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Oct. 1, 2011

ST. PETE BEACH, FLA. – Rules, awards, three Hall of Fame inductions and a sweeping proposal to change the format of tournaments dominated the SSUSA/ ISA Annual Convention here in December.

The Senior Softball-USA International Hall of Fame inducted John Chacon as player, JB Barner as umpire and Doc Metcalf as Senior Softball Ambassador at the gala Convention banquet.

The tournament format proposal evolved from a request to research a way to rate players, rather than teams.

“We know that most teams have players of various skill levels, but our current system rates every player according to the team rating,” said Terry Hennessy, SSUSA chief executive officer. “We were looking for a way to make our system more sophisticated so that we could take the various skill levels of players within a team.”

Hennessy approached Rainer and Julie Martens, who had recently completed publishing a Complete Guide to Softball, and were university professors studying sports.

After considerable research and work, the Martens found that rating players defied an answer, so they recommended that SSUSA look into tournament formats that would address some of the same concerns.

They developed the Pool Play System (PPS), which pools teams together in pool play in two general skill categories. After seeding, teams are further broken into competitive brackets.

A similar system was used and abandoned by both the SPA and Senior Softball World Series, because of problems controlling teams that “sandbagged” or played weakly in seeding round to land in lower division brackets. Rainer Martens said he is addressing the “sandbagging issue,” and has a number of suggestions on controlling the problem.

The SSUSA Rules Committee accepted Rainer Marten’s proposal to survey teams about the PPS system and agreed to try the system in tournaments this year in a pilot program.

In other action, the Rules Committee repealed the rule that restricted California and Florida teams from drawing players only from within their own borders. The committee ruled that all states should be treated equally; meaning all teams can draw players from their own states and touching states.

The Committee adopted a mercy rule for Major-Plus teams, relaxed the restriction on the number of higher skill level players allowed on teams in 2013, allowed an All-Deaf team to draw players from east or west of the Mississippi River, and ended a pilot program that allowed 75+ team players to be on more than one 75+ team.

(For a complete list of SSUSA Rules Committee action, please see the 2012 Tournament Guide or go to and click on messageboard.)

Three men were inducted into the SSUSA International Hall of Fame.

John Chacon of California, who won 37 National and World Championships, helped launch senior softball in Japan and has represented the United States in more than 30 countries was inducted in the Player Category for 2011.

“John is a well-known and well-respected symbol of the positive elements of Senior Softball,” said Hennessy. “He is a great competitor and a good athlete, who spreads his love of the game through good sportsmanship wherever he plays.”

JB Barner was inducted in the Umpire Category.

“JB chalked up a remarkable umpiring career,” said Fran Dowell, SSUSA executive director. “JB was Deputy ASA Commissioner of Delaware in charge of umpires from 1984-1990, umpiring the Nationals in Long Island in 1985 and the Class A Women’s Championships in Marietta, Ga., in 1989. He was named Umpire of the Year for USSSA in 1999 and was the Disney UIC for seven years.

“He became the Eastern National Umpire in Chief for Senior Softball-USA a decade ago and has been instrumental in training umpires all along the Eastern Seaboard,” said Dowell.

Gene “Doc” Metcalf was inducted into the Hall of Fame in a special category: Senior Softball Ambassador.

Doc, now 80, began playing senior softball in Arizona when he moved to the Phoenix area to retire 22 years ago.

“He not only played, but helped establish the Sun Lakes League and made a name for himself on the national tournament circuit with sharp humor and more than a little skill,” said Hennessy.

Metcalf has won five major World or National Championships and has been an ambassador for the sport for the better part of the last decade, including promotion in a full-length film that helped launch the sport in Japan.

In addition, the following awards were presented at the Convention:

Softball Complex of the Year: The Canyons Softball Complex in St. George, Utah

Tournament Director of the Year: Johnny Perry of Kentucky

Regional Director of the Year: Frank Galuppo of Florida

Umpire of the Year: Tom Bussey of California

Executive Director Award: Jerry Jackson of Illinois

Award of Excellence: Michael Boone of New Jersey

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