Brandon will once again be represented in the 2019 roster of inductees into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.
Dean McBride, Bruce Stephens and the 2006 to 2012 Brandon Cloverleafs will enter the Hall when the Morden, Man. facility hosts its 23rd annual induction banquet in June of next year. Their entry follows that of Brandonites Faron Asham and the 1999 to 2008 Brandon Marlins early this summer. A total of eight individuals, three teams and one community were inducted this year.
The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame announced Monday that McBride, Stephens and the Cloverleafs will be among nine individuals, four teams and one family entering the Hall in 2019.
McBride played 24 seasons of Senior AAA baseball where he recorded a .371 lifetime batting average. Originally from Gladstone, he began his baseball career with the Plumas Pirates, then spent 11 seasons with both the Neepawa Farmers and the Brandon Cloverleafs. He added another two seasons with the Elmwood Giants of the Red-Boine Baseball League.
In 1988, the 15-time Manitoba Senior Baseball League (MSBL) All-Star and member of the league’s 40th anniversary all-time all-star squad was named the MSBL’s Rookie of the Year and won the circuit’s batting title two years later with an average of .507. He was also the most valuable player of the 1997 playoffs.
As a member of the Elmwood Giants, McBride earned a homerun crown, a batting title and league MVP honors. He was also on the roster of Manitoba’s entry in the 1989 Canada Summer Games tournament and competed in 10 senior national baseball championships.
Stephens, meanwhile, is entering the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame as both a player and a builder. As a member of his hometown Cardale, Man. squad, he competed in both the Manitoba and Western Canada Midget Championships in 1968. He moved on to represent the province as a junior division player in 1972, also the year when, as a rookie, he was a key member of the MSBL and provincial champion Binscarth Oriole club. He earned a .371 average at the plate and was named to the league’s all-star team as a back catcher.
Stephens became instrumental in the development of the sport after moving to Deloraine, Man. As a player and coach for the Deloraine Royals of the South West Baseball League, he was a regular all-star and five-time batting champion. The Royals won several provincial championships and a Western Canadian title in 1983.
After retiring as a player, Stephens maintained his tie to the sport as a coach, leading a Deloraine Pee Wee squad to a provincial championship. He also worked with Baseball Manitoba as a treasurer and ran coaching clinics for more than two decades. As both a coach and a player, he represented Manitoba on 10 occasions at Western Canadian and national tournaments.
Stephens is also a past director of Brandon Minor Baseball.
Finally, the Brandon Cloverleafs are being honored in part due to their longstanding play in the MSBL. The Cloverleafs is the only team to compete in every season for more than 50 years since the league was established in 1961.
From 2006 to 2012, however, the club dominated the MSBL, winning two league pennants alongside five MSBL and provincial championships through the seven-year period. In 2007, they earned a silver medal as Manitoba’s representative at the National Senior Baseball Championship, then followed that with fourth place finishes in 2010 and 2011.
The Cloverleafs were named Baseball Manitoba’s High Performance Team of the Year in 2007.
The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame will host its induction banquet on June 1, 2019 at the Morden Event Access Centre, the home of the Hall.
The other inductees will include Greg Cameron of Boissevain, Man.; Armin Gitzel of Carman, Man.; Randy Robertson of Stouffville, Ont.; Jon Robbins of Richmond, B.C.; umpire Bob Senff of Winnipeg, Man.; broadcaster Paul Edmonds of Winnipeg; pitcher Chuck Lindsay (posthumously); the 1996 to 2003 Carillon Sultans; the 2007 to 2011 Springfield Junior Braves; the 1968 Coulter Red Sox; and Morden, Man.’s Sager family.