Broad still throwing strikes after six decades

Ken Broad, 64, on the mound in Wyoming for the Petrolia Raiders in Western Senior Men's Ball Friday night. The appearance allowed Broad to play six decades of baseball.

It was the one thing Ken Broad still wanted to accomplish in baseball.

When the 64 year-old took to the mound at Canton Park in Wyoming as the Petrolia Raiders took on the Cattlebarons, he completed the dream of playing competitive baseball for six decades.

And while he “suffered for a day or so” Broad was excited to talk about his inning on the mound.

It all started eight years ago. He was rooming at a tournament with Corey Saunders and they were talking ball. Saunders asked Broad what he had accomplished and what he really looked forward to yet in his baseball career.

“It would be kind of neat to throw in six different decades,” Broad recalls telling him.

This year, Saunders told The Raiders’ Tim Martin about Broad’s dream and soon plans were in the works. Broad could have played against the Dresden Bulls – the team he had his first start with – or the Cattlebarons. When the Bulls couldn’t gather enough people for the Sunday start, Broad got the nod to head to the mound in Wyoming. He’d also played there during his six decades in ball and had coached some of the players he was up against Friday night.

“All I wanted was one inning,” he tells The Independent.

Broad’s passion for the game started as a young boy, going to the ball games with his dad and watching local favourites like Jack Druitt and Eric MacKenzie play.

To this day, Broad – who was a catcher as a young boy – lists them among his favourite players.

“The thrill of my life was Jack throwing to me and Eric giving me advice,” he says.

Broad was behind the plate in his Bantam year when he first pitched. The regular pitcher for his team was on holidays during the playoffs, and because he had a good arm, the coaches tapped Broad for the job. It stuck.

When he moved to Midget play the next year, he switched positions.
Broad spent most of his career in local ball in the Western Counties League. He had a chance to play in the more competitive Inter-Counties League, but he was busy raising a family and happy to play closer to home.

Broad did once tryout for the Montreal Expos and made quite an impression.
The scout, says Broad, was there to see the hitting power of a couple of guys. He told Broad “don’t throw any junk, just fastballs.”

So, he did and struck out the scout’s favourites – more than once – to the scout’s disbelief.

Friday night, Broad showed even at 64, he can still play, pitching an inning – throwing strikes allowing two hits – one earned.

“I didn’t embarrass myself,” he jokes adding for the physical aches after the game, he probably should have thrown a few more innings to make it worth the pain.

Broad hopes his appearance in the Senior League game sets an example to pitchers.

“Even at my age, I can still throw strikes. It’s not how hard you can throw – it’s whether you can still throw strikes.”

And, as his mom told him when he first started on the mound “You can’t strike out everyone but you should just throw strikes.”

That’s still some of the best baseball advice he says he’s ever had.