As part of a recent initiative to recognize the contributions of Sam Lamb to the Town of Tillsonburg, town staff – including the Parks and Cemetery Supervisor, Manager of Parks and Facilities, and the Director of Recreation, Culture and Parks – began discussions with the president of Tillsonburg Minor Baseball Inc.
The idea was to re-plant 20-plus trees, which remained from a Canada 150 event two years ago temporarily planted at the Tillsonburg Cemetery until a suitable location could be found, around Sam Lamb Field.
On Friday, May 21, an ‘official Sam Lamb tulip tree’ was planted between the baseball diamonds, part of the larger collection of young trees.
“They did a good job all the way around the field,” said Terry Lamb, Sam’s son. “Beautiful.”
When Sam was on Town Council, he and son Dan Lamb had planted ash trees near the diamond in 1996, although they later came down about 10 years later due to disease.
“We needed these trees,” said Sam Lamb, 94, who was enjoying the moment with several family members and friends.
“It’s an extra beautification of the park and having shade,” said Derek Partlo. “As a coach, and as a player, it’s nice that when you’re watching other games you can get some shade. So it just adds to the whole aesthetics of it. Like I’ve said, for towns our size this is one of the nicest parks in Ontario.
“This is a beautiful park. To keep adding to it with a new scoreboard and the trees surrounding it, and replacing the trees that were here, it’s awesome.”
Sam’s greatest contribution over the years, said Partlo, may have been keeping baseball alive and well in Tillsonburg.
“He’s done everything from recruitment to maintaining the diamonds to making all the phone calls to make sure there’s enough players or leagues to go to. So just that,” said Partlo. “He’s not the only one, but probably the oldest one just to keep everything going and pass on those traditions to his sons and grandchildren… the love of the game. To keep it going and thriving in a small town like this is probably his legacy.”
“It’s pretty special,” said Tillsonburg Mayor Stephen Monlnar, who attended Friday’s official tree planting.
“There’s a tree being planted, and it will grow, it will be nurtured and there will be generations of other Lambs and Partlos and all the other people that are coming in that next wave to keep a community and a great legacy going,” said Molnar.
“Sam is… they just don’t make Sams. You know that more than I know that, but I have had the extreme pleasure and honour to at least been affiliated with Sam in Council (two terms), in sports, and acknowledging his contributions to this community either as Citizen of the Year (2013), the naming of the field (Sam Lamb Field 2011), his induction into the (Canadian) National Oldtimers Baseball Hall of Fame (2015). A lot of times, these are just dates… but you can go back 83 years and there was a Sam Lamb running around starting that journey.
“I did want to recognize Sam, Mary Anne (VanGeertruyde), the entire Lamb family, Scott (Vitias), Tillsonburg Minor Baseball, Baseball Tillsonburg… hopefully this is another rejuvenation of working together and finding positive solutions.”
Molnar also recognized the recent donation and tree planting near the diamonds by Courtland Landscape and Grounds.
“Green space and tree canopies are going to be a big part of the next discussions across the community,” said Molnar.
“Today, once again, for multiple times, it is Sam Lamb Day in the Town of Tillsonburg,” Molnar smiled in conclusion, “and we are all benefited for it. And when it’s time – and it will be time soon – let’s just ‘play ball.’”