2017 MB Baseball Hall of Fame



By Eoin Devereux

The Neepawa Banner

The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame has expanded its membership and Neepawa finds itself featured prominently amongst those honoured. The annual induction ceremony, which was held on June 3 in Morden, welcomed nine new individuals into their hallowed halls.

Charlie Argue Mather), Shaun Cory (Wawanesa), Lane Curry (Manitou), Vince Eastman (Brandon), David Nychyk (Winnipeg), Gord Paddock (Oak River), Orville Renwick (Melita), Don Schmall (Neepawa) and Peter Thomson (Winnipeg) were all honoured as individual inductees. The Neepawa Farmers (1993-97) and the Ebb and Flow Lakers (1990-96) also entered the Hall under the “Major Team” and “Small Community Team” categories respectively.  Additionally, Bob Boyce (umpire), the Eastern Manitoba All-Stars (1978) and the Gilbert Plains Legion Bantams (1965-68) join the Hall of Fame under the “Special” category. The 2017 class has special significance for Neepawa and the surrounding region due to the inclusion of these worthy players and ball clubs.



While other clubs in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League relied heavily on star power from across the border, the 1993-97 Neepawa Farmers were the definition of a homegrown team. That might have been the reason they won so much, because they played for their community as opposed to a paycheque.

The Neepawa Farmers were a well renowned team throughout the 1990s, achieving their greatest success from 1993 through 1997. They went to the MSBL finals in all five years, winning the championship in ‘93 and ‘97. On top of that, they also claimed the 1997 Manitoba AAA Championship. Including the newest inductees Schmall and Eastman, there are six members of the team who are enshrined within the Hall for individual honours.

Coach Garth White said that it was a very special time for Neepawa baseball, as this group of talented individuals forged a bond both on and off the diamond.  “It was the friendships and that spirit of camaraderie that we had that made those years special. We had a great bunch of guys on the team, who just wanted to go play ball. A solid core of guys that played together early on. Then, around the ‘94-’95 season, some of the younger players started to find their place on the squad, but there were still enough veterans in the dugout that we still managed to compete,” noted White.





Though Don Schmall has known about his inclusion into the 2017 Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame since October, the significance of the accomplishment didn’t really sink in for the former Farmers pitcher, until his car ride to Morden on the day of the ceremony. 

“As I was driving [to Morden], I was just flashing back to certain games and certain moments. What the induction meant really didn’t really hit home until that moment. Thinking back to what we as a team had accomplished and what my teammates helped me to accomplish on the mound,” said Schmall.

And just what Schmall accomplished in 18 years, first for the Neepawa Cubs (1977-1981) and then the Farmers (1982-1994) was extremely impressive. He was a top pitcher in the league at a time when many teams were relying upon import hurlers. By the end of his tenure on the mound, Schmall was the Farmers’ all-time leader in innings pitched (609), wins (39) and strikeouts (274). He was the Farmers’ team MVP in both 1984 and 1992. In 1991, he pitched a no-hitter against the Dauphin Redbirds. 

Though all those accolades are impressive, Schmall singled out one game in particular during his induction speech that occurred early in his pitching career. It’s that game he believes emphasizes why his induction belongs just as much to his teammates, as it does to him.

“It occurred in Hamiota. I was pitching against Hall of Famer Ron Ramsey (2010 inductee). After starting the game at 7:00 pm, we played nine innings and were back on the bus picking up beer at the hotel by 8:20 pm. I know there were only two or three innings where I think I threw four or five pitches. So guys, to say thank you and to keep things short. To my teammates, the next drink is on me. Thank you for this honour.”






“Congrats Vinnie and welcome to the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.” With those words, Vince Eastman’s journey came full circle; from the ball diamonds of Virden and Neepawa, all the way to the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Eastman’s odyssey started when he was just a 16-year-old, with his hometown team, the Virden Oilers and came to an end with a AA title with the Reston Rockets in 2003. A career highlight for Eastman was helping lift the Farmers to a provincial title in 1997, posting a 5-0 record in the playoffs. That exceptional effort earned him playoff MVP honours, as well as the Senior AAA Player of the Year award from Baseball Manitoba. 

After accepting his induction to the Hall of Fame, Eastman acknowledged many former coaches and teammates who helped to pave the way for him. He was quick to stress, however, that there was one special person in particular he dedicated the honour to, his mother Gloria. 

“Without her, none of this happens. This night is just as much hers as it is mine. It started when I was just a kid and she kept me in the game and kept me out of trouble. [She was] always getting me to the games and never missing any of them. That’s the way it was right up until I left for college,” stressed Eastman. “She dedicated so much time and most importantly, she believed in me.”







To say that the 1990-1996 edition of the Lakers represented the Ebb and Flow First Nation with immense pride still feels a bit like an understatement. The central Manitoba team was a very successful tournament club during the early 90’s, not only within the province but also in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the United States.

Although no statistical records were kept, the team had an estimated .900 winning percentage against several levels of competition including such top teams as the Elmwood Giants, Teulon Cardinals, Reston Rockets. 

Their successes reached a culmination in 1995 at Blaine, Minnesota, when the Lakers won the North American Indigenous Games final by a score of 4-1. Legendary Ebb and Flow pitcher Archie McIvor, who continue to throw to this day, hurled a three hitter to beat the state-selected team representing Minnesota. The legacy of those teams continues to this day for Ebb and Flow, where the love of the game lives on.