Perseverance usually pays off.
Frederick Heather is the first cricketer to be honoured by the national sports hall of fame when he was named among the list of inductees in the builders’ category in this year’s Canadian Sports Legends Class.
Chris Redford led the campaign for his great uncle to receive the national recognition, nominating him five times.
“I have always believed that Frederick Heather belonged in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame for the number of roles he accepted to serve Canadian cricket and his longevity of service,” said Redford, who played hockey at the junior level for the University of Toronto. “Hopefully, his induction will lead to additional cricketers being recognized and it will promote Canadian interest in the sport.”
Heather, who migrated from England in 1921 at age 31, was a member of the St. George’s Club that won the city championship in 1922 and Bell Telephone Cricket Club that captured the Toronto & District Cricket Association’s top league title five years later.
When his playing days were over, he became an umpire. He stood in Bermuda’s inaugural visit to Canada in August 1931 and a year later in the Australian series featuring the legendary Sir Don Bradman and skipper Victor Richardson, the grandfather of the Chappell brothers.
In addition to umpiring, Heather was a key administrative contributor. He served as secretary of St. George’s and Yorkshire Cricket Clubs, vice-president and public relations officer of Dentonia Park Cricket Club and was a founding member and first Life Member of the Toronto & District Cricket Umpires Association in 1931. He also started an academy for umpires and was instrumental in the birth of structured junior cricket in Canada.
Heather, who died in Toronto in 1976, has been recognized by Sport Ontario and is a member of the United States Cricket Hall of Fame and Cricket Canada’s Hall of Fame. His autographed cricket bat from the 1920s and four game balls presented to him during his umpiring career will be prominently displayed at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in 2015.