ROD PATON was one of the most respected, loyal and popular coaches (and players) in the rich history of the Waverley Baseball Club.
From the moment he arrived at Waverley in 1972, Rod has embodied the spirit of the Waverley Baseball Club as one of its most loyal and devoted members.
Rod absolutely loved the club to which he gave so much of his life and his passion never waned. Most love the club in their own way, but as a junior coach many of us truly believe that Rod literally bled “red, black and white”!
As you will read in Chris Peacock’s nomination for Life Membership at the bottom of this page, Rod Paton did not always have the most “glamorous” coaching jobs at Waverley, but this never dampened his enthusiasm to do whatever he could to progress the cause of Waverley and, most of all, to benefit and develop young players. There are few people more admired and respected at Waverley among his former players and their parents than Rod… and, to top it all off, he also happens to be one of the nicest and most affable men one could ever hope to meet!
There are no photos available of Rod Paton the player because, as he quipped himself, they hardly had any decent cameras in those days and in any case they wouldn’t be allowed at baseball games!
Rod spent his first eight years as a fine player with the Port Melbourne Club before joining Waverley in 1972 where he went on to represent the club in 154 senior games. By all reports he was a terrific and versatile player with a fierce competitive spirit. He could certainly hit, but it was his pitching that seemed to give him most satisfaction… especially that curveball that looked like it literally dropped of the edge of a table… son David never quite seemed to remember it being that good!?
Naturally, Rod’s son David found his way to the club, following dad’s heels around Napier Park from the age of three until he was old enough to play the game himself. Shortly after, Rod immersed himself in just about every aspect of Junior baseball at Waverley as a Committeeman and an Age Group Coordinator at just about every level. Quite simply, there was nothing he wouldn’t do to benefit the club and he gave it his all for more thousands of hours than you can imagine.
In modern times most of us will best remember Rod as the wonderful Juniors coach who not only underpinned the skills of many, many players over many years, but who also coached with a rare determination to keep Waverley firmly at the top of the junior baseball tree. To say that he was “passionate or driven” would be to understate Rod’s parochial defence of the “Waverley brand” and, while this may have annoyed opposition coaches at times, there could be no doubt that everything he did was done in the best interests of HIS players and the Waverley Baseball Club.
You would not need to look far to see where son David got his “competitive edge” from, but Rod always claimed that he was the wiser and calming influence when they teamed up to coach in his later years with the Under 12 Wildcats. While David Warren is an undoubted doyen of junior coaching at the U14 level, he surely appreciated the solid grounding that Rod and David Paton, to be affectionately known as ‘Dad and Dave’, (along with U12 Panthers’ coach Greg Daws) provided with their excellent U12 programs for several years… and other coaches too over the years.
Son David Paton has carved his own tremendous career at Waverley and he has also given plenty to the club with a similar passion and loyalty as that demonstrated by his father.
Your writer’s own son had the benefit of playing with Greg Daws’ U12 Panthers in 2000 and then with Rod & Dave Paton’s U12 Wildcats in 2001. While he has certainly learned plenty from all of his coaches at Waverley, this was where he first really learned the fundamentals of how to play baseball. The teams he played with had no particular advantage in talent over other teams they played, but they were successful due to the superior coaching of people like Rod Paton. It was not always about hitting and pitching, but also defensive positioning, knowing the next play and how to run the bases… fundamentals that would hold young players in solid stead for their future.
As far as success and coaching ability is concerned the record of Rod Paton speaks for itself, but it is also Rod Paton the man that somehow pales most of his achievements by comparison. Rod is the type of person who takes a personal interest in his players and their families. In the case of my family, it is nearing six years since my son played under Rod, yet he still makes contact to see how he is going and he still comes to watch him (and his other boys) play in both winter and summer! Rod cannot bring himself to have an unkind word about anyone and he is one of the most likeable gentlemen you could ever meet… as long as you don’t try to attack the Waverley Baseball Club!
While he has established “another life” with a second home at Phillip Island, this does not stop Rod from taking every opportunity he can to get to Waverley to watch the juniors or seniors… he is a devoted follower of our web site and he is never missing from an AGM. We hope that this continues for a very long time… there are not many Rod Patons around!
The Rod Paton coaching record:
- 1979/80 Assisted Dick Mason, U13 Wildcats, State Champions
- 1980/81 U12 Waverley League Coach, U12 Inaugural Season
- 1981/82 U12 Waverley League Coach
- 1982/83 U12 Waverley League Coach, Runners Up
- 1983 U13 Assistant coach, Ringwood League, VPBL (Winter)
- 1989/90 U12 Waverley League Coach, Premiers
- 1990/91 U12 Waverley League Coach, Premiers
- 1991/92 U12 Waverley Panthers, Division 2, South
- 1992/93 U12 Waverley Panthers, Coca Cola, = 4th, 5th on %
- 1993/94 U12 Waverley Panthers, Division 1, 4th
- 1994/95 U12 Waverley Panthers, Division 1, Runners up
- 1995/96 U12 Waverley Panthers, Coca Cola, 6th
- 1996/97 U12 Waverley Panthers, Division 1 = 2nd, 3rd on %
- 1997 U14 Assistant coach, Ringwood League, VPBL (Winter), State Champions
- 1997/98 U12 Waverley Panthers, Coca Cola, 6th
- 1998 U12 Ringwood Representative League, VPBL (Winter),
- 1998/99 U12 Assistant, Waverley Wildcats, Runners Up State Championship
- 1999 U12 Ringwood Representative League, VPBL (Winter),
- 1999/2000 U12 Waverley Wildcats, Runners Up State Championship
- 2000 U13 Waverley Panthers, Ringwood League, Premiers, VPBL (Winter),
- 2000/2001 U12 Waverley Wildcats, State Champions
- 2001/2002 U12 Waverley Wildcats, State Champions
As a final tribute, we will transpose the text from Chris Peacock’s successful nomination of Rod Paton for Life Membership.
I, Chris Peacock, a Registered and Financial member of Waverley Baseball Club, would like to Nominate Rod Paton as a Life Member.
Rod joined Waverley Baseball Club in 1971 and has played over 150 Senior games at the Club. Rod has been a coach at Junior level since 1979 and has most recently coached the U/12 Panthers and now the U/12 Wildcats.
Rod has always dedicated himself to the game and the Club and has been on numerous Junior Committees over the years. Rod has been Junior Coordinator at every age level. He continues year after year to make himself available to look after a Junior Representative side.
His son has long since graduated to our senior ranks, indicating no reason to stay with our Junior Program. Rod continues to put his hand up willingly for Junior Representative Postings.
Why, I guess it is giving something back to the sport he loves.
He has served a long apprenticeship with the Panthers, and has probably been disappointed at missing out on the senior jobs to other coaches, many of whom are no longer coaching in this organisation. Being given the job with “second string players” and little hope of reaching the finals for many seasons has not deterred him, Rod continues to front up. It must have been hard, but Rod continued on for this Club.
In the 1999/2000 season, Rod was elevated to the Number 1 side, the Wildcats, a fact which I personally think was long overdue. Rod has also been selected to look after Representative sides in the Ringwood District Winter League, which he has agreed to in the name of Waverley Baseball Club, even though he has no involvement in Waverley’s winter competition.
One of the unsung heroes of this club …… week after week, year after year for no personal gain.