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Al Doran Elected to ISC Hall of Fame
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Today, if today you wanted to know the results of an ISC Qualifying tournament, a fastball tournament in
in Australia or the other side of Ontario, what would
you do? You would check out Al’s Fastball List, right?
Today we recognizeAl Doran and his contribution
to our game and the ISC. Al Doran’s name is synonymous
with fastball the world over but he lives in Ontario.
Al Doran is President of Phenix Management Int’l, a Toronto-based
management consulting firm specializing in the effective use
of technology in the management of human resource information.
Until 1996, Al Doran was Director, Human Resources Management
Information and Payroll at York University, Toronto Ontario.
Al has 30 years of experience in the design, development and
application of computer-based information systems with particular
emphasis in personnel, payroll and human resource planning functions.
Al is the co-author of two HRMS books, “Human Resources Management
Systems” and their new book, “HRMS: A Practical Approach”. These
books are used by just about every college and university in
Canada with an HRM program as well as by many colleges in the
United States and globally.
Mr. Doran is Past President of the International Association
of Human Resources Information Management (IHRIM).
Al writes for a number of professional human resource and payroll
publications and he is an international speaker. Al was the keynote
speaker in Beijing China last year for their large eHR conference,
a speech that was seen on live TV in four other large cities
in China. Al has also been the keynote speaker at conferences
in Canada, the USA, Germany, and Australia. In Australia he managed
to work in a major men’s fastball tournament in Canberra, and
then catch the first big tournament of the year in New Zealand
on the trip home.
Al moderates a fastball discussion group called “Al’s Fastball
List” which reaches over 4,000 fastball softball fans and 60
media outlets daily.
Al has been involved in softball for most of his life, but prefers
to be called a “fan” rather than a former player or coach. His
first exposure to softball was in his hometown of Windsor, Nova
Scotia, which hosted the Senior Men’s Canadian Championships
in 1998. Al played recreational ball as a teenager and intersection
softball during his days in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
He picked up the glove again later in life when he lived in Aylmer
Quebec in the early 80’s, playing mixed modified in a 36-team
community league. Al also did some coaching of both boys and
girl’s softball in Toronto in the 70’s and 80’s.
Over the years Al has followed top quality men’s ball, getting
really interested in the late 80’s when he lived in Nepean Ontario
near Ottawa’s Carlington Park, visiting the park for all the
major tournaments to hit the area.
On his return to Toronto in 1988, he quickly found out where
the major tournaments where and became a regular in the park,
especially in places like Waterloo, St. Thomas and Napanee. But
according to Al, his passion for the game peaked in 1994 when
his beloved Toronto Blue Jays, and all of major league baseball
went on strike. Looking for something to do to fill the void,
he heard, from Mark Smith, about the ISC World Tournament
being held in Summerside in August. Al booked a vacation and
flew down to the island, to what Al describes as his best tournament
1994 produced some great games in an environment conducive to
enjoying it, thanks to the friendly hard working Islanders who
put on a spectacular tournament. Ten days of nothing but fastball,
great people, and fantastic weather convinced Al that there was
no need to ever go back to being a baseball fan. Al notes that
during the ten days in Summerside he got his “BA” in softball
when he lucked into reserved seats next to Joanie and Rick Hnakuik,
the aunt and uncle of Darren Zack. Al got ten days of intensive
instruction on the game from a couple of people who really know
the game. And to this day he remains a close friend with the
By the spring of 1995 Al was all set for another great year of
ball, but one of the things he noticed was that it was extremely
difficult to find out what was happening in the men’s fastball
world. Al had subscribed to the Fastpitch Chronicle while in
Summerside the previous summer and it gave him the dates of some
of the big tournaments, but getting quick results from those
tournaments was frustrating and even more so it was almost impossible
to keep tabs on upcoming tournaments in his area. Al took it
into his own hands to make use of the Internet technology he
had been working with for many years and decided to share what
he knew with others. He did not have his own web page yet but
he received co-operation from Ray Wood who had started Slugger’s
Softball on the web and who posted Al’s reports on a regular
basis for visitors to see.
Al went to the ISC World Tournament in Sioux City Iowa in
1995 and took his lap top computer with him. Al had a reserved
front row seat there, just like in Summerside, and was on top
of the action all day every day. He took lots of notes and kept
track of all the game results and burnt the midnight oil typing
out his reports which he e-mailed to Ray in Illinois and they
were up on the web site the next day. And 1995 was a great year
to report on, with Darren Zack setting records that may never
be broken, taking the Toronto Gators to their second world title.
In the spring of 1996, Al was invited to attend the kick off
meeting of the ISC Travel League of Eastern Canada. Al’s work
in promoting fastball had been recognized and he was asked to
stand for the position of Director of Media and Marketing for
the league. This was Al’s first exposure to the organizing side
of fastball, and he had some good tutors, including Roger May,
now a close friend and regular pal in the stands at the tournaments.
In the 1996 season, under Al’s guidance, the ISC Travel League
saw ten-fold increases in park attendance at league and tournament
games through a concentrated marketing program. Working with
radio, television, daily and weekly newspapers, and drawing upon
the renewed interest in softball in ’96 due to success stories
such as the ISC World Champion (1993 and 1995) Toronto Gators
and the Canadian Women’s Olympic team, significant progress was
made in promoting softball events before they happened!
In 1996 at the International Softball Federation (ISF) Men’s
World Championships in Midland Michigan, Al acted as media relations
for Team Canada, assisting Tour Director Neil Fennell in delivering
game summaries and tournament results to the Canadian Press for
distribution around the world. Al also reported all this information
each day on the Internet, often reaching media outlets and fans
not generally covered by the conventional press. By then Al had
his own web site up and as many as a thousand people a day would
visit his site from all over the world to get the results of
the games. Al received notes of thanks and lots of questions
from places like South Africa and Argentina.
Al did not attend the ISC's in Kimberly in 1996 as he was
just starting up his own business, having just taken early retirement
from York University. But this did not stop Al from reporting
almost 24 hours a day on the results. ISC Statistician Gary Baughman
faxed the results of each game, as they ended, to Al and he would
distribute the results on the Internet, and by fax to all the
media outlets in Canada and the USA with a team in the tournament.
Most people thought Al was at the tournament.
Al worked with well-known media expert Ray Alviano at the 1996
Canadian Senior Men’s Championships in Waterloo Ontario, delivering
an unparalleled media presence across the country. Utilizing
the community media contacts of each and every one of the senior
men’s teams in the tournament, the media team broadcast game
results and standings, as soon as they happened to almost 100
media outlets in Canada via fax and as many again via the internet.
In the Fall/Winter of 1996/97, Al worked with a committee to
expand the ISC Travel League from five teams to eleven. Working
with the ISC, the Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA)
and the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA), the expanded
league emerged as an alliance of premier men’s fastball teams
in the province of Ontario.
In August of 1997 Al flew to Victoria with his good pal Gord
Newman (whom he had met in Summerside in 1994) and they enjoyed
10 days of great ball and simply fantastic weather. By then Al
had developed his extensive list of fastball fan contacts on
the web and sent out game results and summaries to them and his
son in Toronto added them to Al’s web site. Al’s site had over
a thousand hits a day during the tournament.
While in Victoria Al was asked to speak to the full set of ISC
commissioners on the opportunities for marketing that an ISC
web page would provide to them. Al encouraged them to get a site
up and working well in advance of the 1998 tournament. The ISC
took that advice and now have web site that is visited on a frequent
basis by fans of the game. http://www.iscfastpitch.com/
In 1998 Al was chosen as the team leader for Canada’s National
Men’s Softball Team and took them to Valencia Venezuela for the
Pan Am Qualifier. Al said this was his most significant and rewarding
experience in softball in his life. In 1999 Al attended the Pan
Am Games in Winnipeg Manitoba as a fan and watched his beloved
team win the Gold.
Al has developed many web sites to promote major tournaments
and to report results during those events, including 1998, 1999,
and 2003 Canadian Senior Men’s tournaments, the ISC World Tournaments
in 2000 and each subsequent ones through 2007.
In 1999, Al was formally appointed as the ISC's web site director and as the saying goes, "the rest is history."
Al Doran is a pioneer promoting fastball softball on the Internet.
Al’s Phenix Fastpitch page is well known for promoting men’s
tournaments and is gateway to fastball on the Internet. Al maintains
a large and growing list of internet addresses on his “Al’s Fastball
List” that he uses on a regular basis to share stories, signings,
tournaments, results, etc. re all aspects of fastpitch softball.
To subscribe, just send him a note that says, “subscribe fastball”
to his e-mail address at: fastball@pmiHRM.com.
Al’s Fastball is at http://www.alsfastball.com
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