LONG time Redlands Rays Baseball club members Stephen Schneider, Athol (Red) Cunningham and Scott Fletcher are currently celebrating impressive milestones with Schnieder chalking up 500 baseball games for the club, and Cunningham and Fletcher, 300 games each.
Schneider’s first season at Redlands was in the 1989/90 season when the club was called Southside Indians and was affiliated with the current Indians Baseball Club. His team was the under 10’s Navajos.
As a junior player, Schneider pitched and played 1st base and now, as a senior, his primary positions have been center field and pitcher.
After playing most of his junior career at Redlands, Schneider ventured to Windsor and Carina for three seasons, before returning to Redlands where he has played ever since. He is currently a member of the Division three Rays 2 team and also plays in the masters league each Monday night.
Schneider represented Brisbane South Region throughout his junior career and in his final year of junior baseball, he played for Brisbane Metro Region. He was selected as a member of the Queensland team in 1995 and participated in three trips to the United States with the Queensland Taipans.
Cunningham started playing in the under 8’s T-ball team for Redlands in the 1991/92 season and he has played for Redlands in every summer season since then. During the winter seasons, he played for other clubs including Mudgeeraba and Runaway Bay.
He was selected in a number of representative teams including Brisbane South, Metropolitan East Schoolboys, Queensland Schoolboys and the Australian Expos in which he participated in three tours playing against teams from Chicago, California, San Diego, San Francisco.
While a junior player, Cunningham’s preferred positions were middle infield and relief pitcher but he has played all positions at some time through his junior years. As a senior his preferred positions are 2nd base, 3rd base, relief pitcher and catcher. Cunningham is also plays in the Division three Rays 2 team with Schneider.
When asked about his memories of early Redlands Baseball Club, Cunningham said he had seen many changed with the club over the year.
“We have gone from a little shipping container on the hill as a canteen to the clubhouse it is today.,” he said.
“The bottom field used to have two full diamonds and the field was big enough to have four tee ball games or two junior games going at once. As the fields were built over a dump, every time it rained, the underlying rocks and stones would be brought up all over the fields. This meant before any team could train we had to try and fill the plastic baseball bucket with rocks and after training we had to rake the field and pick up more rocks even though another team was training after us. This continued for about five seasons”.
Fletcher also started playing at Redlands in 1992 and has progress through the years with teammate Cunningham. He had a four year break from the club when his family moved to Alice Springs but he continued playing baseball while there. Since returning to Brisbane, Fletcher has played for Redlands every year and gained his 20 year membership award in the 2016/17 season.
As a player, Fletcher has played every position in the team but his preferred position is catcher which is where he is currently playing as a member of the Redlands division five Rays team.
Fletcher has taken on many roles throughout his time with the club and, for the past four years, has coached both junior and senior teams. In 2014 he was awarded the Ray Parr Award for developing junior players in his role as a coach.
At the beginning of the 2017/18 season, Fletcher joined the grounds crew and, as head groundsman, is currently responsible for maintaining the grounds, dugouts and diamonds which is a full-time job outside of his normal work hours.