For 16 years, Ken Babcock has volunteered with Baseball Oshawa, and Baseball Ontario has recognized those efforts.
Our association's president was presented the province's highest honour when it was announced at the Baseball Ontario AGM that he is the winner of the 2021 President's Award.
"I am very honoured to have received this award from Baseball Ontario," said Babcock, who went on to credit others. "I consider it a team award for Baseball Oshawa and its amazing volunteers and board members."
During the Baseball Ontario Evening of Excellence, President Ed Quinlan praised Babcock for his efforts in Oshawa and the province.
"Ken can always be counted when asked for help, even in the 11th hour," said Quinlan during the event.
His day job is as the athletic director at Durham College, a post he has held since 1995, but there are days during the season when it seems to outsiders that he spends most of his time on Baseball Oshawa projects.
The native of Brockville began coaching in 2005 and eventually took over as Baseball Oshawa president in 2012. Under his guidance, the association has implemented many programs and initiatives.
Baseball Oshawa historian and a previous winner of the Baseball Ontario President's Award Jim Lutton was equally surprised and 'pleased' that Ken won the prestigious award.
"Not everybody recognizes the amount of work he puts in," said Jim. He added that Babcock is always working on behalf of the association and brought it "into the 21st Century."
Lutton was quick to point out that Babcock's leadership was the driving force behind kids in Oshawa playing baseball the past two summers.
"During this COVID, Oshawa is one of the few local associations that had house league going for the past two years," said Lutton. "Every association cut down, even to the point of not offering house league, but we didn't, and that's thanks to Ken."
In 2019, the Junior Legionaires won the first-ever national championships in the association's 70-year history. At the time, Junior coach Scott Cawker had high praise for Ken.
"It's an excellent program, absolutely excellent," Cawker said. "It starts at the top with Kenny. He runs a first-class organization and really gives a lot of support to all the teams all the way through … You're getting more and more players attracted to this organization, they're playing the game the right way, and as they feed up into our upper system, oh man, we end up with some very strong teams."
Former Baseball Oshawa President Mark Orton was awarded the Director of the Year and the Eastern Ontario Baseball Association was named the Affiliate Association for 2021.
"I am also proud to see that the EOBA received Provincial Association of the year honours!" added Babcock.