Super Senior: Dick Thut

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:40 PM EDT
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WINOOSKI, Vt. (WCAX) - Dick Thut grew up in Chicago sneaking into Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs play. But it wasn’t until he retired that baseball became a hit.

Thut, 90, has a wall full of memories. He defended the nation through most of his life.

“This is when I was in the Army. I was in the 14th Armored Cavalry,” he said. “I was a border patrol agent in Massena, New York.”

As a border guard, Dick rose through the ranks. He even received a thank-you letter from President Kennedy.

“I want to thank you for the work you did in the connection of the Cuban prisoners of Brigade 2506,” he read aloud.

Better known as the “Bay of Pigs,” it was an attempt by Kennedy to overthrow Fidel Castro and his communist government. By most accounts, it was a fiasco.

“They never had a chance, they landed in a swamp to begin with,” said Dick, whose job it was to interview released prisoners who spent 20 hard months in jail.

In Massena, he met his future wife, Alice.

“I’m surprised that she would go out with me because she was a very good-looking woman. There’s some of her pictures up there,” he said.

The couple moved many times. Eventually, Dick ran the whole East Coast sector for the border patrol.

“I always loved the border patrol; it was my love of my life, other than my wife,” he said.

Sadly, Alice passed away a few years ago. They were married for 63 years.

“My wife was my guiding light,” Dick said.

After the border patrol, he decided to put on another uniform, umpiring baseball games.

On this day, he travels to Winooski where the home team will take on Shelburne in a middle school matchup.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Why did you want to do this in the first place?

Dick Thut: It got me out. I like fresh air, outdoors; the kids are nice.

The air is hot with temps in the mid-80s. Between innings, Dick needs to rest.

Joe Carroll: When you were a kid, if you ever thought of a 90-year-old umpire, what would you have thought?

Dick Thut: I never thought of reaching 90. (Laughs.)

The heat makes Dick’s job difficult, and he makes a hard decision: “I got to sit... Too hot.”

For a man who’s been on the field for 35 years, this may be his toughest call. Most likely, he will no longer be officiating this age group, but it’s not the bottom of the ninth for Dick.

Joe Carroll: So, next year just Little League games?

Dick Thut: Yeah, definitely Little League.

Ninety years of living life to its fullest-- a homerun in any book.

“I’m glad I came out, give it a shot,” Dick said.