Most hockey players have always been big baseball fans. In the old days, they probably loved playing it even more than golf! And because hockey players are usually athletic in many ways, they are usually great ball players too. Doug Harvey, for example, could’ve played some level of pro. Later on, Larry Robinson was a long-ball hitting centerfielder with the highly-ranked Turpin Pontiac fastball team in Ottawa.
In these 1950′s photos gleaned from my old scrapbook, Marcel Bonin, Maurice Richard, and Jean-Guy Talbot might be discussing what to do with a man on first and third with nobody out. In the other photos, Jacques Plante and Dollard St. Laurent prepare to hit the long ball.
The Canadiens players barnstormed throughout Quebec and eastern Ontario in the summers, playing charity games that were always big hits. And the Rocket, in this photo, was in his second from last season with the Habs and his weight had ballooned to well over 200. In the the prime of his career, his playing weight was 185.
So baseball, which the Rocket loved, was also a way to fight the battle of the bulge. But he never did get back to 185 and in 1960, the Babe Ruth of hockey retired.
This is my old scrapbook. My dad and I started it in about 1957 and I stopped it in the early to mid 1960′s when my teenage hormones took over and girls and music came into my life. My dad was a sign painter and he painted the cover.