By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
George Farelli was never late for practice.
Whether it was at Earlscourt Park near Lansdowne and St. Clair in 1956 playing for the Moose Athletic Club.
Or playing second base alongside shortstop Brian Cowan in the first-ever CNE peewee tournament representing their league.
And playing midget and junior for Perth Boys Club for coach Harry McAloney at Christie Pits.
“I don’t think George was ever late for a game or practice,” said Cowan, his life long friend and former double play partner. “We would practice double plays at Earlscourt until the street lights would come on and it was hard to see.
“Harry would keep hitting grounders to us. We enjoyed the game so much.”
Every Monday morning the two middle infielders still get together with their former coach McAloney for coffee after all these years.
You might not know the name George Farelli.
And sometime Wednesday our popular weekly Canadian Baseball Network Canadians in the Minors update and our even-more popular Minor League Player of the Week for Week XII will be posted.
George has been there once a week, every week in season, since the first week of the 2003 season when he volunteered to submit the weekly stats package on how Canucks were doing.
Not thru finicky machines.
George has never been late.
Every week he has been sending us weekly summaries of up-to-date stats, who had the best week at the plate and on the mound and then the end-of-the-season Top 10 lists in each category.
So 12 years times 24 per year equals 288 submissions and 12 more this season makes this week No. 300.
He’s been as reliable as Cal Ripken and the sun coming up.
And for all that work we’ve paid him a grand total of $0.00.
When we finally had some cash to pay our writers, George refused saying “give it to the kids, they need it more than I.”
He did accept a ticket to the annual Baseball Canada fund raiser in January for a few years and sat at the same table as his double play partner Brian, nicknamed “Cleats,” whose son Jeff played for Danny Thompson’s Team Ontario and then Greg Hamilton’s Canadian Junior National Team. Like Brian Cowan and Farelli before him, Hamilton also played for McAloney as a youngster.
During summer holidays Cowan said you would find little George at Earlscourt Park all day playing make-up baseball, playing wall-ball was a favorite past time. George still talks about his deceptive pitches, according to Cowan.
George played second base and was a left handed batter. He swung a heavy 34 inch Hillerich & Bradsby and Cowan said if he used the lumber he could “never think of getting around with it.”
George’s cleats were always polished and shining before every game, according to Cowan, but George was not a threat to steal.
After he quit playing he managed and played on men’s elite fastball teams.
Cowan raved about George’s “very good memory and recall” and how he’d phone George up when he need reliable info on baseball.
We’ve had over 60 regular writers since this web site began.
Some wrote part time and moved on to bigger and better things like Shi Davidi and Mike Cormack, now both at Sportsnet or Chris Toman, BlueJays.com, VICE Sports Canada.
And Connor Adami graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in civil engineering in 2010, was hired by HDR Transit Consultants, where he stayed until this year, when he joined the TTC.
While some spread their wings else where Melissa Couto with The Canadian Press and one, Alexis Brudnicki, the writing machine, became a media conglomerate writing for Baseball America, BlueJays.com and multiple other outlets.
And some just left.
Through thick and thin, week in, week out ... not getting angry when I was late posting his copy ... or making a typo, George was there, our longest-serving asset.
You can look up George on the bio page of contributors ... you won’t find anything.
Not one line.
George didn’t want any ink ... he wanted to simply pursue his passion: Canadians playing baseball.
So while George won’t like this story, this tribute, we’re giving it to him anyway.
On behalf of every Canadian who has played in a minor-league game since 2003 and your fellow writers, I, no we, say ... THANK YOU.
Thank you for the previous 12 1/2 years.
And we look forward to the next 12 1/2 years.