In 1989, Australian baseball was introduced to a truly national competition, with the birth of the Australian Baseball League. Prior to 1989, all the mainland states competed for the Claxton Shield. Essendon has a long and proud history of providing representatives for the inter-state competition, with in excess of 34 of our players being chosen for Victorian honours.
Unfortunately, since 1989, our elite players have been denied the opportunity of wearing the ‘Big V’ at senior level, but in that time we have had no shortage of representatives in the various National League teams.Our Melbourne Monarchs players have been Brendan Edwards, David Patton, Tony Cornish, Gary Uwland, Mick Gregory, Darren Snelson, Ron Carothers, Ross Drinkwater, Leigh Mclntyre (coaching staff), and Frank Trucchio (coaching staff).
The Melbourne Bushrangers line-up included Troy O’Connor, Andrew Lehmann, Gary Uwland, Brendan Edwards, Wayne Pollock, Brett Caulfield, Bruce Morrison and Garry Bitmead (coaching staff).
Our only representatives on the Waverley Reds organization have been Richard King, Ron Carothers and Ron Owen (coaching staff).
You will note that a number of our players have appeared on two of the National League teams. National League commitments are extremely time consuming for all those people involved. Clubs train three nights a week and have games on two other nights.
Our Club is very fortunate that all our players continue to train and play with Essendon, whilst heavily involved in the National Competition. On those occasions, where road trips necessitate missing Essendon games, the strength of our junior program has ensured that we still retain a very competitive first nine.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
One of the strengths of our Club throughout our 100 year history, has been the involvement of two, and in some instances three, generations of families.The Smith family, the Bitmeads, the Morrisons, the Nunns, the list goes on.
The current day players are continuing the tradition, with sons of ex-players John Pate, Leigh Mclntyre, Russell Edwards, Wayne Pollock and Craig Ogle all playing in the Club juniors.
The 1989 Grand Final victory by our first nine, demonstrated quite clearly our Club’s commitment to ‘home grown’ players. The starting ten players in that Grand Final (including the designated hitter) comprised eight players who had never played for any other Melbourne based Club.
In this time of high priced imports and players switching Clubs for cash inducements, Essendon is something of an oddity. The only people to receive remuneration are the coaching staff, and even then the payments made, barely cover expenses. The fact that so many of our senior players turn down attractive cash inducements from opposition sides, speaks volumes for the spirit and camaraderie that presently exists here at Essendon.