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North Bay Sports Hall of Famer and Maple Leafs baseball owner Jack Dominico passes

'Our press box on top of the Christie Pits hillside will never be the same'
Jack Dominico Maple leafs
Photo courtesy Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Club.

A well known North Bay Sports Hall of Fame member, who was the owner and president of the Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Club has passed away at the age of 82. 

Jack Dominico has been the owner of the Maple Leaf for the last 53 years, Dominico passed away peacefully on Tuesday.

Jack has become one of the more notable figures in the province, not just in North Bay. Dominico has been inducted to the North Bay Hall of Fame, the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame, and most recently the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame (his official induction has been delayed due to COVID-19).

Dominico bought the Maple Leaf baseball team in 1969 with his late wife Lynne, who passed away in 2008. From there, the rest was history. The Maple Leafs won eight championships under Dominico, including three championships in the '80s.

The host of the Maple Leaf annual sports dinner on the eve of the Maple Leafs' home openers, Dominico was named a member of the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2020 and leaves a legacy as the most successful and colourful owner in Intercounty Baseball League history.  

"Our press box on top of the Christie Pits hillside will never be the same," the Maple Leafs Baseball Club stated on its website today. 

"He will be greatly missed."

The Sports Hall of Fame describes Dominico this way.

Biography:

Jack Dominico came from a well-known North Bay family who played minor ball and hockey here before leaving town to pursue a career in the newspaper field.

He learned his trade in Sault Ste Marie, Gravenhurst and Etobicoke before starting his own marketing firm in Toronto in 1969 and acquiring the Ontario Hockey League as a key client. He prepared their yearbooks, catalogues, and various publications for more than 30 years.

Toronto was a key member of the Triple ’A’ International Baseball League for many decades and when the club was moved to Louisville Kentucky it left the city without top-flight ball. The Intercounty League, a top-grade semi-pro loop founded in1919, placed a franchise in Toronto to fill the gap.

Dominico purchased the club in 1969 and his marketing and entrepreneurial skills kept it alive for more than 40 years. Dominico’s Leafs won 20 Intercounty pennants and eight championships while playing their home games (with no admission charge) at Christie Pits in Etobicoke.

The familiar blue and white maple leaf crest with a centre “T” is the oldest sports team logo in Toronto, pre-dating the NHL Leafs' original crest.

The lineup over the years has included some former Blue Jays and North Bay’s Damon Topolie caught for the club for a number of seasons and later became coach.

In 1987 Dominico created a charity baseball celebrity dinner that brings old-time baseball stars to Toronto to share stories and experiences with today’s fans.

Over the years the gala featured the likes of Warren Spahn, Bob Gibson, Bob Lemon, Bob Feller, Orlando Cepeda, Curt Flood, Robin Roberts, Maury Wills, Country Slaughter, George Kell and Canadian Ferguson Jenkins, among others.

Dominico was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 along with Frank Orr, Red Kelly and Frank Selke Jr.

In 2010 the main diamond at Christie Pits was named in honour of Jack and his late wife Lynne who worked with him, with the team, and at the ballpark every step of the way.


Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with BayToday.ca since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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