In a unique situation, Virden’s Ken Buchy, was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame - for playing for a competitor.
Growing up Buchy established himself on the diamond in his hometown of Dauphin. As a youth, after his team was eliminated in the league playoffs, Buchy was picked up by the powerhouse Gilbert Plains Legion Bantam squad. That team was inducted June 3 into the provincial Baseball Hall of Fame in Morden for its stellar run from 1965 to 1968. Gilbert Plains won five provincial championships and three western Canadian titles.
“What I think made that team so successful, besides the fact that we had very talented players in most positions, was the feelings and emotions we carried with us when we played our opposition, who all came from much bigger centers,” wrote Buchy in an email interview. “Even at that young age, we knew we were the underdogs, small town up against bigger towns and cities, sort of David and Goliath analogy.
“We wanted to show them that we could play baseball as well as, if not better, than them and fortunately we were quite successful. There was also the closeness, not only from within the team, but from strong community pride and support, along with the excellent coaching we received from Mr. (Mel) Stoughton and Mr. (Brian) Lynch.”
While they were certainly a strong team, Gilbert Plains was happy to be able to pick up Buchy. He pitched and played left and centerfield. Former teammate Albert Lynch described him as a five-tool player.
“He had everything,” said Lynch in a phone interview from Souris. “He was a really good talent.”
Terry Murray and his wife Lynda nominated the Gilbert Plains team for the Hall of Fame. In regards to Buchy’s importance to the team, he pointed to 1968 when Gilbert Plains lost game one of the best-of-three provincial finals with star pitcher Blaine Stoughton on the mound. Stoughton would go on to a pro hockey career and led the NHL with 56 goals in 1980. Facing elimination, Gilbert Plains gave the ball to Buchy who delivered with a 5-0 shutout victory with 13 strikeouts. Stoughton won throw a no-hitter to wrap up the championship.
Lynch recalls a playoff game against rival Russell where the opponent had the bases loaded with no outs. Playing left field, Buchy made a low catch on the run and then gunned the ball to second base, Lunch said. It was then fired to Lynch at first to complete the triple play.
“It was the only triple play we got as a team,” Lynch said. “It was his triple play. He made it happen.”
Among other inductees this year into the Baseball Hall of Fame were former Virden pitcher Vince Eastman and the 1993-1997 Neepawa Farmers, which included Eastman and fellow Virden product Danny Senff.
Also inducted were Oak River’s Gord Paddock as player/builder, Manitou’s Lane Curry who contributed to the sport in various ways, former Border Baseball League executive Charlie Argue of Mather, ex-Riverside/Baldur/Wawanesa star Shaun Corey of Wawanesa, player/coach David Nychyk, player/umpire/promoter Orville Renwick of Melita, pitcher Peter Thomson of Winnipeg, umpire Bob Boyce, and the Eastern Manitoba All-Stars (1978).