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Dec. 1, 2012
Jack Hudson, John Meeden Inducted Into SSUSA International Hall of Fame, Home Run Rules, 70-Foot Bases Enacted
Softball News Report
MESQUITE, NEV. – New home run rules, extending bases to 70 feet and the pitcher’s box to 10 feet dominated discussion at the SSUSA/ ISA Annual Convention here in December.
The Rules Committee also took on the controversial 1-1 count; directing the SSUSA staff to conduct a survey by the end of December so that the proposal could go to a committee vote in January.
In addition, John Meeden – called the Unnatural Natural by the L.A. Times – was inducted into the Senior Softball USA International Hall of Fame as the 2012 player. Jack Hudson, one of the winningest pitchers in senior softball, was inducted in the Manager Category.
The top SSUSA award, the Award of Excellence, was presented to Rick Seifman, vice president/ Umpires and National Director, for his work rebuilding SSUSA’s Umpire Corps.
The main rules discussion focused on home runs. In the end, the Rules Committee decided to establish equal steps for home run limits for divisions and simplify the rules by getting rid of the 1-up after the home run limit was reached.
In addition, the AAA Division rule was changed to three home runs and an out after a study of AAA teams showed many teams were hitting home runs over the limit. The committee hoped the outs would provide an incentive for teams hitting multiple home runs over the limit to move to Major.
Here are the 2013 Home run rules:
Major-Plus: 9 home runs and walks over the limit.
Major: 6 home runs and walks over the limit.
AAA: 3 home runs and out over the limit.
AA: 1 home run and outs over the limit.
In addition, the Major-Plus limit of runs scored per inning was lowered to 7 from 9. All other divisions are unchanged, with 5 runs per inning. All divisions have a final, open inning.
The move to 70-foot bases was swift after Rules Chair Bill Ruth reported that a survey of teams showed almost 80 percent of men’s 40-70 teams supported moving the bases back five feet.
Senior women’s teams (50-70) and men’s 75 and 80 teams roundly opposed the move, so tournament directors were given the option – where possible – to keep bases at 65 feet for those groups.
“The Rules Committee did a great job identifying the major issues in our sport and addressing them,” said Bill Ruth, SSUSA president.
In other action, the Rules Committee adjusted the 40 Masters Equalizer Rule (5 runs, but no 11th player), adjusted the Major-Plus Mercy Rule (15 runs after 5 innings), allowed base runners to stand on both first base and the safety base and removed the scoring plate (using only scoring line).
(For a complete list of SSUSA Rules Committee action, please go to www.seniorsoftball.com and click on message board.)
The Rules Committee also requested that San Diego Director Carl Gustafson, Midwest Director Randy Rowe, and Midwest UIC Donna McGuire to develop a Recreational Senior Softball Rulebook to give Senior Leagues guidance.
Another major award presented at the convention was the Executive Director Award, presented to the SSUSA staff for exceptional work preparing for the World Masters Championships. Those cited included George Moreno, Giovanni Crotti, Stephanie Hopkins, Ross McCulligan, Tiffany Peck and Barbara Zanze.
“Our World Masters Championships had 446 teams this year in Las Vegas,” said Executive Director Fran Dowell in presenting the award. “Our office staff worked many hours as a team, including Saturdays and Sundays, and we pulled off a great success.”
Other awards included:
2012 Softball Complex of the Year: Big League Dreams in Las Vegas.
2012 Umpire of the Year: John Lytle of Las Vegas.
2012 Tournament Director of the Year: Cal Allison of Florida.
2012 Regional Director of the Year: Keith Parker of Texas.
Convention delegates voted Guy Grasso of Las Vegas as the 2013 SSUSA Hall of Fame player. Both National Director Steve Simmons and National Director Emeritus Benny Villaverde, both of whom died in 2012, will be inducted into the SSUSA Hall of Fame posthumously.
All three inductions will be at the 2013 Convention at the Great Wolf Lodge in North Carolina.