When you look at everything Sam Lamb has accomplished in his life and everything he has contributed to the town, it comes as no surprise the Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce is recognizing him as the 2013 Tillsonburg Citizen of the Year.
“I really appreciate this – I’m joining a pretty honoured group from the Town of Tillsonburg that are all before me, and as a team, I’m glad to be a part of this honour that I’m receiving,” said Lamb.
Lamb, who was born in 1927 in Springfield, just west of Tillsonburg, was the youngest of 10 children. He began his very successful career in baseball in 1947 as the starting pitcher for Pan Drieds senior men’s baseball team in Tillsonburg.
Since then there has been a long list of community involvement, contributions and achievements, including long service on town council.
Most recently, he was recognized in June 2011 for his hard work and dedication to the town and community sports such as baseball and hockey, and was honoured with the re-naming of the hardball field near the Tillsonburg Community Centre as the Sam Lamb Baseball Field.
“It was a great honour to have that field named after me. I’ve spent a lot of years in this town, on the fields and with sports in town – baseball mostly, but hockey and curling and things like that. I’ve been involved all my life in the Town of Tillsonburg.”
For more than 50 years, Lamb has been known for the difference he has made in Tillsonburg as well as in the lives of many people. His presence and commitment to sports and other organizations has endeared him to many in the community.
In a sit-down interview, Lamb recalled some of the cherished memories and moments in his life, which not surprisingly, have come on the baseball field.
“I’m involved in the Canadian National Baseball 35-and-over team, and in 2005 we hosted that (championship) in Tillsonburg. We won it that year, in the Town of Tillsonburg – right on that field, that’s a great accomplishment. Memories will always linger there.”
Hundreds of supporters came out that day, he said, to cheer on their hometown team, in what turned out to be a very memorable game.
“The biggest part of that particular game and winning that tournament was we won it in the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk-off homerun.”
Family and friends have been very supportive of Lamb over the years and are thrilled to see him receive the well-earned distinction of Tillsonburg Citizen of the Year. They will join Lamb along with members from the town and the Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce later this summer for a ceremony honouring Lamb and all that he has done for the town and what he has given back to its residents.
“We are dealing with the Chamber and Suzanne Renken, to set up a date probably in late June or early July,” explained Lamb, adding that he would love to see his entire family join him for the celebration.
“We’re trying to get a date that would accommodate most of them - my family is quite large, so whether it’s an afternoon, a night or a Sunday, or even a whole weekend - on the ball field,” Lamb said with a chuckle.
The 86-year-old great-grandfather is thankful for his years as a resident of Tillsonburg, and hopes to see his contributions and lasting legacy continue to benefit the town and future generations.
“I’ve had quite a few calls from my relatives, family and friends congratulating me, and from the people of the Town of Tillsonburg. It has been wonderful. It’s something that I never expected, and I will cherish it forever.
“I’m trying to keep the sports and baseball in the Town of Tillsonburg going – I have a lot of grandchildren and great-grandchildren that will hopefully use this field with my name on it for years to come.”
Some highlights of Sam Lamb’s life:
1962: Won Intermediate Men’s Senior “A” Division, provincial championship title defeating the Midland Indians (1-0).
Credited with breaking up a no-hitter baseball game at provincial championship; Sam Lamb’s name and stats for the game are recorded at the Midland Arena’s Hall of Fame.
1973: Coached Tillsonburg Jets to win the Women’s A Provincial Fastball Championship in Oshawa.
1988-90: Coach and player at the Can-Am International Baseball Tournament in Florida.
2004: Inducted as a member of the 1999 Canadian National Baseball Championship team into Tillsonburg’s Sports Hall of Fame.
2005: Managed Tillsonburg Old Sox team in winning the Canadian National Baseball title for 35+ category in Tillsonburg.
2011: Honoured with dedication of Sam Lamb Baseball Field in Tillsonburg.