Edmonton International Baseball Foundation
LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING AHEAD
How time and experience can change things. In the 2000 World Junior in Edmonton, The Netherlands was the dominant entry from Europe, with Russia finishing in last place in the 12-country competition. But in the recent European Championship, Italy qualified by edging Russia 4-2 in the gold medal game, while The Netherlands had to battle hard to overcome the Czech Republic 3-1 for the bronze.
While the four finalists qualified to play in Edmonton, it was obvious that parity and the quality of play has drastically improved in Europe.
The power-laden U.S.A. team, with a host of eventual major leaguers, was expected to tangle with Cuba in the 2000 championship final in Edmonton. But South Korea and an exceptional left-handed pitcher named Shin-Soo Choo threw a monkey wrench into the predictions.
With Choo on the mound, the Koreans captured the gold with a 9-7 thirteen-inning thriller over the Americans in a four-hours and 23 minute marathon at Telus Field that saw Korean overcome an early 4-0 U.S. lead.
Choo was signed by the Seattle Mariners at the conclusion of the game for a fat bonus, and was later converted into a quality outfielder, a position he holds today with the Cleveland Indians.
A raft of Americans on the 2000 team became major league stars,including Jeremy Bonderman, J.J. Hardy, Brandon League, Zack Segovia and Joe Maurer, who won the 2006 Batting Title with Minnesota Twins in the American League.
MESSAGE FROM RON HAYTER, CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF GOVERNORS EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL BASEBALL FOUNDATION
They say time passes quickly when you’re having fun. Our not-for-profit organization could say the same about the honor of organizing seven international baseball competitions, including the current IBAF World Junior AAAA Junior Championship. Our aim over the past 28 years has been to enhance the sport’s popularity and create opportunities for the youth of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and, yes, the world to play baseball.
A long line-up of outstanding international players have performed on our diamonds during that time, many becoming major league stars, leaving behind many wonderful memories.
There have been ups and downs such as boycotts and bad weather but these challenges simply strengthened our resolve and that of the participating teams.
Not only have we brought exciting baseball competitions to our city and province, but the E.I.B.F. has contributed significant funds to the development of the sport, especially at the minor levels. We have contributed to the construction and upgrading of playing facilities and instituted a scholarship program to assist Alberta players, both male and female, to pursue post-secondary education.
But we haven’t done it by ourselves. We salute the volunteers and sponsors, including the three orders of government, who have been strong contributors to this success story. And we thank the fans for supporting the thrill of international baseball.
SPECIAL TO THE MORINVILLE MIRROR
Bon Accord resident and long-time baseball enthusiast Hugh Allen has been appointed a member of the International Technical Commission for the IBAF World Junior AAA Baseball Championship in Edmonton and St. Albert.
The 12-country event, featuring 46 games, is set for July 25 to August 3, with national teams representing Cuba, Puerto Rico, the United States, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), South Korea, Russia, The Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, Australia, Czech Republic and Canada.
This marks the third time Allen has served in this capacity, having been a technical official for the World Junior in 2000 and the World Cup of Women’s Baseball in 2004. The Commission oversees the conduct of the tournament and ensures that the rules and regulations are enforced.
His appointment was recommended by Baseball Canada and the Edmonton International Baseball Foundation, host of this major international competition, and endorsed by the International Baseball Federation.
Allen was the 2004 recipient of the E.I.B.F. / Bill Chmiliar Award of Merit, the top individual award in baseball in Alberta.
July 3, 2008
CANADA FIELDING STRONG TEAM
Baseball Canada strongly believes that its entry in the 2008 World Junior AAA championship will be arguably Canada’s strongest team in the tournament’s history
“ We feel we’re a strong medal contender and we’d like nothing better than to capture the gold on home soil,” said Greg Hamilton, Head Coach and Director of National Teams for Baseball Canada.
This year’s edition of the Canadian National Junior Team will attempt to put themselves on the same pedestal as the 1991 squad in hopes of becoming only the second Canadian baseball team to win hold at any international event.
The lone gold came in 1991 on home turf in Brandon, Manitoba. That team featured Stubby Clapp and Jason Dickson who would go on to have stints in the Major Leagues.
Canada has won five bronze medals to go with its gold since the world junior championship’s
inception in 1981, with the last coming in the 2006 event in Cuba.
HISTORY OF THE WORLD JUNIOR AAA BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
The World Junior AAA competition, under the auspices of the International Baseball Federation, began in 1981 in Newark, N.J., with South Korea surprising the favored Americans to win the gold medal.
But the U.S.A. bounced back to take the laurels the following year before handing over the crown to Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) in 1983. Canada finished with a bronze medal.
Canada was the host in 1984, in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, when Cuba began its reign of four consecutive world titles. This streak was ended by the U.S.A. in 1988 and 1989, with Cuba rebounding in 1990.
But the Canadians weren’t to be denied in 1991, in Brandon, Manitoba, winning the gold over Taiwan.
It’s been a major drought for Team Canada since that time, due to the domination of teams representing Cuba, United States and South Korea. During that period, Cuba has won gold eight times and the United States and South Korea .twice each.
The Koreans did it in 2000 in Edmonton, defeating the U.S.A. in the finale. The Canadians had a good shot at a medal that year but blew a 4-1 lead to Cuba in a crucial game. Adam Loewen, now a top major league hurler with the Baltimore Orioles, lost that one in relief.
Team Canada’s best showing in recent years was in 1997, in Moncton, N.B, and again last year in Cuba, winning the bronze both times.
STERLING REPUTATION PAYS OFF
Twenty-eight years ago, a decision by Baseball Alberta set in motion the creation of the Edmonton International Baseball Foundation and the organization of a record-setting seven international baseball events in the Capital City.
In 1980, Ron Hayter, a Past-President of Baseball Alberta and an executive member of the former World Baseball Association, failed in his efforts to convince the provincial body to bid for the eight-country Intercontinental Cup for Edmonton.
But he did convince Baseball Alberta to support the bid if another not-for-profit organization was in charge.
Hayter then set up what is now the Edmonton International Baseball Foundation, financing the legal requirements out of his own pocket, with Grant Cunningham and Rudy Wakaruk also signing the application.
“My original intent was to bid for only one event, but after the first competition we just kept on going! “ Hayter laughs.
Kept on going is right! The 2008 World Junior AAA Championship is the seventh International event being organized by the EIBF!
It hosted the Intercontinental Cup in 1980 and 1985; the World Men’s Championship in 1990; the Olympic Qualification Tournament for the Americas in 1995; the World Junior in 2000, and the first-ever World Cup of Women’s Baseball in 2004.
“We’ve had a couple of losers over the years but we’ve never asked government to bail us out,” Hayter said proudly. “In the Olympic Qualifier, it rained nearly every day but we still finished the competition with our heads held high!”
This sterling reputation for sound management and clear direction was evident when the EIBF bid for the current event. “The IBAF approved it without asking us to make a presentation"!
The other members of the original Board of Governors were Al Wilson, Rollie Miles, Jack Fleck, Jim MacGregor, Orville Franchuk, Elmer Schielke, Don McColl, George Hughes and Doris Taylor. Since its beginning, a total of 37 persons have served on the board, but only Cunningham and Hayter remain from the original members.