Baseball in Richmond County

The River Bourgeois Tigers.

Part 14: In 1962, the Petit de Grat Red Caps reclaimed the Richmond County Baseball League crown by downing the Tigers of River Bourgeois in three straight games. The members of the championship team were Robbie Fougere, Claude Boudreau, Wilfred Boudreau, Gerard Boudreau, David Gordon, D’Assise Landry, Stan Benoit, Alzear Marchand, Ludger Boudreau, Alcide Boudreau, Rudolph Boudreau, Adolph Kehoe, and Tim Boudreau.

  With only two or three teams viable, the R.C.B.L., for all intents and purposes, folded after the 1962 season. Interest in baseball had dwindled; there was a scarcity of players. It was the heady days of the ’60s, the glamourous days of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll” and Woodstock and youngsters found diversions other than baseball. Young men and women went “down the road” in pursuit of work or higher education. With the exception of a few exhibition games, baseball in the county lay dormant from 1963 to 1969. A few talented players like Vernon Boudreau and Barry Marchand went on to play with the Sydney Steel Kings. Vernon was recruited by Eddie Gillis to play as a member of the Nova Scotia Junior Team, which competed in the Nationals in Winnipeg in 1965.

  The Red Caps had drafted Gerry Bourque of West Arichat, Barry Marchand of Louisdale, and the local RCMP constable, Bob Brogan. Most other squads, however, struggled to field teams. Fr. James Mombourquette of L’Ardoise labored tirelessly to revive interest, but fields had fallen into disrepair and enthusiasm and financial support were scarce. The league went into virtual hiatus for six seasons.

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  Baseball in Richmond County owes a debt of gratitude to a group of baseball enthusiasts who came together in 1969 to resurrect the grand old game. Some of the key “players” in this effort were Joe (Tuck) Boudreau, Petit de Grat; Jim Boucher, River Bourgeois; Wilfred Boudreau, Petit de Grat; Mel Burt, Louisdale; Fr. Jim Mombourquette, L’Ardoise; and others. An executive committee was formed consisting of Bill Smith (St. Peter’s) as president, Mimi Fougere (River Bourgeois) as vice president, and Gerald Robertson as business manager. A new association came into being and was named the Richmond Amateur Baseball Association and consisted of teams from River Bourgeois, Louisdale, and Petit de Grat.

  Was it 1970 or 1971? In one of those years, a team from the county named the Richmond Schooners competed for the Cape Breton Intermediate B crown. It was a round-robin tournament with the first game on Saturday morning, which the Richmond squad lost 19-12 to the team from Louisdale. Louisdale prevailed again in the second game defeating Sydney Mines 18-7. In the third contest the team from Sydney Mines conceded the game in the fifth inning after falling behind 15-1 to the Schooners.

  Action resumed on Sunday with Richmond prevailing twice (15-4 and 4-2) over Louisdale, thus earning the right to represent Cape Breton in the Nova Scotia Intermediate B finals. This proved to be a home-and-home, two-out-of-three series versus a team from Clark’s Harbour. In the first contest played at River Bourgeois, the home team, behind the five-hit pitching of Leo King and a clutch play by John Burke, withstood a ninth inning scare to come out ahead 4-0. Centerfielder Burke caught a fly ball and made the throw to Jerry Burke at the plate to cut down the Clark’s Harbour player trying to score from third base. Schooner offence was provided by a two-run double by Wilfred Boudreau and two hits each by David Digout, Gordie Embree, and Jerry Burke. The playoffs continued the following weekend at Clark’s Harbour.