Born in 1909 in Hobbema, Alta., he was a legendary First Nations player from the Ermineskin Cree Nation. A naturally gifted pitcher, he competed at the highest amateur and semi-pro levels in Western Canada through the 1930s and 40s. His trademark pitch was a “sawdust ball” that was comparable to a knuckler. He freelanced at many prize money tournaments, a feature of Western Canada baseball in the thirties, and major league teams scouted him, but he was more comfortable remaining close to his First Nations home. He did, however, pitch successfully against several teams of barnstorming major leaguers. He was inducted into the Wetaskiwin & County Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and Baseball Canada’s “Jimmy Rattlesnake Award” now renamed “Ashley Stephenson Award” in 2018 is presented annually. He passed away on April 17, 1972 in Hobbema, Alta.
Photo courtesy of the Wetaskiwin & County Sports Hall of Fame.