History of Babe Ruth Baseball in the West Kootenay
by Brian Pipes

During the late 1950s a sports-minded citizen from Montrose, Bernie McMahon, recognized the void existing in the youth baseball programme for boys graduating from the Little League ranks. In 1957 he organized a group of local baseball enthusiasts and applied for a Babe Ruth charter under the name of West Kootenay Babe Ruth Baseball League. An executive was formed with Ross Saundry Sr. as president, Art Fowler as secretary and Jules Lewis as treasurer. An appeal for men interested in the development of young boys brought forward others from adjacent areas. A six-team loop was formed encompassing teams from Fruitvale, Montrose, Warfield, East Trail, West Trail and Rossland. Thus began a storied history.

In 1969 Little League underwent another change. A programme for 16-18 year olds called the Selkirk Senior Babe Ruth Baseball League was started. A six-team league was formed encompassing the same geographical boundaries as the West Kootenay Babe Ruth League. In 1977 President Brian Pipes felt that the majority of players did not get to experience the excitement of playing in a tournament so he started the President's Tournament. This annual tournament is for house teams only, no all-star teams are allowed to participate. As many as 14 teams have competed in the tournament. In 2001 the tournament celebrated its 25th anniversary.


  • 1966 West Kootenay Babe Ruth League won the first of many BC championships.
  • 1977 First Annual President Tournament debuts with 12 teams. Won by Colville, Washington.
  • 1973, 1981, 1991 Trail hosted the Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament for 13-15 year olds.
  • 1991 Jim Oliver, Peter Stoochnoff and Brian Pipes were inducted into the BC Babe Ruth Hall of Fame.
  • 1995 Trail hosted the first ever 16-18 year old World Series outside the United States. An attendance record of 118,000 was set. Ron Tellersen, President/CEO of Babe Ruth League Inc., stated that this was the best World Series ever. Since then all future World Series have been judged by Trail’s success.
  • 1997 Brian Pipes and Peter Stoochnoff inducted into the BC Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • 2003 Jason Bay, a graduate of the West Kootenay Babe Ruth League, made his major league debut with the San Diego Padres. He celebrated his debut with a home run.


View Notable Players, League Presidents and BC Championships on  Page 2