Long-time baseball trainer and 2005 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Harold “Doc” Younker passed away on Saturday at the age of 94.
Younker served as a trainer in amateur and professional baseball for more than 50 years.
“Doc was a kind, dedicated man who selflessly looked after players in Canada and the United States for more than half a century,” said Scott Crawford, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s director of operations. “Whether it was a headache or a broken arm, Doc was committed to providing his players with the best possible care. We’re saddened by his passing, but we hope his family can take solace in the fact that he touched and impacted so many lives.”
Born in Auburn, Wash., on August 4, 1921, Younker became a U.S. army private and later landed his first job as a trainer with the Western International League’s Vancouver Capilanos in 1954. He would serve in a similar capacity with the Seattle Rainiers the following year, before returning to Vancouver to work with the Pacific Coast League Mounties in 1956. He landed his first big league gig as a relief trainer with the expansion Los Angeles Angels in 1961 and later served as the head trainer with the San Diego Padres from 1976 to 1985.
At the amateur level, Younker devoted countless hours to Canada’s national teams, tending to athletes at the Olympics, Pan-Am Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championships and Intercontinental Cups. He also worked for the National Baseball Institute in Vancouver and the University of British Columbia.
Outside of baseball, Younker was a trainer for the World Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Jets in 1962 and for the Langley Lords, a Junior A hockey team, from 1970 to 1972. He also served as a multi-sport trainer at various Arizona high schools, teaching classes in first aid and physiotherapy. Many of his students are now practicing physiotherapists.
Younker, who resided in Langley, B.C. in recent years, is survived by his wife Mary and three children Bev, Pat and Vicki. A celebration of his life will take place at a later date. Details will be shared when they’re confirmed.