After accepting a hockey scholarship to Clarkson College in upstate New York in 1947, Dick Fitzpatrick decided to try out for the varsity baseball team. Of course, he made it. Nobody who knew or grew up with Fitzpatrick in Belleville would have been surprised. Many of those who watched him dominate football games as captain of the St. Michael’s Academy team that won back-to-back COSSA crowns in 1942 and ’43, believe Fitzpatrick to be one of the finest all-round athletes Belleville has ever produced.
Versatility was the name of the game for Fitzpatrick who starred in hockey, football, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, track and field, and golf. Fitzpatrick was not only quick to learn the fundamentals of any game, but soon he was the best player on any team. Championships followed Fitzpatrick wherever he went. After leading the 1944 Belleville Bears to the Eastern Ontario Jr. B hockey title, Fitzpatrick quickly switched uniforms to lead the Belleville Kiwanis Club to the same regional banner in baseball that summer. An All-Ontario title followed with the Belleville Jr. A softball team in 1945 and later, in 1954, a provincial senior banner for the Belleville Batas.
At Clarkson, Fitzpatrick was a two-sport letterman and the first Canadian to play for the Golden Knights varsity baseball team in the university’s long and storied athletic history. In his freshman season with the hockey Knights, “Fitz” averaged two points per game to finish as top scorer with 32 points in 16 games. Later, he chased pucks for bucks in California, playing professionally in the old West Coast minor pro hockey league with the Hollywood Wolves.
Born in Detroit on February 17, 1926, Fitzpatrick died in Belleville on December 27, 1999. Once, when his sporting adventures were chronicled in The Intelligencer, a reporter declared Fitzpatrick’s “list of athletic laurels too long to catalogue here.” Fitzpatrick’s deserved standing in the city’s Sports Hall of Fame will attest to that fact.0