The name Sammy Melanson will be remembered by veteran Cape Breton Baseball fans for many years. When Sammy died back in the early 50’s he removed a great name from the Cape Breton baseball picture. He will be remembered for a long time because Sammy’s greatest interest was in assisting the younger ball players.
Walter (Sam) Melanson was born in St.John NB. His father was ship captain who died at a young age (27). His mother passed away at 37 and was an only child. He married Laura Terris of Springhill NS and they had a large family... Children (not in birth order) Art, Ivan, Ralph, Laurence, Elroy, Grace, Helen, Phyllis, Leta and Irma. Irma is the only
surviving member of the immediate family and resides in Glace Bay. The extended family of grandchildren, great grandchildren is very large and spread throughout Canada and beyond.
He first played baseball in Inverness, then later played in Sydney, Glace Bay and Dominion. It was I Dominion that Sammy became an outstanding figure. He had a great spirit and his great ambition was to pass this along to the younger players. For Sammy the slogan was to be aggressive, work hard all the time and results will be the reward. It was way back in 1911 that Sammy first played organized ball with the old Dominion Hawks in the Cape Breton pro league.
After years of senior play, Sammy turned his attention to the Junior Hawks and a great many of his products later moved into the senior Hawks line-up such as Dr. Roy Maxwell, Ray and “Jiggs” Sloan, Phonse Gouthro, Tom Campbell and Bill Boone.
Then in more recent years, he helped along Vince Gouthro and the Scattalon brothers Londo, Fozzy and Geno. In the 30s Sammy’s teams were always title threats. Then later he became interested in juvenile, midget and school ball. His junior teams were of the best caliber and on occasions brought the Maritime title to Dominion. Sammy often offered his services as an executive and many times was called on to umpire games in which his team was not playing.
Sammy Melanson contributed greatly to Cape Breton baseball and some of that diamond wisdom is still seen on Cape Breton playing fields. Sammy died in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Glace Bay, Sept. 17, 1951.