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Who was Jim Sherman?
July 1, 2023
Softball News Report
By Nic Francois
Merritt ‘Jim’ Sherman was an innovative senior softball player, tournament director, and was Senior Softball USA’s first National Umpire in Chief and Safety Officer.
Despite these impressive titles and achievements, anyone who knew Jim knows that barely scratches the surface of his story.
Starting with SSUSA in its founding, Jim played on W. E. ‘Bill’ Ruth’s team. Bill was the original President of SSUSA and owner of ISA.
As SSUSA and senior ball in general grew across the United States, Jim began working for SSUSA as an Umpire and then Tournament Director. Not only did he excel at these positions, his presence and hard work ethic improved the company, making SSUSA what it still is today.
Jim was instrumental in creating SSUSA safety policies. He wrote the ‘First Aid Basics’ page in the rulebook, just before the table of contents. He made sure SSUSA had defibrillators and CPR trained staff at every tournament. A former Firefighter, “Jim trained scores of SSUSA officials, umpires, players and managers at no charge” for years before his death, stated in SSUSA’s Memorial, located on the message board.
“Jim Sherman was a gentle giant,” said Fran Dowell, SSUSA Executive Director. “Jim took pride in training all our directors in first aid CPR training. Jim also helped to build the first aid kits that we still use today at the tournaments… We all benefited from his kindness.”
Senior Softball USA is still the only senior softball organization to have defibs at all tournaments run by SSUSA. This hard work and determination for safety led him to be SSUSA’s first Safety Officer.
Jim was inducted into Senior Softball USA’s Hall of Fame in 2009 as player. According to him, stated in his SSUSA memorial, his proudest achievement while paying was winning three consecutive Triple Grand Slams from 2005 to 2007.
Jim Sherman passed away on March 25, 2010, in Kent, Washington at the age of 71. According to his original memorial, he lost “a long and courageous fight against cancer.” On June 22, 2010, the first newly named Jim Sherman Memorial/Northwest Championships took place in Portland, Oregon.
Senior Softball USA will continue to honor him as the namesake for the Jim Sherman Memorial/Northwest Championships and will continue his dedication to safety in the sport he loved, senior softball.