Where the Whistle Blows
Frank Bursey enjoyed everything about baseball
Jeremy Fraser writes about Frank Bursey’s passion for baseball.
With the weather starting to warm up, the minor baseball season is just around the corner, but the start of the season doesn’t come without its sorrow in New Waterford
In October 2015, the community mourned the loss of a special family member, friend, sports ambassador and volunteer. Frank Bursey, known for his big heart and contributions with organizations and committees in town, died suddenly at the age of 56.
It didn’t matter the season, winter, spring, summer or fall, residents of New Waterford could find Frank showing his support for local baseball, basketball and hockey teams in the community.
Although Frank loved all sports, his true passion was for baseball, something anybody who knew him could attest. His knowledge for the game was outstanding and when he offered advice or suggestions about the game, you listened.
He coached baseball for over 15 years, winning five provincial championships within the New Waterford Minor Baseball Association. He also led the Glace Bay Jr. ‘AAA’ baseball team to Nova Scotia and Atlantic championships in 2004, a team which represented the province at the nationals in Trois-Rivières, Que., a team Frank was extremely proud of.
Aside from his coaching, Frank was also involved in the sport as an umpire with Baseball Nova Scotia for many years. One of his biggest thrills in his umpiring career was participating in the 2013 Canadian Little League Championships, hosted in Glace Bay.
Not only was Frank know for his work on the field in coaching and umpiring, he was also known for his hard work and dedication behind the scenes too.
In the early 2000s, Frank served as a member of the New Waterford Minor Baseball Association board of directors, helping establish a solid ground for youth to develop their skills in their hometown. In recent years, Frank continued to give back to the baseball community, serving as the chairman of the 2013 Nova Scotia Midget ‘A’ Provincial Championship, hosted by the New Waterford Reds, now known as the Cape Breton Reds, in New Waterford.
Of course baseball wasn’t the only thing Frank volunteered to help with. Over the years, he served on many committees including the Don Johnson Cup, Atlantic Junior ‘B’ Hockey Championships, the New Waterford Minor Hockey board of directors, the ways and means committee, the New Waterford and District Community Centre board of directors, and was a committee member for the local sports hall of fame in town.
Frank was a true inspiration and touched the lives of many people. He was respect by all who had the pleasure of knowing him, including myself. His sense of humour was one of a kind and at the end of the day, his dedication to baseball was for one reason – the kids.
Today, if you ask any of his former players, they would all say the same thing. Not only did Frank teach them skills on the field, but he used the sport to teach them life skills as well, teaching them to never give up on themselves and have a strong work ethic.
Frank’s dedication to sport, especially baseball, was recognized last July when he was inducted as a builder into the New Waterford Sports and Heritage Hall of Fame. The weekend before the induction, he was also honoured by the Cape Breton Reds midget baseball team with a tournament in his memory.
I’ve been involved in the sport as a player and now a coach for many years. For me, it’s certainly not the same going to the ball field each day, not seeing Frank parked in centre field at the Gerry Marsh Ball Field, reading his newspaper, before the game of course, and supporting local baseball teams.
As the season approaches, Frank will certainly be on the minds of many players and community members, but one thing is certain, we know Frank is looking down on us, cheering for the success of all baseball teams, especially those based in New Waterford.
Rest In Peace, my personal friend.
“Today, if you ask any of his former players, they would all say the same thing. Not only did Frank teach them skills on the field, but he used the sport to teach them life skills as well, teaching them to never give up on themselves and have a strong work ethic.”
Frank Bursey was known for his passion for baseball. Bursey coached many baseball teams over the years, while also helping to run the local minor baseball association for many years in New Waterford. Bursey is shown hitting ground balls to one of ball teams.