4 team BASEBALL LEAGUE that discontinued at the beginning of
WW#2. Made up of American imports and local players,the teams played
to sellout crowds, every game. Many of the players either came
from the National and American Baseball leagues, or played there
upon their sojourn in Cape Breton.

           The Sydney, STEEL CITY NINE, games were played at
VICTORIA PARK, in the city's north end. Well known players
included; Fred Mc Guire     Frenchy Milette     Tom Musial
          Lefty Settlemire  Guido Panceria      Joe Linsalata
          Joe Romano        Jackie Huxtable     Fred Martowski
          Tony Novello      Lou Lepine          Del Bissonette

  2002 11:18:09pm  
Name: Robert Gaunt 
Homepage Title:  
Homepage URL:  
Referred By: Search Engine 
Location: Western North Carolina, USA 
Comments: Thank you for providing your interesting website. I am an author and baseball historian, and I've visited Nova Scotia during each of the past two summers, and we're planning another sojourn up that way in 2003.

I have an interest in the Cape Breton Collery Baseball League. I have done some preliminary reading about baseball in the Maritimes, and have concluded that the Cape Breton was quite an unusual setup. 

It is my understanding that there way a historical resistence to the idea of professional baseball was strong in the Maritimes for many years. (Though there seems to have been a great deal of "incentive" paying for players to come to the various towns noted for good baseball teams, there appears to have been a perference for the "purity" of amateur sports teams.) The affiliation with the National Association of Professional Baseball Clubs that brought the Collery League into Organized ball during the 1937 and 38 seasons when they operated as a Class D league, and in 1939 when they became a Class C operation. After that, the Cape Breton apparently went back to semi-professional status.

The difference between Class D Leagues and Class C leagues involved several factors. Among the more important was the roster makeups of the respective classes. Class D teams were required to have no more than three "class men" (Players with three or more years of professional experience, three or four more who had between one and three years of past professional experience, and the rest of the team had to be made up of first year players. Class C teams (as higher leagues) could employ a few more players who were experienced professionals. There were also limits upon the total team monthly salaries that could be paid in the respective leagues. During that era the figure was probably a combined monthly salary of about $1,300 (US) for Class D teams and $1,500 for Class C outfits. There was also a specific (combined) population number that was required for
classification in the respective leagues.

The 1937 league featured just five teams, thus prompting a scheduling problem as one team was always idle because of the uneven number of teams in the league. Teams played a 48 game schedule, thus suggesting that it was an abbreviated season. (Each team played each other team twelve times, six at home and six at the other team's park.) The Glace Bay Miners won the League Pennant, followed in the standings by Sydney, Sydney Mines, Dominion and New Waterford, in that order. The Sydney Steel Citians won the post season playoff, defeating the Glace Bay Miners four games to three. 

The 1938 season was begun with a similar setup, but after posting a 4-15 record during the early going, the Dominion Hawks withdrew from the League on July 10th. The remaining teams drew up a revised schedule and completed the season with the Glace Bay Miners again capturing the League's regular season championship The Sydney Steel Citians came in second followed by New Waterford and Sydney Mines in what proved to be a close race. Glace Bay capturd the post-season playoffs by turning back New Waterford 4 games to 1.

There were only four teams in the 1939 Class C Cape Breton Collery League. Sydney, which was called the "Ramblers" in 1939, won the season's title by a comfortable margin, with New Waterford a fairly distant second, followed by Glace Bay and a not-very-competative Sydney Mines. Teams played 56 regular season games thus meeting each opponent 18 or 19 times during along the way. In the short playoff that followed the regular season (probably indicating attendance difficulties, or perhaps bad weather) New Waterford defeated Glace Bay 2 games to 1. 

After that, the Cape Breton broke its affiliation with the National Association, and Maritime baseball went back to its former format. The reasons for leaving the professional ranks are not clear, and would need to be researched should I decide to do a report on the Cape Breton.

Among the players that you have listed as being particularly noteworthy, you might be interested to know that Guido Panceira was easily the league's top hitter during the 1937 season as he posted a .394 batting average and led the league in hits and runs scored. He also assumed a role as the team's manager for a portion of the season. In the meantime, Merle "Lefty" Settlemeyer was the league's top pitcher in 1938, winning 13 of his team's 27 victories. Del Bisonette left Sydney to assume the role of Manager of the Glace Bay Miners for the 1938 season, a role that had been filled by Fred Mc Guire during the previous year. 


Today I discovered, among my resource materials, the complete official record 
of the 1939 Cape Breton Collery Class C baseball season.  It also contains a 
narrative about how the season went, and all of the pitching, fielding and 
batting records from that particular year.

You might be interested to learn that the narrative about the season reports 
that the early part of the season saw attendance hurt because "of the worst 
weather that Cape Breton Island has seen in years", and it also suffered 
during the latter stages owing to the outbreak of hostilities in Europe.  In 
fact, the 1939 season was cut one week short so that the respective ballparks 
could be used as training sites for Canadian soldiers.

There was a particularly memorable game at Sydney, on June 30, 1939 when 
Glace Bay pitcher and manager Al Smith hurled a 3-0 no hitter against the 
Glace Bay Miners.  The League also laid claim to "a world record" when the 
Glace Bay and Sydney Mines teams played four consecutive games, each of which 
ended up in tie scores.  

According to the official report written by a D.H. Mc Farlane, of Glace Bay, 
the league was planning to operate in 1940, at least at the time of 
publication of the official record book, and there were assurances that the 
teams had "secured the services of "a number of splendid players" for the 
1940 season, and that "reliable managers" had been found for three of the 
four league teams, and that the fourth had "their pick of several playing 
managers" who were apparently available.

It appears that Sydney Mines, last place in the 1939 standings with a dismal 
14-37 record, had a very difficult season.  The Ramblers played under the 
leadership of no less than four managers during the year, finally finishing 
up with former major league player Billy Marshall calling the shots for what 
was reportedly a patch-work lineup that finally completed the season.

I will be doing more research on the CBCBL as time permits, but I thought 
that you might be interested in these tidbits.  I am planning to be in the 
Cape Breton area next June, and perhaps we can get together for lunch one 
day, if time permits.

Robert Gaunt

            Thursday 09/08/2005 9:53:19pm  
Name: Tim Crabb 
Referred By: Search Engine 
City/Country: Farmington Hills Michigan USA 
Comments: Found your site doing some research on the colliery league baseball teams. My father played for the glace bay miners in 1938 & 39. He was among the leaders in home runs and batting avg both years I believe. His name was Leslie Crabb and was from Detroit. I have recently found a number of newspaper clippings that he sent home to my mother from 39. He passed away in 1986 at the age of 69. Do you know of any websites that might have any more info on baseball on Cape Breton Island? Enjoyed your site and look forward to exploring it more fully. My wife and I are considering a vacation to C.B.I. next year 

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