Fire still burns bright for Foresters manager Bill Pintard

Bill Pintard has amassed more than 800 wins in his 18 seasons as manger of the the Santa Barbara Foresters of the California Collegiate League. Catch the CCL All-Star Game tonight starting at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports West.

Bill Pintard: 'There needed to be a leadership change so I took it over for one year and, oh my goodness, I'm still here.'

presidiosports.com

There's an overall burning fire from within that forces people to accomplish great things.

That fire burns bright within Bill Pintard.

The Santa Barbara Foresters manager won his 800th career game last month and is believed to be the all-time winningest coach in summer collegiate baseball history. 

He's been with the Foresters for 18 years -- and has served as manager for every All-Star Game the California Collegiate League (CCL) has held, minus one.

This includes tonight's CCL All-Star Game that will be televised live nationally on FOX Sports West  starting at 7 p.m.

Pintard will lead the South squad against the North. 

When he took over as skipper of the Foresters, the team was in bad shape.

"The franchise was, kind of, floundering at the time," Pintard said. "They were upside down on money. There needed to be a leadership change so I took it over for one year and, oh my goodness, I'm still here."

800 wins and 40 Foresters alums on MLB rosters later, the fire still burns within Pintard. 

However, it's not the 800 wins or watching the likes of Royals pitcher James Shields and A's reliever Dylan Cook -- both of whom pitched for Pintard with the Foresters -- that fuel the manager. 

Beneath all of the success is the memory of his late son, Eric, that drives him.

Eric Pintard was a success story in his own right. At 19-years-old, he was a "promising" pitcher who also pitched for Santa Barbara. It was learned he had a rare form of cancer called ependymoma, but Eric pressed on. The Pintard family was told the longest lifespan of anyone with the disease was two years.

"They gave him three months to live three years into the deal and he lived seven more," Pintard recalled. "His journey and his inspiration is one of the things that keeps me going all of the time."

The lessons Pintard learned from his son, who lived 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer, have become invaluable. 

Today, Eric's memory remains alive with the Most Inspirational Player award of the National Baseball Congress World Series named after him. 

Pintard has also started a foundation through the Foresters organization in honor of his son called "Hugs for Cubs." It's a support program for childhood cancer survivors, Pintard says.  

It helps these guys and hopefully these guys will do good deeds when they become adults. We're trying to teach them baseball. We're also trying to teach how important it is to give something back.

-- Bill Pintard

Collegians become better players after spending a summer with Pintard. His goal is that they become better people as well. 

"It helps these guys and hopefully these guys will do good deeds when they become adults," Pintard said. "We're trying to teach them baseball. We're also trying to teach how important it is to give something back."

At the All-Star break, his team is 28-7 overall, owners of the best record in the league, and hold a four-game lead over second place San Luis Obispo in the CCL Central.

Few doubt they'll stay on this pace and be there in the end. 

There's an overall burning fire from within that forces people to accomplish great things. 

That fire burns bright within Bill Pintard.