This year’s recognition of beloved umpire Doug Hudlin, declared for June 12 by the City of Victoria, will see a special plaque dedicated to the local baseball pioneer at National Little League’s Jerry Hale Field in a ceremony at 12:30 p.m., followed by a charity fundraiser game at 1 p.m.
The baseball park at Cook Street and Hillside Avenue is where Hudlin began an umpiring career that led him to twice officiate at the Little League World Series – he was the first Black Canadian invited to do so – and gain induction in 2017 into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Hudlin, known by many in local baseball circles as the “gentleman umpire,” died in 2014 at the age of 91.
The event doubles as a fundraiser day for Step Up to the Plate, a charity started by Hudlin’s niece Barbara Hudlin, which helps provide baseball opportunities for underprivileged youth in Victoria.
Special guest Larry Walker Sr. of Maple Ridge, who has been involved in amateur baseball for decades in B.C. and is the father of former Major League Baseball star and hall of famer Larry Walker Jr., will umpire the 1 p.m. charity game. Walker will be presented with a Doug Hudlin trophy for taking part in the day’s activities.
Members and friends of Hudlin’s family will be on hand to help celebrate the plaque unveiling. Admission to the game is pay what you can (cash only), and special Doug Hudlin T-shirts and hats will be on sale. A 50-50 raffle draw will also be held, with all proceeds from the day going toward Step Up to the Plate to defray the cost of registration to play or umpire for those in need.
Follow the latest on the Step Up to the Plate page on Facebook.