Sask. Baseball Hall of Fame inductees include an entire family and a club

The history of baseball in Saskatchewan is being celebrated in North Battleford. This year, two inductees to the Hall are the Woodard family and the Hohenlohe Baseball Club.

The Baseball Hall of Fame says the game is an integral part of Saskatchewan's history

The Woodard family is being inducted into the Hall of Fame for their century long tradition of hosting baseball tournaments and playing the game. (Submitted)

The Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame has been around since 1983 and its yearly inductions have become a provincial tradition. 

Jane Shury is president of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. She said the reason baseball is recognized the way it is in the province is because it was an integral part of early Saskatchewan life.

"These people need to be acknowledged because of the role baseball played in the development of the province," Shury told CBC's Shauna Power, host of Saskatchewan Weekend

Each and every town and community would have a diamond or a field where people could play ball. But as times changed, and other sports came and went, Shury said she was nervous that the list of nominees might dry up. She is pleased that for this year, that was not the case. 

"As time goes on we keep getting good nominations," said Shury. "The stories are absolutely wonderful."

People getting together to play baseball, have fun and socialize is the unifying thread of many of the stories she comes across. 

For the Woodard family, their induction has been 100 years in the making. The family started playing baseball in Saskatchewan back in 1903 and little did they know they would be be starting a family tradition that would extend into the next century.

In North Battleford, the entire Woodard family is being inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame.
Laurence Woodard will be there — he started playing baseball in the 1950's.
Laurence Woodard pitched his final game at 56 and hopes his family continues to play ball for a long time. (Submitted)

"It is quite an honour," said Woodard. "My son is still playing, it's really quite an honour."

Woodard started playing baseball when he was 13, and by his own admission kept the bench warm for the early days of his baseball playing career. 

The family lived in the Weyburn and Colgate area and for years there was a baseball game just about every Sunday. Woodard said people would come from all around to play.

"There's several times that all the personnel on the field were Woodards, including my oldest cousin who was the umpire," Woodard said.

The tradition has been passed down to his children and his grandchildren.

The Hohenlohe Baseball Club was also inducted this year. The club started in the Hohenlohe school district, since there was an abundance of players but a shortage of teams. 

For those wondering, the Hohenlohe school district was in and around Langenburg. As such, several people from the area will be driving west on Highway 16 towards North Battleford for the ceremony. In fact, Shury said it's set to be the most attended induction yet.

"We have a 103 people from across Canada, from England, that are attending this induction," said Shury, who added that many of the players haven't seen each other in years. 

With files from Saskatchewan Weekend