Islanders enter Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Also going in with the Class of 2017 is former long-serving Baseball Canada president Ray Carter of Nanaimo and the upstart 2015 Pan American Games gold-medallist Canadian team, which included infielder Jesse Hodges of Victoria.

Headlining the Class of 2017 is former Toronto Blue Jays pitching ace Roy Halladay and former Montreal Expos slugger and four-time NL all-star Vladimir Guerrero.

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The 21st induction ceremonies take place June 23 in St. Mary’s.

Hudlin, who umpired a generation of Island ball players over four decades, died in 2014 at age 91. He umpired twice at the Little League World Series in 1967 and 1974, the latter also the year Esquimalt-Vic West represented Canada, and also twice at the Senior Little League World Series in Gary, Indiana.

Hudlin, with his gentle manner, was known for his empathy toward the young players he umpired.

“In Little League, you’re the umpire and the coach at the same time,” he once said.

“You help and guide youngsters along . . . that’s part of an umpire’s job at that level.”

That humanity stretched to the stands.

He would often turn to the mothers of players he had called out, and ask: “Do you still love me?”

They all still did.

Hudlin once said his greatest thrill in later years was being stopped all over Greater Victoria and asked by people: “Do you remember me? You used to umpire my games at National Little League, American Little League, Babe Ruth or wherever.”

Nanaimo’s Carter, meanwhile, was president of Baseball Canada from 2000 to 2016 during a time of great innovation and success. He helped establish the Canadian women’s national team in 2004, now ranked No. 2 in the world, and Challenger Baseball for kids with disabilities.

Under Carter’s reign, Canada won men’s gold at both the 2011 Guadalajara and 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games and won 11 other international medals.

“Ray Carter was one of the greatest leaders of Canadian baseball,” said Jim Swanson, managing partner of the Victoria HarbourCats of the West Coast League.

“He took Baseball Canada from next to nothing to one of the most powerful baseball organizations on the international scene.”

Carter was also president of Baseball B.C. for eight years and B.C. Minor Baseball for two years before stepping up into his national role.

“I’m deeply honoured to be elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame,” said Carter, in a statement.

“To be inducted with Roy Halladay, Vladimir Guerrero, Doug Hudlin and the Canadian 2015 Pan Am gold medal team is indeed special.”

About Halladay, Swanson said: “He might be the greatest pitcher the Blue Jays ever had, even though he did not win a World Series. I think it’s great that the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame enshrines non-Canadian pros like Halladay and Guerrero who played and contributed here.”

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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