Moss Tournament History

History of the Constable William Moss Memorial Softball Tournament

The Constable William Moss Memorial Minor Softball Tournament was inaugurated in 1980 through the personal efforts of Constable Gary Browne, Peter Harvey-President of Softball Newfoundland Labrador and Gen Adams of the Cabot Street Recreation Association.

Constable Browne was looking for a means to assist the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in its crime prevention efforts to break down barriers between our youth and the police.

Constable William (Bill) Moss of Port Blandford was a member of the constabulary who tragically lost his young life in a violent labour dispute at Badger in 1959 commonly referred to as “The Badger Riot”. Constable Moss died on March 12, 1959 at Grand Falls, two days after receiving a severe blow to the head from a piece of pulpwood during an altercation.

Seventy-eight members of the constabulary were sent to assist the RCMP during the Badger Riot.

The Constable William Moss Memorial Softball Tournament began in 1980 with just four St. John’s Inter-City Teams. In just a few short years the event had become, as it is to this day, the premier boys’ and girls’ tournament in our province, with as many as 30 teams participating. The tournament quickly far surpassed all police and community expectations relating to the breaking down of barriers between law enforcement members and our youth.

The tournament was unique in that all team members had to play in each game, regardless of their skill levels, games were mostly umpired by constabulary officers; Sportsmanship, Fun, Respect and Discipline were of paramount importance; Scholarships for Academic Achievement were also awarded in order to accentuate the importance of education.

Constables Georgina Short, Joe Boland, Glen Moores and Gordon Crawley played major roles in tournament organization/co-ordination over the years for the RNC. Thanks to the efforts of well kown senior women softball legends, Sherry Morrissey, Joan Mercer, Bette Murphy and Mary Oakley, a female division of the Moss tournament was initiated in 1987.

Thousands of young Newfoundlanders Labradorians participated in the Constable William Moss Memorial Softball Tournament over the years, with many lasting friendships having been formed between police officers and ball players.

Browning Harvey (Pepsi) Limited, through the personal leadership of Mr. Josh Wood, became the main sponsor of the tournament from day one, but the entire sporting endeavour was truly a community effort by police officers, dedicated volunteers, business sponsors and the City of St. John’s. To this day, Pepsi is the Grand Slam sponsor of the event, and for that continued commitment to the youth of our province, Browning Harvey is to be commended.

Due to operational human resource demands the constabulary had to curtail the Moss Tournament in 2000, but thanks to a Newfoundland Softball Legend-Ross Crocker, along with Joe Lake, Don Power, and Bob Gulliver-restarted the event in 2002 with the full support of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the tournament continues to be the best minor league sporting event in Newfoundland and Labrador today, with as many as 30 boys and girls teams participating each year.

I’m proud to say I had a hand in this wonderful event, and am pleased to see the work that was started way back in 1980 continued by Ross, Joe and their group.

The above was prepared by Gary Browne and appeared on Sport.ca July 10, 2009.