Bendigo Baseball Association stalwart Gary Ahdore will play his 650th game with the Strathfieldsaye Dodgers this weekend.
Ahdore first started playing 40 years ago and is the all time record holder for the most games played in the BBA.
He first picked up a bat when he was 13-years-old, introduced to baseball by his then neighbour Brian Sinfield, who at the time was the Dodgers' senior coach.
Sinfield taught Ahdore everything he knows about the game and inspired him to become the Dodgers' longest serving player.
"I played football for a while when I was younger for North Bendigo, but it wasn't for me," Adhore said.
"I just love baseball and love playing it."
Ahdore played his first senior game in 1979 and it will be very hard for him to forget.
"I was hit in the back of the head by one of the fastest pitchers in Bendigo at the the time, it was a bit of a scary experience for a 17-year-old," he laughed.
"But that's baseball - if you get hit, you get hit."
Ahdore has been presented with an endless list of awards over the years, including club championships, umpires' awards and has been part of multiple premiership teams across the league's grades.
In addition to being bestowed with a life membership to the Strathfieldsaye Dodgers in 2016.
But there is one thing he has received the most pleasure from and is most proud of throughout his career.
And that's helping players of all ages develop the skills to play baseball.
Fellow Bendigo Baseball Association veteran Terry Smith said Ahdore was integral to the development of junior players.
"He derives no pleasure from humiliating young players and takes every opportunity to give them a word of encouragement or the wisdom of his experience," Smith said.
Ahdore said he was always thrilled when he saw players progress.
"When I get to see kids that I've coached over the years develop great skills and progress to play at a higher level down in Melbourne - it's a real thrill for me," he said.
Above all, Gary knows for the future of the game he loves the most, grassroots juniors are integral.
"We have to get more juniors playing," he said.
"Without juniors the sport won't survive, we need more kids to come through.
"If baseball was as popular as football, netball and basketball we would be laughing."
The baseball seasons starts this weekend, with the Strathfieldsaye Dodgers set to take to the diamond against the Scots.
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