Mark Perkins gets ball, 5 decades later

The gift arrived … 52 years later … from Gerry Lister to Mark Perkins (Victoria, BC).

The gift arrived … 52 years later … from Gerry Lister to Mark Perkins (Victoria, BC).

Gerry Lister is a colleague of mine who retired from the Victoria Fire Department as a Battalion Chief a couple of years before I did.

We played baseball and soccer against each other during our teens and we then played together in North Battleford Saskatchewan in the Northern Saskatchewan Baseball League in our early 20s. He played for Team Saskatchewan in the Canadian National Amateur tournament in 1970 or 1971 in Nova Scotia before you and I met the Kingston Ponies team in Edmunston NB in 1973.

When I was 13 years old just out of Little League, I remember watching theBabe Ruth playoffs which were hosted at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria that year of 1963.

Three dominant pitchers of our hometown team — Reynolds Road Babe Ruth — were Gerry Lister, 15, Doug Hill, 15 and Johnny Knowles, 14. I think that this team eventually won the provincial title.

One night Gerry was warming up in the right field bullpen. Along with several other drooling youngsters lined up along the iron railing above him, I was also watching intently. When he was called as a reliever in extra innings, he picked me out of the crowd for some strange reason before he ran out to the mound, and said, “Hey kid. Meet me here after the game and I’ll give you a ball!”

I was awestruck.

And of course, I waited, waited, and waited until dusk!

Finally this past Saturday after nearly 52 years, Gerry finally gave me the dang ball. I’m glad he always honours his commitments.

It was worth the wait! Thank you, Gerry.