A Devastating Loss
The York Diamonds are heartbroken to announce the passing of legendary pitcher Ken Dicken this past weekend. The "Hawk" was loved by all who came in contact with him, and the void his passing leaves is indescribable. Below is his obituary and then some remembrances from many past and present players who had the privilege of being able call the Hawk their teammate and friend.
It is with deep sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Kenneth Wayne Dickin on November 18, 2012 in his 63rd year at his home in Weston. Predeceased by his beloved mother Irene Mae (Moody) and his father Galbraith Dickin. Dear and devoted brother to his sisters Donna (John), Lynda (Rand) and Carol (Bob). Most cherished and favourite uncle to Darla (Pat), Deanna (Darrin), Jessie (Geoff), Sarah (Duncan), Jayne (Dane) and Kimberly (Jim). Adored great-uncle to his growing family of great-nieces and great-nephews. Our hearts reach out to all of his friends near and far who shared in his passion for life. He was taken from us too early and he will live in our hearts forever. Friends will be received at the Ward Funeral Home, 2035 Weston Road (north of Lawrence Ave) Weston on Thursday from 12 noon until the time of service in the chapel at 1pm. Cremation to follow. As expressions of sympathy, donations to the Ontario Heart and Stroke Foundation would be greatly appreciated.
"This is a sad sad day!
This was a great person and gentleman who enoyed life and enjoyed all people around him,
Ken , was an icon to me, a great friend, and he hated nobody!
He respected everyone! didnt matter how old you were or even if he didnt know you.
Truly a sad day in life and York baseball history.
He will be missed!
He was the best!
God bless him for being great person!"
"Kenny and I (and another guy named Peter Mancini) started this cliub in the 80's. Peter and I wanted to put a team into this league but needed a park. We called York Parks and Rec to see if we could get Keelesdale but knew it was a very long shot. Thanks to our lucky stars though we got in touch with the best start of all when we called... a guy named Ken. We asked him if Keelesdale had an open night for us to put this team in the MSBL as the league was called back them. The first thing he said was "Do you need a pitcher?". We said yes. He said "You got a park." and that's how the York Cardinals started and soon after amalgamated with Rick Yez, Kevin Phillips and Grizz's team.
I am so sad right now like all of you. It was so unexpected and does not seem fair. We have such a good group of baseball friends as a direct result of this team. And we all feel a special brotherhood. Kenny was our oldest brother and an inspiration to everyone."
John Bissylas #8
"We all know Hawk was a great guy . I had the pleasure of playing against him starting in 1983 and then as a team mate many years later . In his prime he was a unbelievably great ball player . He could do it all , he had all the tools and as much as you think hawk was a mellow guy he was a prick to play against and a very smart player . I don’t think any one of us could touch his skill level back then . Just ask Biss , Zak, YEZ, Donnie cantwell, “ Q “ Shannon, corn brothers and so on . He was the BEST in the league many years running . I used to hate playing against him .Instead of trying to beat him I joined him and he was even a better teammate than a baseball player. All you old bastards know what I,m talking about .
God Bless Ya Hawk"
Paul Cancelli #36
"When I think of Hawk, I'll always remember how loyal he was. When we played in the over 35 Nationals in 2011, even though he was playing for Oakville (he felt he couldn't let those teammates down), he still came to our games, pulled on his York cap and jersey and sat with the team and cheered us on. This season, along with Bobby, Greg, and Grizz, he came out to our championship final games on a freezing October day to support us once again.
I loved catching for him. More than once I had to laugh as a bewildered hitter would mumble to himself and shake his head on his way back to the dugout after Kenny bamboozled him with that big windup and ever-changing release points.
Hawk was also about the last guy on the team I expected to show up at BP and announce, hey, I just met Playboy's Miss January 1999 (she was a friend of his niece apparently).
He was a class act in every way and I'll miss seeing him on a summer Thursday night. We should put up a #49 Hawk plaque or sign at ballpark so that he is always there with us. What I learned in ten years of being away from Keelesdale is that it's always home, that once you have put on the York jersey you'll always belong, and Kenny is a big part of that, even with his passing."
Rich Freeman #20
"I think that the e-mail below sums it up for me.
After having to decline an over-35 invitation for a late August game (for family reasons), Ken wrote back to me with the following sage-like advice/perspective.
Hey Dan , just show up play catch. ...all the Best , Ken ( the old guy)"
Dan Fiorita #21
"The world just lost a great man."
Andrew Lance #11
"Hawk was a fierce competitor and a truly great guy.I have the utmost respect for him as a human being and we will miss him."
Don "Bammer" Cantwell #33
"Looking back to Cooperstown, we were all disappointed not to get the game in due to the field conditions. As Neil said earlier, Ken fully understood the groundskeepers stance that the field was unplayable but made a plea to at least have us dress and on field for a few pics which we all appreciated. Ken kept chatting with the guy down the left field line. As we were all making our way off the field to go change in the parking lot, Ken told me to hang on for a minute and go grab my glove. He pulls out a ball from his back pocket and steps up to the mound for about 10 pitches. No warm up, didn’t have to move my glove. I knew how much it meant to him. He could now say he toed the rubber at Doubleday Field.
Spring 2011, Ken asked me to help him with a little project of his. He needed a business card designed to help launch his new endeavour as a consultant. Not just any consultant mind you, a Zen and Leisure Consultant. He was reading "The Way of Baseball, finding stillness at 95mph" by former Blue Jay Shawn Green. He liked the graphic on the book cover. This got his creative juices flowing. He asked me if I could take his two passions in life, baseball and golf, and somehow combine them with the Yin/Yang symbol. His art direction was superb. So baseball, golf ball and YinYang become one. Zen is off and running. He also thought about adding the words "tempo, rhythm and balance". Maybe that was his secret that kept him playing at a high level. So grateful, he officially anointed me a "Zen Master". I thought that was pretty cool as I didn’t know of anyone with that handle. To my disappointment he later told me that the marketplace wasn’t in big need for Zen Masters. It also doesn’t pay very well, and that he might only need about 30 business cards instead of the usual 500. Then he would laugh.
I can hear him now passing along some soft-spoken, zen-like, sage advice. Usually followed by his infectious, bellowous laughter. A true gentleman. We will miss him dearly. Thanks for the memories Ken."
Greg Shannon #17
"I've always admired how he enjoyed and made the most out of life.
John Raddi #35
"Sometimes it's the little things we cherish the most when suddenly someone is no longer with us. I will always remember him coming to many of our games, always cheerful, and throwing the ball with me in right field before each inning. He always learned the new guys' names quickly and cheered us on. Even in games 6 and 7 of the playoffs this year I'll never forget how he verbally took on some of the Pirates and the crappy umpire to try and fire us up from the stands. He was truly a fierce competitor and a hell of a nice guy."
Brent Sterling #12
"Very sad day indeed. Lots of great memories of this wonderful positive person. He was our ageless leader who new that baseball was a only a game meant for fun,and to be enjoyed. To a point, a parallel with life. Many memories all fun. My last one walking back to the car with Ken and my son Grayson during the Diamonds final game this year and Ken offered my son some pitching tips for the upcoming season. We all agreed to this thoughtful gesture and said goodbye. That's Kenny for you .I will miss u a lot. He also led us in our first championship in 1990 not only in pitching but a suicide squeeze he executed while I was on 3rd with 2 outs but as I'm writing this the squeeze may have occurred in 93 against the Colts to get us in the finals against the A,s in Toronto.
It's 1990 and were in a tourney in Peterborough. Hawk is pitching and Johnny Biss is on first base as per usual back then.A slow roller is hit between first base and the mound .Hawk and Biss both go for it until Hawk calls Biss off .In my mind at this point I'm saying "no way your getting this guy" Then Hawk proceeds to "soccer kick" the ball to Biss for an unbelievable out and the best most unique play I've ever seen or been a part of.Zen like indeed.We ended up winning the game,the tourney and then were disqualified.
He did it All!"
Rob "Grizz" Fraser #22
H"awk was the nicest guy I've ever known. Remember we went to Cooperstown in August 2001 to play an exhibition game at the famed Cooperstown park, but it rained so hard that the field Manager told us it was too wet to play. We were all so upset and angry at this decision, but Hawk was the only one who stepped up and had the patience and understanding that the field was simply unplayable. He was a real leader, and true gentleman."
Neil Parekh #11
"It is in our memories that Ken (Hawk) will live on.
My first memory of him was the evening of my first game with you all on the Diamonds. Ken was one of the first to shake my hand that night and introduce himself. I can remember thinking to myself "with a name like Hawk, I better bring my "A" game tonight".
Funny enough, my last memories were on the evening Paul arranged for us to get back together. I walked up from the club house, after many years of not playing, through the gate. To find Hawk standing there with yet another welcoming hand shake. And then hearing him yell "that a boy"! from the on deck circle as I took BP..
He was a man that loved the game, and lived for being around others that do as well.
I look forward to attending any event in his honour. And hearing many more great memories of the Hawk from you all."
Tyler Sloan #3
"I remember him coming to the park and always saying hi with a smile and always cheerful, it was so much pleasure to see him every time. We didn't play ball together but he always made feel welcome, I warmed up many times with him. It will be hard to go back to the park an not see him occasionally.
A true gentlemen!! I will really miss him."
Manny Rodriguez #5
"For those of you who don't know, Hawk ended his York career this past summer by pitching for us in an exhibition game against a team of police officers in Aurora. He smashed a ball almost to the wall, and pitched the last inning. With Spanky behind the plate, Hawk proceeded to struck out the side.
As well, for our last three championships that were actually won on the field... In 1993, Hawk was about 42 and he pitched the last three innings of the decisive game. In 1996, the 45 year old version of Hawk threw a complete game to win our next championship. And in our glory year of 2005, as we swept the Colts, a 54 year old Hawk (who rarely played anymore) was in at first base in the ninth inning and took the final throw from Eric Foley to complete the best season in Diamonds history. He had the game balls at home from all 3 championships.
As nice a guy as he was, he was a fierce competitor and the smartest pitcher I have ever met.
He's also the one, who in his zen-like, way told me to start behaving better on the mound. Reading between the lines of his calm demenaour, his message was something along the lines of, "Get your head out of your ass, and stop showing up your infielders". He taught me how to play the game the right way.
My favourite all-time moment, was after a day of golfing Hawk was on the bench drinking coffee at 9th Line, when our catcher "accidently" drilled the umpire in the kidney with a throw. Hawk went out there to "argue" the ejection in a brown-collared golf shirt with his jersey on top, jeans, sandals, and a cup of coffee in his hand. It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen on the ball field, and Hawk laughed about it all night.
Paul Freeman #38
"Date June 1989... 9th line ..Hawk comes into the park as we are taking BP and says "
WOW I love this diamond with the farm in the backdrop as it reminds me of the movie Field of Dreams Tom Corn replies what is that movie".. ''Tommy Corn where have you been'' Kenny replies you got to go see that movie. That movie reminds me of two people My Dad and Hawk...."
Bobby Corn #4
"I played both with and against Kenny for a bunch of years going back to the 80's.
Kenny made the best baseball play I ever saw. It was one of those hot summer "perfect day for a game" type days in Peterborough, at the Peterborough Tournament that we often went to back then on the long weekend in August. I was in the stands watching and waiting for York to finish off some team before our game started. The other guys had a bit of a rally going but Kenny wasn't too worried as he had his 56 mph fastball firing, which looked fast because his curve and change were getting up to about 47 mph that day. He had 2 outs and the batter hit a screamer back at him, which he got his glove on to knock down, but didn't quite catch. It bounded off half way between him and Bissylas who was on first. Both guys took 2 steps towards it but then realized that there was no way Bis would get it and get back to first base before the batter got there, Kenny wasn't gonna beat the batter to first either... so there was a problem. So Kenny yells "get on the bag and open your glove" and runs towards the ball, in that cool controlled laid back way that Kenny goes when he is trying to be fast but smooth. Bis gets to the bag but has no idea what is gonna happen and I'm sitting there thinking no way is he gonna get that guy out. So Kenny takes a couple more steps and kicks the ball right into Bis's open trapper and beats the guy by less than a hair to retire the side. I have no idea who won that tournament, but I remember that play 25 plus years after it happened. Not only would Kenny be the only guy to think that play would work, but he is the only one who have had the balls to try that with the game on the line. Typical of the way he played and lived.
The game will go on for a lot of us, but it will be missing something. Kenny will be missed by all those, whose life he touched. RIP my friend!"
Greg Macdonald - Mississauga Colt 45's
"At the young age of 20, I was invited to a try out by Manager Dave Quenell to join the York Diamonds. Not knowing anyone on the team, I was a bit nervous, but was warmly greeted by a couple of the existing players. After taking some swings in BP, one of the guys yelled out "Nice Cuts"! It was none other than Hawk. His two words of encouragement was all I needed to feel comfortable with the team. Later that year, I was struggling in a slump, and was 0 for 3 in a close game. My head was down, and Hawk asked me what was wrong. After telling him that I was struggling, he calmly said "Forget about the past, and concentrate on your next at bat.....that's the one that matters". On my next at bat I hit a single and knocked in an RBI to tie the game. I later said "Thanks" to Hawk for that advice, but the funny part is that I have repeated that exact same line to many other guys I have played with when they are struggling, and I always remember Hawk's face and expression when he first gave it to me. I've not only used it in baseball, but also in life. No matter what problems you have, or have gone through, you have to put the past behind you, and focus on the next event that can change your life. The York Diamonds won the Championship in that first year that I joined the team! We all celebrated at a local bar called the "QB". I sat beside Hawk at the bar and it was only then that I turned to him and said...."Hawk, I don't even know your real name!".
I am extremely sad that I have lost my dear friend, but I will always remember the calm way he approached life, friendships, and baseball. #49 is a York Diamond For Life!"
Rudy Naraine #10
"For many years, we would all show up at Keelesdale for stretching and BP.
While all of us lazy slugs were lying around on the infield grass, grinding out our 43 seconds of stretches and spinning tales, Ken would religiously be doing his "penguin shuffle" lap around the ballyard. Quimby would often say that's what happens to you in your 30's. Ken was very inspirational to me and we would often have talks about the important things in life. I was after all, "the calmer one". I was Ken's catcher for many years and enjoyed every moment of a game he was pitching. It was a lot of fun.
A great friend, true gentleman, hell of nice guy and fantastic baseball man. I am sure he has found a sand lot and some guys to play with. It's right beside the golf course. God bless."
Chris McAleer #4
"Although I didn't spend as much time with Hawk as many of you did I also have many memories of Kenny!
How he ALWAYS had positive comments on the bench and off the field. The times that we talked were nothing but pleasant.
How at one game at Bob's park Hawk and I were fetching all the baseballs that went over the home plate into the woods!
How every time before the game at batting practice he would throw and would not let me go until my last swing was hit hard enough for Hawk to say "atta boy" that was a great cut!
How he gave me advise on my Achilles' tendon injury as he told me how serious it was because himself going through in the past.
I guess Kenny touched many lives in one way or another in a positive way and I'm sure his legacy will be with us for as long as we all live.
You will be missed but never forgotten!!!"
Andre Contreras #30
"I have to admit that I'm feeling a little lost and emotional with the passing of our friend. There have been so many heart felt tributes and reminiscences that speak to the quality of the ballplayer and, more so, the man. Understandably, as another old guy (but not quite as old), I participated or was present at many of the ball escapades previously mentioned. Apart from the great play, I'll relish and appreciate the finer details and nuances of Ken's game.
As a catcher, you try to achieve some synchronicity with your pitcher. At times, this is difficult, but it never seemed as hard with Ken. Of course, at times, he would often drag me (in typically subtle fashion), 'kicking and screaming', to his way of thinking. He was usually right. His was a cerebral approach.
I think that baseball was a metaphor of life for Ken. I believe that going forward Ken would want us to carry on our own individual journeys with the same selflessness and humanity that he demonstrated in his life.
Teammate, mentor, friend. He played the game and lived life the right way.
Godspeed my friend."
Rick Yez #9
"Kenny was one of the real good ones. I will miss his smile and seeing him on the field.
But even more i will miss playing with or against him. Though I really only got to know Kenny personally over the last few years. There was nothing I didnt like or respect about him. A great guy,competitor and friend. I will miss him. Please pass on my condolences to his family."
Jim Skevington Tillsonburg Old Sox/ Oakville A's
"This was sad news to share with our ball team. We all know the empty feeling left when a guy like Kenny passes unexpectantly. He played for the love of the game and we can all take his gentlemen spirit to continue playing as long as we can."
Jim Scriver - Barrie Over/35