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National Senior Softball Hall of Fame – Class of 2022
Jan. 1, 2023
Seventeen players and managers, some pioneers and some not, were elected into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame for 2022.
While Senior Softball USA has its own Hall of Fame, the NSSHOF is a joint Senior Hall of Fame that represents all national slow-pitch softball organizations, of which, SSUSA is the largest.
A majority of the Class of 2022 are players, totally nine players, along with five pioneer players. Only three managers were inducted in this time, with one being a pioneer manager. Some are more than just players and managers. One of the pioneer players directs qualifiers in her state and was named ‘Athlete of the Year’ in 2016 by the Delaware Senior Softball Association.
Senior Softball USA would like to congratulate the following senior players and managers:
Jim Klassen has managed the Enviro-Vac Marauders teams for over 22 years, from the 50s to 70s. He has won several National and World titles in multiple senior softball organization, including SSUSA, ISA, and Huntsman. Jim has been a driving force in building senior softball in Western and Central Canada, and will often travel far for some tournaments , such as Rock N’ Reno, the sport’s oldest senior tournament.
John White writes, “To find a good manager that is also a good coach and an exceptional ball player is extremely rare but Jim Klassen is all of the above. He lives for the game and is a great strategist whose quick thinking and knowledge of the game has won us many games."
According to Rick Littlejohn, “I reached out to Jim’s current players to get their perspective on him as a manager. They spoke of his leadership, integrity, love of the game, and ability to get the most out of his players. He is well liked and highly respected even though he often has to make tough decisions on playing time."
Tony Goularte adds, “Jim has built a dynasty in British Columbia with his EnviroVac teams. How he juggles playing, coaching, and dealing with umpires amazes me. He is a very compassionate man with great insight into the way to win playing the game."
OJ Moe writes, "Jim is willing to do anything and everything to get results and most often does it directly and with compassion with the whole team in mind. This is what he does every tournament, win or lose. This is what Senior Softball is all about, and Jim exemplifies that spirit above and beyond."
Kurt Mahaney was born in Modesto, Calif., where he graduated from Oakdale High School and attended Stanislaus State University. He worked at the California Department of Corrections, serving as a lieutenant. Kurt began senior softball in 2008 and has played and coached on such teams as MTC, Five Spot, Nor Cal Longhorns and Nazzareno Longhorns, all 50 Major Plus teams.
Fran Dowell writes, “Kurt’s teams have always competed at the highest skill level in the Major + Division, often culminating with National and World Championships. Kurt’s managerial career, measured by any standard, is simply unparalleled."
"He never fails to defend "the right thing to do", regardless of the circumstances. Kurt represents himself, his teams and his sport with class, integrity and distinction.”
Gary Robertson says of Kurt, “Since I had known Kurt for the last 35 years, I knew he was a good coach and player, so I looked forward to playing with him. My fellow players and I had no idea that would be the start of something great. In 55 Major Plus, he coached our team to National titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Then we moved to the 60 Major Plus division and five more titles would follow."
"Along the way, Kurt needed to make difficult decisions regarding players. He also made numerous insightful game time decisions with uncanny success. His coaching experience and strategy is second to none."
Joe was born in Tacoma, Wash., after his parents immigrated from Italy in 1914. From 1955 to 1975 Joe coached football, baseball, and taught civics at high schools in Tacoma. In 2005, he opened Joeseppi's Italian Ristorante and Deli, where his customers and friends can find him "eight days a week" according to Joe.
Since 1969, he has coached, played, and sponsored four teams - a total of 49 years with Senior Slowpitch Softball with numerous wins and medals at World and National championships.
Richard Payseno writes, "Our coach Joe has set a high standard and set great examples that we as players are very proud to be a part of in the organization."
Joe stated in a 2013 interview with Tacoma Weekly, "I enjoy playing but I enjoy coaching even more. There's a big difference between coaching adults and youth. With adults, I've never had a parent complain about their son not playing. In fact, I've never had a parent at a game."
Although Joe began as a baseball player, slow-pitch softball did not come into his life until he was introduced to senior softball through a recreational league in Sacramento. At the age of 68, the Sacramento Blues, recruited Joe for tournament play. He went from AA to a Major team and then to a Major Plus team in a two-year span as the senior softball world discovered his ability.
Joe has helped the Omen 70's and 75 Major Plus teams become recognized as one of the best teams in the nation and now plays for an 80's division Major Plus team that is also highly rated nationally - The San Francisco Seals. In addition to numerous Regional, National, and Triple Crown Championships, he has also received 11 All Tournament selections from various tournaments.
“Joe has been a good and consistent hitter over the past eight years, his outfield play is exceptional, and his throwing arm is strong and accurate. On and off the field Joe has demonstrated qualities that every team appreciates in their players,” writes Dr. Thomas Best.
Tommy Avery states, “He never complains about any position he is asked to play and gives it his all. You would have to look far and wide to find a better teammate than Joe.”
George Pickett says of Joe, “He is a manager’s dream player. He transfers his confidence onto his teammates in a way that brings about a camaraderie that all teams need to be a winning team regardless of the score.”
Senior softball began for Vince in Cleveland in 2002 at the age of 57. In 2007, he was invited to play on a traveling team from Cincinnati - Joseph Chevrolet 60+ Major. Vince went on to play for various Major and and Major Plus teams but has been committed to Florida Venom since 2016.
According to Rainer Marrtens, “Vince brings many attributes to the game. Of course, slow pitch softball is all about hitting and Vince does that very well. His batting average, playing at the highest skill level of the sport (Major/Major Plus) is in the high 700s. Because of his speed, he is continuously called upon to run for his slower teammates.”
Roy Hern adds, “He could play well in the infield or outfield; he was and is a five-tool ball player and turned out to be a great teammate. Our Joseph Chevrolet team won multiple national championships during Vince’s tenure with our team from 2007 to 2010.”
Robert Conrad writes, “Vince has earned 48 All-Tournament award and eight MVP awards with a consistent .765 to .900 OBP during the timeframe. Many of the All-Tournament and MVP awards (25) were achieved at the Major and Major Plus level.”
Anatol, known as "Tols", began senior softball at age 55 with Florida Heat Wave in 1997. He won his first World Championship in 1998 at the ASA Nationals in Pensacola, Florida. Tols went on to win over 35 National championships and was selected as Manager of the Year five times in FHC and in the SPA. Additionally, he is a member of the FHC Hall of Fame, FSSA Legends Hall of Fame, and Collier County Hall of Fame.
Ed Rose says of Tols, “I started playing with him at age 62 and he is now 79. He is as effective as he was at 62 and still hits .750 plus in most tournaments."
"I have played softball for the last 53 years with some of the best in the game. I can honestly say Tol's pitching is rated with the best."
Mike Gainer writes, "Tols has played and managed at the highest levels the entire time. He continues to excel on the field and is one of the best pitchers in all senior softball. I have played with and against Tols and can tell you, without a doubt, I would rather play with him."
Davey Reed states, "He is one of the best team players you could ask for. As a coach, Tols was firm but gentle and great to play for. He always put us first, turning down many All Tournament awards that he should have had."
Penne's career in Women's Senior Softball began in 2004, playing in the National Senior Games with the Colorado Hot Flashes, finishing second.
Penne has participated in well over 100 tournaments, including SPA, SSUSA, and ISSA. Teams she has played on have won National Championships, World Championships, gold medals at the Huntsman Senior Games and numerous regional events. As a member of these championship teams, she has won many individual awards and more rings than she can wear.
Penne continues to play the game she loves with passion, dedication, and respect. The memories and friendships she has made along the way will last forever.
Jamie Gowdy writes, “No matter what the association or level of competition, Penne continues to be one of the best senior women players in her age division in Colorado and perhaps the nation.”
According to Ruth Fellmeth, “Penne has played with our Freedom Spirit of Florida 75-80 team for the past several years even though she resides in Colorado. She is an excellent outfielder and a very consistent hitter. Most of our tournaments she receives the All American award for her outstanding play."
Karen Campbell states, “She has an outstanding 17-year career of playing in major tournaments all around this country and of winning numerous well deserved All Tournament and All World awards."
Bonnie L. Strang
Senior softball began for Bonnie when she retired in 2007 after 41 years of teaching, including coaching high school softball. She immediately reached out to her best friend, Harriet Mair, Senior Softball Hall of Fame member, who suggested Blue Chicks in Delaware. Bonnie played her first senior softball tournament with them in Maryland and was selected as MVP for the team. Wanting to play often, Bonnie played with as many teams as she could before becoming a permanent member of the Freedom Spirit of Fla.
Bonnie has participated in many major tournaments including the Huntsman Games and NSGA Games and was the 2020 recipient of the Maje McDonnell Award at the Philadelphia Phillies Phantasy Camp. As a Board Member of the Delaware Senior Olympics, she continues to direct, promote, and play softball at a high level.
Ruth Fellmeth writes, “Bonnie is a natural leader and has been playing softball almost all her life. Therefore, she is a very experienced and a natural ballplayer. She also directs qualifying games in Delaware which enables teams to enter the National Senior Softball games.”
According to Fred Dohrmann, “She is a complete student of the game and Bonnie’s athletic ability is remarkable. Beyond her athletic ability (which my players have observed), Bonnie takes the time to address the college team on the history of the game, the importance of positivity, gratitude and hard work.”
Michael Trachtenber states, “Bonnie has attended the Phillies Phantasy Camp since 2015. She has played aggressively at second base during these many years. She has been a consistent force at the plate as well, offering a game-winning hit for her team at our last camp in 2020.”
Howard A. Brinkley
Howard started his Senior Softball Career at the age of 56 when he was recruited by the Carolina Cobras out of North Carolina. He played first base for several years before being moved to pitcher. Due to the Carolina Cobras relocating their sponsorship to South Carolina, Howard moved on to the High Street Bucs out of Maryland. He continued his career with the Bucs until the age of 70. Between the two teams Howard has accumulated numerous awards including Best Defensive Player, MVP, All American, All Tournament, and All World.
To challenge himself, Howard moved up to play with the Superior 70 Major Plus Team in the last part of 2021. He continues to enjoy softball in his 70's and hopes to be able to play in his 80's.
Pat Carey says, "Howard has earned the respect of all who competed against him and have played with him. He is a player who leads by example and would never ask or expect a player to do something that he wouldn’t do himself."
Don Clatterbough writes, "Howard is a dedicated player who plays for the love of the game. He is also an outstanding offensive and defensive player."
John Davide states, "His pitching has thwarted many good hitting teams allowing his team to win many tournaments. A great pitcher in slow pitch can change and control a game. Howard has the ability to do that."
Todd, although being inducted for his playing ability and sportsmanship, is currently the coach of Dan Smith/FAI/Dudley 65s out of North Carolina. He started his Competitive senior softball career in 2010 with the Carolina A’s and the Triangle Masters. As a player, he earned 18 All Tournament or All American Selections from 2010 to 2021.
Stephen Pierson writes, "Todd is a devoted player and teammate that exhibits sportsmanship, character and class every time he takes the field. He has played for some of the most successful Senior Softball teams in the country."
"Todd is one of our sports most powerful long ball hitters and has won many a game at his final at bat. Besides the accolades he has received, many players who know him think his best attribute is his attitude. Teammates as well as opponents agree that he is an ambassador of Senior Softball."
According to Randy Thomas, "I was very impressed with Todd as a great player, but even more as a leader. He plays the game the way it was meant to be played, team first. Todd will do whatever it takes to win a game. As a teammate, he leads by example and his winning attitude inspires those around him."
Mike "Ratchet" Wingard states, "I've played with and against Todd for more than 20 years on the senior circuit. Todd's a super defensive infielder and a great hitter. He's won numerous All World and MVP at the highest level of Senior Softball and he's even a better teammate."
Tommie started playing Senior Softball in 2010 after a successful ASA/USSSA career. He plays left field and left center and is known as one of the best defensive players in Senior Softball. Over his impressive career he has received 10 All American/All World Awards, with four at the Major level and six at the Major Plus Level. Tommie has played on seven World Championship teams with the San Antonio 55's and Texas Crush Sixties.
According to John Roach, "Tommie is known for being a hard middle and home run hitter. He is an excellent outfielder with great speed and a very good arm. Consistently, he throws out runners at second, third, and home plate trying to advance. Tommie always strives to play his very best."
Robert Garcia says of Tommie, “He is that rare breed of player who improves team chemistry and camaraderie through his leadership and his fierce and inspired play."
Murray Williams writes, “Tommie is a true five-tool player, he is a great outfielder with an outstanding arm and has managed to maintain his speed as he has aged.”
“Becoming a HOF member takes more than being a great player, it takes being a great person as well and he has portrayed that in many ways for many years”, states Larry Carter.
Ron has been involved with softball since the early 1980s and started playing senior softball as a player/manager in 2009 with the East Coast/Junkies. He played with and managed the team for three years. He also played with and managed NE Storm beginning in 2012.
Ron was named Senior Softball Manager of the Year in 2013 and 2015 as The Storm were ISSA and SPA World Champions. During his career as a player, Ron hit 382 home runs and received 42 awards as a player.
Santo Denicker states, "Ronald is a great softball player who’s offensive and defensive skills are well known throughout senior softball. He is also one of the top home run hitters in the country."
In 1985, while playing in the ASA Worlds, Ron met Karen whom he later married. According to Ron, "She is the biggest blessing softball has given him."
Dana Kimmel has been playing senior softball since 1999. He began his Senior Softball career with Monkey Joes Big Nut Company. After coming close a couple of times, they won their first National Championship in Virginia in 2004.
Despite his many accolades, including National and World Championships and MVP/All American selections, Dana insists, "It has been a tremendous experience competing against the best players in the country. The friendships I have made along the way with fellow athletes is actually more valuable and important to me than any honor I could ever receive."
According to Joe Starr, "Dana may be one of the best and most consistent leadoff hitters in our illustrious game. His ability to excel on both sides of the game is a skill that is very rare at this level of play and age."
Mike Boone writes, "Dana’s hitting prowess is unmistakable. As I mentioned to other players, just throw a quarter out in the field and he will hit it."
Bill McCabe compliments Dana on his outstanding defensive play as an outfielder stating, "Dana seems to have a sixth sense as to where the ball will be hit and turns difficult plays into routine outs."
Rich began his senior softball career in 2010 after a brief career with the New York Yankees. He started his work career and took up softball as a hobby. He began playing third base with the Hollis Appraisals team replacing Ed Rose as he graduated to the 70+ age division.
Ed Rose states, "Rich was the perfect player to keep the Hollis Team winning tournaments and taking over where I left off. He is a much bigger, stronger player and contributed to 11 championships since joining the team. He commands respect at third base and at the plate as being one of the power hitters of the game still today."
Audie Hollis writes, "Rich was an exceptional player with a strong and accurate arm. His presence at the hot corner enabled Hollis Appraisals to win many games just because of his defense."
"The Karate Kid was always one of our top four batters being a prolific home run hitter and carried a high .750 average. Others may have similar stats, but what makes Rich special is his team attitude and great personality."
Over the past 18 years, Tim has played in and won numerous World and National tournaments. He was selected to 19 All World/All Tournament teams and received five MVP awards from national tournaments.
Tim currently holds membership with Anne Arundel County Senior Softball, Maryland Slow Pitch, and the Washington Metro Softball Hall of Fames. He has spent his Senior Softball career with the High Street Bucs.
William Cameron states, "Tim is a fierce competitor for one of the tough High Street Bucs teams from the Mid-Atlantic Region. His leadership and the example he sets for his team on and off the field has been instrumental in making the High Street Bucs one of the top teams on the East Coast."
Pat Carey writes, "Tim is a most honorable, trustworthy and competitive teammate and friend. His talent is unquestioned on both offense and defense as he plays both infield and outfield. Tim is a manager’s complete dream player."
Teammate Ron Collins says of Tim, "He is a tremendous athlete. More importantly, he is a great teammate and person. He is an outstanding fielder with a strong arm and well-honed ability to get a good jump on the ball leaving the hitter’s bat. Tim never stops playing to the best of his ability and motivates his teammates to do the same."
Randy "Doc" Thomas started his senior career around the age of 53 playing for the Rams out of Knoxville, Tenn. At the age of 61, he was given the opportunity to play with the No. 1 team in the world, Superior Softball, in the 60 Major Plus Division. With Randy in the outfield, Superior won all eight national and world tournaments that year, including the Triple Crown in Las Vegas.
Throughout his storied career, Randy has been a member of teams that have won over 20 national or world titles. In addition to these wins and awards, Randy has had numerous MVP, All Tournament, and All American selections.
John (Johnny) Scruggs Jr. states, "Randy is a true team player and always gives 100%. He is a strong lead-off hitter, has accuracy in throwing the ball, and runs like mad."
Ron Sandy says of him, "Randy is a great athlete and has a winner’s attitude that inspires his teammates. You always get at least 100% from Randy. He is a very good hitter and an outstanding outfielder."
William G. Cameron writes, "Randy is a fierce competitor who represents himself and his team with class. Doc is one of those gifted players that not only can hit but plays an outstanding outfield."
Terry began playing senior softball in 2010 with the Golden Girls in Virginia, but is currently playing with the East Coast Gems 55 Majors and Sluggers 60. Over the course of her career, she has been a member of teams winning more than 15 National and World titles on both the East and West Coast.
Terry has been selected to 12 All World teams and 5 All National teams, including two MVP awards and one Best Defensive player award.
Juanita Grandstaff writes, "I have played with, against, and watched Terry play for several years. She is an excellent defensive and offensive player who contributes to the team with her athletic abilities as well as her fierce competitive spirit. She gives 100% every time she walks onto the field."
Sandra Minor notes, " As a pitcher, she is one of those players you hate to see on deck. Knowing she is a consistent hitter adds pressure to get the batter out and keep runners off the bases."
Coach Will Grandstaff states, "Terry is an outstanding outfielder with the speed, agility, and arm strength necessary to not only make the routine play but also make the outstanding play."
"She is a threat at the plate with the ability to clear the bases with her long ball or move the runner with her strategically placed hit and is an excellent base runner.”
For more information about the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame, nominations for next year’s class and the voting process, please visit the Hall’s website at: http://www.sshof.org.