By British Baseball Federation, www.britishbaseball.org
Ted Gerrard-Thesingh, a massive presence in British baseball for more than 30 years, died peacefully at Worcestershire Royal Hospital on 18 March, aged 78, surrounded by his family after a brave battle against a long illness.
Born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on 10 January 1939, Gerard-Thesingh came to England 40 years later and married his wife Jean in 1980.
Ted Gerard-Thesingh was Great Britain’s top baseball umpire for more than two decades, working at 13 National Championships and more than 100 international matches. Beyond his role on the field, Gerard-Thesingh also trained countless other umpires and was a dedicated administrative official at various levels of British baseball.
After he moved to UK from South Africa in 1979, and on learning that there was a dearth of umpires in British baseball Gerard-Thesingh set to work recruiting and then teaching new officials. Quickly garnering respect for his work behind the plate and on the bases, Gerard-Thesingh earned assignments in all but one of the national title games held between 1982 and 1995.
Internationally, he was also an umpiring fixture. He officiated in the 1984 and 1988 European Championship B-Pool tournaments and the 1989 European A-Pool Championship in Paris.
A serious injury in the mid-1990s cut his umpiring career short, but Gerard-Thesingh continued to contribute to British baseball. He served as Technical Commissioner at a number of national finals and at the 1996 European B-Pool Championship in Hull.
In recognition of his many years of service, Gerard-Thesingh was made an Honorary Life Member of both the British Baseball Federation and the Amateur Baseball Umpires Association Great Britain (ABUA-GB). In addition, the ABUA-GB began awarding the Ted Gerard-Thesingh Trophy in 2003 as an annual award to acknowledge outstanding effort by a particular umpire each year.
Gerard-Thesingh also received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2006 National finals, and was inducted into the BBF Hall of Fame in 2011.
In his younger days Gerrard-Thesingh had played professional football for Durban United in South Africa from 1956 until 1963, and in addition to his career in British baseball, he was involved for many years with football in Worcestershire, where he served on the Worcestershire FA Council and as Registration Secretary for the Worcester League.
League secretary Tim Phillips said: “Ted was a larger-than-life character who gave tremendous service to the league. He suffered more than his fair share of illness but never complained and loved to welcome club secretaries into his home where he and his wife Jean would discuss all things football.”