Bill Humber receives Order of Canada honour

Legendary Canadian baseball historian Bill Humber, shown here with Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada, at the Order of Canada ceremony on Thursday. Photo: Governor General of Canada/Facebook

October 30, 2023

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

Baseball historian and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Bill Humber was officially invested into the Order of Canada in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ont., on Thursday.

It was initially announced that he had been appointed a member of the Order of Canada in December 2021.

The Bowmanville, Ont., resident was one of 40 members to be invested into the Order of Canada by Governor General Mary Simon last week.

The Order of Canada is one of our country’s most prestigious civilian honours.

Initiated in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Those who are appointed to the Order are deemed to have changed Canada’s “measure of success and, through the sum of their accomplishments, have helped us build a better Canada.”

Appointments are made by the governor general on the recommendation of an advisory council.

Canada’s premier baseball historian

Humber was honoured for “his contributions as Canada’s premier baseball historian, who has highlighted the key ways in which the sport’s history is linked to our nation.”

Born in Toronto, Ont., in 1949, Humber has made countless presentations about Canadian baseball history across North America. He has also authored several groundbreaking books on the topic, including Cheering for the Home Team (1983), Let’s Play Ball: Inside the Perfect Game (1989), The Baseball Book and Trophy (1993) and Diamonds of the North: A Concise History of Baseball in Canada (1995).

He was also instrumental in the formation of the Toronto Hanlan’s Point chapter of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) and he played a central role in the organization of Toronto’s first SABR Convention in 1981. He is also the only Canadian to have served on the board of directors of SABR, having done so in 1982 and 1983 and then again in 1989.

Bill Humber in his office at Seneca College. Photo: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

In 1979, he founded a course called “Baseball Spring Training for Fans” at Seneca College which continues to this day. He has taught the course since its inception. In 1989, he was the driving force behind the “Let’s Play Ball: Inside the Perfect Game” exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum, which celebrated 150 years of Canadian baseball history.

Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

For his contributions, Humber became the first historian inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.

Earlier in his career, he was made an honorary inductee into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, which is awarded to Canadians who have made outstanding and exemplary contributions to their communities or to Canada as a whole.

Humber has also served on the selection committee for Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and for the Clarington Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2006, he was elected to the Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame in the writers category. He continues to be a regular contributor on baseball matters to radio and TV shows throughout Canada and the U.S.

“Researching the roots of Canadian baseball, sharing those stories, and celebrating long lost heroes, has been a lifelong passion for me,” said Humber after being informed of his Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction in 2018.

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