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History Print

History of the League Year       

The creation of an adult men's competitive/recreational hardball league originated in a letter from Fred Thompson to Parks and Recreation, Guelph, on December 5, 1991 requesting the use of baseball diamonds for 1992 season. The league was originally organized to give graduates of GMBA and others, the opportunity to play competitive baseball. Prior to this point in history there was no local league after Midget.            

Inaugural meeting was held on April 2, 1992. Present were Fred Thompson, Brad DiCarlo, Doug Thomas, John Benvie (President of GMBA), and Terry Drake.

The schedule was set out, league rules determined, and costs agreed upon. It was agreed that the league would operate as a non-profit organization with player's fees being used to supply equipment, umpires, and diamond bookings.

All umpires were assigned through the Guelph Minor Baseball Umpires Association.

GMBA's support in lending startup money to purchase equipment to start the season was much appreciated.

 

1992 Inaugural season:  

Portly Penguin - run by Doug Thomas Glegg Water Conditioning - run by Steve Vivian Cagney's - run by Chris Kerr Forum Sport - run by Dave Miller, Donato DiBucchianico.

The first ever games for the league were played on Sunday, May 3, 1992 at ABB and Joe Kaine diamonds. Games were 7 innings, and a pitcher could only pitch a maximum of four innings in any one game. A total of 16 regular season games plus playoffs where played that season. League games were played Sunday evenings. The Portly Penguin won the championship and the Forum Sport trophy.

1993 Season:            

League expanded to six teams.                

Finals were played at Hastings Stadium and the championship was won by Boomers.

1994 season:         

League began the season with eight teams. However, one team was unsuccessful in completing the season.  The championship trophy was re-named The Royal City Baseball League Trophy.

Finals were played at Hastings Stadium and the championship was won by East Side Marios

1995 Season:            

Eight teams started the season and began playing twice a week               

Games were played Sunday evenings and Wednesday evenings, with Wednesday's games being played at the double diamonds at Riverside Park. The four-inning rule for pitchers was removed and pitchers were allowed to pitch a complete game. Finals were played at Hastings Stadium with Wally's Blues winning the championship.

1996 season:         

A total of eight teams played at Riverside Park and Joe Kaine on Sundays, and Riverside Park on Wednesday's. The season was 24 games plus playoffs. Finals were played at Hastings Stadium with Wally's Blues winning their second straight championship.

1997 Season:            

Returned to six teams due to lack of volunteers to organize teams.        

Each team played 20 games with all teams making the playoffs. Finals were played at Hastings Stadium with Pidel/Trasheteria winning the championship.

1998 Season:            

Again six teams participated (20 games, plus playoffs) with the finals being played at Hastings Stadium. The championship was won for the second straight year by Pidel/Red Devils.

1999 Season:            

Six teams participated in 20 games plus playoffs with the finals being played at Hastings Stadium. Championship was won for a third straight year by Pidel/Red Devils.

2000 Season:            

Six teams participated in 20 games plus playoffs with the finals being played at Hastings Stadium. The Blues won the championship beating out the 3 -time defending champions Pidel/Red Devils.

2001 Season:            

League dropped to 5 teams who participated in a 22 game season. All semi-finals and finals series were played at Hastings Stadium. This year also marked the first time RCBL teams saw inter-league action against teams from the Tri-Cities league based out of Kitchener/Cambridge. Each team played 1 game against each team in the other league. A successful all-star game was also organized between the RCBL and Tri-Cities league.

The Shakespeare Arms won their first ever championship since joining the league beating out the regular season pennant winners Jesse's Coyotes.

2002 Season:            

For the first time since the 1993 season, the RCBL played out 2002 with only 4 teams. Inter-league play fell through at the last minute and officials were left scrambling to devise a schedule the saw each team play one another an astounding 7 times in the regular season.

All games were played at Riverside and University Village Park on various nights of the week, with the playoffs being held at Hastings Stadium.

Following a dogfight with the Blues for first place, 2002 saw the Coyotes defeat their rivals to bring home their first ever Fred Thompson Trophy as RCBL champions.

2003 Season:            

Following an offseason filled with turmoil, the RCBL broke from the gates with all guns blazing, having added 2 new teams in the process. The Yellowjackets and the Dirt Bags made their league debuts in 2003 to varying degrees of success.

With the re-introduction of interleague with Tri-Cities, you could feel the league getting stronger. Also, making a debut was the new Larry Pearson Baseball Complex (LPP) which was met by rave reviews from all concerned.

In the end, the Squirrel Tooth Blues experienced a role reversal from last year as, not only did they win the regular season pennant but also defeated the Coyotes 3 games to 1 in the finals to reclaim the Fred Thompson Trophy as RCBL champions.

2004 Season:            

Building on the success of 2003, the RCBL made substantial gains in 2004, starting with the addition of 2 new teams. The Cougars and the Young Guns who both enjoyed a modicum of success, as well as a playoff berth in their inaugural seasons.                

The 21-game season began with the Arms winning 9 straight and ended with the Blues' record 16-game winning streak. The Blues successfully defended their title en route to their 5th championship and 2nd straight.

2005 Season:            

Riding the momentum from 2004, the Royal City Baseball League looked to capitalize in 2005. A minor setback saw the Coyotes fold, leaving only the Blues and Arms and only 3 players (Todd Ashley-Blues, Brad Clugston-Arms, & Steve Vivian-Arms) from the inaugural season.

Said loss, however, was tempered by the addition of the Diablo Black Sox, setting league membership at 8 teams for the second year in a row. As well, the RCBL ran an experiment of utilizing wood bats for 7 games during the regular season...Something that was met with mixed reactions.          

Following a 20 game regular season schedule, the Blues pulled off another incredible 16-game winning streak, and defeated the Dirt Bags in the finals to win their third straight and 6th league championship overall.

The first Willard French Award was given to the RCBL Final MVP. Angelo Muto is the inaugural winner of the award.

2006 Season:            

The 15th RCBL season began with the folding of the Cougars, but it was a pleasure to have league founder Fred Thompson throwing out the first pitch for game one.

Regardless, the executive revamped the schedule to accommodate 7 teams and play continued.

With improvement shown from top to bottom, the RCBL played a schedule of 19 games, all played at the Pearson Complex, and throughout much of the season, places one through four were separated by mere percentage points. In the end, the Dirt Bags finally came through with their first  1st place finish, and the chance for a bye through the first round.

Guelph hosted the Canadian Junior Championships, extending the RCBL playoffs and forcing the first place Dirt Bags to wait a month before playing their second round matchup, sapping some momentum.

On a sad note, Guelph baseball booster Billy Craven passed away just weeks prior to the tournament, inspiring the RCBL to create the Billy Craven Memorial Award for league MVP. Blues CF Ben Robinson was the first recipient as voted by the league.

Back to the action on the field, the Dirt Bags took their semi final series vs. the Arms 3 games to 1 while the defending champion Blues needed 5 games to dispatch the upstart Young Guns team, setting up a rematch from the 2005 final series.

The 2006 final series was one for the ages, going 5 games (and finishing in MID-OCTOBER) with all but the second game ending in the victorious team's last at bat. In the end, the Blues managed to squeak out the victory and win the series 3 games to 2, winning their league record 4th consecutive RCBL title. The Willard French Memorial Award for playoff MVP went to Dirt Bags starting pitcher Ryan Pembleton, who gutted out strong performance after the other during the championship final.

2007 Season:         

Following a season in which the Cougars folded at the eleventh hour leaving the league with 7 teams, hope was on the horizon in the form of the Brewers. A rag-tag, yet upstart group of players signed up through rcbl.ca who managed to come together as a group and, once they found their footing, were able to put together a solid, if not necessarily successful inaugural campaign. The addition of the Brewers once again brought the league back to 8 teams.

In terms of play, the Young Guns shattered the record for longest winning streak and lost only 2 games through the regular season and the first round of the playoffs in finishing first and claiming their first league pennant. In helping lead his team to the top of the pack, Young Guns SS Mike Durigon was recognized by his peers and took home the Billy Craven Memorial Trophy as league MVP.

This was not to be enough however, as the Dirt Bags, league finalists 2 years running, finally threw the monkey off their back by defeating the defending champion Blues in a back and forth semi final, negating the chance for 5 Blues titles in a row en route to defeating the Young Guns in a thrilling 5 game series and winning the first Fred Thompson trophy in Dirt Bags history. In helping to lead his team to the title, Dirt Bags OF/P Brandon Buck was awarded the Willard French Memorial Trophy as playoff MVP.

2008 Season:

After a season that saw them only lose twice, The Young Guns would do it all over again, finishing with an impressive 18-2 regular season record. As many know in the RCBL, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, and the Former Champions weren’t about to roll over and give the crown to the Young Guns. The Dirt Bags would stun the Young Guns and capture their second consecutive RCBL Title.

2009 Season:

In 2009, The Padres rebranded to The Cubs, and the League welcomed a new team, The Brewjays  (of simply The Jays)  which featured a young team with great potential.

2009 began a changing of the tide for the Shakespeare Arms. After catcher Cameron Toth was released by the Dirt Bags following the 2007 season, The Arms had made a successful waiver claim on the talented catcher and Toth began recruiting for an Arms team that was often short bodies.

With the addition of P Kyle Stirling, 3B Richard Horne and LF David Aubrey, the Arms finished atop the regular season standings for the first time in league history.

After a seesaw rematch of the 2008 finals, the Young Guns eliminated the Dirt Bags in the second round in a thrilling 5th and deciding game. The Finals were set, The Young Guns vs. The Shakespeare Arms.

In a series that displayed exceptional pitching performances from both the Arms Kyle Stirling and the Guns Adam Boyle, the Finals would ultimately be decided by a 7th game. After trailing 4-2 with the bases loaded in the bottom the 7th inning, Cam Toth came to the plate with 2 outs. After batting to try and even the count, Toth lined an Adam Boyle 2-2 fastball to the left-center field wall, clearing the bases on a close play at home to secure the Championship for the Arms, their first since 2001.

Without question, Cam Toth was awarded the Playoff MVP Award for his game-ending walkoff double.

2010 Season:

In 2010, the struggling Yellowjackets called it quits, but the league was met by the addition of The Rockies (later the Philthys) led by Corey Fischer.

After a strong regular season from the Shakespeare Arms and The Blues and The Jays, the second round would see a rematch of the 2009 Finals. Although the perennial powerhouse Young Guns had struggled throughout the regular season, they had been saving their best play for the playoffs. The Young Guns slugged their way to a 3-1 series win, to eliminate the reigning Champions.

The other series saw a hard fought battled between The Blues and The Dirtbags. After coming back to tie the series at 2-2, the elimination game saw a gutty performance from Blues lefty Phil Villhauer, taking the Blues back to the finals for the first time since 2005.

Although the Blues had battled to return to the Finals, they were met by a Young Guns team high on confidence. Their terror continued, slugging their way to a 4 game sweep of the Blues and finally getting the monkey off their backs. After capturing his first regular season MVP trophy, Erik Vallesi would also capture the Playoff MVP award for his efforts. This was the first and only time in league history where a player has captured the regular season MVP, the Playoff MVP and the RCBL Championship Trophy.

2011 Season:

The Dusters went through a re-branding to become the Hornets… but that wouldn’t last long.

Although many might have viewed the new Gentlemen team as the old Dirt Bags, they had 2 significant additions to their team. Lefty brothers Craig & Andrew Fairful and Giant 3B/C Mark Allen (Who was known for hitting popflys into orbit on occasion). The Gentlemen also brought back speedy CF Andrew "Boomer" Rosenboom who would help shore up their talented outfield alongside LF Dan "Coatsy" Coates.

The Finals would see the Gentlemen take on the Young Guns, and although the Guns bats had been hot all season, they were met in the finals by the tandem of Gentlemen Pitchers, Craig Fairful and Jason Muller. The Gentlemen would capture the Fred Thompson Championship Trophy and Muller and Fairful would share the Willard French Playoff MVP Award.

2012 Season

With some changes to the league, the Hornets would fold, leading to the expansion of The Buccaneers.

After a year of mixed success and a few players moving on, The Arms made some key additions to their roster add brother Graeme and Trentt Copeland to their roster. Their addition, along with 1B Brendan Higgins ridiculous season that saw him capture the regular season MVP with a .713 batting average would prove exceptionally valuable.

The Arms finished with one of the most successful seasons in RCBL History finishing with an 18-2 record and sweeping their way through the playoffs on route to the clubs 3rd Championship.

2013 Season

After starting the season with a 3-2-1 record, The Arms would figure things out, finishing the regular season on a 15 game winning streak and sweeping all 9 finals games to capture their second consecutive RCBL Championship.

2014 Season

The 2014 offseason was quite busy with news that the Young Guns and the Gentlemen would be merging to form the new Outlaws powerhouse. The league was also met by the addition of The Athletics after a separation of sides from The Indians. Even with an impressive 15-5 regular season record, The Gentlemen finished second to The Arms who would finish with a 17-3 record.

The Arms began the season on a 10 game winning streak before losing, ending a 2 season 34 game winning streak – the longest in RCBL History.

The Outlaws would meet the Arms in the finals and the Arms would prevail, their 3rd championship in as many years.

 

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