Owen Canfield Jr. was an esteemed Register Citizen sports columnist turned Hartford Courant editor who died on Saturday, November 30, 2019 in his hometown of Torrington, Connecticut. Canfield worked in the newspaper business for nearly 59 years reporting on several sports including baseball at the local and national level. He was known for his ease in connecting with people and for his comedic style of writing. He was 85 years old. Canfield was also a GHTBL Hall of Fame inductee, Media Division.
Owen Canfield Jr. was born in Torrington, on February 1, 1934, to the late Owen F. Canfield, Sr. and Marjorie (Wheeler) Canfield. He graduated from Torrington High School in 1952 and spent four years in the Air Force, including some time in Korea during the Korean Conflict. He met his wife Ethel Riley, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, when he was stationed in St. Albans, Vermont. The Canfield’s became parents to 10 children and were lifelong parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi Church of Torrington.
He began his journalism career in 1960 at what was then called the Torrington Register. In mid-September of 1965, Canfield was hired at The Hartford Courant by legendary sports editor Bill Lee. Throughout his career, Canfield covered Jack Nicklaus’ Masters victory in 1986; Reggie Jackson’s 3-homer game in the World Series of 1978 at Yankee Stadium, Hank Aaron’s 715th home run in Atlanta, Pete Rose’s base hit that broke Ty Cobb’s record and the NCAA tournament game in 1990 when Scot Burrell threw the pass and Tate George made the shot to beat Clemson.
Canfield became a 7-time Connecticut Sportswriter of the Year, a Torrington High School Hall of Fame and the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee. He penned special interest columns in the Hartford Courant on the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League from 1966 until 1995 and was inducted into the GHTBL Hall of Fame. Canfield retired in 1995 from The Courant after working at the paper for 30 years. He continued to write columns periodically through 2008 and then did the same for the Register Citizen until the final year of his life.
In his last article on March 30, 2019, Owen Canfield wrote, “Once I heard Mickey Mantle say in a TV interview that whenever he took a swing at a pitch, he swung with all his might. ‘I wanted to hit it as far as I could every time,’ said The Mick. I like that, and I like to think that whenever I submitted a column, I had swung with all my might, even if I struck out.”