First of all sorry for the delay in reporting on the conventions that recently took place, but I had computer problems and have recently just got back online. I attended the NSA convention in Panama City Beach, FL a few weeks ago. The news is they will have AA & A only in 2006. I’m not sure of the number of major players that will be allowed on the AA & A teams, but I’m sure Jim will post the number on the board. I attended the Hall of Fame dinner and it was definitely a first class occasion. Jeff Wallace was the major player selected to the NSA Hall of Fame for 2005. Jeff’s NSA accomplishments are as follows; 29 NSA All World Teams, 3 Major MVP’s & 3 Major Homerun Championships. Brett Helmer and Andy Purcell talked about Jeff’s accomplishments as a friend and player at the induction ceremony. Jeff spoke in front of a large crowd about how honored he was to be a member of the NSA Hall of Fame. Travis Resmondo showed what kind of a person he is as a sponsor, by taking time from his very busy work schedule, chartering a private plane to fly him and teammate Dal Beggs to the induction ceremony and returning to his work the same night.
I attended the opening of the USSSA Office Complex and the USSSA Hall of Fame in Kissimme, FL. I’m here to tell you that it’s a must to see this unbelievable building. Hall of Fame Director Robert Still has put together the most beautiful Hall of Fame you will ever see. If you are in Central Florida it is well worth the time to stop over and see this fabulous USSSA office and Hall of Fame. This is an easy place to get to coming into Orlando; from the east take I-4 West to 192 East follow I92 East to Osceola County Stadium and your there. From the west take I-4 East to I92 East to the stadium. I attended the Hall of Fame dinner and it was a first class event. Todd Joerling was inducted, along with Frank Lateano and Woody Bell. I can tell you these three giants belong in this great organization’s Hall of Fame. Todd has earned his by being one of the great players of all time. There are some softball experts that believe that Todd has been the best all around player in the game throughout his great career. I’m one guy who believes it also. Todd was the #2 homerun hitter from 1990-2005. Todd has hit 1654 homeruns. This is from the official homerun list from NIT’s and World Tournaments from 1990-2005. Congratulations Todd on a great career and good luck in 2006. Frank Lateano surely earned his way into the USSSA Hall of Fame by winning more World Championships than any manager in history. Frank has won 40 World Championships in all divisions in all the associations. Frank had a great run with one of the all time great teams, Rich’s Superior. Frank had over 40 supporters at the induction including veteran Buddy Slater who talked Frank in, and some players who came to the event including Britt Hightower, Darryl Beeler, Ron Parnell and Paul Drilling just to name a few. Congratulations on your inductions into the USSSA Hall of Fame, you earned it. Woody Bell was also inducted into the USSSA Hall of Fame. Woody, who I believe is one of the classiest sponsors to ever be in the game. I have never heard any of his players throughout the years say anything bad about Woody. He treated his players like family. Woody and Pat have done a lot for this great game throughout the years, and treated other players and softball people first class forever. Woody all I can say is you earned it and congratulations on your induction and good luck in 2006. Warren Bellm talked Woody into the Hall. Warren without a doubt is one of the nicest people in the game of softball.
I will report on the teams for 2006 after the holidays. I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I can’t wait for the season to start. I believe that 2006 will be the start of Big Time softball coming back to full strength. I know with the USSSA having the new conference and other organizations taking their programs to the next level softball will come back.