You can forgive Gary Pennington for being a bit busy these days. He’s been polishing up his latest senior baseball World Series ring — his eighth between the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners.
His latest title came with the Padres 70-plus team which won the title at the 25th anniversary of the Senior World Series in Phoenix, in mid-October.
The Padres rolled with relative ease through the round robin portion of their schedule with wins over the Classics 19-1, New England Red Sox 25-10, the Arizona Scorpions 3-0 and San Diego Mudcats 19-5.
Their first loss came in game five to the Sacramento Solons 12-9, but they got back on track with a 9-0 pasting of the Solons in the semifinal, setting up the championship final against the South Dakota Rushmores, won 8-3 by the Padres.
Pennington said the big story once again for the Padres was the superb pitching of ace Dick Fitzgerald, formerly of the AAA Vancouver Mounties in the 1950s. Fitzgerald picked up wins in four of the games and pitched 21 innings in the tournament without giving up a run. He was also the winning pitcher in the championship game.
Leading the Padres at the plate with a batting average of .680 and 17 hits was Bob Pearson, from Ontario, one of three Canadians on the team.
This year 305 teams involving more than 6,000 players took part in the two-week tournament with many games being played in major league spring training stadiums.
Pennington went seven for 14, a .500 batting average with five RBIs, scored six runs and managed a successful suicide squeeze bunt, beating out the drag bunt at first for a base hit.
He was injured in the third game of the tournament, breaking up a double play that restricted his playing time, but played the remainder of the tournament with what was diagnosed as a broken hand upon his return home to Canada.
He said he was proud of the comments by his teammates that he had the dirtiest uniform in the competition — a result of diving for balls and sliding into bases, not something that many teammates do because of their age and certainly not in keeping with his wife’s dictate: “Don’t slide, you’re too old!”
“A big thrill for me was playing in the spring training facility of the Chicago Cubs where the Coast’s Ryan Dempster spent so many days preparing for the season,” Pennington recalled.