Cambridge Terriers’ 13 Intercounty Baseball League titles indelibly part of the league’s lore

by Greg Mercer Waterloo Region Record

CAMBRIDGE — Al Benson pulled up to the ballpark before game time and immediately wondered if he'd made a mistake.

Benson, a Nebraska farm boy and standout player at Iowa State, had been recruited to play semi-pro baseball in Canada. It was the spring of 1979 and the resurrected Cambridge Terriers were assembling a team that within four months would once again be tops in the Intercounty Baseball League.

But at the time, Benson knew little about his new team, or Canada for that matter. He didn't know what to make of the strange old stadium on the Grand River with the dilapidated locker-room and the quirky outfield dimensions.

"I pulled up to Dickson Park, they gave me a uniform, I put it on and we went into the field. My first comment was, 'Where's the left field fence?' " he recalled.

"I thought, 'Where am I?' This can't be real baseball if they don't have a fence."

Benson soon learned the Terriers played real baseball, and had been doing so for a long time. As a founding member of the Intercounty league since 1919, few teams had won more IBL championships, or counted more big-league names as alumni.

In its postwar heyday, the Terriers signed ex-major leaguers such as Brooklyn's Goody Rosen, Cleveland's Jim Bagby Jr. and Philadelphia's Joe Mack to play in front of thousands at Dickson Park.

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