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Keegan to be inducted into Hall of Fame

Brian Keegan will be inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame Aug. 16. Keegan, formerly of Swift Current, will be placed in the individual category, as a player and builder.
Brian Keegan

Brian Keegan will be inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame Aug. 16. Keegan, formerly of Swift Current, will be placed in the individual category, as a player and builder.

Keegan grew up in Moose Jaw and advanced through minor league baseball. He was a member of the provincial championship juvenile and junior teams in the 1960s, winning the batting crown in 1962 with a .467 average.

In 1963, he was promoted to the Moose Jaw Regals where he hit line drives all over the Saskatchewan Southern League for the next 13 years. He was with the Regals from 1963-67 and again in 1970.

After accepting a teaching position in Swift Current, Keegan played with the Swift Current Indians from 1968-69 and 1971-75. The most consistent player in the Southern League, he seldom struck out and had a knack for getting on base with a solid line drive or a walk. Keegan was an excellent fielding first baseman, and was always around a .300 mark as a hitter. "Keeg," as he is known, was named to the All-star team for the Southern League several times.

Some fine players Keegan played with included Mike Dayne, Wayne LeBere, Roy Rowley, Wally Blaisdell, Dennis Williams, Ned Andreoni and Larry Tollefson - all former inductees of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Keegan was a first team All-star selection at first base in 1965,'66 and '67. He was also a first team All-star as an outfielder in 1970. Keegan held a .318 batting average in 1970, which was seventh in league. He won gold-glove awards for first base in 1965, '66 and '67. He played on pennant winning teams in 1963, '66 and '70, and league championship teams in 1967 and '70. Keegan also had a six-hit game in his career.

The Regals travelled to money tournaments in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. Keegan played on the team that won three prestigious Lacombe Lions Baseball tournaments.

Other career highlights include batting against the legendary Satchel Paige, playing against Terry Puhl and Reg Cleveland who went on to the MBL, being a member of the 1975 All-star team to play the Japanese National Team, coaching Kindersley Bantams to a Western Canada Championship and being inducted into the Eagles Sports Hall of Fame as a player and developer of baseball.

Known as "Mr. Baseball" while in Swift Current, Keegan, along with Harvey Nybo as playing managers, led the Indians to a Southern League championship in 1972. In 1973, under Keegan's management, the Indians won the Southern League pennant. He was named to the league All-star team in 1971, '72 and '73, continuing to be the league's top performer. He then went to university summer classes, returning to Swift Current in 1975 to play for and manage the team he loved in the newly formed Saskatchewan Major Baseball League that he was instrumental in forming.

Keegan retired as a player in 1975, but continued to be involved with baseball. He chaired the under 18 baseball competition in the 1976 Saskatchewan Summer Games. He was a director for the Southwest Region of the Saskatchewan Baseball Association 1976-78. He was then a contributing member of the SBA's player and coaches development program delivering baseball clinics throughout Saskatchewan. In the 1990s, he was involved with coaching minor league baseball in Regina, Kindersley and Saskatoon.

During his playing career, Keegan was a steady player both offensively and defensively, batting at the top of the line up and consistently displaying a gold glove level of play.

Keegan was a leader in all aspects of his life, chairing numerous committees, headed many community initiatives and coached most sports, most recently with the University of Saskatchewan as director of the Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit.

Keegan now lives in White Rock, B.C.