The fifth edition of Doug Hudlin Day in Victoria has a broader focus for 2021.
The City of Victoria recently declared June 11 again as the special day honouring the beloved umpire, who was posthumously enshrined in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. He passed away in 2014 at age 91.
His niece, Barbara Hudlin, recently joined Coun. Marianne Alto and longtime volunteer Don Moore at the National Little League park at Cook Street and Hillside Avenue, where the expansion of Doug Hudlin Day was revealed.
|Saanich resident Barbara Hudlin models the commemorative shirt and mask for this year's Doug Hudlin Day on June 11.|
“This year we’ve added Baseball Shirt Day in honour of all umpires,” said Hudlin, encouraging everyone to don their favourite team or supporter shirt on the Friday. “I thought if people everywhere wore a T-shirt, whether it’s a Step Up to the Plate or HarbourCats or whatever, it honours umpires. They need to be honoured for all that they do.”
Step Up to the Plate is the charity she created to raise funds for various sports causes in the region. Among its focuses are Special Olympics and other groups that provide sports opportunities for adults and children with physical or mental challenges.
At last count approximately $1,250 had been raised through the sale of special Doug Hudlin Day reusable masks, and Step Up to the Plate shirts and hats.
Alto said the broader scope for the day recognizes the role sport plays in community and its contribution to overall public health. The proclamation shines a light on “the volunteers that make all these sports accessible and possible for anyone who wants to participate,” she added.
“The proclamation also recognizes the Hudlin family and in particular, Barb Hudlin, for all of her work in community. It really is her continued efforts that remind us of the importance not just of umpires, but of all of the volunteers that make sports something contributes to the positive aspects of everyone’s life.”
Moore is one of those volunteers, having been involved in one capacity or another at National Little League for 45 years.
A friend of the Hudlin family for many of those years, he has helped celebrate Doug Hudlin Day since the beginning. Adding Baseball Shirt Day as a way to honour all umpires and the many volunteers “is the perfect icing on the cake,” he said.
Showing his dedication, he added, “I’ll coach until I can drop!”
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