VICTORIA, B.C. -- A true pioneer of the Victoria community, on and off the baseball field, will be recognized this summer at Royal Athletic Park.
The HarbourCats are very pleased to host Doug Hudlin Night on June 13 when the Port Angeles Lefties play the HarbourCats at 6:35 p.m. It will be the second of a two-game series between the teams, which is the first visit to Victoria by the Lefties.
Celebrating the beginning of a new regional rivalry between Victoria and Port Angeles is a very fitting setting with which to honour the contributions of Doug Hudlin, who served as an umpire in Victoria for more than 40 years.
Born in Victoria in 1922, Hudlin was the grandson of Nancy and Charles Alexander, Victoria’s earliest black pioneers. His contributions stretched far beyond the baseball field. Hudlin was the founding director of the B.C. Black History Awareness Society.
Hudlin is being inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on June 24, and is also being honoured by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum this fall.
On June 13 at Royal Athletic Park, Hudlin will be honoured in a pregame ceremony on the field. It will include comments from his niece, Barbara Hudlin, as well as HarbourCats head coach Brian McRae. In keeping with Doug’s passion for Little League baseball, players from National Little League will accompany speakers on the field.
Hudlin’s greatest impact likely came from his time as a Little League umpire, beginning in 1953. In 1967, Hudlin became the first non-American to be invited to umpire the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. He would work the event twice, 1967 and 1974, becoming the first international umpire to work in two Little League World Series. He would also umpire two Senior Little League World Series. In total, Hudlin would umpire five Canadian Little League Championships (1966-67, 1973, 1981, 1987).
From the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame: “[Hudlin was] known for his good humor and sense of fairness, Hudlin evolved into one of his province’s most respected umpires.”
Hudlin was elected president of the Victoria District Umpires Association and served in that capacity until 1974, when he became president of the B.C Baseball Umpires Association, a position he held until 1979.
“As a young boy growing up playing Little League in Victoria, it was a thrill to have Mr. Hudlin come to your park and umpire a game that you were playing in,” says HarbourCats general manager Brad Norris-Jones. “Every year Mr. Hudlin would go to all of the different Little Leagues in Victoria and umpire one game at every park. You would just hope that your team was playing in that game.”
In 1988, Hudlin added the B.C. Summer Games to his resume and umpired his final Little League game four years later in 1992. The Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame inducted Hudlin in 1998.
Hudlin was inducted into the B.C. Baseball Umpires Association Hall of Fame in 2011. The association also annually presents the Doug Hudlin Distinguished Service Award to a dedicated and long-serving B.C. umpire.
The HarbourCats open the 2017 WCL season on June 1 on the road against the WCL’s newest team, the Port Angeles Lefties. Their home opener at Royal Athletic Park is June 5 when the Wenatchee AppleSox visit Victoria.