As we get ready to open the 2001 Super NIT’s I want to give recognition to some of the players who will not be in the starting line-ups of the Top 5 or 6 teams. Most of these players have been on top teams throughout their career. Here is the list of players, and oh by the way, this would still be a pretty good team, “anybody got any money”? Kenny Carver, David Hood, Rod Hughes, Dwayne Frizzell, how about JC Phelps, one of the great hitters in the game at one time and still could be if he chose too. Tot Powers, what a hitter this guy was and still is, “big” Steve Craven what a season he had last year and most of his career. This guy was and still is one of the best hitters who has played this game and has also played for some pretty good teams and is a real nice guy. Derrick Oliver, Darryl Beeler, one of the great players from the Ritch Superior team. What about Larry Fredieu another Ritch’s player this fellow was one of the great players of all time and can still play. What a tremendous hitter and defensive player throughout his career. Mr. Ron Parnell, a true legend who is also another Ritch’s player; this old boy has been one of the top hitters in the history of this game and has played on some awfully good teams. Mr. Ricky Huggins another legend. When we talk about age and a great player who was a member of the great Howard’s teams in the early days and is still able to play with anybody today, none other than the boy from Panama City, Mr. Curtis Williams, who is truly a legend. Richard Howard told me one time “when he picked up Williams he knew he had a great one”, and boy was he right. This man in this reporter’s eyes was the best two-way player to ever play this game. I know it’s only my opinion, but tell me who was any better. He could hit for average, for power and could flat out go get it in the outfield up the fences, over the fences, and run them down from one side to the other. Mr. Doug Roberson, what a great player he was. This fellow is without a doubt the Babe Ruth of softball, he just was the best homerun hitter this game has ever seen. He could hit it a long way, and he hit a lot of them in his fabulous career, and believe me he can still hit it a long way. When I think about this man, I think about the great song that Sinatra always finished his show with, “I did it my way” from Cleveland, Ohio Mr. Mike Macenko, who was not only a great hitter, but also a great team man and leader of some great teams who won a lot of games, and as I said he did it his way, truly a great legend. As I stated some of these players might get back on some of the top teams, and obviously some won’t, but I’ll sure remember the memories of some of the “Great Players” to ever play this game. I would like to wish good luck to all of them in whatever they do. Before I close, I could not forget the men who won’t be in the 2001 season, but these are the guys that have kept the game going with their sponsorship. Mr. Moe Tackett, who left halfway through last season because of health problems and has been a sponsor for years at all levels. I want to wish him good luck. Wayne Williamson, who has given a lot to this great game for a long time. Wayne has had some tremendous softball teams over the years and has always treated his players First Class, and hopefully will come back to this game, for it’s people like Wayne who have helped make this a great game. This man has been a sponsor for quite awhile at all levels of the game and without a doubt one of the nicest guys I have ever met, both in my hockey career and softball days, Mr. Mike Winkel, a First Class gentleman, who treated his players with utmost respect, and gave everything he had to a winning organization. I hope Mike will come back to this game someday, for God knows we need people like Mike to make this game and keep this game First Class. A special recognition to one of the great sponsors in the history of the game, Woody and Pat Bell who have given their heart and soul to this game. It was a prime example last year when Woody stepped up to the plate to help keep the Easton team afloat so they could finish the 2000 season, First Class Woody and Pat. The game sure misses you both. This man has left, but believe me will not be forgotten. He gave his heart and soul to this game and to his team, Mr. Mike Glascock. Mike, whom this reporter didn’t always agree on things, and I know he felt the same about me, but that’s what made his job and my job great. I will always have the utmost respect for Mike. He was a great motivator, and could always get the best out of his players. He gave 100% all the time and expected 100% from his players, and that’s all you could ask for. I’m sure the umpires won’t miss Mike, but believe me the players will and that’s not taking anything away from Gary Jost, who took over for Mike and is also an excellent manager. Good luck Mike. Well it’s time to head to the first Super NIT in Kissimmee, Florida. It may be a small tournament in size with only four teams, but I know one thing for sure I’m going there and I will see 30 of the best players in the world competing and that my friends is why I spend my money, my time and my efforts because I love Big Time Softball. I close by saying My Friend, My Buddy, My Partner, Jerome Earnest whom I’ve traveled thousands of miles with to see Big Time Softball over the years and I believe is the most knowledgeable person in softball that I’ve ever met, won’t be with me in person, but I can guarantee he will be with me in spirit and in my mind, as I travel the circuit this season. Let’s not forget that our friend passed away on Monday April 9th, one year ago. Say a prayer for him, our friend, our mentor, and the best reporter we have ever had in our softball family. God Bless you Jerome. I will never forget you.