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Dave Quennell Tribute

March 16, 2020

The York Diamonds are saddened to announce the passing of longtime player, manager, and friend, Dave Quennell last week. Dave was an instrumental force in keeping adult baseball alive in the west end of Toronto. He started the MSBL in the mid 1980's and ran the league for over 20 years. He also built and managed 6 championship teams with York Diamonds/QB's. Never the "chattiest" guy in the room, Dave was always there for the people he cared about and he truly wanted to provide an opportunity for as many men as possible to keep playing baseball. Dave is survived by his wife Maricel and his son Brett. Brett has become quite a ballplayer in his own right as Dave did not let his health struggles deter him from teaching his son about this game that we all love. Below are some tributes to #39. Please email us at pfreeman38@rogers.com  if you would like to add your own thoughts.

 

 

I’m saddened by the loss of my coach, mentor, and most importantly great friend.  Dave is solely responsible for giving me the opportunity to continue playing baseball as an adult after having no league to join upon completion of my junior baseball years.  Being the commissioner of the MSBL, Dave wrote letters to all the graduating juniors to promote his league and offer opportunities to players to try out for the various teams.  (These were actual typed letters with his hand written signature that arrived in the mail!).  I was given a try out, and he was kind enough to offer me a spot on The York Diamonds.  Had it not been for Dave I would not have become “brothers” with all of the Diamonds, and shared the countless memories of baseball and friendship.  Dave taught me many lessons in baseball, but he also never gave up in trying to teach me to be respectful (we all know I could not heed that advice…especially against the Colts!).  Thank you Dave for all you’ve done for me as a friend and in my baseball life, you will not be forgotten.

Rudy Naraine #10 “York Diamonds Forever”

 

I met Dave in 1979 at Richview Park as he was one of the coaches for our Martin Grove Jr team. Dave had an exceptional baseball mind especially when it came to hitting. Dave could spot a flaw in my swing during at bats and point things out to get me back on track. When your young like I was at the time I knew everything and nobody is going to tell me what’s what. So during BP I was popping everything up. Dave quickly pointed out “Bob your dropping your shoulder, Ya sure I’m thinking.” Here let me show you” he says. Dave steps in and proceeds to absolutely smash the first pitch to deep centre field a 3 hopper off the softball diamond backstop. After another 5 bombs that sure got my attention. There is a sound the bat makes that a certain few makes when hitting and Dave is one of those guys. I say to myself I think it’s time to listen and play close attention to and I did for 30 years Thank you # 39 Dave Q  you’ll be missed.

Bobby Corn #4

 

Dave was coaching third and we were in the finals of our league against the Colts...It was a tie game in the bottom of the ninth with 2 out...The late great Kenny "Hawk" Dicken was now up at the plate...Dave greeted me at third with a mumble and his infectious smile...Unbeknownst to me he was also greeting Hawk and I with a suicide squeeze sign with 2 out! ...I checked in with him twice to make sure I heard him correctly...When he confirmed it again I thought he was crazy but that suited me fine anyways....Long story shortened, we executed the sign perfectly and scored the winning run to beat the Colts! We then went on to sweep the A'S from Toronto and win the Diamonds first Championship in 1990...I was so lucky to have been a part of Diamonds history with 2 of the late elderly statesmen and best friends...

Rob "Grizz" Fraser #22

 

I am saddened for the loss of such a great human being. I know you are gathering a team as we speak in the Field of Dreams.  I always enjoyed playing for you when you coached the Mississauga Falcons. You called me a “Rainman” because I couldn’t hit and when I did go up to bat, everything I hit was a sky high pop up. Everyone got a good kick out of it. Loved the name though.  You truly will be missed Coach Q. 
Chetan Gandhi aka Rainman #9
 
Dave was a wonderful guy to be around during those halcyon days of summer !
Kevin Phillips #42
 
I first met Dave in 1992 and for about a month I couldn't understand a word he was saying. Eventually I began to figure out what all of the mumbling meant and he really began to trust me on the field. He had far more faith in me that I had in myself. He would tell me to not worry about hitting and just keeping making plays in left field, so that is what I did. He gained trust in me as a pitcher and gave me the ball in big games. When my arm went south after a few years, he still had faith in me and that meant a lot. As time went on, I started helping Dave with some of the coaching and eventually he trusted me enough to take over the team and eventually take over the league. There were so many guys who would never have had a place to play if it weren't for Dave's determination in running the league.
 
One of my favourite memories of Dave had nothing to with baseball. Dave was a great golfer and we occasionally played at Hunter's Glen on Highway 50. Dave played a lot there as a teenager and he knew the course inside and out. One day when we got there in the mid-afternoon, it was raining hard. Since there was no thunder or lightning, they told us we could play but if we started there would be no rain check. So off we went walking the course. The rain kept heavier and heavier but Dave was determined to finish the round. There was no one else on the course so we played as fast as we could. Finally, we finished the 18th hole in near total darkness, soaked but somewhat thrilled that we had somehow made it through the whole round.
 
Dave loved his family, he loved the Pittsburgh Steelers and he loved baseball. It was no coincidence that we won 6 titles under his watch. He knew what he was doing and he didn't feel the need to show everyone how smart he was...he just went out and put together teams that were built to win games. I am sure Dave is looking down on us right now, arguing balls and strikes with Kirk while Hawk and Zak play catch behind them. We will all miss you Q.
 
Paul Freeman #38
 
My favourite memory of Q is the final game of the Welland tournament in the late 90s.  It was a brutally hot weekend and with a thin roster we were worn out after finishing 2-2.  Somehow we qualified for the finals against a stacked Buffalo team so back we drove to Welland with another paper-thin lineup.  Q was our only pitching option and he retired the side in the first on 50 mph lobs, 2 of which Grizz caught with his back against the 400 FT sign in dead centrefield.  I was catching and the whole infield walked off the field laughing.  It wasn't pretty, but Q got the job done.
 
Rich Freeman #20
 
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dave. Over the past several years I was fortunate to spend many nights at the ball parks watching games with Dave. Both Dave and I really enjoyed talking about the old days and critiquing the games we were watching. Both our kids played ball together for a while. Dave always had a tip or some good advice for the kids. Dave and his knowledge of baseball will greatly be missed!
 
John Thachuk #9 - Mississauga A's
 

I am saddened by the recent loss of my friend Dave Quennell.  At the same time, I am filled with baseball memories, fond affection for Dave and gratitude that Dave touched my life. I owe him a lot, as many of us do. I played baseball growing up, but took a nine year hiatus to focus on my career. When I felt the itch to play again in my late 30s, Dave somehow found out and encouraged me to come out with the York Diamonds. I had the pleasure and honour of playing with the Diamonds for a few years and became friends with some great guys who are now part of my extended baseball family.  This included some great players and characters like Paul Freeman, John Bissylas, John Raddi, Rudy Naraine, Bobby Corn, Neil Parekh, Chetan Ghandi, Andre Contreras, Rich Freeman, Rick Yez, Brent Sterling, Dan Fiorita, Brett Burns, Manny Rodriquez and of course the Foley brothers.  It was Dave who was instrumental in me getting back into baseball later in life and playing a game I have always loved and doing that with good people. Thank you Dave. You needed to look past Dave’s quiet exterior to know and understand him.  Dave was an intelligent, kind, generous soul.  He cared for others. His hard work and selflessness gave many many guys over the years an opportunity to play baseball and compete and be part of something.  Most importantly, what Dave really did was give people an opportunity to make friends, to be part of the baseball community, to have fun and to make long-lasting memories.  Thank you Dave. You will be missed but never forgotten.  

David Wiseman #3

 

Dave was our gentle giant. He was unheralded, unassuming, humble and void of any ego whatsoever.

 
He had a passion for sport and particularly baseball. I had the pleasure of seeing him play a variety of sports. He was an athlete. He had a pure golf swing that could drive a ball jaw dropping distances.When he 'marched off a putt' from 30 feet he was going to sink it. If you played him in squash be prepared to be the only one moving as he placed every shot expertly. As an excellent hockey goalie he earned a US college scholarship.Even after giving up baseball as a player he could turn on fastball at anytime.
 
Perhaps his greatest asset though was his keen ability to observe, which routinely enabled him to remedy his own players slumps  or conversely exploit an opponent's weakness. I fondly remember a Colt player  'dancing off ' 3rd base with nobody else on base. Dave called for a meeting on the mound and said " I'm tired of that guy jumping all over the place. Next pitch I want a 'pitch out', I want the 3rd baseman to move way off the bag and let him take a big lead.As soon as you catch the 'pitch out'  fire down to 3rd". The play worked perfectly and we picked the guy off. When I got back to the dugout he simply said " I was just tired of that stupidity."
 
Dave and I would travel and room regularly together on tournaments to Ottawa, Peterborough and Lanark listening to the 'Who' and talking incessantly about sports.I'll miss you Q......your sheepish grin, hoisting a Bud together or you just surprising me time and time again.
 
Don 'Bammer' Cantwell  #33
 
 While many will remember Dave for his baseball life, of which I also have many fond memories, there is one particular moment for me that stands out for the man we all call our friend.


We were sitting playing cards when Maricel brought down into the basement a very newly born Brett and placed him into Dave’s arms. Dave placed the young toddler on the table and sat him up for us all to see and said, “This is what it looks like when you’re holding a winning hand.”

And then he smiled ear to ear...

Manny Makris - Umpire, Friend

 

Q was the one who gave me an opportunity to play ball with the York Diamonds when I came to Toronto in 1997, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.  He had a very keen baseball intellect, and understood the nuances of the game like no one else did.  When he was coaching third base, giving signs to you up at bat, you instinctively wanted to do well and play hard for Q.  His leadership shone through not in his words but in his presence on the baseball field.  Q, you will be missed but never forgotten.

Neil Parekh #11

 
Dave welcomed me to the York Diamonds in 1999 when I was looking for a men’s league to continue playing baseball in my adulthood.  He had a great baseball mind and I learned a tonne from him.  It wasn’t always obvious on the surface but he was one of the nicest and most helpful guys I know.  The mumbling was tricky but we all learned to know what he meant!  Strangely enough, while I never really golfed with him, he gave me one of the best golf tips I heard from anyone and I still use today! 

Rest in peace Dave.  The baseball world will miss you. 

Brent Sterling #12

 

As some of you know, I moved to the US in the late 90's. So my major connection with you boys has been FB!!! One of the things that has given me a smile in recent years was to see Dave and his new family ....outside all us of BASEBALL KNUCKLEHEADS "family" It was great seeing him as a Dad and Husband.
 
My early recollection of Dave was in 1985 when I started playing for the Colts and Dave became the Manager that same year... He was quiet but knowledgeable.......and knew how to babysit all us "kids"...... After a few years there, Dave then jumped with a bunch of us in 88 to the Mississauga Jays for a couple of years... Again "Q" was always calm, collected and the voice of reason..... 
 
The next phase of my connection to Dave was on the "other side of the park",  as he started getting reconnected with his YORK roots and remained until the end. So for a number of years Dave was the competition, but always a FRIEND... That's the word that always comes to mind when I think of "Q"...FRIEND... 
 
Dave, my FRIEND we all learned a lot from you, and we all enjoyed your camaraderieship, we all appreciated your quiet sense of humor.
 
"Q".....you will be missed........ 
 
My favorite DAVE moments ?????
1) When he took an AT BAT in 1985 or 86 with the Colts.. He did the best job I've ever seen turning an easy TRIPLE into a SINGLE.
 
2) In 1986 at the PETERBOROUGH tourney, I had an "rendezvous" with a young lady one night in which she shared a NUMBER.. The next morning I lead-off our first game, and this young lady was in the stands... Dave had me introduced by the announcer... 'The Starting short-stop for the Colt 45's #71 Al Missen" .....The entire bench broke out laughing...This was CLASSIC Q getting me!!.
   
I hope all of you in Canada are well in this crazy time....
Please give my best to all your families... 
And to "Q"'s family, my deepest condolences.
 
Al Missen #30 - Mississauga Colts
 
 
As anyone who’s had the pleasure of a conversation with Dave you would have come away with a couple of impressions. He is very soft spoken. His word was generally short, quick with usually a couple of chuckles thrown in, so you really had to pay attention or you’d miss something. He had great insight into many sports, whether you were discussing baseball, hockey, golf or even the biking world.
 
My history with Dave goes back to the mid/late 80s. First as an opponent then as a teammate. Dave was a thoughtful and kind person also. I’ll never forgot him dropping by the house to check on me after I broke my arm diving for a ball in left field at Keelesdale Park I think in ’93. I actually caught the ball but it came out because..well I had broke my damn arm… ok sorry back to Dave. He came by the house the next day with this 3 foot long dowel. I thought just like you, nice gift, or he wants me to work on my swing or something. He said the stick is for my cast. You see a few years earlier Dave had broken a bone roller blading if memory serves, and used this stick to wedge down inside the cast when he had an itch. That was very thoughtful, but there was no way in hell I was putting that nasty used piece of wood inside my cast. 
 
I will remember Dave as a great person and family man. On the field he helped assemble great teams, brought together great people and left me with great memories. Thank you Dave.
 
Thoughts and prayers to Brett, Maricel and Dave’s family.
 
Greg Shannon #17
 
 
Dave and I were friends for a very long time. He was always ready to help if required and did so without hesitation. He had a wonderful sense of humor and suffered fools with little passion. If you were a person with ulterior motives he could spot you immediately and dismiss you. We enjoyed many good times together and a lot of good laughs. One of the most humorous things  I think was when we were able to get his dog Rip certified as a Level One coach. Another was when we where playing golf in Kentucky and on a dogleg right Dave hit a drive that cut the corner and when we rounded the corner half the subdivision was waiting to lynch us. I guess I hit it a little off line he said. Really Dave.
 
He was a very good friend and I will miss him greatly.
 
Bob Smyth - Etobicoke Rangers