Vermilion’s Major Leaguer: Charlie Mead

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CraigBaird

Over the course of the history of Major League Baseball, there have been 245 players from Canada. Most came from Ontario, but one came from Vermilion. He may have only played a couple of seasons, but Vermilion can count itself among the towns and cities that have produced Major League talent.
Born on April 9, 1921, Mead quickly established himself as a prominent baseball player in the area. Like so many other baseball players, he would get his start in the Major Leagues thanks to the Second World War. With so many baseball players gone, it opened the opportunity for other players to fill in.
In 1940, he was signed by the Detroit Tigers and began playing for the class-C Hot Springs Bathers and the class-C Henderson Oilers. In 1941, he would play for the Texarkana Twins and the Winston-Salem Twins. In 1943, he signed with the New York Giants and would play for the Jersey City Giants, an AA team, for 97 games before making his big-league debut.
At the age of 22, he would make his start with the New York Giants on Aug. 28, 1943, playing in 37 games that season, he had a .274 batting average and hit one homerun with 40 hits. Mead would earn his first hit in the Major Leagues against Whitlow Wyatt in a 4-1 loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers. His first home run occurred on Sept. 28 against Ray Starr of the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1944, he would play 39 games and have a batting average of .179 with 14 hits and one homerun. In 1945, his last year in the majors, he would play only 11 games, batting .270 and hitting one homerun with 10 hits.
In all, Mead would play 87 games, having 261 at bats, earning 64 hits, 3 homeruns and having a batting average of .245. He would also participate in six double plays in just 71 outfield appearances.
After that season, Mead chose to jump from the Giants and play for Vera Cruz of the Mexican League. In 1945, he would sign with the Vancouver Capilanos of the Western International League and play for six seasons. Serving as a star player, he would lead the team to two league titles in 1947 and 1949.
In 1953, at the age of 32, he would play for the Calgary Stampeders and hit 25 homeruns with a batting average of .328 in 135 game. He would play one more season, finishing with over 2,000 games in the minor leagues.
After retiring, he would move with his family to Victorville, California where he worked as a circuit technician for the phone company. He would spend his spare time coaching little league teams and helping grow a new generation of baseball players. He even helped one of his players make it all the way to the Majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mead passed away on May 8, 2014 at the age of 93.
Suggestions for columns or questions? E-mail Craig at crwbaird@gmail.com. Listen to his podcast by searching for “Canadian History Ehx” on your podcast form. Find his show on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/c/CanadianHistoryEhx
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