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Born: May 9, 1956
Home: Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.
Written By: Self (2007)
It’s now been almost ten years since I was inducted into the I.S.C. Hall of Fame in Victoria in 1997. Before my memory fades I better write something down. I am not comfortable writing about myself but nobody else stepped up to the plate.
I started playing fast pitch softball at age 11 in an Oshawa Park League and immediately fell in love with the game. I soon figured out that speed was my game. Bunting and base running were how I could best contribute offensively. As a “lefty” you are somewhat limited to defensive positions. After playing first base and catcher it became obvious that I was an outfielder. By the time I was playing junior fastball I was a fulltime outfielder and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of the position. Unfortunately in my mid teens I fell equally in love with golf and therefore split my energy between two sports.
In 1977, after completing my junior career I began to realize I had potential. The Oshawa Tonys Senior “A” Fastball Team that I idolized wanted to sign me in 1978. I was unsure about joining such an elite ball club and elected to gain more experience by playing a year of senior “B” fastball for Oshawa. In hindsight this decision was critical in my development and confidence. Our “RH Cabinets” team won the provincial title.
Oshawa was a fastball hub (the City & District Fastball League still exists today) and I grew up watching powerful fastball teams like the Oshawa Tonys & Gale Lumber, perennial senior “B” champions. My idol was and still is Pete Landers (“hook”). The big left-handed pitcher from South Porcupine Ontario is one of only three softball players in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. In my first senior “A” year I joined the Oshawa Motor Carriers (formerly Oshawa Tonys) and had the honour of playing with Pete Landers for three years. “Hook” was as great a person & team player as he was a pitcher and today still gives back to the game.
Playing Senior “A” Fastball in the Ontario Fastball League meant one thing, commitment to league first. A 40-60 game schedule on weeknights was the norm. Later in my career when playing for Owen Sound it took me over 3 hours to get to a home game. As a ball player I had the opportunity to play for three of the most solid franchises in Ontario fastball history. They were Oshawa, Newmarket, and Owen Sound. Each team had a great left-handed pitcher, Pete Landers, Bill Lunney, and Brad Underwood respectively. I believe I am the only ball player fortunate enough to have played on a club team with these three great Ontario lefties. As we all know without pitching & great ball organizations it is impossible to be successful. To be successful in anything you need timing and a little luck and I have certainly had my share of it.
In 1977, the Oshawa Tonys featuring Pete Landers represented the O.F.L. in the I.S.C. Tournament in
Nobody wanted to win and promote the I.S.C. World Tournament more than Glen Verge of
I played in my first I.S.C. Tournament in 1979 in
Fortunately for me
My last at bat in the I.S.C. Tournament was in 1990 in
I played as hard as I could for as long as I could at the level I demanded of myself. I am proud that I played for the love of the game. But looking back, what I really enjoyed was the “journey”. Traveling, meeting people, competing, and the life long bonds and friendships that developed that only a ball player could understand.
Fast pitch softball survives solely because of people who never step on the field. The executives, managers, sponsors, fund-raisers, fans, and anyone else behind the scenes that unselfishly promote our game are the real hall of famers. I took from the game; these people give to the game.
Note: Larry Bodashefsky was the first Canadian player to be inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame. He was named ISC All-World 4 times in 1979, 1984, 1987 and 1988.
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