The Toronto Maple Leafs could end their curse by buying a baseball team

Photo credit:sewm /Sam MacCutchan, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Filipe Dimas
11 months ago
Years ago, I wrote about how the Toronto Maple Leafs appear to have been cursed by a baseball team that carries the same name. In short, long before the hockey club donned the name Maple Leafs back in 1927, there was already a baseball team called the Toronto Maple Leafs that had been operating since the late 1800s. 
These Maple Leafs operated as a high minor league affiliate for a number of MLB teams for decades, and were quite successful along the way, having been home to fifteen future MLB Hall of Famers and earning the distinction as the team that Babe Ruth hit his very first professional home run against. However, in the mid-1960’s, just one year removed from winning back-to-back championships, ownership was looking to sell the original Maple Leafs baseball club, who at the time was an affiliate for the Boston Red Sox. 
Maple Leafs Gardens Ltd. (the ownership group which would later rebrand as MLSE), was considering buying the team however owner Harold Ballard decided that they weren’t worth the investment, due to the cost of renovating Maple Leafs stadium, a lakeside ballpark that no longer exists where the franchise played its home games. Instead, the team would be sold to a real estate developer who moved the team to Indiana, thus ending the legacy of the original Toronto Maple Leafs on October 17th, 1967. 
As any hockey fan knows, the Maple Leafs hockey club that was owned for decades by the same man who refused to keep the original Leafs in Toronto hasn’t won a championship since, as the Maple Leafs curse lives on.
However, now MLSE has a chance to end this curse. Two years after the original Leafs left, a new baseball team with the same name returned to the city as the Intercounty Baseball League’s Toronto Maple Leafs arrived and began playing independent league baseball out of Christie Pits. Earlier this week, that club announced that the Maple Leafs are for sale, giving MLSE a chance to right their wrongs of 50+ years ago by keeping these Maple Leafs in Toronto, and giving the team the money it needs to continue to thrive.
While the NHL’s Maple Leafs haven’t won since 1967, the Intercounty Baseball League’s Maple Leafs have claimed eight championships since their inaugural season in 1969. And the original Maple Leafs baseball club who spent time as the Louisville Cardinals before becoming the Pawtucket Red Sox and then the Worcester Red Sox have won four titles of their own as a AAA affiliate for the Boston Red Sox.
Of the three teams that have carried the moniker of “Toronto Maple Leafs” over the past century, only one has been unable to call themselves champions since the original Leafs left Toronto. When Shanahan took over as Team President for the NHL club, he tried to right some of the wrongs of the past by mending relationships with alumni, and retiring numbers of various NHL legends. While those actions haven’t seemed to break the curse keeping the Stanley Cup out of Toronto, the franchise now has a rare opportunity to mend one more relationship.
The Toronto Maple Leafs should pay homage to their namesake and attempt to break their curse by buying the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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