Coach Veal was ‘a heck of a person,’ friend says
By ANDY NYSTROM
Redmond Reporter Editor
October 11, 2012 · 4:47 PM
Dean Veal was a baseball man through and through, from the top of the order to the bottom, from the first inning to the seventh.
“He loved the style of the game,” said longtime friend and coaching partner, Les Dow, whose youth baseball club has been based in Redmond for 30 years. “He just knew the game and he was great with the kids. He seemed to know how to get everything out of them. He made them better, that’s for sure.”
Veal, 77, died Sept. 2 from lymphoma. Friends and family members will honor the longtime Redmond resident and 48-year youth baseball coach at 1 p.m. this Sunday at Hartman Park, home to many of the games he coached over the last six decades. Veal coached longer than any other person in Redmond baseball history, Dow said.
He first coached youngsters on a Snoopy Sluggers squad and finished up with Dow Baseball for the past 29 years, helping teams win 1,338 games, including the 2000 and 2001 AAA-USSSA World Series and the 2009 Triple Crown World Series.
“He was probably the best coach I’ve ever had, and I’m not saying that because he’s my dad,” said Rob Veal.
“I never heard him raise his voice to any of the kids or the umpires. He was a level-headed coach. He got upset with the umpires, don’t get me wrong, but he did it within the constraints of the game. He was very respectful.”
Rob added that his dad was a “model patient” during his six months of cancer treatment, complaining only once during that time. He also recalled one of his father’s sayings that applied on and off the baseball field: “It is what it is; get on with it; deal with it.”
Dean’s baseball career began at the age of 13 in Lemmon, SD. At age 18, the pitcher earned MVP honors in the North Dakota State Tournament and he later lettered three years in baseball at South Dakota State University and pitched in the Northwest Amateur World Series in Rapid City, SD.
He loved playing baseball, but also enjoyed sitting in front of his computer and compiling Dow Baseball’s comprehensive statistics lists in every category possible, according to Dow.
“He was pretty valuable — just a heck of a person,” said Dow, adding that they’ll unveil a plaque on Sunday and dedicate the Hartman Park concession stand and scorers’ booth to Veal. There will be plenty of hot dogs and Tootsie Pops on hand since they were Veal’s favorite snacks.
Along with Dow, Steve Sparling was another one of Veal’s best friends. The two met in 1966 while they worked for United Control, which is now Honeywell, in Redmond and they bonded out of the office as members of the company softball team. They also played in baseball leagues together and Sparling remembers Veal as being a knowledgeable player and a star pitcher, shortstop, first baseman and hitter.
They also played many rounds of golf together and embarked on numerous road trips around the western United States, visiting national parks and historical places.
“As I ponder old age, I often think that one day I’ll play 18 holes with Deano and we’ll both par a tough course, then have lunch, then brag about our kids and grandkids,” Sparling wrote in an email to Rob Veal. “I miss Deano terribly.”
Contact Redmond Reporter Editor Andy Nystrom at email@example.com or 425-867-0353, ext. 5050.