A Brief History of the Upwey Ferntree Gully Baseball Club
The following is a short snapshot of the history of the Upwey Ferntree Gully Baseball Club Inc.
The club was founded by the late John Williams in 1963 with a number of other ex players of the now nonexistent Hartwell Baseball Club, all of which had moved into the Ferntree Gully area with their families.
After a number of informal meetings in a back room of the Royal Hotel in Upper Ferntree Gully, the club conducted its first formal meeting in February 1963. All present agreed to name the club the “Upwey Baseball Club”.
The committee applied to enter a side into Ringwood and District Baseball Association and duly played the first game of competition in 1963 in B-GRADE on a ground next to the William Angliss Hospital in Talaskia Road Upper Ferntree Gully.
As baseball was looked upon as a minor sport when compared to the local football and cricket competitions the ground allocated by the Shire of Sherbrooke was unsuitable for baseball. The Talaskia Road ground was on a very large slope and the catcher had to throw uphill to second base. The team at that time overcame these difficulties and won the ‘B’ Grade premiership in 1963. With further success, in 1967 the club moved to its present home at Kings Park UFTG on flat ground, and changed its name to “The Upwey Ferntree Gully Baseball Club”.
The club won a few and lost a number of titles over the next 10 years while struggling to maintain finances and equipment. Each week players not only had to mark the ground but also erect a tent and run illegal power to warm pies and cook hot dogs to make money to keep the club afloat. Equipment was stored in a little shed at the entrance of Kings Park and was from time to time broken into by vandals.
Kings Park at times was (and still is) very windy and, depending whom we were playing that day and who was pitching, the ground would be marked out to suit the “conditions”. Cheating, nah
Home ground advantage!
In 1978 some ex “A” Grade players, who were now playing with the club, applied, through the committee, to the Victorian Baseball Association for admission into Division Three for Season 1977/1978. These players won that premiership and the next year were promoted to Division Two.
This was a significant decision for the club to make, and, at the 1978 ANNUAL MEETING members decided, that if the club were to grow, and develop baseball in the area, it would cease playing in the RDBA winter competition and join the VBA in the summer competition. At the same time the club had applied to the shire for funds for clubrooms. Finally after numerous meetings, the Shire agreed to a $6000 loan and a $6000 grant to build rooms. These rooms now constitute the players and umpires change rooms.
The club became a power in Division two but were unable to secure that premiership needed to get into Division One (The Holy Grail). After loosing a double chance at the title in 1982, the committee decided that the only way to be successful was to “home grow” our own players much the same way local rivals Waverley had done some years before.
Two committee members met with the Waverley committee to gather information and advice on how to go about setting up a Teeball and junior baseball program. Armed with this information the club was totally restructured and set about building a club that would one day be a dominant force in Victorian Baseball. As an aside, little did Waverley know that years later that information resulted in the club defeating Waverley in two Division One titles.
So there it is a quick history lesson on the MIGHTY TIGERS
I suppose it is up to others to judge if the club is now a dominant force in Victorian Baseball and that the goals and visions of past committee’s have been achieved!
Club Theme Song
Cheer Cheer for Upwey baseball
Shake down the rafters all through the hall Send a rally cheer on high Echo like thunder through the sky Although the odds be great or small Upwey will triumph, win over all Whilst our hardy teams are marching Onward to victory.