Algies and Baseball

exerpt from From Rattlesnake Hunts to Hockey
by Perkins Bull, 1934

Alton became the county’s next baseball centre for many years. From 1893 to 1907, Alton’s Aetna team was considered to be one of the outstanding nines in the province, and to compare favourably with clubs from Toronto, London and Hamilton.

The first competition of which we have record was played at Erin. Alton won by a close score. Year by year Alton’s fame spread about Ontario, and in 1893 the club was invited to play the town nine at the Railroad Conductors’ Picnic in Owen Sound. The home club had imported a crack pitcher and catcher from London for the occasion, but the Aetnas were victorious.

Occasionally, when inter-village feelings ran high, there were battles royal among spectators. At other times fist-fights occurred between players. On 1st July, 1901, for example, Hillsburg was playing in Alton and using a Toronto pitcher imported for the contest. In the heat of the fray a visiting player, incensed at a decision of the umpire, threw an orange skin at him, and was the most surprised young man on the field when he received a solid blow on the jaw for his pains. Donnybrook ensued. The villagers fell in behind their teams, and free-for-all fighting began, lasting for some time and bringing the day’s baseball to a sparkling close. The village constable attempted to arrest the umpire, but that worthy escaped up the railroad track and was seen no more.

The team which defeated Owen Sound and which was the village’s great nine of the nineties was composed of Bert Rowcliffe, catcher; Pat Sexton, pitcher; Robert Algie, first base; William Jago, second base; William Hawkins, third base; Thomas Meek, shortstop; Jack Gilson, right field; Thomas Saunders, centre field and Joseph Palmer, left field.

Everton Barber, Jack Gibbs, William Algie, Angus Crawford, Wylie Houston, Louis Lemon, James Algie, Jim Dick, William Nealy, and Joseph Palmer were guardians of the village’s diamond honour in the early days of the twentieth century. Robert Algie managed the nine in those days, with Will Bowers as secretary and Orion Barber as the club mascot.

Perkins Bull, 1870-1948

from From Rattlesnake Hunt to Hockey : the History of sports in Canada and the sportsmen of Peel, 1798 to 1934 , Toronto : The Perkins Bull Foundation, 1934