SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The Sioux Falls Canaries have been in existence for over a century. This past Friday a family member with ties back to the Birds’ earliest days was in attendance.
“My wife will tell you, anytime I can come back to Sioux Falls I’m happy,” Bob Warner said.
Before moving to Los Angeles in 1959, Bob Warner spent his childhood and early adult life right here in the city.
“I went to high school here. I went to Augustana College here. I spent my life here and then four years at KELO, you might know the station,” Warner said with a big smile.
Of the many ties Warner has to Sioux Falls, perhaps the strongest dates back to the start of the 20th century when his grandfather Bobby Warner founded the Sioux Falls Canaries.
“Not in an organized league, he got players to play pick up ball against different cities around here,” Warner said of his grandfather.
By 1902 they were officially welcomed into the Iowa-South Dakota League, but Bobby was more than just the founder.
“He was captain and manager of the Canaries and a player as well. So he was everything.” Warner stated.
As Canaries royalty, Warner would throw out the first pitch of last Fridays home opener. An opportunity that took a little convincing from family to come to fruition.
“We had talked about this a long time ago. I would nag him and say oh you should really contact the Canaries and he would say, he’s very humble, oh no they wouldn’t want to talk to me,” Bob’s wife Louis Warner told.
But they certainly would, and several of Bob’s friends and family members from around the country would make the trip to take in the moment and the city of Sioux Falls.
“Truthfully there’s a lot I didn’t know about his past and his time here in Sioux Falls and it’s been a learning experience for me and it’s only been 24 hours. So, I’m looking forward to the next day,” Bob’s son Rob Warner remarked.
“Tomorrow he’s going to take us around site seeing and see the high school and all the stomping grounds so I’m really looking forward to that and hearing some stories.”