George Tiessen, 84, stands in front of the ball diamond that will be renamed in his honour at Centennial Park in Central Saanich on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)

Cental Saanich ball diamond to be renamed after longtime volunteer

George Tiessen’s name to grace field across from diamond named after best friend

One of George Tiessen’s favourite memories of the late Peter Parsons starts on the ball diamond, before one of the many little league games the pair umpired together.

Parsons brought with him two pairs of gag Coke-bottle glasses, and he and Tiessen decided to prank the coaches at home plate.

“You can barely see through them,” Tiessen, 84, recalled. “He says, ‘Let’s put these on when we go out and get the lineups… [and meet] with the coaches at home plate.’”

The coaches — likely worried the umpires were nearly blind — didn’t know how to react.

“They were looking at us — I think — I couldn’t see — kind of strangely, and then we took the lineup cards. We were looking at them. Peter would go over to one of the coaches: ‘What’s that name there?’” Tiessen laughed.

Tiessen, who hung up his umpire’s gear many years ago, and Parsons, who died in 2007 at the age of 61, were inseparable. Tiessen’s wife, Ruthe Tiessen, recalled the two riding her husband’s motorcycle together to games, with the six-foot-four Parsons sitting on the back, holding his gear.

The two best friends and neighbours spent more than two decades together volunteering with the Central Saanich Little League, and, now, thanks to a request to the municipality’s council, their days of watching over games as a pair are no longer over — at least symbolically.

Last month, Central Saanich council approved a request from the league to rename Centennial Park’s Ball Diamond #2 — the one across from Peter Parsons Diamond — after Tiessen.

“I think it’s quite an honour,” said Tiessen, who was informed of the little league’s request about a week after council’s approval. “I didn’t expect something like that.”

Tiessen volunteered with the league for more than 25 years, starting alongside Parsons in the late ’70s when their sons started playing T-ball. He coached and umpired, serving at times as chief umpire and assistant chief umpire, and even re-designed the league’s logo, which is still used. He also, alongside Parsons, founded umpiring clinics for the league’s minors and majors divisions.

League president, Morley Wittman, said the decision to request naming the park after Tiessen was an easy one.

“We’re trying to encourage good role models and raise good citizens…. That’s really our main goal,” Wittman said. “George is a prime candidate for that type of role model that we’re looking for.”

Choosing the diamond across from Peter Parsons Diamond also seemed fitting.

“Both George and Peter Parsons were kind of a tag team for years, back in the ’90s and 2000s,” he said. “Both those guys would then be at the park… kind of overlooking the park, if that makes sense.”

Ruthe, Tiessen’s wife, said she shares the sentiment.

“I think that’s really touching. It’s going to be neat to have the two parks named after these guys,” she said.

The league plans to officially rename the field after Tiessen when next year’s season opens in April.

READ ALSO: Hampton doubles as Little League Canadian champions

READ ALSO: Central Saanich Little League ready to build new training facility


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

SD63 students calling on the province to step in and end strike

SD63 students to gather at Minister of Education’s office while strike continues into third week

Two reports of prowlers in one night in Esquimalt

VicPD notes simple changes can help prevent crime around your home

Pet photos with Santa funds pair of Greater Victoria animal-friendly organizations

Broadmead Centre Pets West hosts the events Nov. 30 and Dec. 1

Mysterious polaroid camera left along Metchosin trail reveals art project

Artist ‘Jar Binks’ lays claim to waterproof camera

Thousands of cigarette butts collected and recycled from downtown Victoria

Canisters placed throughout the downtown core have made an impact on local litter

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

Most Read