Local baseball contributors to be honoured
The 51st running of the prestigious Governor's Plate carries a record purse of $25,000 and features one of the most evenly-matched fields in years.
It is tough to pick a clear-cut favourite in this one, especially with three of the top horses drawing the outside six, seven and eight post positions.
Looking back at the elimination races on Sunday, the top four horses in each $5,000 race finished within a second of each other. All eight Governor’s Plate entries were timed between 1:54:1 and 1:55:2 in the eliminations, which suggests this is a very competitive field.
Other than Charlottetown's Gold Cup and Saucer, the Governor's Plate is the biggest race in Atlantic Canada. It has become the race to win since most of the entries in the Gold Cup and Saucer are from outside our region.
All the region’s best horses are in action as part of Saturday’s 16-dash program that carries a total purse pool of $88,700.
The Governor's Plate consolation, open mares final and the A division three-year-old colts help provide a star-studded night of racing. Big purses, the best horses and a huge crowd make for an exciting night at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway.
It all gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Hopefully, the weather cooperates.
Legends Field Honour Roll
The Legends Field Honour Roll’s seventh annual induction ceremony takes place at Queen Elizabeth Park on Saturday, with four very deserving new members, as well as the 1951 Holman's intermediate baseball team.
The late John Carroll had a huge impact on minor baseball in Summerside during his 12 years as director of minor baseball. If you were a Johnny Carroll pupil, you knew and understood how the game of baseball was played. He was one of the best, if not the best, instructor and director Summerside Minor Baseball has ever had.
Gerard Dalton was a top-notch player on those very good Curran and Briggs teams of the 1950s. Dalton could do it all as one of the best centre-fielders anywhere and consistently hit over .300.
Greg MacDonald and George McNeill are two of Summerside’s best-ever athletes. They were great on the baseball field and even better on the hockey rink.
As far as baseball goes, MacDonald and McNeill were excellent players who could play any position and play it very well. They were both naturals at the sport and had the knowledge and baseball smarts to go with their natural talent.
The Holman's intermediate team was the 1951 P.E.I. champions and finished runner-up in the Maritime championship. They played in the shadows of those strong Curran and Briggs teams and obviously were very strong themselves.
The Honour Roll honours those individuals, teams and organizations from Summerside who have made outstanding contributions as builders, promoters, organizers, players, coaches, managers or volunteers to the sport of baseball.
Congratulations to this year’s inductees.
Major League Baseball has resumed play after the all-star break and fans are in for some great second-half pennant races.
Entering Friday’s play, the National League Central Division has a great race underway with all five teams separated by only 4.5 games. The Chicago Cubs are leading the division, followed by Milwaukee, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
The Atlanta Braves had a six-game lead on Washington in the National League East Division and 6.5 games on Philadelphia.
There should be great races in both divisions, but not so in the National League West as the Los Angeles Dodgers have a whopping 13.5-game lead on Arizona.
In the American League East, the New York Yankees have a 6.5-game lead on Tampa Bay and a nine-game lead on Boston. Although the Red Sox have a lot of ground to make up on New York, don't count out the defending World Series champions.
The second place Tampa Bay Rays will not go away and this is one division to watch in the second half.
The Cleveland Indians have closed to within 5.5 games of the American League Central Division-leading Minnesota Twins, who were baseball’s surprise team in the first half.
The Houston Astros have a seven- and eight-game lead on Oakland and Texas, respectively, and the 2017 World Series champions are just too good not to win that division.
With a lot of teams still in contention, it should make for an interesting lead up to the trade deadline later this month.
It is looking like a seller’s market for those teams looking to rebuild. or continue on with their rebuild. That would include the Toronto Blue Jays.
Greg Johnson died this week of heart complications at the young age of 48. Locals will remember Johnson as a young 18-year-old when he led his hometown Thunder Bay Flyers to the 1989 Centennial Cup Canadian junior A hockey championship in Summerside. The Flyers defeated the Summerside Western Capitals 4-1 in the final.
Johnson was drafted in the second round, 33rd overall, by the Philadelphia Flyers the following month. He went on to play 785 NHL games with Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Nashville and recorded 369 points, including 145 goals.
Thirty years ago today – July 13, 1989 – Working Overtime won the Governor's Plate in a track-record time of 1:58:3.
It was the first year of the Guardian newspaper’s sponsorship and carried a record purse of $7,500.
The total wager on that Governor's Plate program was $75,200.
Have a great week!
Joe MacIntyre is a local life insurance broker. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.