1958 – Demons breeze through like a hot north wind

Under the coaching of Max Wishart, the All Australian second baseman, there was a superb recovery after the relegation the previous year. They went through the B grade like a hot north wind to win the premiership and the club championship.

 

1958 followed a black year in the previous season. The Melbourne Football Club took over the Albert Ground while the MCG was being restored following the 1956 Olympic Games and we played at the oval of Miller’s Rope Works in Brunswick. It was not a good year for us, and although only three games out of the four we needed to defeat Prahran in the last game to avoid relegation. We were headed for victory when a violent hail-storm interrupted proceedings for half an hour, allowing Prahran back into the game, and then at the end, what appeared to be the winning hit, turned into a miraculous outfield fly and put us into B grade.

1958 was the first season that the club was not represented in the top grade. Max Wishart the All Australian second baseman, was appointed coach and there was a superb recovery. He bought with him an ex New York Giant’s player in Charlie Gassner whose assistance was invaluable. With a new lease of life from Ken Stephens as pitcher, they went through the B grade like a hot north wind to win the B grade premiership and the club championship. By 1959, Melbourne was back in the A grade four.

To earn their right to return to A grade, the club had to win through a relegation series with the two top placed B grade and 2 lowest placed A grade teams. Melbourne played Sunshine and defeated them 7-1 in the first of the relegation games and then won its way back into A grade by defeating Carlton 14-5 in the last match of the relegation series.