The Mornington Baseball Club was established in 1975, playing in the winter series of the Dandenong Baseball Association. The council at the time allowed the club to use the Graydens Road Reserve as it’s home ground.
The club moved in the late 70’s to it’s current location at C.B. Wilson Reserve, Wilsons Road, Mornington. In the late 70’s & early 80’s permanent netting for the established two diamonds was erected. This was done in a series of small projects and was largely funded by the club with members providing most of the labour.
The clubrooms in these early days consisted of a small garden shed which was considered by most to be of a ‘third world’ standard! After many years of applications the club recieved a grant from the State Government and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to erect new clubrooms. Although the grant was for approximately $85,000 the club had to contribute $25,000 towards the construction in labour costs and donations of material from local sponsors.
The existing clubrooms used today were completed and officially opened in 2002.
Reflection from our Club Founder & First President, Paul Simmons
“1974/1975 – There was no baseball club situated south of Frankston so I decided to attempt to start a new club in Mornington. I chased up players thru word of mouth of ex-players & found one led to another.
Wally Wedgewood knew Doug Provis (ex Australian pitcher) who I eventually got to play with Mornington. I don’t think he ever pitched for Mornington.
Wally Wedgewood helped with bats, bags, catching gear & balls at cost – pay when we could. His sports store assistance was great. The basis of the top side players were Doug Provis, Steve Bowen, Steve Gosstray, Robby Bishop, John Johnson, Rick Blackmore, some of whom played for Victoria. I approached the D.B.A. on 3 occasions to try & put in a Div 1 side, eventually when I gave them the names of players & assured them they were all playing they consented to the club being represented in Div 1.
Mornington of course went on to win the Premiership in its first year.
Prior to the first season I approached Bradmill Knitting Mills & obtained a bolt of heavy grade white linen & Judy Simmons made the majority of our white uniforms that served well for some years. Yes we looked like hill billies but so what.
I then approached the Shire Council to get a ground to call home & obtained Wilson Road in conjunction with the Diggers Cricket Club. We had 2 timber leaky roofed sheds about 4.0m by 2.4m as store & changeroom, no toilets either. The oval was too small for 2 games but we still used it for 2 games with outfielders facing each other. No one ever got hit in the back.
When it rained the ground was a quagmire & our white uniforms were not so good. I went back to the council & asked if the ground could be drained & enlarged from the oval shape to its current shape. The council agreed & put drainage around & provided a small toilet.
While the work was being done over a full season we played Division 1 games at Graydens Rd which Wally Wedgewood had obtained permission to use from the Peninsula Cricket Association. We also played at a ground at the eastern end of Helena St, some at the Tanti Park Primary School & some at Mornington High School on what is now the C.F.A. Fire Station. The council then gave us a grant (I think $500) to roof over the area between our 2 sheds & also to put a verandah at the front. Andrew Martin did this for us mainly with his own materials. I obtained concrete for the floor from Tanti Bay Mix Concrete Company & this left a substantial amount of the grant money to repay Wally Wedgewood.
With a lot of help from Neil Williams a teacher at Mornington High we got together a U/17 side & followed this with U/13.
New uniforms were eventually obtained after serious fund raising. A new senior side was started in one of the years a flag was won with mainly older players & 1 or 2 under age players. It was a successful format in as much as we won the flag but from a club point of view it was not good as we did not practice & set a bad example. Others who could play at a higher level started to not want to train & play in this side.
During my years we had some great times met heaps of lovely people. I am sure it was worth the effort that Judy & I put in over many years.”
If you are able to contribute to the history of MPBC, please email the webmaster for publishing.
Did you Know…
- The original Pirates uniform were white shirts, white pants, black undershirts……and home made!
- On the grand opening of the new clubrooms, with all the VIP’s present, it was so foggy they just cut the ribbon & everyone left.
- Dugouts were constructed on the main diamond in 2011 by Chris Taylor Landscape Construction & Stuart Isbister Plumbing Pty Ltd.
- In 2012 the DBA changed the Junior Age Groups back to Under 13, 15 & 17……the way it used to be!
- For the first time in the clubs history, Mornington Pirates fielded a Masters team in the 2011-2012 summer season. They came runners up in the Grand Final!!
- In 2012, Under 15 Junior Pirate – Jordan Barnett represented Australia in the USA.
- In 2013, junior dugouts were completed by Chris Taylor Landscape Construction & Stuart Isbister Plumbing Pty Ltd, we had record membership, record donations and the first ‘Presidents Lunch’ for past committee & sponsors.
- 2013 saw Club Secretary, Craig Isbister, hit his first senior home run over Cheltenham’s left field fence! First & last…..(worth a history note).
- In 2015, led by Brendan Wilson we won the Gippsland Championships.
- In 2015, Under 13 Junior Pirate – Jacob Bald represented Australia in Taiwan.