Pat Doyle took the Delta College baseball team to the playoffs 17 times. He was an international ambassador for Major League Baseball, he coached top college summer leagues and he was just inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
But his most pressing job last week was to get home in time to coach his 51/2-year-old granddaughter Jenna’s T-ball practice.
“I’ve gone full circle,” he said with a smile.
Doyle’s love of baseball started with backyard catches with his father, Jack Doyle, who was one of the coaches of his youth baseball team in west Los Angeles.
Now that lifelong love has culminated with Doyle’s Hall of Fame induction. No fewer than 27 family members attended the ceremony at a conference outside Dallas, including Doyle’s supportive wife of 45 years, Harriet.
This was, by any account, a big deal. The association has more than 10,000 members. And while most of them are amateurs, representing youth or college levels, the organization has had a growing influence on professional baseball with the use of technology and analytics.
Not only was Doyle nominated for the Hall of Fame, but he was accepted on his first year of eligibility.
“I never ruminated on getting in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “It was a real honor.”
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Doyle coached at Delta from 1977 until 2000. The Mustangs won more than two-thirds of their games, a remarkable feat for such a long coaching tenure.
It was during that time that he began to get involved with baseball on the international stage. As an envoy for Major League Baseball, he helped build baseball fields and coaching programs in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Pat Doyle coaches young catchers in Gayaza, Uganda
Among his proudest accomplishments, Doyle worked with nonprofit known as Play Global! to introduce baseball to youth in Israel – youth of both Jewish Israeli and Arab Israeli descent. The name of the program: “Baseball for All.”
“We wanted to make a positive influence,” he said. “We were using baseball as a way to build teamwork and build character.”
Doyle has an important role off the field as well. Right now he is president of the Delta College Foundation, a board that works on raising money for scholarships and building goodwill for the College in the community.
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Doyle’s father might also have gone into college athletics, but he couldn’t afford higher education. Instead, Jack Doyle was heavily involved in youth baseball and played no small role in Pat Doyle’s development into who he is today.
His father died in 1973 and never saw his son’s ascendance as a college-level coach, not to mention his international advocacy for baseball or his latest Hall of Fame recognition.
But as Pat Doyle himself says, coaching young children is like planting a tree. It may be years before it sprouts. “You may never see it grow,” he said.
But it will. “I’m sure my father would have been very proud,” he said.
And with that, the Hall of Fame coach headed off to little Jenna’s T-ball practice.