Thank you very much to Les McLaughlin of Ottawa, formerly of the Yukon, for the following information about the ballpark that once sat on the site of the Elijah Smith Building.
Les does wonderful work through his stories and research on the Yukon. He is truly unique in his way of telling a story.
His letter follows:
The ballpark’s first year of operation was likely in the 1920s, if not before, and the Northern Athletic Club building was on the Third Avenue side – until it was burned down by the American military in about 1943. Its destruction was not done on purpose.
The ball diamond’s last year would have been 1953 – that’s a guess because that is the year they started building the new federal building. It opened in 1954.
The softball played on that field of broken dreams from the late ‘40s until it closed was highly competitive because both the army and airforce were able to field hotshot teams and the town teams had to be good, or else.
The windmill pitch was just in vogue at the time and the Forces’ pitchers were awesome – speed, curve balls, drop balls, sinkers, change-ups – they had it all, and the town players, which included the RCMP, took a while to catch up.
I was batboy in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s for the YPA men’s teams before I played with the YPA (badly) the year the diamond closed.
Then the diamond moved to roughly where Yukon Sport is now. I was president of the men’s league in the mid-‘60s, likely because they had to do something with a no-hit, no-field player.
Anyone with information about this subject, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook – Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 2E4, or e-mail through the News