Homeres honors dad with a knuckler
“I threw the best knuckleball of my life,” he said. “At that instant, my dad thought — and never changed his opinion — that I could throw a knuckleball any time I wanted. Of course, it isn’t true.”
Homeres, who retired last year, after about 30 years as McMinnville’s recreation manager for youth and adult sports, threw the ceremonial opening day pitch Saturday at Joe Dancer Park to kick off the youth baseball/softball season. He decided to go with the knuckleball to honor his father, Victor, who died suddenly of heart complications last Wednesday.
“It’s funny, because all those kids I coached, I told them it never works,” he said. And proving his point, his season-opening pitch was on the wild side.
Following the first pitch, a short ceremony was held. It featured Homeres unveiling a sign dedicated to him and his many years with the program.
Parks and Recreation Director Jay Pearson told the crowd how the program had been floundering, with only about 200 participants, when Homeres took over. That number has grown to around 800, thanks to what Pearson called Homeres’ “kids-first approach.”
“He was always adamant about equity with youth sports,” Pearson said. “He was a great advocate for developing girls sports as well as boys.”
Homeres was surprised and humbled by the large sign planted in the ground at the entrance to the ballfields. He said he was only expecting a plaque.
Homeres said he reflected a lot on what his career in youth sports, and the thousands of children and teenagers whose lives he affected, when he retired last summer. He was presented with the Governor’s Council on Fitness and Sports award for Fitness Leadership to mark the occasion.
On Saturday, his reflections were more family-oriented, he said.
Victor Homeres, a retired paint and body shop operator, moved the family from Los Angeles to McMinnville many years ago. In support of Dan’s involvement, he volunteered his painting services for all the signs used at the Dancer Park ballfields for over 20 years. He threw the first pitch last year on opening day.
“He loved the game, he loved the kids who played it, and we’ll miss his friendship,” Pearson said. In reflection, Dan Homeres said the family was unanimous in wanting to go through with the ceremony.
“Knowing my dad, he wouldn’t want us to cancel,” he said. “His favorite place was the ball park. I felt almost instantly it was the right thing to do.”