DISCLOSURE: We recently posted a version of this story to my Facebook page a few days ago. On the suggestion of a number of ‘friends’, we are updating it with a few new facts and at least one correction.
Blue Jays Memories of ‘85
I was the Base Physical Education & Recreation Officer (BPERO) at CFB Trenton in 1985.
Anyone who is a baseball fan will recall that is the year that the Toronto Blue Jays won the American League Eastern Division Championship. The first championship in the history of the Jays.
For a couple of years as Trenton BPERO, we organized / coordinated CFB Trenton Day at Exhibition Stadium which was the home of the Blue Jays in those days. The Base Commander, during those years was 5820 Garry ‘Sky’ King – Class of 1963.
Any reader out there who knew ‘Sky’ will attest to the fact that if he was involved it would be ‘big league’ affair.
The ‘Day’ consisted of filling about 20 school buses of military personnel and their families driving west on the Highway 401.
Discounted game tickets – throwing out the ceremonial first pitch; flypast of three ‘Hercs’ (see photo above); a Base person actually designated by the Base Commander to do the singing of the national anthems with the Vimy Band was all part of the package. Without a doubt – a special day at the ball-park!
One year ‘Sky’ threw out the first pitch to none other than Buck Marttinez – current Blue Jays TV play-by-play announcer. The following year he had the Base Chief Warrant Officer – Stretch MacNeil do the honours.
All those who attended enjoyed the experience and for many it was their first time at a major league baseball game!
CFB Trenton Day at Exhibition Stadium was just one of many special events we pulled off during the ‘Sky’ King reign as Base Commander. We became very good friends through ‘thick & thin’ which lasted until his death August 12, 2009.
Because of our ‘gold’ standard with the Jays front office, we were offered eight East-West Division tickets for potentially four play-off home games. Kansas City Royals were the West Division champions.
Also, four tickets for each World Series’ home game – if the Jays won the play-offs. This, if, the Series went seven games could be for four games too.
Of course, the tickets were NOT gratis. The total cost was $1,308.00. To be paid up-front. Colonel ‘Sky’ King informed me that if I wanted to pursue getting the tickets – I could do so as long as there were no public or non-public funds involved.
In my FB article I stated the cost was $2,200 – Rolande informed me (again) that I was wrong as she produced the 30 year old cancelled cheque.
The cheque confirms we purchased the whole lot of tickets.
As it turned out the Jays hosted four play-off games. We spread the tickets around to die-hard ball fans / friends at cost price. Honest!
The Blue Jays seemingly put a stranglehold on the Series, holding a three games to one lead over the Royals after four games. However, Kansas City staged an improbable comeback, winning the next three games to win the American League Championship Series four games to three.
I don’t often have nightmares but when I do it is George Brett getting all those key hits and driving in runs for the Royals.
The consequence was that we had four World Series tickets for four games– if Toronto had won.
At the beginning of this article, one photo was taken when we received the tickets. The other one was taken just before we went to the Canada Post Office to mail back the World Series tickets to get our refund. No need to identify which photo is which.
As an aside it took until March the following year and a couple of phone call to receive the refund. Today, the same set of tickets would cost close to $8,000.00. Not sure if Rolande would be to keen to sign the cheque this time around.
Still a great memory.