Howard Birnie
Election Date: February 6, 2024
Induction Date: June 15, 2024
Birth Date / Place: July 17, 1937 in Toronto, Ontario
Primary Position: Executive
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Years: 1952 to current
Teams: Baseball Ontario, Leaside

Howard Birnie

“I was incredibly surprised to begin with then very much humbled and grateful to be recognized for simply doing something I have loved most of my life. With my past connections to the Hall, I know that the list of inductees is composed of a stellar number of people who have been involved in our game in different ways. My inclusion is beyond my dreams.” 

Born in Toronto in 1937, Howard Birnie has been involved in baseball in his home city for more than 70 years as a player, coach and umpire. 

During his tenure as a baseball coach in Toronto from 1958 to 1988, he guided teams to seven city championships, one provincial championship and one national championship with the Toronto Leaside All-Stars in 1964. 

Over the years, Birnie has assumed countless leadership roles, including serving as president of the Toronto Baseball Association from 1978 to 1985 and the president of the Ontario Baseball Association in 1991 and 1992. He has also been president of the Leaside Baseball Association since 1973.  

Birnie, however, may best known as one of the country’s most respected and longest serving umpires. During his 34 years of calling balls and strikes, Birnie worked six national championships between 1979 and 1989, three international championships (1985, 1987, 1990) and two World Junior Championships (1986-87). He was also selected to umpire Pearson Cup games – an annual exhibition contest between the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos – in 1982, 1984 and 1986.  

Birnie has been recognized with numerous awards for his service in baseball, including being named the OBA’s Volunteer and Executive of the Year in 1994 and being the recipient of the OBA President’s Award in 2007. 

Birnie received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 in recognition of his 50 years of volunteering in amateur baseball and the following year he was elected to the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame. 

In 2017, he was inducted into the Ontario Baseball Hall of Fame and two years later, he was elected to the Toronto Sport Hall of Honour. He continues to serve as an appointed director of the OBA. 


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