By ANDREW OMRAN
Hall of Famer Bob McKillop has been involved in competitive sports for a half a century but is finally calling it quits after enjoying a career that many could only dream of.
McKillop recently retired from the Kitchener Minor Hockey Association but hockey isn’t where it all started.
At 17 years old, McKillop was signed to the Chicago White Sox Minor League affiliate in AA.
“I decided to play pro baseball so I stopped anything to do with hockey for six or seven years while I was in the States and chasing my wonderful career with the little round ball,” McKillop said.
For three consecutive years McKillop was signed to a contract to move up to the AAA level but the organization opted out of the contract every time despite McKillop having spent two full spring trainings with the White Sox.
Disappointed with their decision, McKillop came to grips with the fact that it didn’t look like he would fulfill his dream of being a major league ball player; this realization lead to his return to school. He attended the University of Waterloo where he picked up football.
After quarterbacking the University of Waterloo Warriors for three years, McKillop was drafted into the Canadian Football League by the Toronto Argonauts in 1968. However, he remained at UW in the physical education department and coached football for 23 years.
“I had seen several types of coaches and I knew what I liked and I knew what I didn’t like. I tried to make sure people liked what they were doing,” he said.
While a student at UW, McKillop still had the desire to play ball and he took a step in that direction by contacting John Weber, who was the general manager of the Kitchener Panthers of the Kitchener Minor Baseball Association.
“He was a student at the University of Waterloo; he was going to be living here in the summer months. I was running the Kitchener Panthers at the time and he called me and told me about his baseball background and said that he would like to come out and play ball for the Panthers.
“I’ll always remember this line (by McKillop). ‘I hope I can help the team,’ which was an understatement because he had played professional baseball at the AA level and for the next 10 or 11 years, he played for the Kitchener Panthers,” Weber said.