The National Softball Hall of Fame is the ultimate goal for any player, coach, umpire or administrator who aspire to greatness in the sport. With over 400 inductees, the National Softball Hall of Fame is among the most difficult sports halls in the nation in which to gain membership.
Take a moment to browse through the Hall of Fame section and learn more about some of the sport’s greatest athletes and their accomplishments. If you get a chance to visit us in person while in Oklahoma City, please observe these hours of operation:
The Hall of Fame and Museum does not charge, but donations are greatly appreciated and accepted. Your donations help keep this history of softball alive through exhibit updates, upkeep and restoration projects.
The National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum was established in 1957. Once USA Softball moved to Oklahoma City January 1, 1966 after having its offices in Newark, NJ, the decision to establish a Hall of Fame Building in Oklahoma City was made in January of 1965. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Hall of Fame were held December 19, 1970 in Oklahoma City. The late John Nagy, former Cleveland Metro commissioner, was USA Softball President at that time. Hall of Famers Harold (Shifty) Gears and Carolyn Thome Hart were among those attending the ceremonies.
The National Softball Hall of Fame was officially dedicated May 26, 1973 in Oklahoma City. The building was opened to the public July 1, 1973.
The first of two additions to the National Softball Hall of Fame/USA Softball Headquarters was started July 5, 1976 and completed July 13, 1977 for an additional 4,350 square feet of space. Dedication ceremonies for the expansion were held July 23, 1977. Counting the National Softball Hall of Fame/USA Softball Headquarters and the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex, there is 28,406 square feet of space.
A second expansion was added July of 1980 for an additional 5,182 square feet of space, with total footage 18,140 square feet of space.
The National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum has over 400 members with two categories of membership: players and non players. Within the player category, there are five categories: Men’s/Women’s Fast Pitch, Men’s/Women’s Slow Pitch and Modified Pitch. Within the non player category, there are five different divisions one can be nominated in: Commissioner, Meritorious Service, Umpire, Managers and Sponsors. A nominee needs 75 percent (nine votes) of the votes cast by the 12 member Hall of Fame Committee to be elected. Annual inductions are held at the USA Softball Annual Meeting.
Through our vast collection of artifacts, the National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum strives to educate the public about softball’s rich history. Your support is critical to these efforts.
The Hall of Fame Donation Fund was established to ensure that the National Softball Hall of Fame has a future and is committed to educating people about the great former players and non players and the role they played in the development of the sport.
Your tax-deductible contribution helps the National Softball Hall of Fame continue its mission of educating, collecting and honoring as well as the preservation of the history of softball, the maintaining of present exhibits and purchase of new exhibits and possible expansion of the Hall of Fame building.
Due to the volume of offers we receive, we cannot accept the donation of an artifact without a completed artifact description form. Please see our Mission Statement and Collections Management Policy to see what types of objects we will and will not accept. Once we have received your form, our staff will evaluate the object’s potential and will be in contact with you as to whether or not we will be able to accept the donation. If your object is chosen, the donated material will be recommended to the Executive Director for consideration. Following the meeting a staff member will contact you regarding the next steps.
- National Softball Hall of Fame 1950’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 1960’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 1970’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 1980’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 1990’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 2000’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 2010’s
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2010
Norbert “The Cyclone” Warken, Covington, Kentucky – Men’s Fast Pitch
Warken earned his nickname from a Chicago sportswriter who was impressed by his pitching in the 1939 ASA national championship in Chicago and gave him the nickname after he blew through the opposition. Warken made his debut in ASA national championship play in 1937 with the Mayfield Curlee Clothiers, making history in his first game. He took a record 27 minutes to beat Denver, Colo., 3-0, striking out 14 on a one-hitter. In 1938, Warken pitched and batted Carr’s Boosters to the Kentucky state title. It was his solo homer over center field that was the difference in a 1-0 win over Mayfield Style Marts. Warken limited the losers to one hit in the game for his third consecutive one-hitter, striking out 44 batters in winning three games. Warken won six games, pitching five consecutive shutouts in leading Nick Carr’s Covington, Ky. Boosters to the National title in 1939. Warken hurled 51 innings of scoreless softball and ended the tourney with 99 strikeouts and 12 hits allowed. The only run he allowed was unearned in the last inning of the championship game. Warken extended his streak the following year before giving up an earned run and finished with 55 consecutive scoreless innings.
Suzy Brazney, Huntington Beach, California – Women’s Fast Pitch – Catcher
Suzy Brazney is not just defined by her achievements on the field as great as they are, but rather the passion for softball that she has continuously displayed through her career. Known as “the catcher that never wore shin guards”, Suzy has dedicated her life to playing and promoting the sport of softball. She earned 20 ASA All-American selections from 1980-2005 including 12 First-Team accolades. She was a member of many great teams such as the Long Beach Renegades, Glendale Blazers, Diamond-Blazers, Team Texas, Orange County Magestics, Phoenix Sunbirds and the So Cal Hurricanes. Brazney had an outstanding catching career at the Canada Cup where after the 2005 Canada Cup, the tournament created the “Suzy Brazney Most Outstanding Catcher” award which is presented annually. She was a member of six Olympic Festivals, winning gold in 1983. Brazney participated in three Pan American Games as a member of the USA Women’s National team, winning Gold in 1987 and 1991. She also holds the title of World Champion as she helped Team USA to a win at the 1990 World Championships. After retiring from playing, she remained dedicated to the cause of ASA/USA Softball as an assistant Coach with USA Softball. Brazney served on the selection committee from 2001-2004 and has been an assistant coach for both the Junior National Team and National Team. She becomes the 57th women’s fast pitch player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
E.T. Colvin, Columbus, Mississippi – Commissioner
It may be fair to say that the state of softball in Mississippi would not be at the high level it is without E.T. Colvin. Colvin is the current Mississippi Commissioner and the in-coming ASA President. He has also served ASA as a Board Member, ASA Tournament Representative, past President, and player when he began playing in 1968 in his hometown of Columbus, Miss. Colvin played at the Major Level of Slow Pitch. Before becoming Commissioner in 1992, Colvin hit over 1200 home runs and played in five ASA National Championships. Under his leadership, Mississippi ASA has an outstanding adult, junior Olympic and umpire program and on two occasions was selected to host the USA Softball Women’s’ Olympic Team during the pre-Olympic tours. Since Colvin has served as commissioner, Mississippi ASA has hosted 45 National Championships, five National Umpire schools with registration numbers increasing every year. In 2005, he was recognized by the Oklahoma ASA Hall of Fame with induction in the meritorious service category. Colvin was also awarded the ASA President’s Award three consecutive years from 1999-2001. It was not just in his backyard that Colvin was a leader as he has taken on softball on the International front as well. He has represented the United States in many International events and he is currently the North American Vice-President for the International Softball Federation. Colvin is the 40th Commissioner inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Guy Demaio, New Castle, Pennsylvania – Meritorious Service
Guy Demaio has been an integral part of ASA, especially Pennsylvania ASA, for nearly 30 years. He has served as Commissioner since 1971 and has been the Western Area Vice President since 1988. Demaio has held many roles as an ASA member including ASA Vice-President and being the first at-large representative ever to be elected to the Central Atlantic Regional Director as Vice President. This earned him a spot on the ASA Board of Directors, making him only the second at-large rep to ever hold such a position at that time. He has served as the Chairman of the National ASA Classification Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Player Representatives Committee, the Legislative Committee, the National Equipment Standards Committee, and the Special Events Committee. He has served as Editor of “Softball News”, the official publication of the ASA of Pennsylvania, since its inception in 1973. Demaio becomes the 40th Hall of Famer inducted in the meritorious service category. Demaio died on November 24, 2018.
Jody Hennigar, Halifax, Nova Scotia – Men’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
Jody Hennigar was a standout two-way player during his fast pitch career, beating a team at the plate or on the mound. Hennigar was at his best in national championship play or world championship play, earning ASA All-America laurels seven times between 1985-2005. He twice led the ASA Men’s Major Fast Pitch Tourney in batting, won a home run title and the Dudley Award as the tourney’s outstanding pitcher. Hennigar compiled a 19-9 pitching record in seven ASA nationals. He batted .351 (54-for-154), drove in 46 runs and smashed 14 home runs, which is second best in ASA history trailing Jeff Seip, who entered the Hall of Fame last year. Hennigar had one of his best seasons in 1992 when he batted .382, hitting 21 homers and driving in 75 runs to lead the Bombers. On the mound that year, he fashioned a 35-5 record with an ERA of 0.82. In 1992 and 1994, he led the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Tourney in batting and in 1994 he also led in home runs with five. In 2002, Hennigar was 6-0 on the mound and won the Dudley Award as the tourney’s Outstanding Pitcher. Hennigar retired following the 2005 season. He didn’t play in the ASA National Championship that year but batted .333 for the season with three homers and 12 RBI. In the ISC, Hennigar compiled a 21-12 pitching record and batted .280. Although he was never on an ASA National Championship team, he played on teams that were consistent top ten finishers, finishing in the top five in every appearance. The teams he played for included Cedar Rapids Vigortone, Cedar Rapids Teleconect, The Farm Tavern, Madison, Wisc., the Clearwater, Fla. Bombers, Circle Tap of Denmark, Wisc., and the Fedlock Falcons who he played with for three years. Hennigar is the 78th male fast pitch player inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Ronnie Isham, Stephenville, Texas – Meritorious Service
Manager, Player, At-Large Player Representative, Team Leader, Commissioner, Parks and Recreation Director, Director of National Teams. These are just some of the positions Ronnie Isham has held during his more than 30 years of involvement with the ASA, the perfect example of a Meritorious Service inductee. As a manager, Isham compiled a 21-year record of 1,016 wins and 310 losses for a winning percentage of .76 %, winning seven Regional championships and appearing in seven ASA Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championships. He also served as the District 12 commissioner and was the Texas Area vice-president. In 1986, he was appointed the Texas at-large player rep. In 1992, Isham was named to the Women’s National Team Selection Committee that selected the first-ever U.S. Olympic Softball Team. He was then selected as the USA Softball National Team Leader for several national teams, including the 1996 Olympic Team. His first assignment came in 1991 with the Junior Men’s National Team that competed in the ISF World Championships in New Zealand. Isham also served on a selection committee that chose the players that comprised the USA Junior Men’s National Team. From 1992-2001, as a member of the Women’s National Selection Committee, Isham has been involved in selecting multiple USA Softball Women’s National Team since 1992, including the 1994 and 1998 World Championship Teams that captured gold; 1995 and 1999 Pan Am gold medal teams and the 2000 Olympic gold medal team. Although Isham has been involved with the ASA for decades, his participation on the selection committee came through his affiliation as an ASA allied member, the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation (TAAF). Isham has served as a TAAF president (1989-1991) and is one of only 19 individuals in 75 years to receive the Koger Stokes Award, the association’s highest honor, which he received in 1997. In 2002, Isham was named a Life Member of TAAF and is the 40th member of the Hall of Fame to be inducted in the meritorious service category. Isham died on December 3, 2018.
Richard Ribby, Eaton Rapids, Michigan – Umpire
Nicknamed “Ice Man” because of his demeanor under all circumstances, Ribby umpired some of the top events in softball, including five ASA Major Fast Pitch Nationals, the 1982 Olympic Festival in Indianapolis, Ind., the 1984 ISF Men’s World championship in Midland, Mich. And the 1995 ASA Women’s Festival. Ribby earned the plate in many Championship games including the 1981 Women’s Major Fast Pitch National, the 1982 Men’s Olympic Festival in Indianapolis and the 1983 Men’s Major Fast Pitch National. Following these events, Ribby was granted his ISF certification in fast pitch in 1983. A year later, he was selected to work the ISF Men’s World Championship in Midland, Mich. Ribby worked his final event in 1995 with the ASA Women’s Olympic Festival; the same year he was also was inducted into the Michigan ASA Hall of Fame.
Mike Shenk, Ephrata, Pennsylvania – Men’s Slow Pitch
Although he started out playing fast pitch, Hall of Fame inductee Mike Shenk made his mark playing major level slow pitch softball from 1992 through 2002, playing for various teams throughout his career. Shenk began playing fast pitch softball after high school and played for two years before switching to slow pitch to play with his friends. During his 11-year career, Shenk has been named All American 22 times and has won 16 National Championships along with a lifetime batting average of.701 and has hit more than 1,500 home runs during his softball career. He batted .700 or higher five times of which his highest batting average was .739 in 2000 which included personal-high 144 homers. In the past years, Shenk had to shorten his softball career because of kidney problems but after receiving a kidney transplant, he is back on the ball field playing 40 & over. In the Super Nationals, Shenk batted .755, (117-for-155), hit 42 homers and drove in 113 RBI. Some of the top slow pitch teams boasted Shenk on their roster including Farrell Maintenance (1987-1989), Taylor Brothers (1990-1992) Shen Valley, Lighthouse (1995-1996), Ritch’s-Superior (1997), Team TPS, Team Easton and Long Haul/TPS in 2001 when the won the “Grand Slam of Softball.” In 2007, Shenk was inducted into the ASA of Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. He played for a local team in 1987 and 1988 and helped it win two ASA of PA state titles. In 1994, he joined Shen Valley and continued to play at the top level of men’s slow pitch until he retired after playing the 2002 season.
Cheryl Simmons, Palo Alto, California – Umpire
While she was still playing softball, Cheryl Simmons was asked by her teammates to umpire a practice game in 1975 when the umpires failed to show. At the time, Simmons had been umpiring high school fast pitch. She agreed to help her team out and a year later she officially registered as an ASA umpire. She was a member of the Santa Clara Metro ASA for 25 years and served as umpire-in-chief for 16 of those years, 1985-2000. She became a member of the National Indicator Fraternity in 1986 and that same year was awarded the ASA Award of Excellence for Region 14. Simmons attended more than 10 clinics to better herself as an ASA umpire as well as has helped train numerous umpires and has worked with other countries in exchange programs to further develop umpires. In 1995, she participated as one of the clinicians at the New Zealand Umpire Clinic in Palmerston North, New Zealand. During her 34-year umpiring career, Simmons umpired various ASA and ISF events. In 1979, she was a member of the first ASA all female umpiring crew for the Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship. In 1981, she worked the Senior Girls’ (18-under) Fast Pitch National Championship followed by the Women’s Class A Fast Pitch National Championship in 1983 and in 1985. In between these events, she worked and the Senior Girls Fast Pitch National Championship in Lodi, Calif. in 1987. In 1997, Simmons served as the UIC for the Women’s 35-and-over Masters Slow Pitch National in Stockton, Calif. In 2000, she was selected to work the Women’s Inter-Service Slow Pitch Tournament in Miramar NAS, California. In 1987, she was ISF certified in fast pitch and has attained all four levels of the Medals Program. Internationally, Simmons officiated three Olympic Festivals and the 1987 ISF Junior Girls World Championship. In 1994, she was selected to work the ISF World Championship followed by two ISF qualifiers. In 1993, she was the first female to umpire the Canada Cup, and worked this event for nine consecutive years. She also worked the 1997 ISF Asian Zone qualifier and the 2003 Pan American games. Simmons has been a member of the Metropolitan Officials’ Association for 34 years and served as its president for 18 years. She is the 39th Umpire to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and only the second woman umpire to be inducted.
Carl Solarek, Freeland, Pennsylvania – Men’s Fast Pitch
A former minor league baseball player who played five years for the Detroit Tigers Organization, Carl Solarek turned to playing softball after his stint in baseball ended. He got started in fast pitch in 1972, Solarek earned ASA first-team All-America honors in 1974-76 and 1978 playing for Rising Sun, the Billiard Sunners and the Reading Sunners. With these teams, he was a member of three ASA Men’s Major fast pitch National Championships teams, one runner-up and one third place. Solarek’s only appearance in ISF World Championship play came in 1976 when Reading, representing the ASA and the USA, shared the ISF Men’s World Fast Pitch Championship in Lower Hutt, New Zealand with Canada, and New Zealand. Solarek batted .800 in the event and had a .985 fielding percentage in nine games. In addition to the ISF World Championship, Solarek played in the United States Olympic Festival in 1978 and 1979 and was one of the leading hitters for Billiard Barbell, batting .421 (8-for-19) with four RBI in the latter event in helping the team win the gold medal. In the ‘79 gold medal game against Clearwater, Fla., Solarek went two-for-three, scored a run and drove in a pair of runs on a two-run single in the fourth. Solarek had one of his best national tournaments in 1977 in Midland, Mich., leading Billiard Barbell to the National Title. The championship necessitated two games when Aurora Home Savings and Loan of Aurora, Ill. Handed Barbell its first defeat, 3-0. Led by Solarek in the second game, Barbell emerged with a 4-0 win. Solarek went three-for-three on offense and drove in three of the team’s four runs. He and winning pitcher Ty Stofflet had half of the team’s eight hits. Although Solarek starred in the championship game, he was not named to either of the All-America teams, finishing with a .278 batting average (5-for-18). A year earlier, Solarek had batted .313 in the National tourney to earn first-team laurels. Solarek is a member of five Halls of Fame: Anthracite Basketball, Pennsylvania ASA, District 12 Softball, Berks County Hall, and Luzerne County Hall.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2011
Lori Harrigan, Las Vegas, Nevada – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
Lori is a member of an elite group of four women who hold three Olympic Gold Medals in the sport of softball. The pitcher not only competed in three Olympic Games, but also in three World Championships and three Pan American Championships, all gold medal performances. Harrigan was also a three-time ASA Women’s Major All-American, spending two years with the California Commotion and one with the California Players. With the Commotion, she was crowned National Champion in 1999 and runner-up in 1995. She joined the USA Softball National Team program in 1992 and retired following the 2004 Olympic Games. In the 2000 Olympic Games, she set a record becoming the first individual pitcher to throw an Olympic no-hitter after blanking Canada in the tournament opener. She finished those Games with a 2-0 record, allowing just one hit and one walk in 12.1 innings.
Julie Johnson, Alexandria, Indiana – Umpire
Julie became an ASA registered umpire in 1976 and has emerged as one of the top umpires and clinicians for ASA. Johnson worked nine National Championships, from 1982-1998, including six Women’s Majors. Johnson earned her ISF certification through the International Softball Federation of Umpires in 1986 and would go on to work several Major Fast Pitch events including an ISF World Championship, Pan American Games and most notably the 1996 Olympic Games in Columbus, Georgia. In 2006, she was appointed to the ASA National Umpire Staff as the ASA Deputy Supervisor of Umpires. Johnson not only worked on the field of play, but off the field she served as Umpire-In-Chief for three ASA National Championships and four International events including two World Cup of Softball events and the ISF Men’s World Championship. As one of the top clinicians in the U.S., Johnson has worked over 10 clinics including National Umpires Schools and Fast Pitch Camps. In 2007 she was appointed to the position of North American UIC for the ISF. In 2005, Johnson was inducted into the Indiana ASA Hall of Fame as an Umpire. Sadly, Johnson died on April 28, 2016.
Brian Martie, Bloomington, Illinois – Men’s Fast Pitch – Infield
Brian played men’s fast pitch for almost 20 years for several notable teams including Coffeen, Taylor Springs, Bob’s IGA, Bloomington Hearts, Decatur Pride, and ending his career with the Farm Tavern who he competed with for seven seasons. The infielder was a five-time MVP of the Illinois ASA Major State Tournament and six times was selected to the All-Tournament team. He appeared in 15 consecutive ASA National Championships and boasts six All-American titles. On the International scene, Martie competed for Team USA on two Pan American Games teams, which both won silver, as well as the 1996 ISF World Championships.
Rod Peterson, Madison, Wisconsin – Manager
Rod retired in 2009 after managing the esteemed Farm Tavern team for more than four decades. He began playing in 1955 when he saw a man pass through the hotel lobby carrying cleats. He asked him where he was going, and the stranger said a softball game. Peterson tagged along and the rest they say is history. He played and managed the Farm Tavern, a pub that he still owns today. His Farm Tavern teams, whom he began to manage in 1960, won three ASA National Championships and six runner-up finishes. They accomplished the same feat in ISC play. He quit playing in 1986 but continued to manage the team until 2009. Farm Tavern won approximately 15 State Championships under his management.
Lewis Secory, Sr. Port Huron, Michigan – Sponsor
Lewis established the Secory Flyers Softball Club in 1982 when his son approached him about sponsoring a team. The only criteria he asked was that the team represent him, his company and Port Huron, Michigan with class. The year 2010 marked his 29th consecutive season of sponsoring the Secory Flyers Modified Softball Team. In his 29 years of sponsoring, the Flyers have participated in 21 National Championships with two wins. The Flyers won ten MASA State Modified Championships and 16 Port Huron League Championships. During his time on the National Tournament scene, the Flyers placed in the top 10 on nine occasions. Secory is the founder and annual sponsor of the National Bluewater Invitation Softball Tournament in Port Huron. Besides his modified team, Secory has sponsored many other teams including volleyball, hockey, and bowling. In 2001, Secory was inducted into the Michigan ASA Hall of Fame in the sponsor category.
Gary Tharaldson, Fargo, North Dakota – Sponsor
Gary has dedicated much of his life to supporting ASA Softball as a sponsor for not just one or two divisions but across the whole spectrum of ASA Softball. He was a sponsor for 38 years of the Men’s A, B and C Slow Pitch Divisions and supported five different levels of senior ball for a total of 24 years. Tharaldson sponsored women’s teams for 15 years as well as both Boys and Girls Junior Olympic Teams. His sponsored teams have participated in over 30 National Tournaments. Outside of his teams, Tharaldson gave back by providing North Dakota state tournament trophies and banners for all divisions for 12 years. He also sponsored the North Dakota Hall of Fame Banquet for 10 years. Tharaldson has been a key component in keeping the upper division of the McQuade Charity Tournament going. Tharaldson was also a player during his time as sponsor winning two National Championships and over playing 1,000 games as a pitcher. He had a best year record of 58-2 and a career batting average of over .600.
Tim Wahl, Grayland, Washington – Men’s Fast Pitch – Catcher
Tim was introduced to fast pitch softball by a high school friend who needed a catcher. With just two years of experience under his belt, in 1986 he was asked to try out for Pay ‘N Pak of Seattle and was shortly thereafter catching 85 mph fastballs. He spent the next 17 years of his life devoted to fast pitch softball. Along with Pay ‘N Pack, he competed with Seafirst, Penn Corp., NHCD, The Farm Tavern, Tampa Bay Smokers, Decatur Pride, and Victoria Traveler’s Inn. To play during the winter months and perfect his game, he played in New Zealand. He played on three USA Softball National Teams in ISF World Championships play and won eight ASA All-American titles. He was also named to two ISF All-World Teams. He retired in 2002 and continues to work on his family farm growing cranberries.
Al White, Canton, Michigan – Modified Pitch – Pitcher
Al began his career as a modified fast pitch player in 1966 and retired from the sport in 1997. He briefly emerged from retirement in 2001 to pitch his team to a ninth-place National Tournament finish. White played for 31 years, pitching for two ASA National Championship teams, and earning five first-team All-America honors and the 1985 MVP Title. With all the accolades, his greatest thrill was playing with his son for Little Caesars. They qualified for ASA Nationals every year and were the perfect battery as his son was the catcher. He is currently the Head Coach for the women’s softball team at Madonna University, continuing his commitment to the sport. White is also a Metro Detroit ASA Hall of Fame Inductee.
Max Wilkes, Phenix City, Alabama – Meritorious Service
Max has been a longtime supporter of ASA dating back to 1959 where he played and managed several softball teams in the southeast. Wilkes helped organized and serves as President of the Phenix City Umpire Association from 1968 to present. Wilkes served as Alabama ASA District 5 Umpire-In-Chief for over 30 years and currently still holds that position. He is a four-time President of Alabama ASA and three-time Alabama Umpire-In-Chief. From 1993-2006, he served as UIC for over 75 ASA National Championships. During his 25-years on the National Umpire Staff, he was responsible for the coordination of 350 National Championship Tournaments from the Southern Region. He received one of the highest honors when he served on the Atlanta Olympic Games staff for the first-ever Olympic Games. He also served ASA on several committees including the Slow-Pitch Playing Rules and Umpires, Master/Seniors and Junior Olympics and Playing Rules-Special Programs. Max died on October 18, 2012.
Jim Wolford, DeWitt, Michigan – Umpire
Before Jim began umpiring ASA Softball in 1974, he played competitive softball in southwest Michigan. Wolford umpired his first state tournament just two years after he umpired his first two games. In his 26 years of service, Wolford umpired in five ASA National Championships culminating with the Men’s Super Slow Pitch in 1990. Wolford umpired in over 20 state Championships and served as Umpire-In-Chief for over 30 MASA State Championships. Also, in 1990, he became the Michigan ASA State UIC, a position he held for ten years. As he turned more to promoting other umpires instead of his own career, Wolford played a key role in many Michigan umpire clinics during his time. Wolford became International Softball Federation certified in 1983. He was an inaugural member of the National Indicator Fraternity in 1986 and was inducted in the Michigan ASA Hall of Fame in 1993.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2012
Chris B. Armijo, Grand Rapids, Michigan – Umpire
Chris Armijo has been an ASA umpire for almost 40 years, during which he has had a great impact upon both ASA and Michigan ASA. Prior to becoming an ASA umpire, Chris played on five ASA State Championship teams. Armijo’s credentials speak for themselves: he is a certified ISF umpire, an ASA Elite umpire, a member of the National Indicator Fraternity since 1994, a Gold Level member of the Medals Program, and a member of the Michigan ASA Hall of Fame since 1998. He was awarded the Michigan ASA Umpire Award of Excellence twice and has served as District 7 Commissioner and Umpire-in-Chief in addition to umpiring seven National Championships. His most noteworthy accomplishment, however, is his role in the creation of the Grand Rapids Area Slow Pitch Softball Association. Amidst budget cuts, Armijo spearheaded the movement for the volunteer organization which keeps softball teams participating in ASA. Armijo has had a great influence upon the Michigan ASA umpires, and has served as an avid supporter and promoter for ASA softball.
Denny Bruckert, Gillespie, Illinois – Manager
Beginning in 1961, Denny Bruckert has dedicated his life to softball. Growing up in a small town in Illinois, Bruckert fostered a love for fast pitch softball, a love that would endure well after his playing days were over. Rather than hang up his cleats, Bruckert turned to managing men’s fast pitch teams. After managing several successful teams, Bruckert was asked to manage the Decatur Pride of Decatur, Illinois in 1993. Bruckert led the Pride to three ASA National Championships and two runner-up titles prior to their disbanding in 2001. Bruckert did not give up on his passion, however, and continued his successful managerial career, winning three additional ASA National titles in 2002, 2005 and 2006 with three different organizations. Most recently, Bruckert led the NY Gremlins to the 2012 ASA Men’s Major Fast Pitch National title. Bruckert also left his mark on the international scene, serving as the assistant coach to the U.S. National team in 1996 and head coach to the 1999 U.S. Pan American silver medal team. Bruckert is also a member of the Illinois ASA Hall of Fame, and the ISC Hall of Fame.
Leon Grunalt, Warren, Michigan – Manager
Leon Grunalt began his softball career in 1955 on a local fast pitch team. After developing a love for the game, he began his managerial career with local Detroit teams. After several successful seasons within local travel leagues, Grunalt found success in 1984 when his Budweiser sponsored team won the ASA Men’s 35 and over National Invitational. After ASA sanctioned this category in 1985, Grunalt’s team went on to win the National title for two consecutive years. Then, in 1988, Grunalt joined forces with Karl and Fred Nothdurft and with new sponsorship the Nothdurft slow pitch team was created. Under his leadership, the team won 37 consecutive games, compiled a record of 63-5 in national championship play and earned seven National titles. Grunalt managed nine ASA Slow Pitch National Championship teams before retiring in 1994. Grunalt has been a member of the Metro Detroit ASA Hall of Fame since 1994. Grunalt passed away on December 12, 2015.
Jerry King, Maysville, Kentucky – Men’s Slow Pitch – Infield
Growing up in Maysville, Kentucky Jerry King made a name for himself as a basketball player. After graduating from high school in 1962, King joined the Marine Corps, where he served for four years. After that he earned a basketball scholarship to Morehead State University where he played for four years. King made his softball debut in 1976, playing for Debois Chemical, where he earned his first ASA All-American title. Throughout the span of his career, King has earned numerous honors and awards, most notably five ASA All-American titles (1976, 1979-82), and he has also been a member of several ASA National Championship teams. In 1980, King gave his highest performance with Campbell’s Carpets, appearing in 133 games with a .721 batting average and boasting 191 home runs. In later years, King continued his success playing with the Joseph Chevrolet World Championship team (1994-1996), a team that was rated as one of the top five “50 and over” teams in the country. After his retirement, the honors and accolades continued to come in. King was among the first class inducted into the Columbus, Ohio Legends of the Game (2009). That same year King was honored for his athletic and civic achievements at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. King has also received honors from the House of Representatives as an Outstanding Citizen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky while also being named a Kentucky Colonel by Steve Beshear, the Governor of Kentucky. His success with Debois Chemical earned King the title of MVP of the ASA 1970s All Decade Team for Columbus, Ohio.
Larry Mays, Canyon Lake, California – Manager
Prior to coaching the Gordon’s Panthers in 1982, Larry Mays played and managed competitive softball in Southern California. During his 24 years as head coach, the Gordon’s Panthers won 10 ASA Junior Olympic National Championship titles, five runner-up titles and four Hall of Fame championships, establishing their place as one of the most successful teams in ASA history. Mays also made appearances on the international scene when he served as head coach to the U.S. Pan American Trial gold medal team (1987) in Lima, Peru, the ASA Junior Olympic World silver medal team (1991) in Adelaide, Australia, and assistant coach with the Olympic Festival South gold medal team (1993) in San Antonio Texas. Throughout the 1990’s, Mays served as National team advisors to PR China, Holland and Spain and established the Olympic training program for players and coaches in Micronesia. In addition to his coaching career, Mays presented more than 200 collegiate, national, and international clinics where he taught both players and coaches. Mays has received numerous awards for his contributions, including the United States Olympic Committee Developmental Coach of the Year (1996, 1999). It is no wonder why people refer to Mays as one of softball’s finest teachers and coaches as well as one of their most sought-after clinicians.
Ivan “Ike” Wheeler, Bossier City, Louisiana – Meritorious Service
Ivan “Ike” Wheeler’s commitment and love for the game of softball is evident throughout his 59 years of involvement with ASA. While serving in the Air Force from 1954-1974, Ike was a member of the Strategic Air Command team, which won eight Air Force Worldwide tournaments, and was selected to the All-Air Force team twice. After retiring, he joined the Shreveport Parks & Recreation Department and continued his work on promoting ASA and softball. Ike has been a registered ASA umpire for over 56 years and has served as District Commissioner in the Shreveport area, ASA Player Representative, and Louisiana Umpire-in-Chief. In addition to these positions, Wheeler has been a member of the ASA National Indicator Fraternity since 1988 and a member of Louisiana ASA Hall of Fame since 2010. Some of his accomplishments he has achieved since joining ASA are recipient of the Region 6 Award of Excellence (2009) and umpired four National Championships (1982, 1987, 1988, 1997) in addition to serving as either Tournament Director, Umpire Coordinator, or Housing Authority for 17 National Tournaments. Since 1978, Wheeler has successfully registered every team in the Shreveport Parks and Recreations Department for ASA and has attended every Umpire-in-Chief clinic and ASA National Convention since 1982. Ivan died on March 5th, 2001.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2013
Laura Berg, Santa Fe Springs, California – Women’s Fast Pitch – Outfield
USA Softball’s only four-time Olympian, Laura Berg has made a name for herself as one of softball’s greatest outfielders’ to ever play the game. One of four women who hold three Olympic Gold Medals in the sport of softball, Laura is no stranger to success on both the national and international scene. In addition to competing in four Olympic Games, Laura also appeared at four ISF World Championships, and three Pan American Championships, all Gold Medal finishes. Laura also was a three-time ASA All-American, once with the California Commotion, once with the California Players and once with the California A’s. With the Commotion, she earned a Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship title in 1999. Laura joined the USA Softball National Team program in 1994 and retired following the 2008 Olympic Games. In 2012, she rejoined the Red, White and Blue as an assistant coach, helping lead the Women’s National Team to a World Cup of Softball title and a second-place finish at the ISF World Championship. In 2012, Laura, along with the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team, was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Lisa Fernandez, Long Beach, California – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
One of the greatest players to ever play the game, three-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Fernandez is a nine-time ASA All-American and was instrumental in helping Team USA take home the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Gold Medals. The only pitcher to appear in all three Olympic finals, Fernandez served as a threat on both sides of the plate. Overall, she achieved a 7-2 record throughout her Olympic career, allowing only 20 hits, seven walks and six runs (four earned) while striking out 93 over 74.2 innings. In addition to her pitching accolades, Fernandez maintained a .333 batting average overall in Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens with three home runs, 15 RBI and 13 runs scored. A rare pitcher/hitter, Fernandez has the distinction of holding four individual Olympic records: most strike outs in a game (25 at the 2000 Olympic Games), fewest runs allowed, highest batting average (.545) in Olympic play and most doubles (3). These accolades helped land her in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame as both an individual and with the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team. Fernandez also competed in three ISF World Championships and three Pan American Championships, all of which earned her a Gold Medal. At the national level, Fernandez collected nine ASA All-American titles and seven ASA Women’s Major Fast Pitch National titles, three times with the Raybestos Brakettes and four times with the California Commotion. She also won the MVP award five times and the Bertha Tickey Award five times.
Randy Melvin, Dowagiac, Michigan – Umpire
Randy Melvin first came into the ASA Softball scene in 1976 when he registered as an umpire with the Michigan ASA. Throughout his career with ASA, Randy became one of the most respected slow pitch umpires in the state of Michigan. He umpired in 16 State Championships and five National Qualifying Tournaments and his talents would eventually carry over to the national level. Between 1993 and 1999, Randy umpired in eight ASA Men’s Slow Pitch National Championships, including two back-to-back appearances at the Men’s Super Slow Pitch National Championship. Randy became a member of the National Indicator Fraternity in 1995, became ISF certified in 1998 and was inducted into the Michigan ASA Hall of Fame in 2012.
Shirley Simmons, Snell Shreveport, Louisiana – Women’s Slow Pitch – Infield
Shirley Simmons Snell is the sixth person and first slow pitch player from Shreveport elected to the National Softball Hall of Fame. Beginning in 1983, Shirley’s career with ASA Women’s Slow Pitch spanned over 20 years, where she earned All-American accolades five times. She competed at the National Level in six ASA Women’s Slow Pitch National Championships, ranging from Class C to Women’s Major. In addition, she was awarded Home Run Champion in 1994 and 2001, Tournament MVP in 1996 (.615) and Batting Champion (.512) in 1994. Her most notable accolade occurred during the 1998 Women’s Class B Slow Pitch National Championship. While at bat, she hit a home run 350 feet and became the first woman to hit a ball that distance in the Bloomington complex.
Margie Wright, Clovis, California – Meritorious Service
Whether as an athlete, coach or clinician, Margie Wright’s softball resume speaks for itself. During her 35 years of involvement with ASA/USA Softball, Margie left a lasting impact at every level of softball. As an athlete, she collected five ASA All-American titles, including one first team All-American selection in 1988 when she threw a perfect game with the Pekin Lettes. Her greatest legacy, however, is her coaching career with the Women’s and Junior Women’s National Teams. From 1982 until 1989, Margie served various roles throughout the international softball world, including a two-year stint as an international coaching consultant for the Netherlands Antilles National Team. She also served as a consultant for ISF events, including the Pan American and Central American Games. In 1991, she made her first coaching appearance as an assistant coach for the 1991 Pan American Women’s National Team, which took home the Gold Medal. Three years later, she followed up with a Gold Medal finish at the ISF World Championship. In 1995, she became the first-ever female head coach for the Junior Women’s National Team, leading them to a Gold Medal at the ISF Junior Women’s World Championship. The following year, Margie served as an assistant coach to the U.S. Olympic Softball Team who would go on to win a Gold Medal in Athens. In 1998, she became the first-ever female head coach for the Women’s National Team and would lead them to a Gold Medal finish at the ISF World Championship. That same year, she earned the United States Olympic Committee’s Coach of the Year in the sport of softball. Wright served as the head softball coach at Fresno State, where she led the Bulldogs to the school’s first-ever NCAA Division I title in 1998. She also holds the NCAA record for all-time winningest softball coach.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2014
Darryl Day, Hilton Head, South Carolina – Men’s Fast Pitch – First Base
If attitude is a key to winning, there was little doubt that Darryl Day would be anything but a winner. Darryl started his softball career with a local Aurora, Ill. softball league before word of his talent reached the notable men’s fast pitch team Aurora Home Savings. Throughout his 15 years of play in ASA/USA Men’s Major Fast Pitch, Day collected four first team All-American titles, three second team All-American accolades and earned one National Championship and six runner-up finishes. Starting in 1973, Darryl was a mainstay for the Home Savings for eight years, during which time he led the team to the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship every year. Day’s strong glove at first base helped lead the Home Savings to four-consecutive runner-up finishes before ending his career with the team in 1980 with a career average of .370. The following year, Day joined the Decatur ADM, where he would earn his first ASA/USA National Championship that same year. During his four years with Decatur ADM, Day led the team to a 409-77 record and finished with a career average of .358 with 173 RBI and 26 home runs. It is no wonder why many of the best pitchers in the world regarded Day as one of the most difficult batters to retire. Day also made a name for himself on the international scene, playing for the USA Men’s Fast Pitch Team in 1979 at the Pan American Games where the team earned silver. He also played three years for the Men’s East Team at the U.S. Olympic Festival.
Crankin’ Craig Elliott, Wadley, Alabama – Men’s Slow Pitch – Infield
For years, Craig Elliot was considered as the top slow pitch player by a lot of people, a title which he earned by dominating men’s slow pitch softball at the highest level. A menace at the plate, Elliott became one of the most feared hitters in the men’s slow pitch world and could change the game with one swing of the bat. Beginning in 1977, Elliott collected 11-consecutive ASA All-American titles and earned tournament MVP accolades three times. He also earned the home run leader title in 1983, ’85 and ’86. His best performance, however, came during the 1983 season when he hit 390 home runs for a HR-to-at bat ratio of 1.93. With the legendary Steele’s team, Elliott collected three ASA Men’s Super Slow Pitch National Championship titles and finished runner-up once. Elliott was also one of very few players to be selected MVP of the ASA Smoky Mountain Classic. His close friend a teammate once claimed: “You could put a quarter in him, and he would hit home runs all day long.” Sadly, Craig died on February 26, 2015.
Ted Germain, Mayville, Michigan – Umpire
You would be hard pressed to find an umpire who’s worked an ASA/USA Softball National Championship as often as Michigan native Ted Germain. Ted first registered as an umpire with the Michigan ASA in 1976, establishing a long and storied career as one of the most respected fast pitch and modified pitch umpires. Germain umpired in nine Men’s Major Modified National Championships, one Men’s 40-Over Fast Pitch National Championship, one Men’s Class A Fast Pitch National Championship and three Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championships for a total of 14 National Tournament assignments. He also umpired in 36 State Championships and eight National Qualifying Tournaments. Germain also served as an Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) in 42 State Championships, 11 National Qualifying Tournaments and three Great Lakes Regional Tournaments. Ted became a member of the National Indicator Fraternity in 1995, became ISF certified in 1998 and is a member of the ASA Medals Program at the Elite level. Germain also appeared on the international scene, umpiring at the 2007 World Cup of Softball. Germain served as a member of the Michigan ASA State Umpire staff from 1991-2007 and was inducted into the Michigan ASA Hall of Fame in 1991. Ted died on January 19, 2014.
Stacey Nuveman, La Verne, California – Women’s Fast Pitch – Catcher
A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Stacey Nuveman will go down in history as one of the best catchers in the history of fast pitch softball. Nuveman competed in three Olympic Games, capturing the Gold at the 2000 and 2004 Games while claiming the silver at the 2008 games. Nuveman first wore the Red, White, and Blue in 1995 when she earned Gold at the ISF Junior Women’s World Championship in Normal, Ill. where she set a tournament record with 18 RBI. Her impressive power at the plate and strong performance behind it landed her a spot on the Women’s National Team, where she would earn two Pan American Gold Medals and two ISF World Championships. On the national level, Nuveman won two ASA/USA National Championships with the Gordon’s Panthers, coached by fellow Hall of Fame member Larry Mays. She also earned a second-team ASA All-American honor with the California Jazz. Nuveman retired following the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, leaving behind an Olympic Legacy with 10 RBI and three home runs. In 2012, Nuveman, along with the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team, was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Tommy Orndorff, Vienna, Virginia – Manager
At the Junior Olympic (JO) level, the Shamrocks, led by coach Tommy Orndorff, have established a tradition in fast pitch softball that is hard to match. Since their first national appearance in 1977, the Shamrocks have been a force in the JO world, qualifying for 25 ASA/USA National Championships and finishing in the top 10 on nine occasions. In the early years of the Shamrock organization, not many East coast teams competed competitively, but once Coach Orndorff organized the Shamrock program that completely changed. In their 25 appearances at the ASA/USA National Championships, the Shamrocks earned a total of eight top-five finishes, including a runner-up at the 2003 18U GOLD. In 2005, they earned the ultimate title in JO Championship Play as the 18U GOLD National Champions.
Ron Radigonda, Edmond, Oklahoma – Meritorious Service
Under his 15 years of leadership as Executive Director, the face of ASA/USA Softball evolved dramatically. Prior to accepting the Executive Director position, Radigonda worked with the City of Sacramento in the Parks and Recreation Department for 28 years and served as Executive Director of the Sacramento Sports Commission and the Sacramento Sports Foundation. In 1982, he became the Commissioner of the Sacramento ASA, where he served as Chair of numerous committees and served on the Board of Directors and as the Chair of the Association’s Insurance and Finance Committees. During his tenure as Executive Director, the ASA Hall of Fame Complex has undergone major renovations and has continued its hosting duties for the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS), and the World Cup of Softball, an international softball event. He also helped foster a continuing relationship with the City of Oklahoma City. At the International Level, Radigonda has served as a delegate and committee chair for the International Softball Federation (ISF), the governing body of softball internationally.
Bruce Tanski, Clifton Park, New York – Sponsor
The New York Gremlins have made a name for itself on the softball field thanks to Bruce Tanski, who has sponsored the team for over 40 years. Tanski’s commitment led to a long and storied career with ASA for the Gremlins, including a recent runner-up finish at the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship in 2013 and a Championship in 2012. Since 1987, Tanski’s teams appeared in 14 National Championships, earning four third-place finishes and two runner-up titles.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2015
Bonnie Anderson, Springfield, Oregon – Umpire
Ask anyone in the Northwest and they’d tell you that Bonnie Anderson was considered the premier umpire from Oregon and Pacific Northwest. Umpiring from 1974-1998, Bonnie’s achievements go far beyond the playing field. Bonnie umpired in 29 ASA/USA Regional Tournaments throughout her career and received her first National assignment in 1981 at the Women’s Class A Slow Pitch National Championship. She would go on to umpire in five additional National Championships before breaking into the international scene at the 1995 ISF Junior Women’s World Championship in Normal, Ill. Anderson also served as an umpire at the 1982 National Sports Festival and the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1984. Other accolades include being ISF Certified and a charter member of the National Indicator Fraternity. While her umpiring résumé is impressive, her off-field work is just as outstanding. Bonnie became the first woman Umpire-in-Chief for ASA/USA Softball in 1981 and established a top-notch training and education system for Oregon umpires. Sadly, Bonnie died in January 2012, but to this day, her military-style of teaching continues to groom umpires in the Northwest.
John Davide, Centereach, New York – Men’s Slow Pitch – Shortstop
In a time where teams played fewer than 100 games a year, John Davide was a staple of the County Sports softball organization for many years. Known as an intense competitor, Davide was well known throughout the Men’s Major Slow Pitch world as an outstanding shortstop and a feared hitter. Many teammates, coaches and opponents often referred to him as the best home run hitting shortstop in the game. He left little to doubt, often hitting anywhere from 70 to 100 home runs every year he played. Davide was a member of several ASA All-Tournament and All-American squads while capturing numerous Tournament MVP titles throughout his career. His playing accolades didn’t stop at the Major Slow Pitch level as he continued his playing career through the Master’s and Senior Softball divisions.
Andy Dooley, Thaxton, Virginia – Commissioner
Andy Dooley has a storied career with ASA/USA Softball beginning in 1984 when he served as an At-Large Player Rep for Piedmont VA ASA. Ten years later, his commitment and dedication to the organization helped earn him the title of Commissioner and helped lead the association to one of the most prominent in the Region. Along with his local accolades, Andy has made an impact at the National level, serving on the ASA/USA Board of Directors as the Eastern Territory Vice President and as the President of ASA/USA Softball from 2009-2011. Since 1992, Piedmont VA ASA has held several ASA/USA events, including National Championships and the USA Softball National Teams. Andy is also extremely active with the Special Olympics Program in both Virginia and on the National level and helped establish the ASA Special Programs Committee.
Sue Enquist, San Clemente, California – Meritorious Service
A true icon in the softball world, Sue Enquist has been a driving force for the sport of softball at all levels for nearly four decades. Her resume alone speaks for itself. Enquist has three ASA/USA All-American titles, five ASA/USA National Championships, five Gold Medals as a member of the USA Softball Women’s National Team and three as a coach of the program. Perhaps her most notable accolades came during her time as the Head Coach of the UCLA Softball program. With a 27-year career at the helm of the Bruins, Enquist compiled an 887-175-1 record and 11 NCAA National Championships while producing 15 U.S. Softball Olympians and 65 NCAA All-Americans. Beyond her role as a coach and player, Enquist is highly regarded as a clinician and advocate for softball. A true legend of the game, Enquist continues to instill her passion and excellence to players and coaches around the country.
Mark Steven, Ingrao Falls Church, Virginia – Umpire
Mark began his umpiring career in 1974 at the age of 16 in Falls Church, Va. Five years later, he joined the Fairfax Softball Umpires Association and kicked off a career with ASA/USA Softball that spanned 25 years. His umpiring credits included two Central Atlantic Regional Slow Pitch Tournaments and six National Championships, including the first Men’s Master’s 35-Over in 1985. He then worked his first of four Super Slow Pitch National Championships in 1990. His final National Championship assignment came in 2002 when he umpired at the Slow Pitch Championship Series. Along with his National Tournament assignments, Ingrao is a member of the National Indicator Fraternity, an ISF Certified Umpire and an Elite Umpire in the slow pitch category. Ingrao also has several accomplishments as an administrator for the Central Atlantic Region, including serving as the Metro Washington DC Deputy Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) from 1989-2004. He also served on the National Umpire Staff from 2006-2012.
Charles E. Moss Sr., Lanexa, Virginia – Meritorious Service
A cornerstone of umpiring in Virginia, Charles Moss, Sr. began his career in 1977 when he attended his first ASA rules and mechanics class. His love for the game took root that year, fostering a lifelong commitment to ASA/USA Softball. Two years after attending his first class he was appointed to the Central Virginia ASA staff as an Eastern District Commissioner and Umpire-in-Chief (UIC), positions which led to his attendance at several Regional and National Umpire Clinics. Not only was Moss active at an administrative level, but he also continued his career as an ASA/USA Umpire. His dedication and commitment to the game helped launch his successful umpiring career and several honors have been bestowed upon Moss. In addition to umpiring at 10 ASA/USA National Championships and one International Softball Federation (ISF) event, he is a member of the ASA/USA Umpire Medals program at all levels and he is a member of the National Indicator Fraternity. Moss is also a member of the Central Virginia ASA Hall of Fame and the National Senior Hall of Fame. Moss also has a strong commitment to Senior softball and has played a major role in the success of the program.
Steve Padilla, Manteca, California – Men’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
In an era of iconic men’s fast pitch teams, Steve Padilla was a driving force from the circle. Starting out in the Men’s Class A division, Padilla led his team, Tee House, to the 1982 Men’s Class A Fast Pitch National title while earning ASA All-American honors. Once the word of his pitching spread around the country, Padilla made the jump to the Men’s Major division and never looked back. Joining the California Kings in 1983, he would earn his first ASA/USA Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship the following year, helping his squad win 10-straight games en route to the title where he was also named the MVP. Padilla’s 5-0 performance at the National Championship while giving up just one unearned run helped him garner another ASA/USA All-American accolade. Through 10 additional seasons, Padilla earned three more All-American honors with Guanella Brothers and the Nor Cal Merchants and earned a Men’s 40-Over National Championship in 1994. Padilla also made a name for himself on the international scene as a member of the USA Softball Men’s National Team that claimed the Silver Medal at the 1987 Pan American Games. He also competed in five U.S. Olympic Festivals. Once his playing days came to an end, Padilla continued to play a role in men’s fast pitch as a coach in the National Team Program. Padilla served as an assistant coach for the 1999 Men’s National Team at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada and the ISF World Championship in Sydney, Australia. He also was an assistant coach for the Puerto Rican Women’s National Team at the 1996 Olympic Games in Athens, Ga.
Mike White, Eugene, Oregon – Men’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
One of the most respected pitchers in the game, Mike White put his teams on the map at both the national and international scene. A native of New Zealand, White spent some time as a member of their Men’s National Team before coming to the U.S. to begin his playing career in the Men’s Major division. White’s impressive résumé includes nine ASA/USA All-American titles and three Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championships. White also has a storied career with the USA Softball Men’s National Team Program beginning in 1995 when he earned a silver medal at the Pan American Games in Mar Del Plata, Mexico. In his 11 years as a member of Team USA, White helped guide the U.S. to three silver medals in the Pan American Games and one bronze medal at the ISF World Championship. He continues to help the National Team Program as a member of the coaching staff for the Women’s National Team and is also a member of the ISF Hall of Fame.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2016
Ken Eriksen, Tampa, Florida – Meritorious Service
Recently completing his fifth year as the U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach, Ken Eriksen has been alongside and at the forefront of coaching some of the greatest athletes the softball world has ever seen. As a player, Eriksen began playing ASA/USA Softball when he joined the Clearwater Bombers, playing from 1987-1992 while batting .347 in 1992 and .456 in the ASA Men’s Major Fast Pitch Nationals. Eriksen was a part of the Miller-Toyota team and Tampa Smokers up until 1997 when he won the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship with his fellow teammates. Eriksen racked up additional honors on the international scene, earning a silver medal at the Pan American Games (1991) and was a three-time Olympic Festival participant (1993, 1994 and 1995), where he took home an additional silver medal at the 1995 Olympic Festival. Eriksen retired shortly after playing for the USA Select Team, which was the first American Athletic Team to compete in communist Cuba in over 30 years (1958). After hanging up his cleats he remained in the game as a coach. His first Head Coach role came in 1997, when he led the USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team at the WBSC Junior Men’s World Championship in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Serving on the ASA/USA Softball Board of Directors, Eriksen contributed to the rewrite of criteria for the selection process to meet USOC mandates as an Elite Athletic Representative. Five years later, he joined the Women’s National Team as an assistant coach in 2002 the same year the team captured a Gold Medal at the WBSC World Championship. A highlight of his Team USA coaching resume includes being an assistant coach in the 2003 Pan Am Games which won Gold and going on to coach at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens where the U.S. Olympic Softball Team would put on one of the most dominant performances in Olympic history. Eriksen tacked on another Gold Medal as an assistant coach at the WBSC Championship in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2011, Eriksen took over the Women’s National Team Program, continuing the legacy established before him and producing a Gold Medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. For the countless individuals within the ASA/USA Softball organization and the players he has coached, Ken Eriksen has made a lasting impact on the game of softball.
Jennie Finch, Sulphur, Louisiana – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
Two-time Olympian and Pan-American Gold Medalist in addition to being a three-time World Champion, Jennie Finch has become a well-known icon throughout the game of softball. Appearing in two Olympic Games, Finch was a mainstay on the U.S. pitching staff. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Finch was 2-0 from the circle en route to a Gold Medal finish for the U.S. Women. At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Finch compiled another 2-0 performance as the U.S. claimed Silver at the sport’s last Olympic Games. From her earliest days playing in the Junior Olympic program to her days playing with Team USA, Finch continues to be the face of softball, inspiring and motivating millions of young softball players across the globe. Earning All-American honors numerous times with solid performances in the circle, Finch has grown to become an ambassador of the sport and shares her message of athletics, family, and faith throughout the country. A crusader for softball’s fight to return to the Olympics, Finch has made a lasting impression on the game and within the ASA/USA Softball organization.
Harry Haroian, Melvindale, Michigan – Men’s Fast Pitch – Catcher
A four-time All-American earning national honors, Harry Haroian was one of the premier fast pitch players in the 1960’s and 1970’s while playing on multiple teams in ASA/USA Softball championship play. Earning All-American honors four separate times, including two first-team selections, Haroian was not only an outstanding catcher but also a utility player who played on some of the top fast pitch teams in the country. A teammate of past Hall of Fame inductee, Carl Walker, Harry Haroian made an everlasting impression on the game of fast pitch softball and has earned numerous MVP awards and All-Tournament selections en route to his induction into the ASA/USA Softball Hall of Fame. Haroian died on June 4, 2018.
Peter Meredith, Salt Lake City, Utah – Men’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
One of the greatest pitchers in the history of ASA/USA Softball, Peter Meredith holds the record for most wins in ASA/USA Softball National Championship Play, compiling a 55-27 record at the time of his retirement in 2002. A 12-time All-American and four-time member of the USA Softball Men’s National Team, Meredith won silver at the 1995 Pan American Games in Parana, Argentina and pitched the U.S. to a Gold Medal at the 1998 WBSC World Championships in Saskatchewan, Canada. He also won a Bronze Medal as a member of the 2000 WBSC World Championship in East London, South Africa. Impressive stats including his 61 tournament wins, eight no-hitters, 100 strikeouts in a single tournament and 21 strikeouts in a single game are just a few highlighted accomplishments that have marked his exceptional career.
John A. Nelson, Dalton, Georgia – Umpire
One of Georgia’s finest umpires, John Nelson has not only helped to further the game of softball at a state level but a national level as well. Having umpired in over 17 National Tournaments, ranging from Girls’ Slow Pitch to Men’s Super Slow Pitch, Nelson has received outstanding evaluations at all levels. While umpiring, colleagues of his say he had the utmost respect for the players, coaches, and fans in the stands. Highly respected throughout the community, his impact has been prominent, and he continually personifies what it takes to be a great umpire and true supporter of ASA/USA Softball. A member of the ASA/USA Softball Umpire Medals Program since 1969 when he achieved Silver status, John has been a member of the National Indicator Fraternity since 1991, was WBSC certified in 1998 and achieved Elite status in 2003 in slow pitch. Off the field, he has spent time helping in the recruitment and training of new members as well as volunteering at umpire community events such as the Special Olympics, Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters and more.
Tom Penders, Narrangansett, Rhode Island – Men’s Fast Pitch – Infield
Combining to play 15 seasons across three different teams, including the legendary Raybestos Cardinals, Franklin Cardinals and Worchester Interstate Batterymen, Tom Penders won five National Championships and is considered as one of the greatest Fast Pitch players ASA/USA Softball has ever seen. Named first-team All-American in the 1975 and 1976 National Championships, Tom always found a way to get on base or get a key hit in the game. Fourteen ASA National Tournaments and six National ASA Finals also marked his notable career in addition to his performance on the 1984 WBSC World Games with Team USA, where they earned the Bronze Medal. Accumulating five National Championship rings is a feat only having accomplished by a handful of players during the 1969-84 era. Penders established a much-deserved reputation as a player who could serve in all areas of the game, becoming a defensive star in addition to his timely hits offensively. Contributing to the success of the 1976 National Championship team with the Raybestos Cardinals, he set a tournament record for highest fielding percentage, committing zero errors. A legendary NCAA men’s basketball coach, it was inevitable his path would lead to a career in softball as he grew up alongside his dad, who was an ASA Commissioner in Stratford. Throughout his playing career, Penders was a versatile player who was willing to do whatever it took for the good of the team.
Terry “T” Petersen, Omaha, Nebraska – Sponsor
For more than 33 years, Milton “Terry” Petersen, or as everyone likes to call him, “T”, has been instrumental in providing support to multiple ASA/USA Softball teams. Passionate about the game of softball and the number ‘13’, T’s 13 teams have recorded a combined 3,300-plus wins – a record of successes that will go down in the history books in ASA/USA Softball history. One of the winningest coaches, sponsors and managers in ASA/USA Softball Men’s Slow Pitch Softball history, T’s 13 has competed in 34-consecutive ASA/USA Softball National Championships. Combining for a win-loss record of .796 over a span of 33 years, notable highlights include 14 Top 10 Class A National Championship finishes, seven Top Five finishes and two Class A National Championship titles. Those close to him say, “If you are a talented slow pitch player in Nebraska or Western Iowa, you want to play for Terry Petersen.” Diligently promoting ASA/USA Softball on both a state and national level, Petersen connects and stays connected with those with whom he has worked – creating a family that many players aspire to join. With his class and integrity for the sport of softball, Petersen, in his own way, has put Nebraska softball on the map and made an impact on each player he has coached and managed over the years.
Mick Renneisen, Bloomington, Indiana – Meritorious Service
A dedicated administrator in the softball community, Mick Renneisen has a long history of working to build consensus toward making the game of softball better for all those who participate. Renneisen has held numerous leadership positions at the state and national level. In addition to his 25-year playing career, Renneisen has served in a variety of positions, including local league and state and national tournament director, ASA representative for national tournaments, parks and recreation department administrator, at-large player representative, allied member, committee chair, Midwest Region Director, and member of the ASA/USA Softball Board of Directors. Currently, Renneisen serves as the Commissioner for Indiana ASA/USA Softball while also serving his community of Bloomington as Deputy Mayor. His ability to maintain a grounded focus among a large group for the enhancement of the game of softball is what has set him apart from others. Those who work with Renneisen say his commitment and dedication to each role is not only motivating but inspiring to others in his community and around ASA/USA Softball at a state and national level. Serving as a key member on the Equipment Testing and Certification Committee for over 10 years, his solid decision-making has been integral in the regulation of equipment. As chairman of the Long-Range Planning Committee, he has been effective at implementing change to grow the game by using sound surveying and planning principles to lead change efforts. The impact that Renneisen has made will leave a lasting imprint on ASA/USA Softball.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2017
Mike Candrea, Tucson, Arizona – Meritorious Service
Mike Candrea is synonymous with softball success. Candrea’s resume with the USA Softball Women’s National team spanned over a decade, starting first as an assistant coach in 1994 on the Women’s World Championship team that captured the Gold Medal in Canada. Beginning in 2002, Candrea took over the helm of the Women’s National Team, during which time the U.S. captured two World Championship Gold Medals, two Pan-American Gold Medals, two World Cup titles, one Olympic Gold Medal and one Olympic Silver Medal. With a passion for making world-class athletes and individuals, Candrea was a driving force behind some of the most dominating performances in international softball. “I don’t just want to win, I want to dominate,” is a phrase Coach Candrea echoed during the journey to the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Making his words a reality, Team USA recorded one of the most dominant Olympic performances in history, outscoring opponents 51-1. After retiring from his Head Coach duties following the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Candrea continued his involvement with USA Softball as the Director of Coaching Education, where he took on a series of educational roles to continue the development of the sport both domestically and internationally.
Jimmy N. Derrick, Douglasville, Georgia – Umpire
With an infectious enthusiasm, professional pride, and love for the game of softball, Jimmy Derrick’s resume speaks for itself. Regarded by his peers as one of the top slow pitch umpires in the game, Derrick has worked some of the highest levels of men’s slow pitch softball. Whether at the Slow Pitch Championship Series or the international Border Battle, Jimmy has proven to be the consummate professional both on and off the field. Boasting a resume of 19 National Championship appearances, Derrick continues to share his love for the game through his contributions to the USA Softball Umpire program as a member of the National Umpire Staff. Serving as the Region 3 Umpire-in-Chief, Derrick is a skilled instructor through National and Local Umpire Schools and Clinics. A dynamic instructor, he is a leader in the interactive learning process for the umpire program. With a belief that “you must give respect to earn respect,” Derrick’s approach to the game truly encompasses what being a USA Softball Umpire is all about.
Gary Evans, Mason, Michigan – Umpire
Having been involved with USA Softball for almost 50 years, Gary is considered one of the top umpires within USA Softball of Michigan. A firm believer in taking advantage of the valuable training USA Softball offers to its umpires, Evans applied the lessons learned and always gave 100% on the ballfield. His dedication to his craft led him to a path of national excellence, as he got the call at eight National Championships and served as an Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) or Assistant UIC in five National Championships. A true mentor for his fellow umpires, Evans took on the role of Michigan UIC, a position he held for 15 years, where he helped lead countless District and State clinics and National Umpire Schools. His insight, knowledge and love for the game will have an everlasting impact on the Michigan umpire community.
Dick Gulmon, Valley City, North Dakota – Meritorious Service
At a time when the sport of softball was at a crossroads with new equipment technology, Dick Gulmon played an integral role in the Certified Equipment standards of USA Softball. Having been involved in the game at a variety of levels, Gulmon personifies leadership through his contributions to the sport. In addition to his playing and management of teams during his career, Gulmon has also served in a variety of leadership capacities. Serving on the North Dakota Board of Directors and Classification Committee since 1989, Gulmon was appointed President of USA Softball of North Dakota in 1996 and became Commissioner in 2013. At the National level, Gulmon has served on the USA Softball Board of Directors and has served on the Council for over 20 years. Gulmon has also served on various USA Softball Committees. His most noteworthy position is his role as Chairman of the Equipment Testing & Certification Committee, a role he has held since 2005. In this role, Gulmon spearheads the efforts in the development of state-of-the-art bat and ball testing protocol which help level the playing field. A great ambassador for USA Softball, Gulmon is and has been a leader of change throughout the sport of softball.
Mark Martin, Fayetteville, Arkansas – Men’s Slow Pitch – Infield
With a career at the major level that spanned 15 years, Rick Minton was a sparkplug and vocal leader of the legendary Decatur Pride. A six-time All-American, Minton collected two Men’s Major National Championships, 1994 and 1995) as a member of the Pride and earned two Men’s 40-Over National Championships in 1999 and 2000. With his quick glove, great anticipation and accurate arm, Minton was a renowned defensive magician at second base with play so steady that it earned him a spot on four Men’s National Team rosters. Twice Minton earned a Pan American Games Silver Medal, 1987 and 1991, and in 1988 he was a member of the last Gold Medal winning United States team at the World Championship. He also was named to three U.S. Sports Festival teams, earning a Silver Medal finish at each appearance. One thing is for sure: when it came to playing second base, Rick Minton was the Secretary of Defense.
Rick Minton, Cerro Gordo, Illinois – Men’s Fast Pitch – Second Base
With a career at the major level that spanned 15 years, Rick Minton was a sparkplug and vocal leader of the legendary Decatur Pride. A six-time All-American, Minton collected two Men’s Major National Championships, 1994 and 1995) as a member of the Pride and earned two Men’s 40-Over National Championships in 1999 and 2000. With his quick glove, great anticipation and accurate arm, Minton was a renowned defensive magician at second base with play so steady that it earned him a spot on four Men’s National Team rosters. Twice Minton earned a Pan American Games Silver Medal, 1987 and 1991, and in 1988 he was a member of the last Gold Medal winning United States team at the World Championship. He also was named to three U.S. Sports Festival teams, earning a Silver Medal finish at each appearance. One thing is for sure: when it came to playing second base, Rick Minton was the Secretary of Defense.
Bob Quinn, Branchville, New Jersey – Men’s Fast Pitch – Infield
Best known for his rock-solid defense, clutch plays and aggressive base running, Robert “Bob” Quinn was one of the most fundamentally sound players on the field. Quinn was a key player on the legendary Raybestos Cardinals, and later Franklin Cardinals, earning four National Championship titles during his 15-year career. Regarded as one of the best middle infielders in the game, he also made a name for himself as an offensive igniter. A two-time All-American, Quinn received softball’s highest honor in 1979 when he was chosen as a member of the Men’s Fast Pitch National Team, which would go on to win the Silver Medal at the Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He would follow with a Bronze Medal at the 1984 World Championship in Midland, Mich. In addition to his Team USA and All-American accolades, Quinn was also selected to four All-Star Series during his playing career. His teammates would say his greatest attribute was that when the game was on the line and you needed a big play, Quinn was your guy.
Willie Simpson, Oak Lawn, Illinois – Men’s Slow Pitch – Infield
Regarded as the greatest clutch hitter and toughest competitor in 16-Inch softball, Willie “Steamer” Simpson was one of the last guys you wanted to face when the game was on the line. Always clutch at the plate, Simpson is a six-time All-American, 10-time National Champion and two-time MVP of the Men’s 16-Inch National Championship. Spending most of his career with the Bobcats out of Chicago, Ill., Simpson helped his team come out of the loser’s bracket in the 1979 National Championship, including seven-straight wins on Championship Sunday. Finishing his playing career after the 1988 season, Simpson’s loyalty to team play was reflective in his tenure with the Bobcats. When asked what his strong points were, Simpson quickly replied it was his team mentality, noting: “I got a lot of clutch hits, but you know somebody has to put you in that situation. There were always guys who were on base ahead of me. It takes 10 or 11 guys to play a softball game.”
Evans Telegades, Detroit, Michigan – Men’s Fast Pitch – Shortstop
Evans Telegadas was one of the premier fast pitch players to come out of the Metro Detroit area. Playing on multiple teams in National Championship Play, Telegadas earned six All-American honors throughout his career. An outstanding shortstop, he played in nine Men’s Major National Championships and was known to make big plays when the stakes were high. Winning the 1979 Men’s Major National Championship as a member of McArdle Pontiac-Cadillac, Telegadas and his teammates earned the opportunity to represent the United States at the WBSC World Championship in Tacoma, Wash. Telegades earned a Gold Medal with his fellow teammates through his competitive nature and all-around talent. Holding a .336 lifetime batting average, Telegadas understood the need to put aside personal goals for the accomplishments of the team, a quality that in addition to his career accolades has certainly earned a Hall of Fame honor.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2018
Dick Brubaker, Elburn, Illinois – Men’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
A staple of the Home Savings & Loan squad for 13 years, Dick Brubaker brought one of the best physical and mental approaches to the game of Men’s Fast Pitch softball. With an unconventional start in the Men’s Fast Pitch national scene, Brubaker played in his first USA Softball National Championship at the age of 36, but it did not take long for the Illinois native to make a name for himself. With a lightning-fast delivery, “Bru’s” trademark grunt and hard drop ball would baffle batters at the plate well into his final season with Home Savings & Loan in 1984. In his illustrious career, Brubaker amassed a 337-63 record and a stifling 0.63 ERA, four times earning USA Softball All-American honors while finishing runner-up at the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship five times. These notable accolades also earned him a spot on the 1972 USA Softball Men’s National Team, which earned silver at the 1972 WBSC Men’s World Championship. Brubaker went 4-1 in the circle with a 0.18 ERA and provided for his team at the plate, going 5-for-15 (.333) with one run scored as the U.S. finished with a Silver Medal.
Crystl Bustos, Canyon County, California – Women’s Fast Pitch – Infield
One of the most feared hitters to ever step up to the plate, Crystl Bustos is considered one of the all-time greats. Between 1999-2008, Bustos helped Team USA to two Olympic Gold Medals, an Olympic Silver Medal, three Pan American Championship Gold Medals and a WBSC World Championship Gold Medal. Getting her first run with the Women’s National Team at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, she made an immediate impact as she led the team with 18 hits, three home runs and 15 RBI. Bustos would continue to be an asset to the American offense, compiling an Olympic-career stat line of 26 runs scored, 14 home runs, 24 RBI and a .372 (30-for-85) batting average. A rugged slugger, Bustos also has the distinction of holding two individual Olympic records: most RBI (10) and most home runs (5), and she, along with her 2004 Olympic teammates, were inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame for their outstanding performance at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
John Daniels, Albertville, Minnesota – Sponsor
An avid supporter of USA Softball for over 30 years, John Daniels has been supporting teams in the top echelon of Men’s Slow Pitch softball since the mid-nineties. Having served as a player, manager and sponsor, Daniels captured his first national title as a sponsor of Long Haul/TPS at the Men’s Major Slow Pitch National Championship and followed with his second in that division in 2000. The following year, Daniels sponsored what many consider to be one of the greatest teams assembled in the Men’s Super Slow Pitch Division, Long Haul/Taylor Brothers/Shen Valley/TPS. The team accomplished what only one other team in the history of Men’s Slow Pitch has done: winning every major national championship there was to win in their class to capture the “Grand Slam” in slow pitch softball. In all, Daniels has sponsored nine USA Softball National Championship teams.
Ricky Huggins, Pembroke, Georgia – Men’s Slow Pitch – Pitcher
The only player in the history of USA Softball to be named MVP in the three highest classifications of slow pitch softball (Men’s Major, Men’s Class A and Men’s Super Slow Pitch), Ricky Huggins is a renowned southern slugger. An 11-time All-American, Huggins pitched his teams to a total of nine USA Softball National Championships: two Men’s Class A titles, two Men’s Major titles and five Men’s Super titles. Huggins provided plenty of power at the plate, averaging a .650 batting average during those nine title years, a feat which would earn him a spot on USA Softball’s 1990’s Team of the Decade. Slugging over 3,000 home runs through his storied slow pitch softball career, Huggins legendary swing also landed him a line of exclusive Worth slow pitch bats.
Todd Joerling, Defiance, Missouri – Men’s Slow Pitch – Infield
Joerling got his start when he was 14 years old after stepping in to play for his brother’s team to avoid a forfeit. As the saying goes, the rest is history. He is a 16-time national champion who earned USA Softball All-American accolades 10 times during his storied career, including an MVP nod in 1999 at the Men’s Super Slow Pitch National Championship. With over 2,000 home runs hit during his 13-year career at the major level, Joerling’s play also earned him a spot on the first-ever USA Softball Men’s Slow Pitch National Team, which defeated Canada at the inaugural Border Battle. While his achievements on the field speak for themselves, many refer to Joerling as a true ambassador of the game.
William H. Silves, Mt. Vernon, Washington – Umpire
Loved by his peers and respected by teams, William “Wild Bill” Silves was a highly respected USA Softball umpire for over 45 years. At the age of 18, he attended his first umpire school, which began a life-long passion for the sport of softball. After putting in the work on the field, Bill’s skills earned him the opportunity to umpire at his first USA Softball National Championship at the 1979 Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship, where he would be assigned to the Championship Game. His accolades continued as he got the call at three more USA Softball National Championships and several WBSC-sanctioned events in Canada. While his on-field achievements show the amount of work he put into his craft, Bill is also well respected for his efforts to grow the umpire program off the field. Having served as an Umpire-in-Chief locally, regionally, and nationally, his commitment to the growth and development of umpires is second-to-none. Having served as an instructor at 27 USA Softball National Umpire Schools, Bill’s infectious enthusiasm sets the gold standard for the USA Softball Umpire program.
Christa Williams, Houston, Texas – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time World Champion, Christa Williams is one of the best pitchers to come out of the Houston area. Having already pitched the United States to a WBSC Junior Women’s World Championship in 1995, Williams was the youngest member on the inaugural U.S. Olympic Softball team in 1996 when the sport debuted in the Atlanta Olympic Games. Proving age is just a number, Williams went a perfect 2-0 in the circle, allowing no earned runs to cross the plate while striking out 15 batters in her Olympic debut. She followed with another 2-0 showing in the circle for the United States at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia as the United States claimed their second Olympic Gold Medal. In addition to her international accolades, Williams also made a name for herself at the national level, earning USA Softball All-American honors at the Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship twice.
Charles Wright, Columbus, Georgia – Men’s Slow Pitch – Third Base
Between 1993-1997, Charles Wright played for some of the top Men’s Slow Pitch teams in the country. Known for his smooth play at third base and his power at the plate, Wright earned USA Softball All-American honors 12 times and twice earned MVP honors at the Men’s Super Slow Pitch National Championship. Playing for legendary teams like Steele’s Sports and Ritch’s Superior, Wright’s top performance came in the 1986 season when he led the country with 503 home runs while hitting an astounding .771 throughout the year. He was also a member of the 1992 Ritch’s Superior squad, which was the first-ever team to win every major title, also known as the “Grand Slam”, in slow pitch softball. Statistics don’t lie, which is why many consider Wright to be in the Top 5 of all-time greatest slow pitch softball players in the history of the sport.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2019
Rick Havercroft, Saginaw, Michigan – Umpire
When you hear the name Rick Havercroft, the first thing you think of is men’s fast pitch. A product of the Michigan umpire program, Havercroft was the guy you wanted on the field during a Championship Game – not only for his knowledge of the rules and his mechanics, but because of the respect he earned from the players and coaches. At the grassroots level, Havercroft umpired countless State tournaments in addition to nine men’s Major, a Women’s Class A and Men’s 40-Over Fast Pitch Championships. His ability to command the game led to an assignment at the 1996 WBSC Men’s World Championship and when USA Softball held the inaugural American Challenge Series in 2007, Havercroft was one of the first to receive the call. When he stepped away from the plate, Havercroft instilled his knowledge and experiences with the next generation of umpires, continuing the standard of excellence he helped contribute to. His efforts both on and off the field have earned him the title of Hall of Famer.
Britt Hightower, Houston, Texas – Player – Outfield
Dedication. Defense. Teammates. Love for the game. Long ball slugger Britt Hightower credits all four with the success he had in a storied playing career that began in 1984. It was not uncommon for Hightower to be seen at the park following a strict batting practice routine that included hitting anywhere from 200-300 balls per day. That dedication to his performance at the plate could only be matched by his ability to play defense. Considered by many to be one of the top five outfielder is to ever play the game of slow pitch softball, Hightower put a lot of emphasis on his work in the field knowing that one missed play could result in an offensive surge for your opponent. Playing with the legendary Ritch’s Superior for most of his elite playing career, Hightower credits former teammates and friends with instilling a preparation mentality that led to his continued success. Preparation was a key to his success as he lauds five USA Softball Super Slow Pitch National Championship titles and is a six-time First Team All American. Ultimately, a love for the game and the friendships that the game brings are what Hightower will remember the most when reflecting upon his career. “I won’t play softball forever,” he once stated, “but I will always have the friends that I have made in softball for a lifetime.”
Warren Jones, Ashland, Ohio – Meritorious Service
Warren Jones’ dedication to USA Softball has not gone unnoticed. Little did he know when he first started playing at the age of 12 that he would embark upon a journey that would land him titles such as Player Rep, Committee Chair, Team Leader, Commissioner and eventually President. Jones bleeds “USA Softball blue” through and through, with his love for the organization evident to those around him. As a player and manager, Jones participated in four Men’s Major and 10 Class A Fast Pitch National Championship Finals. His first role as a USA Softball Council Member came in 1986 when he was appointed an At-Large Player Rep and as the saying goes – the rest is history. In his 33 years of service, Jones has served as Chair of the Legislative, Boys’/Men’s Fast Pitch and the Men’s National Team Selection Committees while also stepping up as a Team Leader for the 2003 and 2015 Men’s National Teams that competed at Pan American Games and various competitions for the Junior Men’s and Women’s teams. In 2006, Jones was selected as the Commissioner for the state of Ohio and helped steer the association into an era of stability and excellence in hosting USA Softball National Championship Finals. In 2016, Jones became the first African American President for USA Softball and served a two-year term and under his guidance, USA Softball continued to be the leader in the sport of softball. Jones’ efforts to grow the sport of softball, particularly men’s fast pitch, has left an impact on the organization that has earned him a Hall of Fame honor.
Tony Laws, Burlington, North Carolina – Meritorious Service
District Commissioner, Tournament Director, Team Leader and State Commissioner. Those are just a few of the titles that Tony Laws has held with USA Softball. Starting as a District Commissioner in 1969, Tony’s dedication to the game of softball is evident through his 50-plus years of service. First joining the USA Softball Council in 1986, Laws has served on numerous Committees, including Equipment Testing & Certification, Legislative, Long Range Planning, Tournament Awards and Seniors and Masters to name a few. His ability to lead and organize events came to fruition in 2000 when he served as Team Leader for the United States Men’s National Team at the World Championship in South Africa. Two additional Team Leader appointments came in 2002 with the Women’s National Team and 2003 for the Junior Women’s National Team at their respective World Championships. In 2005, Laws became the Commissioner of North Carolina, a position he continues to hold today. What truly stands out amongst Laws’ accomplishments is the growth of the Senior Slow Pitch, which annually has its National Championship in his hometown of Burlington, N.C. Laws’ continually displays exemplary leadership, and his involvement has truly made a difference for USA Softball.
Jessica Mendoza, Camarillo, California – Player – Outfield
If one were to research the accolades that two-time Olympian Jessica Mendoza earned throughout her playing career, the results would never end. A career with the United States Women’s National Team that spanned 10 years, Mendoza made an immediate impact for the U.S. offense. With the ability to hit for power and average while also using her speed in the short game, Mendoza consistently hit over .300 while holding down the three-hole spot in the lineup. Mendoza was a part of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team that absolutely dominated the Athens Olympic Games, a feat which helped earn a spot in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame with her teammates. With an Olympic Gold and Silver Medal, three World Championship titles and two Pan American Games Gold Medals, the medals speak for themselves – but it is her willingness to inspire the future generation of athletes and create opportunities for females in sports that stands out. After hanging up her cleats following the 2010 season, Mendoza continued her role as an ambassador for the game, holding the position of President for the Women’s Sports Foundation. These days, you can see Mendoza in the broadcast booth. Beginning her analyst role for NCAA Softball, Mendoza’s ability to resonate with audiences ultimately landed her another milestone – making history as the first female analyst for a Major League Baseball game.
Mike Nye, Jacksonville, Florida – Player
Mike Nye learned from an early age what it took to win games. Getting his start in softball at the age of 12 after playing pickup for his brother’s team, four years into his playing career Nye got his first taste of upper-level slow pitch softball and never looked back. Winning his first National Championship in 1976 with Warren Motors, Nye earned MVP accolades after hitting .793, a noteworthy accomplishment considering there was no limit on the pitching arc. A 12-time USA Softball All-American during his 25-year career at the Major level, Nye accumulated 12 USA Softball National titles – including two in 1989 in the Super and Major divisions. With lightning-fast speed, Nye is considered by many to be the greatest pure hitter that ever played and gave everything he had on both sides of the ball. “I like to play the game the way it is supposed to be played,” he once told fellow Hall of Famer Mike Macenko. “Take that extra base, break up that double play and always think positive.” Playing every game like it was his last, that mentality fostered a passion for the game that can only be described with one word – winner.
Ron Parnell, Highland, California – Player – Shortstop
In slow pitch softball, you need a good fielder at shortstop, and according to many, there were none better at that position than Ron Parnell. Between 1983 and 1999, Parnell made a name for himself playing on teams of legend: Steele’s Sports and Ritch’s Superior. In total, Parnell played on seven USA Softball Super National Championship squads and three runner-up teams. He batted .675 and smashed over 2,000 home runs while nine times being named a USA Softball All-American (1986-1988, 1992-1996, 1999). Once his career playing at the highest level in slow pitch softball came to an end, Parnell continued to play at the senior level where he continued his dominating play. Parnell earned All-American accolades at the Men’s 40-Over Slow Pitch National Championship three times (2007-2008, 2012) and once at the Men’s 45-Over Slow Pitch National Championship (2008) while leading his teams to National Championship titles in all but one of those All-American performances. Regarded as one of the most prolific power-hitting shortstops in the game, Parnell’s name will go down in slow pitch softball history.
Joey L. Rich, Springfield, Missouri – Commissioner
Joey Rich has spent the last 40-plus years to the game of softball at a variety of levels. Whether on the field as an umpire or off it as an administrator, his leadership has made a resounding difference. First registering as an umpire in 1973, Rich worked tirelessly within the Missouri association to grow and develop the game at the local level. Using his knowledge for the rules of the game, Rich took his efforts to the National level after being appointed an At-Large Player Rep for the National Council in 1987. He continued to rise through the ranks of the organization, which landed him the role of Commissioner in 2003. Since that time, he has gone on to hold leadership roles with several Committees, ultimately landing him a spot on the Board of Directors before culminating with his two-year term as President. With a personality to match his love and passion for the game, Rich has earned the respect of his peers and has left a positive impact on USA Softball that will last for years to come.