vintagebaseballCarnarvon Park

Carnarvon Park, named for Carnarvon, Wales has a long baseball history. The area known as Carnarvon Park was originally owned and farmed by Mr. Lee Dye, a prominent Victoria businessman. In 1890 the BC Electric Railway Company (now known as BC Hydro) purchased the Carnarvon Park and Windsor Park areas in Oak Bay, in addition to others, and announced that it would construct a major baseball park (Oak Bay Ball Park) on the area now known as Windsor Park. It incorporated the Oak Bay Ball Club and built a grandstand that held 2,000 people, and a cinder-track – three laps to the mile – which was considered, in those days, the finest on the Pacific Coast.

Victoria entered a baseball team in a league which included Seattle and Tacoma. One of the players brought here was Hal Chase, who later joined the Chicago White Sox and was regarded as the finest first baseman in the game. Another player, who also became a star in soccer and tennis, was Bernie Schwengers. A great slugger, the fans loved to see him knock the ball over the centre-field fence, a considerable feat.

In 1918, BC Electric offered to sell the improved areas to Oak Bay for $10,000, but voters rejected the proposal by one vote in a referendum. However, voters agreed in 1922 to the purchase of Oak Bay Ball Park and other improved areas including Carnarvon Park, this time with payments spread equally over five years, without interest. The improved areas included approximately 22 tennis courts, 17 fields for rugby, soccer or football, four field hockey pitches, 18 softball and four baseball diamonds, two gymnasiums, a cricket pitch, several practice fields, dressing and meeting rooms and the greens of the Oak Bay Lawn Bowling Club, situated in the 9.81 acre Carnarvon Park. Over the years Carnarvon Park has seen numerous upgrades, including the most recent during 1999 and 2000. Many improvements have been made to improve the experience of playing ball. Facilities include 3 bullpen areas, 1 new batting cage and 2 full playing fields.

The Ball Park at Carnarvon has witnessed many baseball games over its history. Thousands of young players from across Greater Victoria have had fun running the bases and fielding hot grounders on the top notch diamonds at Carnarvon. Over the years, Carnarvon Park has also hosted many visiting teams and players. In 1984 John Olerud, a 13 year old player from Seattle, participated in a Carnarvon Tournament and won the MVP Award. Today Carnarvon Park is the home of BC Minor Baseball for players 11-14 years of age. Bantam division players compete in three different tiers according to their skill level.