The baseball roots in Guelph run deeply into the inner recesses of the community’s rich sporting history, a history that spans a century and a half.
The Silvercreeks baseball name is also prominently there to see, borrowed from the legacy of renowned and respected brewery owner George Sleeman, aka a former mayor and distinguished sportsman who was dubbed the father of professional baseball in Canada.
By the time he took over control of his father’s Silver Creek Brewery in 1867, George had developed a love for the game of baseball and had a reputation for being a pretty good pitcher while playing on the Guelph Maple Leafs baseball club. By 1868 the game of baseball was now formally introduced to the Royal City and it didn’t take long for it to catch on.
Being a brilliant marketer, George saw baseball as a great opportunity to make a name for his brewery. Sleeman recognized the best way to accomplish all of this was to build a winning team. The following year, the Guelph Maple Leafs began their winning tradition with George at the helm and for the next 7 seasons the team completely dominated Ontario teams. It was in 1872 that George further continued his idea of linking beer to sports by sponsoring an amateur baseball team named after his brewery, the Silver Creek Baseball Club.
Since the past 150 years have come and gone, Guelph junior ball teams have been christened with a multiplicity of names that range from the simple Leaflets, the quizzical Projoys on through to Royal City Optimists JR. Royals and a just plain Royals.
In 1999, Walter McGregor and Billy Craven resurrected the Silvercreeks name in an effort to give the team a more positive identity of its own rather than just plain Royals sobriquet shared by most Guelph Teams. It also allowed them a share of the legacy left by the Silvercreeks of a storied past.
The change of identity has been a bonanza for the modern edition of the Silvercreeks who have amassed 10 season pennants, the most recent in 2015, to go along with 6 league championships, exceeded and capped only by a home town Canadian junior title in 2006.
Playing in the cozy, idyllic surroundings of David E. Hastings stadium, the current Silvercreek lineup is positioned to add their own foot note to the legacies left behind by those old Maple Leaf and Silver Creek teams of long ago.