Former Island softball star Gord Fadden, who won two Senior A national championships with Victoria teams and gold with Canada in the 1983 Caracas Pan Am Games, has died at 69 of colon cancer.
Fadden was a vacuum cleaner at third base — the Brooks Robinson of softball — and could belt the ball with the best of them at the plate in a career that landed him in the Softball B.C. Hall of Fame.
“Gord was fearless at third, and would be almost on top of the batter, and I once told him you’re going to lose some teeth,” said wife Debbie Fadden, who was a top-level women’s club player.
“He never shied away from anything and was very competitive. He was a great batter, too. He always presented that gruff exterior but he was the biggest teddy bear in the world.”
The native of the Fraser Valley began his career in Abbotsford and came to Victoria following the four national championships, world championship and 1979 Pan Am Games gold medal (representing Canada) the Bates/Budgets dynasty had won between 1975 and 1979.
Fadden was a cornerstone in the rebuild, which resulted in Victoria winning the Canadian Senior A championships in 1982 and 1983 during his eight seasons of playing at Royal Athletic Park.
Softball Canada went from having the defending national champion represent the nation in the Pan Am Games to a true national team going starting in 1983. Fadden was selected along with Victoria teammates Rob Guenter, Reg Underwood, Dennis Eckert, Randy Benn, John Green and was proud of his gold medal from Caracas. Since men’s softball is not an Olympic sport, the Pan Am Games are the pinnacle for this region in terms of multi-sport Games.
“Representing Canada meant a lot to Gord and that Pan Am Games gold medal was one of his most cherished possessions,” said Debbie Fadden.
So was all the hardware from club play.
“Playing for those Victoria teams was a big part of his life and he kept in touch with many of his former teammates,” said Debbie Fadden.
Not that softball ever made anybody rich. When not on the diamond, Fadden worked as lineman for B.C. Hydro and later for the mail department of the provincial government and building ambulances.
“Most of all, other than his family, Gord loved softball,” said Debbie.
Gord Fadden was pre-deceased in 2017 by his 29-year-old son and former Victoria Racquet Club hockey star Mitch Fadden, who scored more than 30 goals three times in his WHL career and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning, before a career in the AHL and ECHL.
Fadden is survived by wife Debbie, son Matthew, daughter-in-law Karla and two grandchildren Alessandra and Valentina.
A celebration of life will be held in 2022 in Salmon Arm, to where the family moved in 2005.