British Columbia

'I just love the game': B.C. umpire Larry Walker Sr. has been on the diamond for 70 years

It doesn't matter that most of the young players have no idea the 81-year-old is the father of Larry Walker, arguably Canada's most famous baseball player.

81-year-old father of famous Canadian baseball player has never lost his passion for the sport

Larry Walker Sr., the father of MVP Major League Baseball player Larry Walker Jr., has been involved in the game for 70 years and still umpires up to six games a week in the spring and summer. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

The young players Larry Walker Sr. umpires have no idea who he is and probably don't care as long as he calls a strike a strike and a ball a ball.

The baseball career of the 81-year-old may not be as well known as his son's, but it's equally fascinating considering he's been on a diamond either as a player, coach or umpire for 70 years.

"I love the game of baseball," he said while on break from working a youth tournament in Pitt Meadows on Sunday.

"You know I've been in it for 70 some odd years and I don't think I know all the rules yet but I'm hoping I know a lot of them."

Larry Walker Sr., 81, works with 12 and 13-year-old players at a tournament in Pitt Meadows on Sunday. (Dour Kerr/CBC)

Larry Walker Sr. began playing baseball as a child, was on his local senior team in Maple Ridge at 13 due to his pitching and hitting ability, and by the mid-1950s was signed by the team that is now the Vancouver Canadians.

But that's as far as he went as a player, eventually moving on to coaching his four sons from his first marriage, including Larry Jr., arguably the most famous Canadian baseball player.

It doesn't bother Walker that the kids he umpires — at up to six games a week —  don't know anything about him. He says he still has a passion for the game; helping, mentoring and of course using it to stay active and healthy.

"Well if you don't, then you're sitting at home in front of a TV and if I sit in front of a TV I'll fall asleep and you fall asleep and vegetate," he said. "Your mind has to be active."

Watch the CBC's Deborah Goble spend a day at the diamond with Larry Walker Sr.:

Little league players in Pitt Meadows are shocked to learn their ump is 81-years-old. Their parents relish knowing he's the MLB MVP's dad. 2:39

With files from Deborah Goble

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