One of the most recognizable figures around minor baseball in Sarnia Lambton has died. Joe Panik Sr. passed away this week at the age of 81.
Panik, who was born of immigrant parents near Oil Springs in 1938, co-founded the Sarnia Braves minor baseball system with the late Stan Slack and was its president for 25 years.
Over that period, the Braves won 11 OBA titles and finished as runners-up on ten other occasions. He was also a long-time chairman of SMAA baseball.
Over his 60 plus years of involvement in the sport, he was a player, manager, tournament convenor, umpire and fundraiser. The latter led to considerable amounts of money being raised for improvements to both Errol Russell Park and Blackwell Park.
He was inducted into the Sarnia-Lambton Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.