100 Stories

Richard Eisler , Campion College High School


Richard Eisler

Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee, 1987

Richard graduated from Campion High school in 1942.

Richard Eisler considered himself to be a diamond in the rough, though he related more to baseball diamonds than gemstones. He would embark on the world of professional sports, a journey that began at Campion High School.

Uncles once attended Campion and Richard wanted to live up to Uncle Larry’s reputation. Larry had a taste for mischief. One day, the school’s bell had suddenly disappeared. A long hunt ensued that finally led to the bell, hidden in a bathroom stall. Like his uncle, Richard had regular stays in the Dean’s office. Yet, he found invaluable support from the priests for his love of baseball. In that regard, he had total admiration from them.

After Campion, Richard played with the Regina Red Sox from 1942-43. With a $50 boost from club president, Piffles Taylor, he headed for the U.S. and tried out for the Seattle Rainiers. He was eventually farmed out to their AA affiliate team in Bellingham, Washington, where he also found work in the shipyards building ships for the war effort. But suddenly, his time stateside ran out. He claimed he was awaiting a work permit soon to be coming via his coach back home, but officials immediately had him deported.  He would make four more attempts to re-enter the U.S., but was turned back every time.

The love for sport kept Richard in baseball but it couldn’t grant him a stay in the army. Fourth year high school students were allowed to forego final exams by the government to encourage them to enlist during wartime. However, Richard was not able to pass the physical on account of having flat feet. Although, suffering foot pain did not stop him from playing ball; he compensated by binding his feet before every game. Though his dream of enjoying a life in baseball was never fully realized, his efforts were recognized in 1987 when he was inducted in the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame.

From there, Richard worked for 25 years at Marshall Wells, a local hardware wholesaler. He discovered two new pursuits: a talent for drawing and his future wife, Bess Selvig. He advanced to become the resident advertising graphic artist. Richard had been artistic all his life. He first learned to draw with India inks then discovered oil-based painting.  At the Eisler home, you’ll find many walls adorned with serene, vibrant landscapes, all beautiful reminders to Bess.

Richard would coach baseball and hockey, and devoted time to his grandkids. “Grandpa Rich” volunteered often for school events at St. Marguerite and St. Augustine. One Christmas, Richard had given each of the kids in the class at St. Augustine a Christmas card with a surprise “loonie” inside. The kids were thrilled! As thanks, they all replied with heartfelt thank you cards. Touched by their reciprocity, Richard held onto the cards for years after.

Though it has been six years since his passing, “Grandpa Rich” lives on in the hearts of his family, friends, and those who knew him as a baseball legend.