Jeff Green | Sep 13, 2007
Feature Article - September 13, 2007
Back toHomeFeature Article - September 13, 2007
Parham 9's Historic Game at Kingston Penitentiaryby Julie GoodfellowBack Row: Cecil Steele, Pat Deasy, Orlo Milliken, Irvin Cronk, Ken Peters, Vincent Tallen, Clayton Simonette, George Simonette, Tom Goodfellow, Don Goodfellow, Glen Howes, Jack Belwa (umpire) Front Row: Art Goodfellow, Chris Cota, Gordon Bertrim, Bud Goodfellow, Frank Goodfellow, William Simonette.
Clayton Simonette passed along the following letter to me. The letter is dated August 5, 1950 and addressed to the Manager of the Parham Softball Club, Parham, Ontario. It reads as follows: “Dear Sir: Re: Exhibition Game with teams at Kingston Penitentiary, Sunday, August 27, 1950. I am very pleased to hear that you have accepted an invitation extended to your team to play two games at this institution on Sunday, August 27, 1950 against teams composed of inmates of the penitentiary. While we are not in a position to offer any financial inducements, I think your boys will find it an interesting experience and we will be pleased to provide a noon-day meal for your group which should be limited to fifteen including the manager. I think you will find that the teams selected here will not be ‘push-overs’ and that you will get two interesting contests. I wish to thank you for your decision to visit us to play this game, which I think you will find very interesting. Yours very truly, R.M. Allan, Warden”
You see, Clayton Simonette was one of the Parham 9, a softball team of some renown, who answered the call. This was the first outside team to play a game, against inmates, inside the walls of a Canadian penitentiary. Others on the team included Cecil Steele, Pat Deasy, Orlo Milliken, Irvin Cronk, Ken Peters, Vincent Tallen, George Simonette, Tom Goodfellow, Frank Goodfellow, Don Goodfellow, Glen Howes, Jack Belwa, Art Goodfellow, Chris Cota, Gordon Bertrim, Bud Goodfellow and William Simonette. The game was part of an initiative to give the inmates a sense of teamwork. Throughout Warden Allan’s tenure he was also a proponent of other social skills, including photography and music.
The game was immortalized in some photographs, and even in the ensuing first edition of the K.P. Telescope, the inmate-run paper of the day, another of Warden Allan’s idea. “So! It didn’t take long for the Nylon Team to answer that challenge Warden Allan issued them a couple of weeks ago at the conclusion of the second Parham-K.P. All-Star game. Before the echo of that challenge had died – it was an echoing challenge – the Nylons had accepted. They will be in here this Sunday for a twin meeting with the All-Stars, one game in the morning and one in the afternoon.
It has been said- we’re not quoting anyone- that the All-Stars will take both ends of the twin bill. That could be. But if the Nylons play the same hustling brand of ball as the Parham boys, they will have to get right down and dig. The best they could do with the Parham boys was a split, losing the morning game 3-2 and taking the afternoon 7-3.”
I extend many thanks to Dave St. Onge, curator of the Penitentiary Museum in Kingston, who was good enough to share some additional photos from his archives.