The HBUA is saddened by the loss of Dennis Ryan.
In 1957 at the age of 14, Dennis Ryan began his umpiring career.
Dennis Ryan became President of Hamilton District Baseball Association (HDBA) and has also been the President of the Hamilton Baseball Umpires’ Association (HBUA). He is now honoured to be a Life Member of both.
It was around this time that Dennis got his nickname “Skip”. “Skip” has been used as the short form for Skipper and some Baseball Team Managers have been called “Skip”. With Dennis’ role as President of HDBA, and as the Inaugural President of HBUA, the umpires from Mahoney Park (the Mahoney Bears) started calling Dennis “Skip”, and it stuck.
As an active member of HDBA, Dennis spent 19 years on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Baseball Association (OBA). From 1989 to 1990, Dennis held the position of President. He was privileged to become inducted as an Honourary Member of The OBA in 1999.
After completing his term of office, Dennis Ryan stepped into the position of Supervisor of Umpires for the OBA, taking over from the late Dick Willis. Dennis held this position from 1992 until 1996.
Recalling his days as a 14-year-old budding young umpire, the new Supervisor of Umpires asked: “How can we improve the development of umpires in this Province?”
At this same time, Baseball Canada had implemented some training standards, with some instructors located throughout Canada. Using this knowledge, in 1992 Dennis brought these Instructors to Cambridge, Ontario to teach a group of experienced umpires how to present Umpire Clinics to both new and experienced umpires in a way which can help the umpire learn more effectively. This first meeting was the inaugural Baseball Canada Caravan. To this day, the only way an umpire can become a clinician is to attend this type of Caravan.
2 years later, in 1994, Dennis led the first Caravan with instructors solely from the OBA. The success of this Caravan and subsequent opening of opportunities for experienced umpires into the National Program led to another Caravan in 1995.
These two Caravans were significant as not only were they taught by OBA instructors, these clinics began the change for umpire instruction throughout the Province. Manuals were created. Clinicians started developing teaching aids for their clinics, instruction became more interactive with the umpires, and the development of Standards for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 umpires were beginning to get documented. Today, the curriculum created and implemented by Ontario is now shared nation-wide and is the standard for umpire certification in Canada.
Starting in 1994 Dennis spearheaded more change by inviting additional umpires to the National Program. In 1991 the National Program in Ontario consisted of 10 umpires and 5 clinicians. Currently there are over 70 umpires in this program. There are also now over 60 umpires who are also clinicians.
It is with some sadness that after 53 years as an umpire Dennis was forced to retire due to issues with his knees. When asked about his most significant umpiring achievement, Dennis said the following:
“What I am most proud of is the opportunities for the younger Umpires to develop and improve in the umpires program both provincially and nationally, where in the past this advancement was not available.”
Dennis went on to discuss the enthusiasm offered by integrating the younger with the older umpires in the province to better themselves and the umpiring program. Dennis concluded by saying “The program is in good hands and I applaud the progress they have made in the content and delivery of the Provincial Umpiring Development Program. Thank You for the opportunity to serve the Baseball Community.”
In 2016, Dennis was awarded the Baseball Canada Home Run Sports Lifetime Achievement Award for meritorious service.
The Ontario Baseball Association proudly inducted Dennis into our Hall of Fame in 2017.
Skip, you will be greatly missed.
Funeral Arrangements are as follows:
Sunday January 14
P. X. Dermody Funeral Home
796 Upper Gage St