Trail AM Ford Oriole coach David Colquhoun exchanges pleasantries with umpire Brad Elliot who retired from umpiring after 49 years.

Umpire makes last call

Trail Little League invited retiring Brad Elliot to throw the first pitch of the season after a 49 of umpiring.

It’s only fitting that Brad Elliot ends his umpiring career where it all started almost 50 years ago.

Trail Little League invited Elliot, a Trail native, to throw out the first pitch at their opening ceremonies on Saturday at Andy Bilesky Park, because after 49 years of calling balls and strikes, the man-in-blue is retiring from umpiring.

“The body is telling me now it’s time,” said Elliot, who called it quits this year after spending the past five decades umpiring at almost every level of baseball, softball, and slo-pitch, and ringing up outs at regional, provincial, and national championships.

Elliot, now 71, began his sojourn into the dark art of umpiring in the spring of 1965 when he called his first Trail Little League game.

“A relative of my mother’s, he was the Umpire and Chief (UIC) for Little League, and when I moved back to Trail, I ran into him one night he was stuck for an umpire up at Little League so I started helping him out that year,” said Elliot.

“The following year I started getting all the papers, and I phoned the president and asked, ‘How come I’m getting all these papers for Little League?’ and he says, ‘Oh your uncle retired, and he said you’re taking over.’ – So that’s how I got into it,” he laughed.

The 71-year-old retired accountant has seen some of Trail’s best ballplayers and coaches come through the Little League, Babe Ruth, and softball ranks, including Andy Bilesky, Jason and Lauren Bay, and Chris Kissock, and is struck by the dedication of both athletes and volunteers from small towns like Trail.

Fellow umpire Bill MacMillan had the privilege of bestowing the BC Baseball Umpire Association’s George Connelly Builders Award honour on Elliot in 2013, awarded for outstanding long-term commitment to building and maintaining a strong umpire program in the area.

“Brad is one of those guys that is always there,” said MacMillan. “He ‘s the kind of guy that gets out there every day and is always looking to improve. He’s not terribly hard nosed, he’s just a local guy doing local stuff.”

In the same year, Elliot also received the Sports Hero award in baseball from Sport BC for his dedication and contribution to Trail baseball.

The awards are treasured moments for Elliot, and the recognition is well-deserved, says Trail Little League coach and director, long-time player, and Trail AM Ford Orioles manager Jim Maniago, who has occasionally disagreed with Elliot’s perspective during games.

“The thing with Brad, he’s a good guy, he’s not arrogant, he’s not there to do anything other than do his best for the kids and for the game,” said Maniago. “He’s very easy to deal with and never one to get too worked up very easily, and like I said his focus is just to keep the game moving and keep it fair for everybody. He’s not one that gets overly officious, and he’s not one that goes looking for problems, he’s just there to have fun, same with everybody else. ”

And despite the perception of persecution that surrounds officials in most sports, Elliot insists the reason he continued to umpire year after year was due to the sheer enjoyment of the game and the umpiring fraternity.

“I enjoyed the years I did in Little League travelling to provincials and Canadians, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and once I moved up to Babe Ruth it gets a little more serious, but I enjoyed it all, and like I said, ‘If you don’t enjoy it, you shouldn’t be there.’”

While players and coaches will no longer run into him on the base paths, the amiable Elliot has no plans of going gentle into that good night.

“I’m still going to be doing allocating for the umpires and looking after them, and work with Scott (Calvin) in the concession stand or at tournaments, whatever, just to keep involved . . . and stay out of my wife’s hair.”

Elliot will be recognized for his contribution to Trail Little League at the opening ceremonies at noon Saturday.

Just Posted

Firefighters extinguish early-morning blaze in Rossland

Neighbour alerted family of four, no injuries reported

Senior curling provincials setting up for exciting finish

Standings tight as Senior curling teams push for provincial playoffs

Nominations open for Trail-Warfield Citizen of the Year

Award presented annually for a person or group with an outstanding record of community service

Fashion Fridays: Must have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

B.C. police watchdog clears officers in fatal hostage situation outside Cranbrook

A woman died from carbon monoxide poisoning after taking two minors hostage last fall

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read