Larry Irving covered all the bases

The valley lost a true sporting legend when Irving died Saturday, Nov. 22. He was 71.

Talk to anyone about Larry Irving and the response is the same.

Great guy. Extraordinary volunteer. A man with a heart of gold who would do anything for the betterment of baseball in the community and a huge fan of the game at the local level.

The valley lost a true sporting legend when Irving died Saturday, Nov. 22. He was 71.

A celebration of life for Irving was held Nov. 29 at the Mount Brenton Golf Club.

In lieu of flowers, brother Lynn Irving of Chemainus suggested people consider donating blood to the Red Cross in Larry’s memory.

Larry needed several transfusions, Lynn said, during his final six months as his illnesses intensified.

“The biggest disappointment in his life the last year was he couldn’t get to the ballpark,’’ said Lynn. “He wasn’t healthy enough to stay.’’

Tributes have been pouring in from everywhere, particularly through social media, since Irving’s efforts were so well-known and he touched the lives of so many.

Rob Watt, a past player of his and currently an assistant coach at Mt. Olive University in North Carolina, was among them.

“Larry Irving, you are a true ambassador of baseball and I cannot honestly sit here and believe the opportunities that I have had with this sport would not have been remotely possible if it weren’t for you,’’ Watt wrote in a Facebook post.

“I was saddened to hear the news of your passing but relieved to know that you will never miss a game. You can watch them all from any seat in the house! Only a true baseball fan will understand when I say this: ‘Your steps into that Hallowed Cornfield are well deserved and your spot amongst the greats has been reserved.’ Wish I had the chance to tell you, ‘Thank You.”’

“He was one of the all-time great guys,’’ said Ernie Mansueti, North Cowichan’s director of parks and recreation. “He was in it for all the right reasons.’’

A program created by Mansueti led to the ultimate tribute to Irving when he was inducted into the North Cowichan-Duncan Sports Wall of Fame last November at the Cowichan Golf and Country Club.

Irving was shy in the public spotlight, but the honour meant the world to him.

“He was having a nervous breakdown a couple of weeks before,’’ said brother Lynn. “He got all stressed out.’’

Once Larry got in front of the crowd and started to talk about his passion for baseball, he was fine.

“He did a pretty good job up there,’’ said Lynn. “When he got down from up there, he was beaming. It was a big day in his life.’’

Longtime fellow umpire and friend Roy Price said Larry was known for his baseball jargon. For example, he called a home run a gopher ball because players had to “go for’’ the ball.

“Larry, his dedication was something else,’’ added Price. “He just totally loved the game. Nothing made him happier than to sit up there and watch kids play.’’

Ted Puska Sr. of Ladysmith wrote a great short story about Larry and being reunited with his old buddy Sonny Collinson, who died during April 2013.

 

Just Posted

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements’ invention La Méduse (the Jellyfish) removes oil from the ocean. The invention was one of 15 out of 700 inventions submitted to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Little Inventors contest. (Cole Schisler photo)
‘Little Inventors’ from Ladysmith showcased in national science challenge

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements were one of 15 finalists in the Little Inventors Challenge

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read