Anyone who was involved in baseball in Port Arthur from the 1930s to the 70s, be it as a coach, player or umpire, will remember the name of Toby Saunders. For the majority of his life, Toby dedicated himself to the development and promotion of the game of baseball.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1900, Toby first arrived in Port Arthur in 1921 following a short career with the Boston Red Sox farm team, the Elmira Colts. While in Port Arthur, Toby played a couple of seasons with the local team before moving on, only to return during the depression years of the early 1930s.
Upon his return, Toby was shocked to learn that there was no longer a baseball team in Port Arthur but that softball had taken over as the major attraction at Mariday Park. After umpiring and coaching the old South End team for a couple of years Toby set out on his own to revive the game of baseball in Port Arthur. Toby purchased (on credit) uniforms, bats and other baseball equipment and got together some local players to form a team to complete against the two teams which were still active in the sports rival town of Fort William.
For the next 40 years Toby recruited, trained and coached players, inserting professional-oriented skills into the game, holding practices every day and having his players carry rule books with them at all times. This dedication and hard work paid off, as Toby was responsible for coaching many championship teams, and for forming the Port Arthur Red Sox Baseball Club.
Toby Saunders dedicated himself to providing the youth of his community with an opportunity to participate in and develop their athletic abilities. At the age of 80, he could still be found sitting on the bench at local games with the youngsters and coaches who were carrying on with the tradition that he had started years before.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 26, 1987