Rusty Reid’s Softball Story
“I came to Whitehorse in May of 1951. It was just supposed to be a visit. Bill and his buddy found a job right away. I was just on a vacation from my job as a telephone operator in North Vancouver,
B.C. Bill and I were engaged to be married at the time so, when I found out he was going to stay and work, I started thinking about it too. I happened to be in Burnie’s Apparel, a ladies dress shop in downtown Whitehorse. I found out, after talking to Burnie for a while, that we knew each other. She used to work in the shipyards in North Vancouver during the war years and used to be on the
same bowling team as my mother. Burnie’s last name is Burnett so that is how she got the nickname.
She said I could work for her in her store until I found a job, providing I would play on the ball team she sponsored. So I decided to stay, and joined the team. I phoned the telephone office in North Vancouver and gave my notice. It was only a week later that I was able to get a job at
the Canadian Bank of Commerce and moved into the ladies’ living quarters upstairs (that is the spot where the Toronto Dominion is now). Burnie outfitted the team so uniforms had her name on the front. The Whitehorse North Stars was on the back. We were the ‘Town’ team and competed against an Airforce team and an Army team that year. We were the underdogs. The playoffs were best three out of five. We won the first two games and they won the next two games. The Army team was so sure they were going to win the next deciding game that they planned a big party at
the Army Mess Hall. The score was tied in the seventh inning and Whitehorse North Stars, Burnie’s Team, won and we became the ‘1951 Ladies Softball Champions’. The Army team were good
sports and were nice enough to invite us over to the party.
The attendance at some of the ladies games sometimes outnumbered the men’s games in those days.. There were some really good players. Sometimes they called it “Ladies Softball”, and then
we were corrected and it was called Ladies Fastball.”
– Written by Rusty Reid
Find out more about Rusty Reid and her contribution to sport in the Yukon
at her Hall of Fame Page.
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