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Fastball pioneers immortalized in Hall of Fame


Art Bonot, George L. Olson, and Stan Peterson will be the first to be inducted into the new Rainy River District Fastball League Hall of Fame this Saturday in Barwick.

The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the RRFDL’s awards banquet.

The hall of fame, itself, will be housed in the Barwick museum. That site was chosen because of its central location in the district.

Bonot began playing fastball in 1939 when he was 13 years old. He played centerfield for Vassar, Man. until 1945, when he formed a hardball team in Bergland.

Bonot played and managed hardball in Emo frin 1952-62. And in 1959, he helped start fastball in Emo and began pitching. He was instrumental in forming the RRFDL in 1961.

Bonot began managing the Emo Legion fastball team in 1961 and continued that until the mid-70s. He later became the chairperson for the new Emo baseball diamond in 1974.

Olson began playing in the RRFDL in 1964, playing second base for the Williams Nitehawks before taking over as manager a year later. He retired in 1996 after 32 seasons and 853 games.

He also served as league president for many years during that span, and was known for his story-telling at the banquets.

Meanwhile, Peterson, one of the original members of the Bergland Cubs, started playing fastball in 1959. He was known for his long pitching stride—his hand almost touching the ground—and ability to strike out batters.

During one game, Peterson fanned 17 batters over seven innings.

He won league championships with the Cubs in 1967 and again in 1972.

Committee members felt it was time the people who were instrumental in getting the local fastball league started should be recognized for their efforts.

George Oltsher noted they had been thinking about doing this for a few years but just decided to go ahead at the first meeting this spring.

Oltsher also said anyone with information on the early years of the league is asked to forward it to the RRDFL at Box 233, Barwick, Ont.

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