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Home team: The storied career of 82-year-old umpire Bill Peterson – WCCO

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — He has been coaching different teams in St. Paul for 60 years and refereeing for almost as long.

On every pitch, 82-year-old Bill Peterson takes the ready position.

“I had butterflies all the way to refereeing,” he said. “I don’t care what’s in your life, you always want to do it the best you can.”

Peterson is a legend in Saint-Paul. When he shows up for a game, it’s a show.

His other passion is coaching. In fact, his first job was in 1960 coaching an all-African-American hockey team in St. Paul.

“I think up to this day, I know at the time, it was the only black youth hockey team in the country,” he said.

It’s near where he coached a young baseball prospect named Dave Winfield and later another Hall of Famer named Paul Molitor.

“(Dave) was so physically good that he couldn’t do the fundamentals and still do it,” he said. “Molly was different. He had good fundamentals, and just a great athlete. Both of them were just great athletes and people.

He coached with Dave’s brother, Steve, and his name is still part of the ballpark they work in.

“He has his own pitch named after him, so that says it all,” said Steve Winfield. “I’m just hanging on to tailcoats here, I get a little windfall.”

These are secondary notes to Peterson. What he really wants is what comes out of this being where he wants to be with people who enrich his life.

“I have dealt with children all my life. It’s just a part of my life, dealing with them,” he said.

Recently, he won a lifetime achievement award from Minnesota Youth Athletic Services. It was rewarding, but hardly what his life has been.

“Awards are good, but awards are – when you’re a guy like me and you’re old, you know what awards are for. They’re for you and they want to get them in before you do. not be there,” he said.


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