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MITCHELL'S PLAIN
Founded 1981  

Founder members 

Gerald Canterbury  Aubrey Canterbury  Vernon Meyer

Mike Goslett  Peter Parker

Peter Parker fondly remembers in 1979 while playing for Dynamos he was given permission by the club to venture into Mitchell’s Plain and start a baseball club. Peter, Gerald his brother Aubrey Canterbury and Vernon Meyer went door to door in Westridge, Mitchell’s Plain, recruiting people to play softball and baseball. The passion and patience brought success and soon they had attracted the Van Niekerk family, the Blanchard’s, Mike Goslett and finally in 1980 Mitchell’s Plain Baseball was born.

The first meeting of the newly formed Mitchell’s Plain Baseball Union was held at Westridge Sports field. Gerald Canterbury became the first Chairman, Peter Parker his vice chair and Mike Goslett secretary. The first clubs were Westridge Cardinals, Michigan, Dallas Yankees, and Woodlands and later joined by Portland Rowdies, Strandfontein Mets, Hornets, Kenfac Royals, Tahiti Braves & Montana Giants. First games were played at headquarters Westridge Sports complex.

Mitchell’s Plain success was intertwined with the very successful schools program at Westridge High School where Malcolm Blanchard was a teacher. Players were schooled in classes on the rules of the game. They trained twice a week played one game against visiting schools then trained at their clubs and played another 2 games on Saturday at Westridge. Inter schools league included teams from Sinton, Strandfontein, Spes Bona, Mondale, Athlone High and Westridge High.

The school program facilitated the growth of the union and soon MPBU were competitive and its juniors surprising the established unions. MPBU growth was so significant that it intimidated the bigger sports code and became the fastest growing sports in Mitchell’s Plain.

The rapid growth resulted in an overload at Westridge and needed extra fields for Saturday games and incorporated Portland’s and Lentegeur fields. The competition became fierce as the school rivalry found its way into the league system. Dallas Yankees became the powerhouse knock out winners for many seasons and Michigan the Smirnoff Cup winners and league champions.

In 1981/1982 MPBU participated in and hosted it’s first of many successful tournaments under the guidance of tournament director Mike Goslett. The game of the tournament and a baseball classic was Districts 2-0 win over Eastern Province that lasted 93 minutes

MPBU new comers caused its first major upset by beating Cape District 6-1 who fielded there second string team on Thursday 31st December 1981. In the same tournament MPBU were beaten 9-2 by Eastern Province. The late Dennis Weaver achieved his 3rd shut out in Cape District 7-0 win over its old rivals Western Province. District played Eastern Province on Saturday Jan 2 at 2.30pm. 

District rocked the pride of Eastern Province with a near hysterical. Crowd chanting “We will we will rock you” Dennis Weaver pitched and held the EP batters who were trying to hit him out of the park. Neither Wendall Naidoo (EP) nor Weaver gave up any runs in the first 2 innings. Naidoo walked 2 batters and District scored 2 runs through Keith Carelse and Brian Abrahams. EP rallied with a run by Gregory Knipe on a sac bunt by Lawrence Frieslaar. Solly Walters raced home to score a hotly disputed run to add to EP’s solo run. A 2-bag hit later in the game by Districts Kita Carelse scored 3 runs to seal the game. Districts coaches Moey Carolus and Reggie Bowers let the fleet footed base runners create havoc on the bases. District treated their hysterical supporters to a 8-4 win and closed a memorable tournament for Mitchell’s Plain that saw the introduction of new unit Northern Cape( Kimberley). Cape District vs Western Province and EP vs Mitchells Plain played on Sunday ro concluded the week long tournament.

Herman Gibbs the reporter for the Sunday Times and Michigan player was in attendance and his comments included..” Their remains a shortage of top flight pitchers and have yet to see the likes of Edward “Era” Mitchell, Bunny Castle and Paul Wilson”. He further encouraged the use of helmets at inter provincial tournament at William Herbert in 1983

Record crowds watched this spectacular hosted by Mitchell’s Plain Baseball and softball. Mitchell’s Plain Baseball was born as a tournament venue and hosted 4 tournaments till the final at Strandfontein in 1990 that heralded the end of an era where baseball and softball was the heart beat of Mitchell’s Plain. One has to mention the name of Mike Goslett whose ability as tournament director has been unequaled.

The intensity of the inter union rivalry was so great that in the final SABA tournament CD and MP were at odds over who should be seated on the 1st base side (dugout) of homeplate. Neither team were prepared to move. Umpires called in SABA officials and still neither manager Mike Ward (MP) and Aubrey Desfountain (CD) would not relent. The game continued with both sides seated on 1st base side.The tension was so great it resulted in an on the field fight and Grant Maree (MP) catcher being ejected from the game.

Mike Goslett became the first MPBU official on the newly revived SABA and served as secretary /treasurer and also part of the beginning of the Western Cape baseball and softball Association. The political stage was changing dramatically and SACOS was under pressure from the newly founded NSC. The conflicting views led to Battswood joining up with Federation and playing for the Sea Point based association in 1989

In 1989 Mitchell’s Plain represented by Mike Goslett and Mike Ward at the SABA meeting in Port Elizabeth were mandated by the Union to push for unity or they would withdraw from SABA. The decision of the meeting was to pursue unification talks and at the 1990 tournament in Strandfontein saw the unification process begin with a 1st time meeting of SA Baseball Federation and SABA. Mitchell’s Plain was not represented at the talks mainly because they were hosting the tournament.

The end results of the negotiations were slanted heavily in the Federations favor and in hindsight destroyed community baseball. Mitchell’s Plains clubs were forced into amalgamation to play in the newly established BAWP Major League. Michigan joined Strandfontein Mets to form Michigan Mets. Westridge Cardinals and Dallas Yankees combined to form Westridge Cardinals. Hornets and Woodlands soon fell by the wayside. Kenfac Royals remained and played in the 2nd division. Newly structured baseball was played on a home and away bases and clubs had to prepare for traveling into unknown territory and provide a home base equal to or of a standard that compared with the Federation teams grounds.Westridge Yankees played at Mitchell’s Plain home base Westridge and Michigan Mets Moved to Strandfontein.

In one blow the power of the fledgling unit with a membership of between 400- 500 players was destroyed and left the newly amalgamated clubs with logistic burdens that led to there ultimate demise. Today Westridge Yankees is the only Mitchell’s Plain team remaining in this metropolis with a basic membership of less than 50 players.

The now defunct SABA units played baseball with no raised mounds, no outfield boundaries and without helmets and mini backstops. This changed with the new dispensation and in order to qualify for home games the aforementioned was mandatory. These necessary implementations brought baseball into line with International standards and a necessary evil.

CLUBS

DALLAS YANKEES

HORNETS

KENFAC ROYALS

MICHIGAN

MONTANA GIANTS

PORTLAND ROWDIES

MICHIGAN


OLD SCHOOL TOURNAMENT 2010

 

 

STRANDFONTEIN METS

TAIHITI BRAVES

WESTRIDGE CARDINALS

WOODLANDS