History repeating itself? PBL 1956-81

Often you hear of people saying, “We can learn from the past because history repeats itself.”

Well in the case of the Powerline Baseball League, this hits close to home. League treasurer Mike Leclaire received a minute book from past meetings dating back to 1956. He took time to pull out some of the highlights of each of the meetings all the way up to 1981.

Surprisingly, despite some lower costs of league entry, and a few odd things like “Championship Crests,” it’s obvious today’s debates and decisions are nothing new. From playoff formats, roster rules and whether or not to be affiliated with Baseball Alberta, they’ve reared their ugly heads time and time again.

Here’s a look back at what Leclaire found in his “little black book” of sorts.


  • The league fee was $4.
  • No Import player rule was adopted.
  • Teams were to hand lineup cards to the opposition at the end of every game to keep track of players.


  • Tuesday and Thursday ball was adopted with 6:30 start times


  • The league fee was raised to $15 and the championship team would be awarded $30.
  • An 18 man roster was to be handed in after the 3rd league game and the managers of each team may alter 3 players at the end of regular season.
  • The 3 game series playoff format.
  • ½ hour grace period for the start of league games, if a team could not field a team by 7pm they’d forfeit.
  • Hme team supplies the home plate ump and the visiting team supplies base ump.
  • Playoff semi final games teams have to pick neutral umps. The playoff final games umps would come from outside the league.


  • Games were moved to 7pm start time.
  • Protest rule brought in – protest must be made within 48 hours accompanied with a $5 fee.
  • Rule was brought in that if tied at the end of a playoff game, the game would be a wash and the 2 teams would decide the date of the next game and it would be played on the second place teams diamond (other teams diamond).
  • Fees reduced from $15 to $10 – $30 paid out to championship team as well as crests. Also league fees were due after the 3rd league game due to teams not paying previous years.


  • The 3 game rule took place – players must play 3 games in order to qualify for playoff games.
  • Any player who is a member of another ball club cannot play in the league or playoffs.
  • Umpire fees are to be $5.


  • Home team pays for base umps in finals and the league pays for home plate ump.


  • Fees raised to $12.50
  • The league would supply 6 balls to the championship team after the completed series


  • New playoff format 1 plays 4 and 2 plays 3.
  • If a tie was to happen in the standings a sudden death game would be held at a neutral site, the gate would be split with both teams and the umpires would be supplied by the league.


  • League to supply the balls for the finals only.
  • Start time would be 6:30pm no later than 7pm.
  • Special Meeting – players that play in other leagues may play in the PBL if they reside in the community or his occupation is within the participating community. But pitchers that play in other leagues may NOT play in the PBL.


  • Playoffs have to follow the Tuesday Thursday schedule.


  • Camrose Roadrunners enter the league.
  • Players can only participate on 1 team only, if picking up players from other teams they must sign a release form and may not play with any other team.
  • Fees raised to $15.


  • Championship crests cost $30.
  • Admission for all games would be standard – 50 cents for over 12 and 12 & under free.
  • Runs for and against were brought in to break ties in league standing only.
  • Alberta Baseball Insurance issues were brought up no action taken.


  • PBL decided not to join Alberta Baseball – no benefit.
  • League fees raised to $25.


  • 9 inning games to be played.
  • League fees raised to $45.


  • Fees were lowered to $20.


  • Camrose talks about entering 2 teams…………Camrose Road Runners and Camrose Cubs.
  • Tofield and Ryley wish to move league games 7 innings…………the rest of the league wishes to keep 9 innings.
  • 10 run rule after 7 innings.
  • Fees were raised to $30.


  • League games will be 7 innings and playoffs will be 9 innings.

Posted in PBL
  • usually 'little black books' are used for other things (ladies numbers for example) not PBL history.

  • Yeah, but for us married folk, our little black books are filled with baseball notes I guess.

  • it is a little odd that the PBL still follows roster rules from the seventies, when the communities had people in them. Now with these small communities floundering, maybe it is time to allow anyone and all to play with no restrictions? how many forfeits will the league have in 2010 with the 18 man roster?

  • I do not believe that the roster rule was even brought up at the meeting. The teams had there chance to say anything and no one did. So I guess, regardless if there are forfiets or not, we will have to wait until next fall before it may be brought up again.Kris

  • How many forfeits were there in 2009?

  • none that I can think of but I do know that our team needed to call on "emergency players" at least twice to field a team which was allowed under old rules. These were friends of friends who would have never been put on an 18 man roster at the beginning of the season. This year, unless you have incredible psychic powers that allow you to foresee what mystery players you will have to call at the last minute on a random thursday night in late june, you will forfeit the game.

  • To my knowledge there were no forefeits last year. We did discuss the roster rule a little bit informally, and everyone seemed to agree that it was fine. Nobody raised it during the meeting, so we considered it a none issue. Considering the team reps are generally the ones responsible for rounding up players for their teams they should have a pretty good handle on whether or not the rule will cause forefeits. The 3 game rule was a lot more restrictive in terms fielding 9 guys as if you read the rule correctly, your roster was set after 12 games, unless you got an exemption, and I doubt any teams qualified more than 18 guys using that rule. You need to have some sort of roster rule to keep the league fair and legitimate. It would not be good to see a hired gun decide a playoff race.

  • I don't believe there has been a game forfeited in the league in at least five or six years (whenever Chipman was last in the league) and I would doubt very seriously whether bringing in the 18-man roster rule will result in any.If a team really is so short of players that they might have to enlist a dad or a sister, then why not just put some people like that on the roster ?

  • Or teams could put on 'Steve Smith' on the roster and multiple people could use that alias?I think the last forfeit I can remember was with the Ardrossan Steelers had to forfeit because we only had 8 guys and then our pitcher got ejected from the game (once the Brewers got the lead of course). It may be the only time in PBL History that a future husband/wife played a 2 person outfield in league history as my future wife and I had to roam the grassy green. She may have also been the first to play a part of a game in flip flops, however I think that at some point some one would have had done that already.Kris

  • I think the "steve smith" idea is perfect. You can't put the "dad" or the "sister" on the roster because it would be next to impossible to predict whose "dad" or "sister" will be available on the random night that you need an extra person.Also, you don't want to be using up a bunch of roster spots for emergency players like "dads" or "sisters" who you hope you will never have to use. The last few roster spots will be used instead for ringers from the sunburst league who will have never even heard of the PBL but will be eligible for PBL playoffs thanks to this new rule.

  • I am assuming that there has been an incident (circa 1965) that had the PBL adopt the 3 game rule and if you play in one league you can't play in the PBL, but would anyone in the league still do this? Would someone from the Sunburst league actually want to come out and play a couple games in the PBL?The 'Steve Smith' comment was more to say that there is a better chance of players using multiple alias in order to fill out a roster to avoid a forfeit. For example, if we (Ryley) go to Leduc to play and either us or them have 9 (or maybe even 8) guys and the lineup card coincides with the roster on the website then all should be good. But since Ryley and Leduc have only played each for one season, and the teams don't really know each other well other then a couple guys from each team one could simply fill out the roster inorder to play. So what would happen if Ryley or Leduc had a guy that came out to not forfeit and used a name of someone on the roster, but was not there? The likely hood of either team being caught is pretty slim at best. Is it that big of a deal, not really, we should be encouraging that person to come out all the time, especially if they can play or are interested in playing, not limiting their options to play in the PBL. If that guy hits the game winning home run, well then the pitcher should have done a better job. I would be willing to bet that if that 'ringer' came in and went 0 for 5 with 5 K's then the other team would say it is no big deal we won anyways, having to forfeit is something we did not want them to do. The 'ringer' goes 3 for 5 and contributes to the game, and it would be a huge uproar.My point is that the focus moves away from allowing people to play and for teams to play baseball, which is what I envisioned a 'recreational level' league to want, and the focus turns to not letting people play, or in the best case scenario, making them hoop jump to play baseball.My opinion is that the roster rule may need to be all (handing in roster sheets everygame, team rosters with numbers, games played, each team needs to keep track of their roster and the opponents roster to hand in, etc.) and monitored every game, or it would have to be none (anyone can come out and play for the teams with no restriction and everyone can focus on baseball). I think it is fair to say that the middle of the road (3 game rule) has not worked as there were 2 big incidents in recent years (Rebels and Brewers I think)that have caused huge issues. Perhaps at some future meeting the league and team reps can decide on what the league mission or mandate is exactly? Is it to promote baseball and be all inclusive, or is it to run a well organized league with strict expectations and rules? Obviously it has been a problem since 1956 as we saw that rules were implemented to avoid the ringers and the roster infractions by some (I am assuming that the rules were reactively created and not proactively created).I am sure men's rec or competitive hockey faces the same issues, and as a non-hockey player I do not know how hockey leagues control rosters and find referees, which are 2 issues for the PBL. Perhaps we can take learns from the hockey leagues? There seems to be more leagues thus should be more examples of what works and what doesn't with senior men's sports.So there is my ramble (not quite a vent, just a ramble). I apologize for the length (slow day at the office) but the good news is that baseball is only 51 days away (Armena tournament).Kris

  • Here's the thing,guys. In the end it comes down to a fair amount of honour and honesty.The roster rule is not perfect, but neither was the three-game rule.The roster rule is much simpler and does not require potentially "proving" how many games someone has played (which is really difficult without a league statistician and formally-filed game sheets). Is it open to abuse by teams putting "ringers" on the roster ? Of course. However, if teams have so much trouble finding players that they need to go into the stands to field a team, then why would they fill up roster spots with ringers who wouldn't even be available until the playoffs ? That makes no sense.As Kris says, I doubt there are a lot of players in the Sunburst league itching to make a "star" appearance in the PBL playoffs.At any rate, the roster rule passed unanimously at the fall meeting, and wasn't even questioned at the spring meeting, so obviously the team reps are all willing to give it a try. If it turns out to be a disaster, then I'm sure the league will revise it next year.In the end you rely primarily on the honour of the players and teams, and from what I've seen in this league over the last thirteen years, that is generally pretty reliable.

  • If you can not field a team of 9 players off an 18 man roster then maybe you should look at the individuals on the roster. I understand that work/holidays makes it impossible to be there all the time for the games, but what are the odds that 10 of the 18 players can't make it on the same night. Pete

  • You'd just need 8 of 18 though. Not even 10.

  • Haha yeah i meant with the 10 guys not there, leaving you with only 8 players. But still it shouldnt be that hard to get 8 or 9 of your guys to show up for two nights a week, and if that's an issue then maybe you have to rethink the guys you are putting on your roster. Pete

  • Hey KrisIt looks to me from your post you are ready to play some ball this spring. Baseball practice closer than you think. Today Tuesday March 30 I took a stroll onto the Millet Bantam diamond (unfortunately the biggest one we have in town) and found the outfield to be bone dry. We had big time wind here today. The shale infield is soft but almost dry; three or four days away.I know the Leduc/Millet boys practice here once in a while when they can afford to lose a few old balls in the creek.Anyway it looks to me that this year the teams have 6 weekends before the first tourney to loosen up during the heat of the afternoon if this weather continues. Remember the Trappers opened at home April 7th to 10th in the afternoon.Looking forward to watching some good ballagain this year. Brian