Alan Fabro, a one in a million arm

Anthony Dransfeld looks back at Kimberley's sporting heroes

Alan Fabro Gonzaga University goaltender 1964. The PIttsburgh PIrates paid Fabro’s scholarship

Alan Fabro Gonzaga University goaltender 1964. The PIttsburgh PIrates paid Fabro’s scholarship

ANTHONY DRANSFELD

For the Bulletin

 

 

The Pittsburgh Pirate Baseball Club, needed to move fast if they wanted to sign a 17 year old catcher from  Kimberley British Columbia. The New York Yankees  had already dispatched their Pacific North West scout to the highest City In Canada ( Kimberley),  a man by the name of Eddy Taylor  who had seen young Alan Fabro  play in   a tournament in Spokane Washington.

The Yankees were going to offer Fabro a signing bonus, and a contract. (giving a Canadian baseball player a signing “bonus” had never been done before) Negotiating for Alan was his father Milo Fabro, probably the most  astute businessman  in the East  Kootenays, and certainly one of the wisest.

When you walked into   the Fabro  home, a giant picture of President John F. Kennedy hung in the living room ( signed  by J.F.K). Milo Fabro advised   Alan to sign with Pittsburgh Pirates (who I believe picked up Fabro’s Gonzaga  University tuition  as well )

“Fabby”, as he was known by in Kimberley sporting circles, attended Gonzaga when he was not playing professional baseball. He  was  the Gonzaga  Bulldog goaltender in Collegiate  hockey during his four seasons at G. U.  Alan was later to play two seasons of  semi pro hockey for the Reno Aces under the ownership of Allan Dunn.

Now, never a shrinking violet, Mr.  Alan Fabro sent a bat boy up into the stands in Toronto, asking a vivacious blonde girl if she  would like to go out on a date after the game.

Virginia and Fab married one year later. Both of the Fabro children are exceptional athletes. Allison went to the University of Georgia,  on a full  volleyball scholarship, and Scott displayed the same rocket arm as his  father Alan, while playing  baseball in Lethbridge, and was a pretty decent hockey player.

Virginia Fabro was an exceptional athlete herself. A family of  great athletic genes.

Now,  Fab was called upon from time to time to be a relief pitcher for the B.P.O.E. Angels of Kimberley (a Junior Baseball Team under the  management of John “ Mauk “ McKenzie).   Alan Fabro drilled me in the middle of my back during a game in 1966. It probably quit hurting about three years ago.

Fab  could throw really hard, a   one  in a million arm. A standout  basketball and volleyball player up at Selkirk High School, Alan  has a golf handicap of 2 or 3. After 50 years Alan still has some sports buddies here in Kimberley, Bilco, Rokey, Boots Boudreau, Sully, Nizer, Sammy Calles Jr., Danny Calles,  John McKenzie, Norm Foster, Colin Patterson, and  cousin Bernie Redisky. Alan’s mom ( Furina ) and his twin brother ( Colin ) still reside here in Kimberley,his brother Robert has passed away.

So after two seasons of Pro Baseball Alan Fabro decided to get  his degree at Gonzaga University. Alan is the quintessential “positive thinker” in life. Who else could start off  selling  John Deere tractors in Lethbridge, and then end up owning the company!! McKay Brothers employing 150 people, the third largest  dealership in Western Canada.

That is Alan Fabro in a nutshell, a man with a can do spirit, and an inspiration to many, many people in sports, business, and life (myself included).

Here  is a short list  of the very best athletes to come out of Kimberley  these past 50 years, Eric “Ike“ Bodin, Alan Fabro, Danny “Sully” Sullivan, and Jimmy Nelson.  (in my humble opinion).