Hamilton oldtimers host ‘a special one’
The national oldtimers baseball championship is returning to Hamilton for its silver anniversary.
More than 30 teams from across the country will converge on the city for the five-day tournament starting Aug. 3.
Hamilton was also home to the first ever oldtimers championship in 1993.
“I just went out on a limb and said we’ll do it just because it is a special one,” said tournament coordinator Phil Beaudoin. “That was the main reason.”
Hamilton, which was also home to the 1996 and 2008 nationals, is the only city in Ontario to have hosted more than once.
According to Beaudoin, this year’s contest will feature nearly 600 players in four divisions — 35 and over, 43 and over, 50 and over, and 57 and over — and take over eight diamonds in Hamilton, Dundas, Ancaster and Waterdown.
It will also include a banquet dinner and an appearance by former major league pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, the first Canadian to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Beaudoin, 75, co-founded the Hamilton Oldtimers Baseball Organization — HOBO, for short — in 1987. Since then, the league has grown from two teams to eight teams this year.
Roughly a third of HOBO’s 150 players will be playing for a national title in one of three divisions. Teams from nearby communities, such as Burlington and Welland, have also registered, and the Oakville Golden A’s will be going for a third straight title in the 50 and over competition.
Another team from Oakville, the Old A’s, won the inaugural championship in Hamilton 25 years ago.
While it’s always difficult to predict favourites, Beaudoin said he expects Regina as well as two Ontario teams — Tillsonburg and Woodslee — to put up a good fight this year. He also said to keep an eye out for the club from Carnduff, Sask., which is out to defend its 35 and over trophy.
Only three Hamilton teams have won titles in the history of the event — the Silverhawks in 2008 and the Stealers in 2002 and 2006. For more information on this year’s contest, visit cnobf2017.com.
Phil Beaudoin is organizing the 25th annual national oldtimers baseball championships in Hamilton.