Rick Johnston: A passion for baseball

Submitted

Rick Johnston has been selected to be inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame at the 36th Annual Induction Aug. 15 in Battleford.

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Johnston was born to a farming family with a passion for baseball. His grandfather, mother, father and siblings all played the game.

He played minor baseball in Maidstone, playing third base and outfield, then at the age of 15 years he began playing for the North Battleford Midget Beavers, then the Junior Beavers for five years followed by two years with the Senior Beavers. He continued with them in the Saskatchewan Major Baseball League until it folded. While in North Battleford Beavers Club, he helped the Midgets win provincials, competed in two Nationals with the Juniors and one with the Senior Beaver team.

Returning home, he joined the Standard Hill Lakers Baseball Club, playing intermediate baseball at the Silver Lake Regional Park near Maidstone. He played, coached, organized and worked the annual tournaments for years.

He was picked up by the Wilkie Brewers in 1975, the team winning the provincials.

In 2004 Rick coached the Lakers, winning the Provincial Championship held in Davidson.

An injury sidelined him for awhile so he turned to umpiring Standard Hill and Maidstone minor ball as well as working games for the North Saskatchewan River Baseball League, the Saskatchewan Junior Baseball League, the Saskatchewan Summer Games and the Western Canadian Junior and Intermediate levels. While still playing, Rick raised and launched the ball careers of their family of four, on the ball diamond, coaching his children. Kara started with the boys until the girl’s team was formed, then onto Bantam in Lloydminster, Junior A and Senior A in Saskatoon and Edmonton. Ryan played with the North Battleford Junior Beavers and Saskatoon Diggers. Tyler and Troy played for the Standard Hill Lakers. Kara also curled and the boys played hockey and had participated in all school sports.

Rick served as president of minor ball and assumed the duties that in a small town included organizing equipment, diamond maintenance and umpiring. Rick joined the North Battleford Oldtimers in the Maxi in Assiniboia, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Strasbourg and North Battleford. In 1988, Rick coaxed his hometown buddies from past Lakers teams back onto the ball diamond and entered the Standard Hill Oldtimers in the 1988 Mini. The 1988 Mini was hosted by Standard Hill with Rick as chairman. He managed and played with the Oldtimers for 25 enjoyable years.

Rick was an active farmer, a purebred Polled Hereford breeder, serving on the Saskatchewan Hereford Association, the Canadian Hereford Association and the Western Agribition for several years, as well as several other community organizations. Rick also played and coached hockey for many years.

Rick and his wife recently retired to golf and to watch their grandchildren play baseball and hockey.

The Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame Scholarship Award is presented annually to a baseball player under 18 years of age, who plans to further pursue his/her baseball career. For information, email saskbaseballmuseum @sasktel.net for an application form.

 

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