Jerry DiGiovanni passed along some sobering news on a ferry ride
back from Seattle Thursday evening.
I’d been at a hospital in Seattle, visiting my dad, who’s
recovering from knee replacement surgery.
“Dick Todd died,” DiGiovanni said.
I knew he’d been battling cancer, and the prognosis wasn’t good,
but I wasn’t prepared to hear those three words.
“Dick Todd died.”
Now, nearly six hours later, I’m sitting at my home computer and
Thursday night has become early Friday morning and I don’t know
where to begin, or what I’m about to write. I’m not even sure how
old Dick was. I think 75. And I can’t remember now
if Todd died on Wednesday or Thursday morning.
All I know is that I’m feeling a little blue that the man a
lot of people simply called “Blue” is gone. I feel kind of like I
did the day Donny Krick, my old pal from Illahee who’d been so
involved with youth sports and fastpitch softball, died after a
Dick Todd, like Donny Krick, was one of the nicest guys I’d ever
met. I wish I’d taken the time to visit Todd after learning last
month that his health wasn’t good.
Like DiGiovanni, and my dad, Dick Todd was an umpire. Todd was
also a soccer official and a football official.
And no disrespect to my dad or DiGiovanni, or any other umpires,
past or present, but Dick Todd might have been the most liked,
respected and beloved official to grace the
He was the State Umpire-In-Chief Emeritus for the Amateur
I don’t remember the first time I met him but I remember the
night he kicked me out of a softball game. It was the only time I
was ever ejected. And, yes, I deserved it. I totally lost it during
a fastpitch doubleheader at old Roosevelt Field. I just snapped
after a call. Turned into Lou Piniella. As soon as I tossed my
glove on the ground (OK, I spiked it liked I’d just scored the
winning touchdown in the Super Bowl) in protest, Todd tossed me,
which only fueled my insanity. Todd, who’d just returned from
Colorado Springs, where he worked the Olympic Sports Festival,
could only take so much. He eventually walked off the field and our
team had to forfeit both games because of my tirade.
I’m still ashamed of the way I behaved that night.
Todd brought such respect and dignity to the game. How could I
go off on a gentleman like him?
Todd got over it, and we laughed about it over the years.
I continued to apologize almost every time I’d bump into
And I’d bump into him a lot because Todd remained a big part of
the Kitsap sports scene. He was one of those guys who gave back to
community after retiring from Keyport. He served as president of
the Bremerton Athletic Roundtable and Silverdale Pee Wees. He
continued to work with the local and state officials’ associations,
where his influence helped shape the careers of countless others.
In recent years, he served as a volunteer usher/ticket
taker/utilityman for the Kitsap BlueJackets on game days. He also
held down a part-time job with the county, working at the Kitsap
Sun Pavilion, Village Greens Golf Course and wherever they needed
Yeah, it seemed like Dick Todd was everywhere. He’s one of those
guys who had a tough time saying “no” to people.
I’ll never forget that infectious smile, or that slow gait of
his. You might be standing in the middle of a hurricane, but if you
there with Dick Todd, you’d never feel like you were in a
There was just a sense of calmness, kindness and common sense
It seems so trite to say that he’ll be missed. But, lord, the
people of Kitsap County are going to miss Dick Todd.