Shirley Gratton is a fixture on the British Columbia baseball scene. As a young girl she first encountered the game living with her aunt in Edmonton. Her career as a player culminated in the Cariboo Championships in 1952 and 1953. After that, her love of the game saw her take up coaching Little League.
The lack of opportunity for young players who were too old for Little League was evident to Gratton. In 1972, along with others like Bill Perrin, Joe Martin and Alex Padalec, she formed Nechako Babe Ruth.
Initially, the league had plenty of problems, a lack of baseball diamonds being foremost. With sheer perseverance, Gratton and the others managed to build a strong league that has hosted three regional tournaments.
In 1994, the Nechako league merged with Prince George Youth Babe Ruth Baseball. Today, the league is one of the strongest and boasts numerous fields, plenty of coaches, players and volunteers. Gratton's dream is to bring a World Series to the local diamonds.
Gratton has received numerous accolades for her achievements: the Governor General’s Confederation medal and the City of Prince George Award of Merit for Recreation, to name only two. She was also inducted into the Babe Ruth Baseball Hall of Fame.
Throughout her time in baseball, Gratton has held many integral positions as a builder. She is currently the Northern Commissioner for Babe Ruth and Treasurer for Prince George Youth Babe Ruth.