NL Fastpitch NL Fastpitch Catching the action since 1957

St. Johns Senior Softball League History - 1957 to 2018

The St. John’s Senior Softball League was organized from a meeting held at Bannerman Park on Wednesday, August 28th, 1957. At this meeting twelve (12) teams showed interest in playing.

The twelve teams were divided into three sections:
• Section 1: Romoco, Orioles, Rams and Tigers
• Section 2: Falcons, Avolians, East End and Aces
• Section 3: Braves, Shamrocks, Rovers and Conception Bay All-Stars

A one round schedule was played with the top two teams in each section playing in a Best-Of-Three series and the three winners playing a round robin for the League Championship.

The Opening game was played on Thursday, August 29th, 1957 and the championship game between the Aces and Braves was played on Sunday, September 22nd, 1957.

The League had no elected executive in 1957 but was run by the Playgrounds Association under the leadership of Jack Walsh, Playground Supervisor, and Joe Gaddon. The League had its first elected executive in 1959 with Don Lawlor elected the first President. Since 1959 11 different people have held the post, with Terry Trainor serving the longest term of 10 years!

The League played the majority of its games at Bannerman Park until 1975. The 1960 Regular Season schedule was played at Victoria Park with Red Cliff playing the majority of its games at the Base Diamond at Pepperrell and the League Finals that year were played at St. Pat’s Ball Park under the lights.

Commencing with the Playoffs in 1975 the League took up permanent residence at Lions Park and in 1995 moved to the new Caribou Softball Complex at Pleasantville. After six years at Caribou Complex the League returned to the Lions Park in 2001.

The opening game of the 1961 season was played on Monday, May 23rd between Red Cliff and Aces and was won by the Aces 6 to 4 was broadcast on Radio Station V.O.C.M. by Ted Withers. To this date it is the first and only softball game ever broadcast on radio in the City of St. John’s. From 1982 to 1994 Cable 9 televised both Local and Provincial Playoff Games.

When the League commenced play in 1957 it played on a Little League Baseball Field where the fences measured a maximum of one hundred and eighty feet. These conditions remained the same for the first three years of the Leagues existence. Thus the reason for the high number of home runs in the early years of play. When the League returned to Bannerman Park for the 1961 season the fences were between two hundred and fifteen and two hundred and twenty feet from home plate.

Since 1957 teams have competed for the first place V.O.C.M. Trophy and the Championship Howie Meeker Trophy. However in 1957 no first place finisher was declared. In 1976 these trophies were retired and replaced with the first place Dominion Ale Trophy and the Championship Black Trophy. There was a further change in 1991 to the Don Johnson Trophy for first place and The Terry Trainor Memorial Trophy for League Champions.

The League held its first Dance and Presentation of awards on Thursday, October 29th, 1959 at The Crystal Palace and since that date it had become an annual affair of the League until 1997. Beginning in 1998 the awards have been presented at the ballpark during the playoffs.

When the League was formed in 1957 no statistics were kept and little information is available. Commencing half way through the 1958 season was there any emphasis placed on statistics.

You will note that not all statistics have been kept from day one, examples-stolen bases 1967, and earned run average 1966. The date shown next to each individual statistic is the actual date that records on the item in question were kept.

Bill Barron