Lamont Sports Park – a poignant moment looking back in time

Saturday, June 24th, was the official opening of the Lamont Sports Park in Port Elgin (Saugeen Shores) and, while it was a celebration, there was also a touching moment when two seniors, Ron Bruce and Doug Huber now in their late 80s, who had been accomplished ballplayers in their youth, were honoured.

(L) Doug Huber and Ron Bruce (C-R) look at the interpretive sign that includes a photo of their                                                                   early days as ballplayers

Local historian, William (Bill) Streeter researched each of the seniors and their early days as athletes in the community:

Ron Bruce finds his younger self in a photo – for a larger view, Click on Image

Ron Bruce was born in Bruce Township in 1933. He was an outstanding high school athlete. In 1948 at 15 years of age he won all 8 events at the Port Elgin High School field day including the 100, 440 and 880 yard runs, pole vault, high jump, running broad jump, standing broad jump and running broad jump.

An early Port Elgin Times article said this about the Basketball prowess of Ron Bruce following a 44 – 18 win over Chesley High School. “The local squad has a line that should cause a little grief to other school teams this year. Centre Ron Bruce flanked by his brother Howard and Tom Cameron they scored 35 of their teams 44 points. The skill of Ron Bruce will be welcomed by his absence when he graduates at the end of the school year”.

In 1949 at 16 years of age Ron played with the Port Elgin Mens team that won the W. O. A. A. softball championship. In the 11 years from 1949 to 1959 teams from Port Elgin and Southampton won Regional and Provincial Championships and yes, Ron Bruce starred on all 5 teams.

One last headline from the Port Elgin Times. “The stage was set for Ron Bruce’s heroic deed. In the League Championship, it was the 12th inning when with one out and Ken Mann on base, Ron Bruce tagged one over the fence.” The front-page story shows a late night parade on Goderich street with team mates and Ron in the back of a truck.

Ron shingled hundreds of roofs in our community right up until he was 80.

Doug Huber was born and raised in Southampton where he still lives in the same

Doug Huber with daughter Diane (Deputy Mayor) read the history of baseball and find his picture – larger view click onimage

home today. From an early age, he always had a baseball bat, a hockey stick, or a curling broom in his hand.

Southampton had some excellent softball teams in the 50’s and Doug was an exceptional outfielder on teams that won the Western Ontario Athletic Association (WOAA) Championships.

Softball was going through a major transition at the time when pitchers were either throwing underhand in the traditional manner from behind their back or throwing windmill style which is the standard method used today. The Southampton team had one of each in their lineup.

‘Hoot’ Gateman threw conventional and Freddie Brown (recently deceased) was the windmill specialist. Together they gave their team a real edge.

Doug played outfield on those teams and Ron Bruce joined the team at shortstop and in both 1958 and 1959, the team was the best in Western Ontario.

Doug, always helpful in working with aspiring youngsters, eventually became the Fire Chief in Southampton.

Baseball in Port Elgin and Southampton has a long history that includes Provincial championships with names that are still familiar in the community today … names like Dudgeon, MacKinnon, Becker, Brown, Scammell, Cottrill and Paddon, to name only a few.

The two interpretive plaques will be featured prominently in the Lamont Sports Park.

               Bill Streeter (C) with the Lamont family for whom the new Sports Park is named