Minor ball set to host 60th anniversary

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BaseballFredby Fred Groves

In 1957, Bill Woltz, Ian MacPherson, Vern Beckner, and Jim MacPherson formed the Essex Minor Baseball Association (EMBA).

That same year, Mayor Elmer Queen took the bonus money he got for being on council and financially helped kick start the organization. EMBA representatives are proud to be celebrating the local baseball association’s 60th anniversary this summer.

“We are going to have floats in the Funfest Parade and on July 15 we will have our 60th celebration,” EMBA President Joe Grondin said.

Baseball fans are going to want to mark that day on their calendar as a couple of sports legends will be in town.

Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Dave Rozema, who won a World Series with the Detroit Tigers in 1984, will provide some tips and sign autographs. He was in the major leagues from 1977 to 1986, and had time with the Texas Rangers as well as the Tigers.

“I’m excited about that. He’s one of my favourites,” Grondin said, who sports a Tigers cap.

There will be a catered dinner on the Essex Centre Sports Complex grounds, and guest speaker is former Essex resident Ralph Mellanby.

A standout multi-sport athlete when he was a student at Essex District High School, Mellanby went on to have a very successful broadcasting career and for many years was the Executive Producer of Hockey Night in Canada.

He is an author and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame.
On July 15, Grondin notes that all 350 players from the EMBA are expected to be hosting a home game.

The diamonds will be busy from 8 a.m. to past 5 p.m.

Besides Rozema giving some pitching tips, and the dinner, there will be a speed radar gun, dunk tank, and maybe a special guest appearance by a famed mascot.

“We hope it’s a nice day and people will come out and have a lot of fun,” Grondin said.

Tim Robson who has been a long-time supporter and executive member of the EMBA got the ball rolling on the 60th celebration. Wayne Nevin, Tim McGuire, and Gord Wright have also lent a hand.

“It’s great to see some of the older guys come back and help us out with this.” Grondin noted.

Nevin has been gathering memorabilia, such as trophies, which will be on display. Many of those are reminders of the numerous provincial championships Essex has won.

“If you look back at the OBAs we’ve won, it’s pretty impressive,” Grondin commented.