Established in 1957 by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA), the National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum is a permanent shrine to the men and women who played the game so well.
The present facility was officially dedicated May 26, 1973 and has since had two additions. The L-shaped, bi-level building houses more than 18,000 square feet of fascinating memorabilia. Photos of national champions, slow pitch and fast pitch records, uniforms of the past and present, action photographs, player profiles, trophies and plaques . . . the history of softball literally unfolds right before your eyes as you walk through the Softball Hall of Fame.
It is also an educational walk as you get a quick lesson on how bats, balls and gloves are made and see equipment from the turn of the century to the present. You can also test your knowledge of the game by participating in one of the question-and-answer game boards displayed in the museum.
Or you can take a brief rest and lean back on one of the authentic bleachers at the miniature ball field and watch softball videos on a television monitor. Each year thousands of visitors from all over the world visit the museum to pay homage to such softball immortals as Harold (Shifty) Gears, the first person inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame; Bertha Tickey, who won 757 games during her career; Don Rardin, one of two people to play on a championship team in both open slow pitch and industrial slow pitch divisions; Joan Joyce, who was named to 18 All-America teams, and Sam Elliott, who won 1,133 games and lost only 87 in 21 years.
Other areas of interest include the Hall of Honor, established in 1976 to acknowledge contributions of non-players in five areas, international exhibits, the men and women in blue, and the State and Metro Halls of Fame honoring players, coaches, managers, sponsors, umpires, commissioners and administrators at the state and metro level.
Be sure to drop by the ASA Research Center and Library to find answers to such questions as “What’s a fungo bat?” and to browse through various softball publications including back copies of the ASA Guide, Rule Book and Umpire Manual plus the official publication of the ASA, USA Softball Magazine (formerly Balls & Strikes Softball), Doctoral dissertations, master’s theses, magazine articles, video cassettes and numerous books and souvenir programs concerning all aspects of America’s Game are also available for reading in the museum library.
A must to see while visiting the museum is the newest exhibit at the National Softball Hall of Fame-the Olympic Gallery.
“With softball now an Olympic sport, it was appropriate to have a room to display the memorabilia and chronicle softball’s long road to Olympic recognition,” said Don Porter, executive director of the ASA.
The room features four-color murals depicting softball’s road to the Olympics along with action pictures of outstanding USA Softball National Team players. In addition, the room includes a 60-inch screen TV and park benches for casual viewing of important Olympic-style events, including the 1994 World Championship in which the USA Softball Women’s National Team captured the gold.
“The opening of the Olympic Gallery is certainly a milestone in the history of softball,” Porter said.
Open year round on weekdays and on weekends from mid-March to October, the Hall of Fame also houses the headquarters of the Amateur Softball Association-USA Softball, the national governing body of amateur softball in the United States.
Conveniently located at the crossroads of America just off I-35 and I-40 in Oklahoma City, the National Softball Hall of Fame is in the same area as the acclaimed Oklahoma City Zoo, the Firefighters Museum, Kirkpatrick Center, Omniplex and Planetarium, the Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Remington Park Racetrack.
So, come on spend a few relaxing hours and tour the sport’s shrine on your next visit to Oklahoma City to find out why softball is the nation’s No. 1 team participant sport and a full-medal sport in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
- *1973 – Myron Reinhardt, Alexandria, KY – Catcher-Outfielder (Shield’s Contractors, Yorkshire Restaurant, Gatliff Auto MVP-1963)
- *1974 – Frank DeLuca, Stratford, CT – Pitcher (Industrial Softball – Avco-Lycoming-Textron)
- 1975 – Donald Rardin, Lexington, KY – Pitcher-Infielder (Gatliff Auto, Yorkshire Restaurant, IBM Industrial MVP-1966)
- 1982 – Bill Cole, Sterling Heights, MI – Third Base (East Side Sports MVP-1962, Michael’s Lounge, Little Caesars)
- *1984 – J.D. McDonald, McAdenville, NC – Shortstop (McAdenville, Pharr Yarn Industrial)
- 1985 – James Galloway, Westbury, NY – Infielder (Musicaro Foods, County Sports, Empire County Astros)
- *1986 – Hal Wiggins, Fort Thomas, KY – Outfielder (Shield’s Contractors, Lang’s Pet Shop, Gatliff Auto Sales)
- *1987 – Carl (Tex) Collins, Detroit, MI – Catcher (Michael’s Lounge, Little Caesars)
- 1988 – Eugene Fisher, Denver, NC – Catcher (Howard’s Furniture/Western Steer)
- *1989 – Raymond (Whitey) Brown, Covington, KY – Third Base (Lang’s Pet Shop, Yorkshire Restaurant, Gatliff Auto Sales)
- 1989 – Mike Gouin, Detroit, MI – Outfielder (Michael’s Lounge, Little Caesars MVP-1970)
- *1989 – Eddie Zolna, Chicago, IL – Pitcher (Dr. Carlucci’s Bobcats 16-inch MVP-1969, 1971, 1973)
- 1990 – Dick Bartel, San Antonio, TX – Outfielder (Ray Carpenter’s, Campbell’s Carpets, Howard’s/Western Steer)
- *1990 – Tom Beall, Monticello, GA – Outfielder (Reed’s Nuts, Howard’s/Western Steer)
- *1990 – Ken Clark, Stratford, CT – Pitcher (Industrial Softball – Sikorsky Aircraft)
- 1992 – Lou Del Mastro, Pittsburgh, PA – Pitcher (Skip Hogan A.C. MVP-1965, Jim’s Sport Shop)
- 1992 – Paul Tomasovich, Pittsburgh, PA – Third Base (Skip Hogan A.C. MVP-1964, Jim’s Sport Shop)
- *1993 – Don Arndt, Sherrills Ford, NC – Pitcher (TWUA, Howard’s Furniture/Western Steer MVP-1972)
- 1993 – Eddie Finnegan, Stratford, CT – Shortstop (Avco/Lycoming/Textron Industrial MVP-1968, 1971)
- *1993 – Steve Loya, Cleveland, OH – Catcher (Swing Inn, Gene’s Sohio, Pyramid Cafe MVP-1975)
- *1994 – Bert Smith, Charlotte, NC – Outfielder (County Sports MVP-1968, Pile Drivers MVP-1971, Howard’s MVP-1973)
- 1994 – Richard Willborn, San Antonio, TX Outfielder (Ray Carpenter’s, Nelson’s, Campbell’s,Howard’s/Western Steer)
- *1996 – Stan Harvey, Gastonia, NC – Outfielder-First Base (Golden Gallons, Howard’s Furniture/Western Steer)
- 1997 – H.T. Waller, Chipley, FL – Second Base (Jo’s Pizza House MVP-1969, Howard’s Furniture)
- 1999 – Bruce Meade, Bradenton, FL – Outfielder-Catcher (Warren’s, Nelson’s MVP-1977, Jerry’s MVP-1982, Elite, Steele’s, Vernon’s)
- 2000 – Bill Gatti, Louisville, KY – Catcher (Jiffy Club, Elite, Marlton Trucking, Ritch’s Major MVP-1989)
- 2000 – Dennis Graser, Waukesha, WI – First Base (Elite, Steele’s, Starpath, Ritch’s-Superior, Spectrum)
- 2001 – Rick Scherr, Sherrills Ford, NC, – Third Base-First Base (Howard’s MVP-1981, 1983, 1984, Superior-Apollo, Ritch’s-Superior)
- 2001 – Don Clatterbough, Mechanicsville, VA, – Outfield (Bradley’s, Blanton’s, Kirk’s/Ritch’s, Starpath)
- 2002 – Ronnie Ford, Jacksonville, FL – Outfielder (Warren Motors MVP-1976, Elite Coating, Jerry’s, Vernon’s ASA Class-A MVP-1990)
- 2007 – Mike Macenko, Brooke Park, OH – Second Base (Hillcrest Tavern, Steele’s Sports MVP-1987, 1990, Sunbelt/Worth, Ritch’s-Superior)
- 2010 – Mike Shenk, Ephrata, PA – Third Base (Taylor Brothers, Shen Valley, Lighthouse, Team TPS, Ritch’s-Superior, Long Haul/TPS)
- 2012 – Jerry King, Maysville, KY – Third Base (DuBoise Chemical, Campbell’s Carpets, Steele’s Sports, Danny’s Drilling)
- *2014 – Craig Elliott, Wadley, AL – Pitcher (Tom’s Foods, Ken Sanders MVP-1978, Elite Coatings, Steele’s Sports MVP-1985, MVP-1986, Stewarts)
- 2015 – John Davide, Centereach, NY – Short Stop (Empire County Sports, Pepsico)
- 2017 – Mark Martin, Orlando, FL (Lawson Auto Parts, Goldman Brothers, Bell Corp, Bell II)
- 2017 – Willie Simpson, Chicago, IL (Bobcats 16-inch MVP-1976, 1977)
- *2018 – Charles Wright, Ellerslie, GA (Ken Sanders, York/Sanders, Elite, Steele’s, Ritch’s Salvage MVP 1989, Ritch’s/Kirks, Ritch’s-Superior MVP 1993, Sunbelt)
- 2018 – Ricky Huggins, Pembroke, GA (Elite Major MVP-1981, Howard’s, Thompsons Class-A MVP-1985, Lighthouse MVP-1998, Vernon’s Major MVP-1992, Shen Valley, JWM Major MVP-1999)
- 2018 – Todd Joerling, New Melle, MO (Steele’s, Bell, Sunbelt, Team Easton MVP-1999, Dan Smith)
- 2019 – Ron Parnell, Highland, CA (Capitol Insulation, Steele’s, Ritch’s-Superior, Team Easton)
- 2019 – Britt Hightower, Houston, TX (Smythe Sox, Ritch’s Salvage, Ritch’s/Kirk’s, Ritch’s-Superior)
- 2019 – Mike Nye, Jacksonville, FL (Warren Motors MVP-1976, York/Sanders, Jerry’s, Vernon’s, Marlton Trucking, Ritch’s Salvage)
- 2020 – Cecil Whitehead, Valdosta, GA (Elite Coatings, Ritch’s/Kirk’s, Ritch’s/Superior)
- 2020 – Curtis Williams, Florida (York Barbell/Ken Sanders, Howard’s/Western Steer, Vernon’s, Lighthouse, Sunbelt)
- 2020 – Doug Roberson, Royal Palm Beach, FL (Steele’s, Superior/Apollo Def-MVP-1990, Ritch’s-Superior, Team TPS, Hague/Resmondo)
- 2020 – Carl Rose, Valdosta, GA (Lighthouse, Sunbelt, Dan Smith, Hague/Resmondo)
- 1976 William J. Pharr, McAdenville, NC Sponsor – Pharr Yarn Reds
- 1977 * George (Doc) Linnehan, Levittown, NY Manager/Sponsor – County Sports, Empire County Astros
- 1977 Bud Gagel, Louisville, KY Manager – Jiffy Club
- 1977 Bobby Lutz, Denver, NC Manager – Howard’s Furniture
- 1977 * Bob Hoffman, York, PA Owner/Sponsor – York Barbell
- 1982 * Richard Howard, Denver, NC Howard’s Furniture/Western Steer
- 1983 * Percy Hedgecock, Dayton, OR Manager – Satellite Beach Comets
- 1984 Al Brausch, Newport, KY Manager – Gatliff Auto Sales
- 1984 Bill Caye, Pittsburgh, PA Manager – Skip Hogan AC, Jim’s Sport Shop
- 1988 William (Red) Jenkins, McAdenville, NC Sponsor – Pharr Yarn Reds
- 1988 Roy Lombardo, Detroit, MI Manager – East Side Sports, Michael’s Lounge and Little Caesars
- 1989 * Tom Beck, Tidewater, VA Manager – Virginia Beach Piledrivers
- 1990 * Bill Svochak, Detroit, MI Manager – Dee’s Sports Shop/Parks n Recreation
- 1992 Fred and Carl Nothdurft, Detroit, MI Sponsor – Nothdurft Tool & Die
- 1992 Jerry Pendergast, Miami, FL Sponsor – Jerry’s Caterers
- 1994 Woody and Pat Bell, Tampa, FL Sponsor – Bell Corporation
- 1998 * Dave Neale Sr., Brook Park, OH Manager – Hillcrest Tavern, Nationwide Advertising and Steele’s Sports
- 1999 * Bill Plummer III, Syracuse, NY ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum Manager
- 1999 Immor Clyte Franklin Jr., Baltimore, MD Sponsor – Angle Inn
- 2003 Eugene Kwalek, Shelton, CT Manager – Sikorsky Aircraft
- 2007 David “Hank” Bassett, Monticello, KY Manager – T&K/Basset Products, Starpath, Starpath/LeAlCo
- 2009 RB Thomas, Nokesville, VA Manager/Sponsor – Thomas Engineering
- 2011 Gary Tharaldson, Fargo, ND Sponsor – Tharaldson’s
- 2012 Leon Grunalt, Warren, MI Manager – Budweiser, Nothdurft
- 2016 Terry Peterson, Omaha, NE Sponsor – T’s 13
- 2018 John Daniels, Albertville, MN Sponsor – Long Haul Trucking
*Player is deceased.