R. I. P. Steve (Whitey) Breitner

 Etobicoke  Rangers coach Steve (Whitey) Breitner before he threw out the first pitch at the Rogers Centre as the Blue Jays hosted the Cincinnati Reds and Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) in thhe 2017 season.

Etobicoke  Rangers coach Steve (Whitey) Breitner before he threw out the first pitch at the Rogers Centre as the Blue Jays hosted the Cincinnati Reds and Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) in thhe 2017 season.


Steve “Whitey” Breitner

 

By Scott Langdon
Canadian Baseball Network

Fastballs slow down. Curve balls don’t break as sharply. 

But baseball legends stay with us forever.

Steve “Whitey” Breitner, who passed away Jan. 3, 2018 after a lengthy illness, was an amateur baseball legend in Ontario. 

His record-setting statistics as the long-time “ace” of some of Ontario’s best-ever junior and senior championship teams tell only the game story. The more lasting story of Whitey’s baseball life is the 100s of deep friendships and the positive influence his insights, attitude and humor he had on so many people, most notably the young men who played for his Etobicoke Rangers senior teams over the quarter century he was at the helm as skipper.

whitey ii.jpg

It is your pitch Whitey, Breitner takes Rogers Centre mound
 

Votto-Whitey battery a Wiseman, Hamilton, Shapiro creation

“Speaking on behalf of the core players who have played for Whitey over the past 25 years, I can say without hesitation he is the head of what we consider our baseball family. Through three generations of teams he has been at the forefront of the greatest years of our lives both on and off the field. We are forever indebted to him for his tireless efforts bringing a group of guys together, playing a sport we all love, creating a family atmosphere resulting in friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.” -- Mike Gauthier, Etobicoke Rangers.

“There is no place Whitey would have rather been than on the field. He had that final opportunity with our group -- including his two sons, Kevin and Kyle -- last summer. Know that he loved every minute of it. As part of his legacy, Whitey leaves our team, a quality group of players with the opportunity to accomplish some great things. But this is more than a baseball team. We develop lifelong friendships here, and Whitey brought so many of us together. While we mourn his passing, we have so many memories that will last through our own lifetimes, and stories and one-liners that will continue to get better over time. Whitey was a true character, and we are all better for having known him.” _ Coach Jon Kielb.

“Whitey had a profound impact on many players. We all grieve. We all want a way to give back, to a great leader of men. A friend to all, who shaped positively the way we came to the ballpark, and more importantly, made long-lasting friends, and valued family above all else. I’ve lost two wonderful friends in baseball this past year. Both I saw within the 24 hours of them leaving us. I feel grateful to know that I was able to say my good byes, even if I did not know they would leave us so quickly. It was an honour, and privilege to play for Whitey, and build friendships with so many across the years. He left a profound imprint on me, and meant so much to the entire baseball community.” _ Warren Sawkiw.

“I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Whitey. The game of baseball is similar to the game of life in that it is about people. Whitey was a special baseball person and made an impact on all whom he shared his passion for baseball with! Thoughts and sympathies to Karen and the family.” _ Greg Hamilton. Coach and director National Teams.

Breitner is survived by his wife, Karen, his children Kevin (Johanna and daughter Jadyn), Kelly and Kyle (girlfriend Raven).

Visitation – Peace Chapel: Thursday Jan. 11th - 5-8 pm

Service – Peace Chapel: Friday Jan. 12th – 11 am (with a reception to follow)

Location - St. John’s Cemetery & Crematorium – Peace Chapel located at back in the cemetery, 719 Dundas Street East (Northeast Corner of Dundas St and Cawthra Rd) Mississauga, Ont.

Scott Langdon

Scott is retired and does some freelance writing to keep his mind sharp, with moderate success.

He learned a lot about baseball in west end Toronto when he played for legendary amateur coach, Bob Smyth, known as the mentor of Reds’ star Joey Votto. Smyth taught Scott the intricacies of the sport when, during a Midget game, he strolled half way to home from the third base coach’s box , pointed at the ground and yelled, “Bunt it here.” This might have been the same game when Smyth sent him home for showing up at the park in blue jeans shorts and no shoes. It was the 1960s after all.

Scott’s son, Michael, also played for Smyth with the Etobicoke Rangers. Daughter Katherine didn’t play baseball, but still laughs at the stories.

Scott lives in Toronto sometimes, operated a consulting business for clients across North America, earned a Master’s degree in Communication from Charles Sturt University, Australia and teaches part time at a Toronto university. He thanks Bob Elliott for his patience with punctuation and Bob Smyth for his friendship.