Born in St. Paul, Minn., in 1902, Bailey moved to Vancouver as a child. He was hired by Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Robert Brown to work at Vancouver’s Athletic Park, where he became a jack of all trades, doing everything from selling hot dogs and peanuts to announcing the players. In the process, he became a popular figure at the park and earned himself the nickname “Caruso Nat.”
Bailey evolved into a successful restaurateur in B.C. In 1928, he opened Canada’s first drive-in restaurant called White Spot in Vancouver. The restaurant prospered and soon he opened a chain of them across the province. When his restaurants thrived, he used a significant portion of his profits to sponsor little league teams.
In the mid-’50s, Bailey purchased the Triple-A Vancouver Mounties and his commitment to the club over the next decade helped raise interest in professional baseball to new heights in the city. After Bailey passed away in 1978, Capilano Stadium, where the Mounties played, was renamed Nat Bailey Stadium in his honour. For the past two seasons, the Vancouver Canadians, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Class-A Short-Season club, have played in this stadium and have won the Northwest League championship in each campaign. For his contributions to sports in B.C., Bailey was inducted into the Vancouver Baseball Hall of Fame in the 1960’s and the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.