“I lived to play baseball and hockey,” says Roger Berlando with a smile.
The valley native was born in Aerial. His parents came to the valley in 1912 to work at the Star Mine, and his stomping ground was Rosedale. Part of the culture in the day was baseball.
“There was nothing else,” he said. “We would go to school with a glove and a ball.”
The school at the time was where Inland Plastics now is, and the ball diamond, was, well the Rosedale Ball Diamond.
He didn’t start playing for the Rosedale Midways until he was 13, and then he said he was played very sparingly. It didn’t take long to see his skills shine. By 15, he was the leading pitcher.
He was part of a dynasty. The Rosedale Midways went on to win in the area of 10 provincial junior titles in a row. Members of the team include Bernie Wade, Glen Gorbus, and Roger. Beano Bertamini would catch for Roger.
He has a golden arm, and by his own admission would average 12-14 strikeouts a game. In a junior playoff game against Beiseker, he struck out 21 hitters.
In the 1948 season, the last one that Gorbus played with Rosedale, Roger repeated as batting championship, hitting clean up. At one point, a scout from the San Francisco Giants showed interest in Roger, but they instead picked Ralph Vold of Ponoka.
When his junior career was finished he went to play in the Big Four League. This was a league that consisted of the Calgary Buffaloes, owned by Calgary Brewery, the Purity 99ers, Cals Dodgers and the Edmonton Eskimos. He said this was a semi-pro league and was comparable to an American D-league.
At the time, Gorbus was playing for the Purity 99ers and Roger was signed to the Buffaloes, with a promise of stipend and a job in the brewery. Because he was not yet of age, he was going to have to work in the soda pop division of the factory.
While he played, the job never materialized and he decided to pack up and play in Eckville in the Central Alberta League. This time the job did materialize and the team went on to win every major tournament they entered. In the Brooks tournament, they played against familiar faces with teams from Wayne, Rosedale and Nacmine. He also pitched for a Central Alberta All star team.
After that, he came home and began to play in the Chinook League for the Drumheller Miners. This included teams in the valley area, as well as two from Calgary, Turner Valley/Longview and the Oyen area. He hung up his sneakers in 1957. He went on to build a professional life in Drumheller, and says aspects of hard work and teamwork were lessons learned in sports that applied to life.
He still watches baseball and hockey and on occasion has made it in to see the Calgary Vipers.
He looks at photos of the 1948 Rosedale Midways and remembers the name of every player on the squad. He slowly counts and sees there are only four players that are still alive.
The memories live on forever.