One of the reasons you, the reader, is able to enjoy these sports columns is the work of Dutch Borcherding.
A trailblazer in the field of community sports journalism, Dutch died Saturday at the age of 93.
Dutch is survived by his wife, Delores, and two sons, Bradley and Bruce, along with their wives, and six grandchildren.
Visitation will be at Miller Funeral Home Wednesday from 4-8 p.m. with an American Legion and VFW walk-through at 7 p.m.
Burial, with full military honors, will be at the St. Peter’s United Church of Christ Cemetery at 10 a.m. Thursday. The services will follow at the church at 10:30 a.m.
For 33 years, Dutch was sports editor here at The Missourian and his “In the Sports Mill With Dutch” was one of the staples of his sections.
Dutch came to The Missourian after starting his journalism career with the New Haven Leader.
During his time at The Missourian, Dutch presided as the sports page turned into sports pages and eventually a full section. I had the privilege of being able to work with Dutch for a week after being hired here in July of 1990. I stepped into Dutch’s spot on staff as rookie sports reporter when he retired Aug. 1, 1990 and John Neier moved into the editor’s spot. I consider that week to have been a major lesson in how to do things.
I knew Dutch was loved here. When he retired, they published a special in-house paper lauding his career.
Professionally, Dutch was one of the founders of the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association and once served as that organization’s president.
Dutch always saw the positive side of things. You’ve got to have that attitude to work in community journalism. The most upset I ever saw Dutch was when he had to miss attending the Borgia Turkey Tournament for the first time since it started.
Dutch had a number of great stories he shared over the years, many concerning baseball, probably his favorite sport. He used to talk about Burleigh Grimes. Ol’ Stubblebeard once owned a farm in the New Haven area and when he was pitching for the Cardinals, he would bring his teammates out there from time to time.
One time, Grimes brought his Cardinals manager Frankie Frisch out and they were hunting quail. Frisch took to shooting the quail on the ground. When Grimes told him that wasn’t the way you do it, Frisch quipped he was going to shoot them any way he could!
Dutch told the story better.
Dutch was one of the originators of the current youth baseball and softball system in Washington and the Washington Hall of Fame baseball/softball award is named after him. You can see that near the council chambers at Washington City Hall.
One of the reasons I also keep the precipitation stats and write the rain and river stories for The Missourian is because Dutch did it before me. His precise and concise records became the basis of what we cite when we talk about “records kept since 1951” in the stories.
Another thing Dutch did here was to help with job work and his Thursdays were spent helping Pastor Herman Otten work on Christian News, which was printed here. I followed Dutch into that as well. I know Pastor Otten has a number of great sports stories, too.
What you may not know about Dutch is that he was a very loyal man. He continued to do volunteer work for the American Red Cross even after he retired from the paper. He told me when I wrote a Senior LifeTimes piece on him that the Red Cross took care of him when he was a prisoner of war in Germany.
He spent 15 months as a POW following the crash landing of his B-24 bomber during World War II. He served as a tailgunner on his plane after going into the military during World War II.
After getting out of the service, Dutch completed course work at Ranken Trade School in 1952 before going into newspaper work.
Dutch was good at reporting and the entire community is glad he decided to continue with that career.
In recent years, Dutch’s visits through The Missourian became less frequent, but it always still was a pleasure to chat with him when he came through the sports department.
Dutch definitely will be missed.