*Peter Orr played shortstop behind RHP Garrett Styles at Newarket High School. Styles was pinned under a vechicle, giving his live in the line of duty as a York Regional police officier. 2011 MLB Scouting Bureau camps sked
By Bob Elliott
It was a morning like any other, when Peter Orr awoke in Buffalo on June 29.
On the road with the triple-A Lehigh Valley Ironpigs, the Newmarket infielder did what he always does to start the day: hit the Toronto Sun app on his phone.
“I saw a headline about a York Region police officer, opened the story and thought I may know him. I read the story and was 100% sure I knew him,” said Orr.
Const. Garrett Styles was dragged 300 metres along Hwy. 48, pinned under a vehicle and barely able to breathe, yet his final breaths into his radio were of concern for those in the vehicle who had run him over.
The final game Styles pitched for Newmarket High School against Scarborough in a Prentice Cup bid Orr was at shortstop.
“He was a year older, one our better starters,” Orr said from Allentown, Pa.
Styles, Orr and his wife Jodi all attended Rogers Public School, before moving on to Newmarket High.
“It was awfully sad, not something you want wake up to, but right away you think of Garrett’s wife, his children,” Orr said. “I feel for them. No way I could comprehend what his wife, children and family are going through.”
Styles, 32, is survived by his wife, Melissa, two-year-old daughter and nine-week-old son; his father Gary, a York policeman for 33 years until retiring in January, brothers Brent, also a policeman, and Colin, taking environmental studies and sister Meghan.
“I realize Newmarket and the police community will be behind them.”
There will be another example of what Orr speaks of, as the Double Blue Police all-stars face the Newmarket Junior Hawks at Don McKnight Field on Muriel St. in Newmarket Wednesday night.
York Regional PC Jon Carson, an organizer, says T-shirts and bracelets will be sold in memory of the officer lost in the line of duty. A 50/50 draw be held with monies raised going to the Melissa Styles trust fund for the children.
The Police team is composed of officers from York, Toronto and others, as they represent Canada at the World Police and Fire Games in New York later this month.
Styles’ father, Gary, will be there “riding the pine.”
The father remembers his son attending Ernie Whitt camps at Richmond Green Sports Centre, his son’s love of baseball, travelling to tournaments in London, Belleville and Sarnia, how competitive his son was and how he realized “not every boy in Canada is going to play pro, even if that’s what their parents want and they don’t want to disappoint their parents.”
“Instead of wearing a number on his back, my son wore a badge on his shirt (No. 1405),” said the father.
Garrett Styles had planned a Father’s Day weekend in Cleveland to see his Jays play the Indians.
They had nose bleed seats at Progressive Field, but “the Jays got wind of our trip.”
Jays crack security man Ron Sandelli, with help from the Indians, took Gary along with children Brent and Meghan, arranged for a pre-game, on-field visit and seats by the Jays dugout.
Jose Bautista hit two homers, the second in extras, in a 5-4 win on Saturday and saw Brett Cecil win 7-1 on the Sunday.
“It was nice to see my children smile for a change,” Gary said. “We met Bautista, pretty much everyone. My thrill was meeting Pat Tabler, Buck Martinez and Jerry Howarth, talking about the World Series winning teams in 1992-93.”
Gary spoke of when Garrett asked him to come to school and talk about his job.
The police veteran explained how he did intelligence work but had one regret.
“I told the kids the biggest down fall of the job was being on the road, missing time with my children,” the tough policeman said as his voice began to crack.
“I look down, Garrett was crying,” Gary says, “I’m sure he was thinking, why did I invite him?”
Gary is in tears and had every right to be.
He wasn’t the only one.