Halifax and District Baseball League

Dick Gernert

Former Kentville Wildcat, Dick Gernert

The H&D League operated in central Nova Scotia from 1946-59.  The H&D League was formed out of the old Halifax Defense League that operated during World War Two and was said to have hosted the best baseball in Canada, outside of AAA (teams in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver) during its operation.  The league consisted of local talent and imported talent from American universities, making it a cross between a semi-pro league (a la the Intercounty League) and a collegiate summer league (like the Cape Cod League).  Some would even compare the H&D to an independent professional league.

More or less, the shift from local/old pros to collegians occurred in 1955-56 when the league became one of the, if not the best east coast based summer league for college players.  But the league still maintained a minimal amount of locals and old pros.  It is hard to classify where the league would have fitted into professional baseball as some players were just out of high school, others were in college, others were old pros.  The talent of the players was said to have ranged from Class D to Class AAA.  Some MLB organizations even had unofficial farm clubs in the H&D League (Red Sox in Liverpool and Phillies with the Halifax Citadels are two examples of this).  But the league remained (technically) semi-pro until the last couple of seasons where it was an amateur organization for college seniors.  To date, the H&D League had more talent than any other league that has operated in the Maritimes.

The Teams:
Dartmouth Arrows 1948-59
Halifax Arrows 1946-47
Halifax Capitals 1948-52
Halifax Cardinals 1953-55
Halifax Citadels 1956
Halifax Red Sox 1959
Halifax Shipyards 1946-50
Halifax United Service 1946
Kentville Wildcats 1948-59
Liverpool Larrupers 1947-56
Middleton Cardinals 1947-49
Stellarton Albions 1950-58
Truro Bearcats 1946, 1950-59

Champions:
1946: Truro Bearcats
1947: Halifax Arrows
1948: Halifax Capitals
1949: Dartmouth Arrows
1950: Dartmouth Arrows
1951: Stellarton Albions
1952: Stellarton Albions
1953: Stellarton Albions
1954: Halifax Cardinals
1955: Liverpool Larrupers
1956: Dartmouth Arrows
1957: Kentville Wildcats
1958: Truro Bearcats
1959: Dartmouth Arrows

All-Star Game(s):
1950: Imports 5, Locals 4
* Other games were played but the results are unavailable

Major Leaguers Who Played in the H&DBL:
The H&D League would produce over 40 Major Leaguers, some of which enjoyed long Major League careers.  Here is a (partial?) list of those who made it to the Major Leagues:
(note: all players are linked to their Major League profile at Baseball Reference)

  1. Gair Allie, SS/3B, Stellarton, 1951 – Pittsburgh Pirates, 1954
  2. John Anderson, SS/3B, Stellarton, 1954 – Philadelphia Phillies, 1958; Baltimore Orioles, 1960; St. Louis Cardinals, 1962; Houston Colt .45’s, 1962
  3. Jim Bailey, P, ? – Cincinnati Redlegs, 1959
  4. John “Zeke” Bella, OF, Dartmouth, 1949-50, 1954 – New York Yankees, 1957; Kansas City Athletics, 1959
  5. Tom Carroll, SS/3B, Halifax Cardinals, 1954 – New York Yankees, 1955-56; Kansas City Athletics, 1959
  6. Art Ceccarelli, P, Kentville, 1947-48 – Kansas City Athletics, 1955-56; Baltimore Orioles, 1957; Chicago Cubs, 1959-60
  7. Ty Cline, CF/1B, Dartmouth, 1958 – Cleveland Indians, 1960-62; Milwaukee Braves, 1963-65; Chicago Cubs, 1966; Atlanta Braves, 1966-67; San Francisco Giants, 1967-68; Montreal Expos, 1969-70; Cincinnati Reds, 1970-71
  8. Ed Connolly, P, Halifax, 1959 – Boston Red Sox, 1964; Cleveland Indians, 1967
  9. Bob Davis, P, Halifax Cardinals, 1954 – Kansas City Athletics, 1958, 1960
  10. Moe Drabowsky, P, Truro, 1955-56 – Chicago Cubs, 1956-60; Milwaukee Braves, 1961; Cincinnati Reds, 1962; Kansas City Athletics, 1962-65; Baltimore Orioles, 1966-68, 1970; Kansas City Royals, 1969-70; St. Louis Cardinals, 1971-72; Chicago White Sox, 1972
  11. Lee Elia, SS, Kentville, 1958 – Chicago White Sox, 1966; Chicago Cubs, 1968
  12. Tom Gastall, C, Liverpool, 1953-54 – Baltimore Orioles, 1955-56
  13. Johnny Gee, P, Truro, 1954 – Pittsburgh Pirates, 1939, 1941, 1943-44; New York Giants, 1944-46
  14. Dick Gernert, 1B/LF, Kentville, 1948-49 – Boston Red Sox, 1952-59; Chicago Cubs, 1960; Detroit Tigers, 1960-61; Cincinnati Reds 1961; Houston Colt .45s, 1962
  15. Norm Gigon, 2B/RF, Kentville, 1958 – Chicago Cubs, 1967
  16. Purnal Goldy, RF, ? – Detroit Tigers, 1962-63
  17. Dick Groat, SS, Stellarton, 1952 – Pittsburgh Pirates, 1952, 1955-62; St. Louis Cardinals, 1963-65; Philadelphia Phillies, 1966-67; San Francisco Giants, 1967 (DID NOT PLAY IN H&D LEAGUE, signed MLB contract instead)
  18. Vern Handrahan, P, Stellarton, 1958 – Kansas City Athletics, 1964, 1966
  19. Jim Hannan, P, Stellarton, 1958 – Washington Senators, 1962-70; Detroit Tigers, 1971; Milwaukee Brewers, 1971
  20. Deacon Jones, 1B, Truro, 1954 – Chicago White Sox, 1962-63, 1966
  21. Steve Korcheck, C, Kentville, 1953 – Washington Senators, 1954-55, 1958-59
  22. Jack Kubiszyn, SS/3B, Kentville, 1955-57 – Cleveland Indians, 1961-62
  23. Jack Lamabe, P, Stellarton, 1955 – Pittsburgh Pirates, 1962; Boston Red Sox, 1963-65; Houston Astros, 1965; Chicago White Sox, 1966-67; New York Mets, 1967; St. Louis Cardinals, 1967; Chicago Cubs 1968
  24. Ralph Lumenti, P, Truro, 1957 – Washington Senators, 1957-59
  25. Ken MacKenzie, P, Truro, 1956 – Milwaukee Braves, 1960-62; New York Mets, 1963; St. Louis Cardinals, 1963; San Francisco Giants, 1964; Houston Astros, 1965
  26. Gordon Massa, C, ? – Chicago Cubs, 1957-58
  27. Moe Morhardt, 1B,  Stellarton?, 1958 – Chicago Cubs, 1961-62
  28. Danny Murphy, P/OF, Truro, 1959 – Chicago Cubs, 1960-62; Chicago White Sox, 1969-70
  29. Bill Oster, P, Liverpool, 1953 – Philadelphia Athletics, 1954
  30. Sonny Senerchia, 3B, Middleton, 1948 – Pittsburgh Pirates, 1952
  31. Al Spanger, OF, Halifax Cardinals, 1952-53 – Milwaukee Braves, 1959-61; Houston Colt .45’s, 1962-65; California Angels, 1965-66; Chicago Cubs, 1967-71
  32. Rollie Sheldon, P, ?, 1959 – New York Yankees, 1961-62, 1964-65; Kansas City Athletics, 1965-66; Boston Red Sox, 1966
  33. Dave Stenhouse, P, Kentville, 1953 – Washington Senators, 1962-64
  34. Hal Stowe, P, Halifax, 1958 – New York Yankees, 1960
  35. Art “Red” Swanson, P, Liverpool, 1954 – Pittsburgh Pirates, 1955-57
  36. Dale Willis, P, ? – Kansas City Athletics, 1963

[added Winter 2016]
The Ballparks:
Dartmouth: Arrows Ball Park (aka Little Brooklyn)
Halifax: Wanderer’s Grounds
Kentville: Memorial Park
Liverpool: Liverpool Ball Park
Middleton:
Stellarton: Albion Field
Truro:

[added December 2016]
League Lineup Each Season:
1946: Halifax Arrows, Halifax United Service, Halifax Shipyards & Truro Bearcats
1947: Halifax Arrows, Halifax Shipyards, Liverpool Larrupers & Middleton Cardinals
1948: Dartmouth Arrows, Halifax Shipyards, Halifax Capitals, Kentville Wildcats, Liverpool Larrupers & Middleton Cardinals
1949: Dartmouth Arrows, Halifax Shipyards, Halifax Capitals, Kentville Wildcats, Liverpool Larrupers & Middleton Cardinals
1950: Dartmouth Arrows, Halifax Shipyards, Halifax Capitals, Kentville Wildcats, Liverpool Larrupers, Stellarton Albions & Truro Bearcats
1951: Dartmouth Arrows, Halifax Capitals, Kentville Wildcats, Liverpool Larrupers, Stellarton Albions & Truro Bearcats
1952: Dartmouth Arrows, Halifax Capitals, Kentville Wildcats, Liverpool Larrupers, Stellarton Albions & Truro Bearcats
1953: Dartmouth Arrows, Halifax Cardinals, Kentville Wildcats, Liverpool Larrupers, Stellarton Albions & Truro Bearcats
1954: Dartmouth Arrows, Halifax Cardinals, Kentville Wildcats, Liverpool Larrupers, Stellarton Albions & Truro Bearcats
1955: Dartmouth Arrows, Halifax Cardinals, Kentville Wildcats, Liverpool Larrupers, Stellarton Albions & Truro Bearcats
1956: Dartmouth Arrows, Halifax Citadels, Kentville Wildcats, Liverpool Larrupers, Stellarton Albions & Truo Bearcats
1957: Dartmouth Arrows, Kentville Wildcats, Stellarton Albions & Truro Bearcats
1958: Dartmouth Arrows, Kentville Wildcats, Stellarton Albions & Truro Bearcats
1959: Dartmouth Arrows, Halifax Red Sox, Kentville Wildcats & Stellarton Albions

An excellent resource on the H&D put together by the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame:

H&D League

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3 Responses to Halifax and District Baseball League

  1. Colin Howell says:

    In addition to the H&D League there were a number of other leagues in the region during the 40s and 50s, including the Central League with teams in Westville, Springhill, Moncton and Amherst, the South Shore League in Nova Scotia and summer leagues in New Brunswick with teams in Black’s Harbour, Presque Isle, Edmunston, Grand Falls, as well as Saint John and Marysville. Adding to your list of major leaguers in the H&D League, Ron Perranoski, Mike Roarke, Angelo Dagres, Hal Smith, Jim McManus, Johnny Gee, Billy Harris and Charley Lau all played in NB, and Billy Spanswick played for Clark’s Harbour. Ed Connolly played for Halifax in 1959.

  2. Don MacLeod played for the Liverpool Larrapers in the H&D League and went on to pitch for Milwaukee when they were still the Braves. His info is in the PEI Sports Hall of Fame.

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