Minor League history: Eastern Canada League

The Eastern Canada League was a class B league that was founded in 1922. The four team league was almost completely located in the province of Quebec, except for the team from Ottawa.

It took a while before professional baseball gained foothold in Quebec. For a short while it looked like it did during the two years that the Eastern Canada League existed. But after the league folded, only Montreal and Quebec city played for another year in the Quebec-Ontario-Vermont League in 1924 before folding. Montreal appeared to be a mainstay in professional baseball from 1928 as the city was a main part of the International League until 1961.

Cities represented:

Cap-de-la-Madeleine, QC: Cap de la Madeleine Madcaps 1922
Montreal, QC: Montreal Royals 1922-1923; Montreal 1923
Ottawa, ON: Ottawa Senators 1922); Ottawa Canadiens 1923
Quebec, QC: Quebec Bulldogs 1923
Trois-Rivières, QC: Trois-Rivières Trios 1922-1923
Valleyfield, QC: Valleyfield 1922

In the first year of the Eastern Canada League the Trois-Rivières Trios won the championship with a 2.5 game lead over the Ottawa Senators. Valleyfield moved to Cap de la Madeleine on July 29. The team finished in third place. The Montreal Royals finished dead last, 15 games out of first place. The championship was decided in the last series of the season as Trois-Rivières beat Cap de la Madeleine in three of the four games and the Montreal Royals held the Ottawa Senators to two wins.

MG 1
Head of the Montreal Gazette

In the 1923 season, Quebec replaced Valleyfield/Cap de la Madeleine and finished last. The Montreal Royals would finish the regular season with a two game lead over Ottawa. The Ottawa Canadiens played in Montreal before their own stadium was finished. The Trois-Rivières Trios moved to Montreal for the second half of the season but the team was far from a competitor as it finished twelve games out of first place

Jim O’Rourke

The 1923 season was concluded with a championship series that Montreal won with 8 games to 7 over the Ottawa Canadiens.

The Ottawa Canadiens were managed by Hall of Famer Jim O’Rourke. O’Rourke had a 23-year Major League career in which he batted .311. He debuted in professional baseball in 1872 and played his final game in 1904 at the age of 54.

Many teams were limited companies and sold shares to finance the business. Below you can see an example of those shares. In this case it is one of the 1923 Quebec Bulldogs or Quebec Baseball Club Limited as it was officially named.
After the Eastern Canada League folded, the Bulldogs played in the Quebec-Ontario-Vermont League. Despite their last place finish in the ECL in 1923, the team won the Quebec-Ontario-Vermont League pennant one year later.

Fred Frankhouse of the 1922 Ottawa Senators shared the honor of winning 18 games in that year with Al Greiner of Trois-Rivières. Frankhouse played three more years in the minors before he was called up to the St. Louis Cardinals. He debuted wtih a 5-1 win and a 2.71 ERA.

John Jones of the 1923 Montreal Royals had a remarkable career. After having a cup of tea with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1923, he was sent down to the minors again and hit a splendid .370 with the Royals for the season. He spent another nine years in the minors at several levels before he was called up to Philadelphia again where he played four games and hit .167 in six at bats. Eventually he was sent down again and finished his baseball career in 1935 with the Elmira Pioneers of the New York -Penn League.

While many clubs in those days played in a baseball only facility, the Ottawa Senators played in a multi sport venue named Lansdowne Park. The place was located in a park and served various sports like football, cricket, car and horse racing racing and soccer. It resulted in a playing surface with a ridiculous deep right field and left field and a rather shallow center field.  In the 1960s the place was demolished to make room for a football stadium which still stands today.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s