Joe Wiwchar, who has spent a lifetime as a minor ball volunteer in his hometown of Morden, coached countless teams and served on Provincial and National committees, will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this June.
“It’s awesome,” said Wiwchar who received the call from Scott Crawford of the Hall of Fame on Monday. “First thing I said was, “This is a joke, right?’ Then I was kind of speechless for a while. It didn’t hit me until later on. I didn’t believe it to start with but I’m getting excited about it now. Before I was a little skeptical.”
The Class of 2023 Inductees include Wiwchar and former Major League players Jesse Barfield, Denis Boucher and Rich Harden.
“I’m totally in awe being in there compared to guys that have such illustrious baseball careers,” noted the 87-year-young Wiwchar who was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 and Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. “It was something I loved to do. I’ve gone up and down the ladder from 12-year-olds to senior and back down. I started off coaching girls, in fact I coached my wife, and someone said, ‘You’re still married?’ Everybody has a passion or a hobby. I loved doing this. I look back at some of the memories, the players that I coached. I’ve gone to some of their weddings. Coming down the street, someone waving to me, that means a lot to me.”
“The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame is a big thrill, but I guess this one’s just a little bit bigger because now it’s from across Canada. It’s quite a thrill.”
Wiwchar served on the Baseball Canada executive and planning committee in 1974 & 1975. In 2004, he was recognized for his more than 50 years in baseball, with Baseball Canada’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Wiwchar also served as president of the Manitoba Baseball Association in 1976 & 1977 and was the administrative manager of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame’s Museum at the Access Event Centre in Morden from 1998 until 2022.
Wiwchar will be the fifth Manitoban inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame joining Russ Ford (1987), Gladwyn Scott (2008), Corey Koskie (2015) and Wayne Norton (2016).
The Class of 2023 will be inducted on Saturday, June 17th at the home of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Mary’s, Ontario.