the minors with San Jose and Modesto, Kingman finally made his major league debut with the Oakland Athletics on June 28, 1979. That year, he went 8-7 with an ERA of 4.31. Kingman spent the better part of five years in the majors with a combined ERA of 4.13.
John Self began his pro career in 1959 with the Billings Longhorns of the Pioneer League where he hit .293 with 16 homers. The following year he split time between the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the Northern League and Winston-Salem of the Carolina League. There he combined to hit .289 with 17 round trippers. In 1961, “Boom Boom” played for three teams--the Lancaster Red Roses, the Eau Claire Braves, and the Des Moines Demons. His 1961 totals included 11 home runs and a .238 batting average. While at Eau Claire, Self was the starting first baseman and was a teammate of Rico Carty and Pat Jordan. Jordan was better known for his book, A False Spring, than for his baseball ability. John “Boom Boom” Self disappeared for eight years before showing up in Japan to play for the Taiyo Whales of the Japan Central League in 1970. He was missing in action again for three years before the 36-year-old suited up for the Calgary Jimmies in 1974. The first baseman starred in a Jimmies uniform for three years, and in 1976, at age 38, he led Team Alberta to a Canadian Senior Championship in Fredericton, New Brunswick. “Boom Boom” hit .500 for the tournament, including four homers, knocked in 15 runs, and was named the tournament’s MVP.
Things didn’t get any better for the Orioles once they got back to Binscarth. They had finished the regular season at 13-13, tied with Neepawa and Grandview, three games behind the MSBL North pennant-winning McAuley Blazers. The inconsistent Rottman only won once in his last four starts, a seven-inning, 13-strikeout-victory over Grandview and finished at 6-5 with a .286 batting average, some seventy points below his usual average. Don Gies was the team’s only .300 hitter as he finished at .350. And if that weren’t enough, the league suspended Rottman, Les Lisowski, and manager Bob Wasslen just before the playoffs started. Rottman and Lisowski were suspended “for actions which were considered detrimental to the welfare of the league.” The actions or inactions took place after the first two games of an elimination tournament which would decide who represents Manitoba in the upcoming Canadian National Senior Baseball Tournament to be held in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Lisowski never showed up for the North Division MSBL All-Stars and Rottman, after shutting out the Thompson Reds of the Polar League 3-0 in the opening contest, quit the team after an argument with team manager Roy Cuthill. Binscarth manager Bob Wasslen was also suspended for not being able to control his players. Binscarth’s once-mighty pitching staff was decimated and the O’s easily fell to the Neepawa Cubs in the first round of the MSBL playoffs three games to one.
The Binscarth Orioles concluded their ’74 season by embarking upon another long road trip; this time a 1,000 mile, 17-hour journey to Kamloops, British Columbia for the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament where they would meet the Goldpanners of Fairbanks, Alaska for the second consecutive year. The KIBT ranks as one of the top semi-pro baseball tournaments in North America, bested only by a few other competitions. The tournament has been mostly represented by the best semi-pro teams from the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada including annual powerhouses such as the Seattle Studs, the Bellingham Bells, the Calgary Jimmies, the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, and the Alaska Goldpanners.
The 1974 Alaska Goldpanner team is considered the best “Panner” team of all time as they amassed several team records that still stand today including most wins in a season--60, most runs in a season--595 (7.44 per game), most home runs--135 (1.8 per game), and most RBIs--537. The team had just recently won their third consecutive NBC national title by defeating the famed Boulder Colorado Collegians 7-5 and All-American pitcher Jim Gideon from the University of Texas. On their way to the title game, the Panners defeated Albuquerque, New Mexico 11-1, Phoenix, Arizona 8-1, Houston, Texas 7-6, Anchorage, Alaska Glacier Pilots 7-3, Liberal, Kansas BeeJays 11-9, and Wichita, Kansas 12-2. Steve Kemp was named tournament MVP and George Milke was the tournament’s top pitcher. Pitcher Marty French didn’t allow a run in the tournament going 2-0 and was named to the NBC all-Tournament team as was outfielder Don Reynolds and Manager Jim Dietz. Most of the 1974 Goldpanner players came from top-notch universities and several are returnees from last year’s championship Panner team. Seven are from the University of Southern California or Arizona State, who combined, had won eight of the last nine college world series. Other members of the team were from Stanford, the University of Oregon, San Diego State, Santa Clara, Loyola of Los Angeles, and the University of Oklahoma. Eleven of these players would go on to play in the major leagues. Floyd Bannister and Steve Kemp would become American league all-stars. Before the start of the KIBT, most of the Fairbanks players had 100-140 games under their belts, mostly against tough Pac-10 University teams during the spring and a stiff Goldpanner schedule during the summer which included games against top semi-pro teams from Hawaii, Grand Junction Colorado, Columbia South Carolina, Midlothian Illinois, Palo Alto California, Eugene Oregon, Bremerton Washington, and the Humboldt Crabs of Eureka California. Every single player on the 1974 Alaska Goldpanner roster would be drafted by a major league baseball team, seventeen of which would sign a pro contract and go on to play professionally. Seven Goldpanners were first-round draft picks and nine would go on to play in the major leagues.
1974 Alaska Goldpanners
Jim Willis 1B .336
Jeff Ellison 2B .328
Chuck Redmon 3B .255
Chuck Baker SS .355
Steve Kemp OF .425
Don Reynolds OF .355
Tommy Sain OF .334
Bruce Robinson C .346
Rod Spence UT .328
Dave Schuler (8-2-2)
Pete Redfern (3-4-1)
Team Batting Avg. .321
Floyd Bannister (11-3-1) 2.84
George Milke (5-2-2) 3.40
Marty French (5-0-5) 1.93
Floyd Bannister (P)--Bannister was the number one pick of the 1976 June draft by the Houston Astros. Previously, he had led his 1973 Kennedy High School of Seattle to the Washington State baseball championship compiling a 15-0 record with a 0.00 ERA including a no-hitter in the state semi-finals. He struck out 196 batters in 112 innings, allowing but two unearned runs and dished out only 17 free passes. Bannister was 5-0 his freshman year at Arizona State before signing with the Goldpanners for the 1974 summer season. He won the Lefty Gomez Plate Award winner as outstanding amateur baseball player of the year in 1976, Bannister was the number one draft choice of the Houston Astros and first man picked in 1976. He was an All-America in 1975-1976. Bannister shares the ASU and NCAA record for the most victories in a season with 19 in 1976. He compiled 34 victories as the number one starter for Arizona State across two full varsity seasons. He led the nation in strikeouts with 217 in 1975 and 213 in 1976. He would go on to enjoy a 15 year major league career striking out 1,723 batters in 2,388 innings going 134-143 with a .405 lifetime ERA with 5 different teams. His best year was 1982 with the Seattle Mariners when he led the American League in strikeouts with 209. He finished the season at 12-13 with a 3.43 ERA. The following year, suiting up with the Chicago White Sox, he posted a 16-10 record and 3.35 ERA striking out 193, second only to Jack Morris’ 232. In 1985, Bannister struck out 198 batters, bested only by Bert Blyleven’s 206.
Steve Kemp (LF)--Drafted in the first round by the Detroit Tigers from the Univ. of Southern California where he was an All-American outfielder. Kent played 11 years of major league baseball with the Tigers, White Sox, Yankees, Pirates, and Rangers. His best season was 1979 when he hit .318 with 26 homers and drove in 105 runs for Detroit. Kemp was an American League all-star that year and a few years later he would sign a 5.45 million dollar contract with the New York Yankees.
Bruce Robinson (C)--Drafted in the first round by Oakland, 21st pick, from Stanford University in 1975. He was previously drafted in the 4th round out of La Jolla H.S. in 1972. Robinson spent 10 years in the minor leagues, 7 at the AAA level, where he hit .299 for the Vancouver Canadians of the Pacific Coast League. He was called up to the majors in 1978 where he hit .250 for the Oakland A’s. In ’78 and ’79, Robinson spent limited time with the New York Yankees as a backup to Thurman Munson.
Jim Willis (1B)--1st round draft pick, 7th pick overall by the Houston Astros in 1975 from the University of Oregon. He was previously drafted in the 3rd round by the Oakland A’s in 1972 from The Dalles High School in Oregon. Willis spent two years with Columbus of the Southern League and one year with McAllen of the Lone Star League where he hit .298.
Chuck Baker (SS)--1975 second round draft pick of the San Diego Padres from the University of Layola Marymount. Baker played three years in the majors, ’78-’81 with the San Diego Padres and Minnesota Twins.
Jeff Ellison (2B)--20th round pick of the Houston Astros in 1976 from San Diego State. Ellison spent four years in the minors hitting .318 with class A Dubuque of the Midwest League and .360 with the Reno Silver Sox of the California League.
Don Reynolds (OF)--18th round pick of the San Diego Padres in 1975 out of the University of Oregon. Reynolds compiled a lifetime .311 batting average in the minors with six years at the AAA level. He spent two seasons in the majors where he hit .253 and .211 with the San Diego Padres in 1978 and 1979 respectively.
Tommy Sain (OF)--Played five years of professional baseball, three of those at the AAA level where he compiled a lifetime .262 batting average. His best season was with the AA Orlando Twins of the Southern League in 1978 where he hit .293 with 20 doubles.
Surprisingly, the Goldpanners began the ’74 KIBT with a 7-2 loss to the Vancouver Auroras of British Columbia but followed with an impressive win over the professional Cordoba Cafeteros of the AAA Mexican League. The Cafeteros included former major-leaguers Rico Carty, Juan Pizzaro, Vic Davilillo, and Julio Navarro. The Goldpanners went on to win their second straight KIBT classic as Floyd Bannister won all three games on the final day of competition including a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Jimmies in the final. It was Bannister’s fourth win of tournament, and was deservedly named the tournament’s MVP.
The Binscarth Orioles with their once All-Star laden lineup, finished the 1974 season with a 15-21 overall record, quite possibly their worst year ever. They would however; rise again, winning MSBL championships in 1977, 1982, '84, and '86.
Les Lisowski had pitched 76 innings the previous year for Binscarth, allowing only 11 runs while striking out 79. A year earlier, the southpaw was 4-0 while pitching for the Calgary Giants of the Alberta Major Baseball League. He struck out 49 batters in 44 innings while posting a 2.45 ERA. On March 22, 1971, Lisowski, of Winnipeg, fired the fourth no-hitter in the history of the University of Arizona program as the Wildcats shutout Northern Colorado 5-0. Lisowski struck out 16 and walked three as he faced 30 batters. Also in 1971, Lisowski signed a contract with the Montreal Expos and was sent to their lower-A affiliate, the Watertown Expos of the Northern League. There, he was 1-0 with a 3.86 earned run average with 14 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.
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THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BINSCARTH ORIOLES-- If ever there was a town in all of Canada that was noted more for its baseball than its hockey, it would have to be the small farming community located near the Saskatchewan border in southwestern Manitoba known as Binscarth--population 400. The main man behind the success of baseball in Binscarth was manager Bob Wasslen. Wasslen was a catcher for the 1961 Binscarth Buffaloes, a charter member of the Manitoba Senior Baseball League formed in 1961. The "Buffs" finished in 3rd place that season with an 8-9 record and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs; however, center fielder Bill Berezinski put together a year unmatched in the history of Manitoba baseball. He not only won the league's Triple Crown with his .549 average, four home runs, and 32 Rbi's; but also led the MSBL in hits (39), doubles (8), and an incredible .915 slugging percentage. His .549 average is the highest ever recorded in the MSBL's nearly 60-year history. First baseman Roy Cuthill paled in comparison, albeit finishing 3rd in the league's batting race with his .439 average while Del Stainer hit .406, 8th best in the MSBL. The following year, Binscarth dropped a few notches down to the Senior B ranks. During the 1960s and early ‘70s, the Binscarth Orioles competed in the Northwest Baseball League along with teams from Angusville, Neepawa, and Grandview of Manitoba, and two teams from Saskatchewan -- Spy Hill and the McCauley-Moosomin Red Sox. The Orioles logged an overall record of 45-12 in 1971 with pitcher Garth Neville posting a 19-1 record. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out 176 batters in 124 innings while giving up just 23 runs. The rest of the '71 team included a lineup full of three-hundred hitters including two four-hundred hitters. Sam Jamison hit .408 while outfielder Donnie Gies hit .407. Binscarth won back-to-back-to-back Manitoba Senior B championships from 1969-'71.
THE 1972 ORIOLES were the first of several Northwest League teams to jump to the MSBL. Using local talent only, the Binscarth Orioles stunned the rest of the MSBL by setting a new league record for winning percentage by finishing at 16-4, (.800). After getting shutout 3-0 on opening day by Dauphin’s Dave Rottman, the Orioles went on to win seven in a row and sixteen of their next nineteen league games. They would go on to capture the MSBL Playoffs and then win the Manitoba Senior A Provincial crown. League officials and the press thought that Binscarth had snuck up on the rest of the league; however, the Orioles had for years been playing twice as many games as their MSBL counterparts including some top-notch teams from Saskatchewan.
On June the 4th, the Orioles hammered Grant Everard and the Riverside Canucks 9-3 and at the half-way mark of the regular season were 9-2, four full games ahead of the 2nd-place Dauphin Redbirds in the MSBL's North Division. Junk-ball pitcher Bob Kutzan was leading the team with his 3-0 record while catcher Bruce Stephens was the league's 5th best hitter at .346. Shortstop Barry Jamieson was 6th at .343. Binscarth improved to 11-2 a few weeks later by out-slugging the Brandon Cloverleafs 10-8. Kutzan picked up his 4th win of the year without a loss in a relief role while Don Gies, Dale Gies, Herb Andres, and Glen Hodgson all homered off Cloverleaf ace Bob Thompson who suffered his 1st defeat of the season.
At the annual July 1st tournament held at Birtle, the Orioles won their first two games and split the $600 prize money with Brandon after rain halted the competition before 5,000 onlookers. In the opener, 3rd baseman Ron Falloon hit a walk-off grand slam with the score knotted at six as Kutzan picked up another win in relief, 10-6 over Riverside. In the semi-finals, Garth Neville tossed a 2-hit shutout in a 6-0 win over Ross Stone and the Dauphin Redbirds. Don Gies and Ron Low homered. Ten days later, the Orioles shutout Dauphin again with Kutzan tossing the whitewash and improving to 5-1 on the year. The Orioles ended league play at 16-4 with a 7-6 win over the Riverside Canucks. Herb Andres got credit for the win after relieving Jerry Asseltine while Glen Hodgson homered.
In the opening round of the Kinsman Annual Tournament of Champions held in Brandon, Oriole pitcher Terry Lynd tossed a 3-0 shutout against the 11-9 South Division-winning Minot Merchants. In the semi-finals, Binscarth held a 4-2 lead in the 3rd however Redbird pitcher and future Oriole Dave Rottman entered the game in relief and closed the door as Dauphin went on to record a 9-4 victory. Dauphin won the tournament with a 3-2 win over Brandon in the final as Rottman was named MVP. After the tournament, Binscarth's Ron Low, Glen Hodgson, Barry Jamieson, and Garth Neville were named to the Manitoba Provincial Team however the Canadian Baseball Championship was cancelled due to the lack of a sponsor. Bob Kutzan and Garth Neville both finished league action with 5-2 records. Kutzan, the Stu Miller of the MSBL with his three pitches -- slow, slower and slowest, attended North Dakota State for four years. His claim to fame was a 2-1 loss to Satchel Paige and his barnstorming All-Stars in an exhibition game in 1963. Ron Low finished 2nd in the league's batting race with his .381 average. Oriole catcher Bruce Stephens placed 3rd at .373 and Barry Jamieson 4th at .370. Herb Andres hit .313 and Glen Hodgson .308.
After losing 8-1 in the 1st round of the playoffs to the Hamiota Red Sox, the Orioles rebounded by winning the next two games; thus advancing to the North Division finals against their nemesis, the Dauphin Redbirds who eliminated the Virden Oilers in two straight contests. After splitting the 1st two games by 3-1 scores, Garth Neville bested Ross Stone 4-1 to win the hard fought series. In game one of the best-of-five MSBL Championship Series, Ron Low went 5-5 with a home run as Binscarth outlasted the Riverside Canucks 13-9. Don Gies also homered. In game #2, Garth Neville upped his post-season record to 4-0 with a 7-2 win while Low and Stephens both homered. Riverside won game #3 by a score of 10-9. In game #4, before 1,109 fans at Binscarth, Ross Lynd picked up the 7-5 victory in relief as the Orioles claimed the MSBL's championship Thomas Ryles Trophy. During the winter, while pitching for Canada’s National team at the World Series of Amateur Baseball in Managua, Nicaragua, Garth Neville posted two victories -- a four-hit 4-1 win over Panama and a 3-1 victory over Italy. Italy had earlier defeated the United States in that same tournament. Neville would finish as runners-up to Brandon Wheat King star hockey player Ron Chipperfield as Manitoba's Male Athlete of the Year.
THE 1973 BINSCARTH ORIOLES--The Orioles repeated as MSBL North Division champions with a 14-6 record and shared the league's pennant with the 14-6 Dauphin Redbirds, winners of the newly realigned South Division. Oriole pitcher Les Lisowski won the league's Top Pitcher Award with his 8-1 record while outfielder Dale Gies led the League in batting at .404. Garth Neville logged a 4-3 record. After sweeping the Virden Oilers in the first round of the playoffs, the Orioles and Hamiota Red Sox were deadlocked at two games apiece when Binscarth forfeited the series and headed to British Columbia to enter the prestigious Kamloops International Baseball tournament, one of North America's top semi-pro tournaments. (Supposedly, the Orioles had league permission to attend the event). Other teams in the affair included El Chicanos of Seattle, Wa., the Kamloops Okonots, the Cordoba Cafeteros from Veracruz, Mexico, Sunnyside, Washington, and the Alaska Goldpanners from Fairbanks. The all-professional Cafeteros of the Triple-A Mexican League (Southwest Div.) fielded five ex major-leaguers. The Goldpanners included All-American outfielder Lee Iorg from Brigham Young University and several future professionals. A week earlier, the Panners were crowned semi-pro champions at the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kansas.
In the opening round, Binscarth topped Kamloops 5-4 before Bruce Bremer, a pickup from the Virden Oilers, struck out 22 batters in the Orioles' 10-inning, 2-1 win over Sunnyside, Washington which vaulted the Orioles into the semifinals. A 4-2 setback to Kamloops and a 7-3 loss to the Goldpanners put the Orioles at 3rd place with a check for $1,500. Alaska defeated Kamloops in the final and pocketed $5,000.
THE 1974 BINSCARTH ORIOLES--Before the 1974 season even started it was reported in the Brandon Sun: “if ever there was a sure thing”. The sportswriter was talking about the Binscarth Orioles’ upcoming senior league baseball team. Binscarth was to begin their third season in Manitoba's premier Manitoba Senior Baseball League. On paper, the 1974 Orioles could have been considered among the best of all semi-pro baseball in Canada, especially with their pitching staff put together by manager Bob Wasslen. The charismatic Wasslen had a knack for reeling in some of the best talent from the Manitoba Senior Baseball League and the Winnipeg area.Already on the Binscarth pitching staff was Canadian National Team member Garth Neville. Neville struck out 71 batters in 56 innings while going 4-3 the previous season.
Also registered on the O’s pitching staff was Wisconsin’s fireballing, left-handed pitcher Bruce Bremer. While pitching for the Virden Oilers the previous season, Bremer led the MSBL in strikeouts by fanning 107 batters in 72 innings pitched. Bremer, from Lowell, Wisconsin, once struck out 23 batters in a seven inning high school game. Two batters reached first base on third-strike passed balls. Bremer was All-Conference and All-District for three years while attending Minot State University. He was the NAIA’s NDCAC MVP in 1972 when he went 9-0, striking out 104 batters in 84 innings, a school record. He still holds the Beavers' all-time record for most wins with 22. Shortly after his last season at Minot State, Bremer pitched five games for the semi-pro Minot Merchants of the Manitoba Senior Baseball League where he struck out 86 batters in only 47 innings pitched. He went 5-0 including a league-opening 10-0 shutout over the Riverside Canucks. His 19 strikeouts was third best in MSBL history. At mid-season, Bremer left the Merchants to suit up with the Yorkton Cardinals of the South Saskatchewan Baseball League. There he took the league pitching trophy while posting a 7-1 mark including a 5-0 whitewashing of the Regina Red Sox while striking out 23, setting a new league record for strikeouts in a game.
If that weren't enough, Wasslan lured pitcher-shortstop Dave Rottman, last year's Canadian National Championship MVP, by out-bidding the Dauphin Redbirds and Brandon Cloverleafs. Rottman was the league's top pitcher in 1970 with his 8-2 record for Dauphin. That same year, he led the state of California when he struck out 160 batters and broke Yuba's all-time batting record with his .380 average. Returning to the Oriole outfield was Herb Andres who signed a pro contract after the 1972 season and hit .275 for the Bristol Tigers of the Appalacian League. Another championship was all but guaranteed, but a few not-so-funny events occurred along their way to the hall of fame. Bruce Bremer never donned a Binscarth uniform for the ’74 season. Ron Low missed the beginning of the season while nursing an injury suffered while goal tending for the Washington Capitols during the winter and Dave Rottman landed in prison.
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