NOVEMBER 12, 2016 – SHREVEPORT, LA. — Eight individuals received softball’s highest honor on Saturday evening as the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball inducted eight members to the National Softball Hall of Fame at the 36th Annual celebration at the Shreveport Convention Center in Shreveport, La.
A night to remember, the 2016 class consisted of Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.) – Meritorious Service, Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) – Fast Pitch Player, Harry Haroian (Melvindale, Mich.) – Fast Pitch Player, Peter Meredith (Salt Lake City, Utah) – Fast Pitch Player, John Nelson (Dalton, Ga.) – Umpire, Tom Penders (Narrangansett, R.I.) – Fast Pitch Player, Terry Petersen (Omaha, Neb.) – Sponsor and Mick Renneisen (Bloomington, Ind.) – Meritorious Service.
Read more about the 2016 ASA/USA Softball Hall of Fame Class:
Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.) – Meritorious Service
Recently completing his fifth year as the U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach, Ken Eriksen has been alongside and at the forefront of coaching some of the greatest athletes the softball world has ever seen. Eriksen began playing ASA/USA Softball when he joined the Clearwater Bombers, playing from 1987-1992 while batting .347 in 1992 and .456 in the ASA Men’s Major Fast Pitch Nationals. Eriksen was a part of Miller-Toyota and the Tampa Smokers up until 1997 when he won the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship with his fellow teammates. Eriksen racked up additional honors on the international scene, earning a silver medal at the Pan American Games (1991) and was a three-time Olympic Festival participant (1993, 1994 and 1995), where he took home an additional silver medal at the 1995 Olympic Festival. Eriksen retired shortly after playing for the USA Select Team, which was the first American Athletic Team to compete in communist Cuba in over 30 years. After hanging up his cleats he remained in the game as a coach. His first Head Coach role came in 1997, when he led the USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team at the WBSC Junior Men’s World Championship in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Serving on the ASA/USA Softball Board of Directors, Eriksen contributed to the rewrite of criteria for the selection process to meet USOC mandates as an Elite Athlete Representative. Five years later, he joined the Women’s National Team as an assistant coach in 2002 – the same year the team captured a Gold Medal at the WBSC Women’s World Championship. A highlight of his Team USA coaching resume includes being an assistant coach in the 2003 Pan Am Games which won Gold and going on to coach at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens where the U.S. Olympic Softball Team would put on one of the most dominant performances in Olympic history. Eriksen tacked on another Gold Medal as an assistant coach at the WBSC Championship in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2011, Eriksen took over the Women’s National Team Program, continuing the legacy established before him and producing a Gold Medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. For the countless individuals within the ASA/USA Softball organization and the players he has coached, Ken Eriksen has made a lasting impact on the game of softball.
Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) – Fast Pitch Player
A two-time Olympian and Pan-American Gold Medalist in addition to being a three-time World Champion, Jennie Finch has become a well-known icon throughout the game of softball. Appearing in two Olympic Games, Finch was a mainstay on the U.S. pitching staff. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Finch was 2-0 from the circle en route to a Gold Medal finish for the U.S. Women. At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Finch compiled another 2-0 performance as the U.S. claimed Silver at the sport’s last Olympic Games. From her earliest days playing in the Junior Olympic program to her days playing with Team USA, Finch continues to be the face of softball, inspiring and motivating millions of young softball players across the globe. Earning All-American honors numerous times with solid performances in the circle, Finch has grown to become an ambassador of the sport and shares her message of athletics, family and faith throughout the country. A crusader for softball’s fight to return to the Olympics, Finch has made a lasting impression on the game and within the ASA/USA Softball organization.
Harry Haroian (Melvindale, Mich.) – Fast Pitch Player
A four-time All-American earning national honors, Harry Haroian was one of the premier fast pitch players in the 1960’s and 1970’s while playing on multiple teams in ASA/USA Softball championship play. Earning All-American honors four separate times, including two first-team selections, Haroian was not only an outstanding catcher but also a utility player who played on some of the top fast pitch teams in the country. A teammate of past Hall of Fame inductee, Carl Walker, Harry Haroian made an everlasting impression on the game of fast pitch softball and has earned numerous MVP awards and All-Tournament selections en route to his induction into the ASA/USA Softball Hall of Fame.
Peter Meredith (Salt Lake City, Utah) – Fast Pitch Player
One of the greatest pitchers in the history of ASA/USA Softball, Peter Meredith holds the record for most wins in ASA/USA Softball National Championship Play, compiling a 55-27 record at the time of his retirement in 2002. A 12-time All-American and four-time member of the USA Softball Men’s National Team, Meredith won silver at the 1995 Pan American Games in Mar del Plata, Mexico and pitched the U.S. to a Gold Medal at the 1998 WBSC Men’s World Championships in Saskatchewan, Canada. He also won a Bronze Medal as a member of the 2000 WBSC World Championship in East London, South Africa. Impressive stats including his 61 tournament wins, eight no-hitters, 100 strikeouts in a single tournament and 21 strikeouts in a single game are just a few highlighted accomplishments that have marked his exceptional career.
John Nelson (Dalton, Ga.) – Umpire
One of Georgia’s finest umpires, John Nelson has not only helped to further the game of softball at a state level but a national level as well. Having umpired in over 17 National Tournaments, ranging from Girls’ Slow Pitch to Men’s Super Slow Pitch, Nelson has received outstanding evaluations at all levels. While umpiring, colleagues of his say he had the utmost respect for the players, coaches and fans in the stands. Highly respected throughout the community, his impact has been prominent and he continually personifies what it takes to be a great umpire and true supporter of ASA/USA Softball. A member of the Umpire Medals Program since 1969 when he achieved Silver status, John has been a member of the National Indicator Fraternity since 1991, was WBSC certified in 1998 and achieved Elite status in 2003 in slow pitch. Off the field, he has spent time helping in the recruitment and training of new members as well as volunteering at umpire community events such as the Special Olympics, Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters and more.
Tom Penders (Narragansett, R.I.) – Fast Pitch Player
Combining to play 15 seasons across three different teams, including the legendary Raybestos Cardinals, Franklin Cardinals and Worchester Interstate Batterymen, Tom Penders won five National Championships and is considered as one of the greatest Fast Pitch players ASA/USA Softball has ever seen. Named first-team All-American in the 1975 and 1976 National Championships, Tom always found a way to get on base or get a key hit in the game. Fourteen ASA National Tournaments and six National ASA Finals also marked his notable career in addition to his performance on the 1984 WBSC World Games with Team USA, where they earned the Bronze Medal. Accumulating five National Championship rings is a feat only having accomplished by a handful of players during the 1969-84 era. Penders established a much-deserved reputation as a player who could serve in all areas of the game, becoming a defensive star in addition to his timely hits offensively. Contributing to the success of the 1976 National Championship team with the Raybestos Cardinals, he set a tournament record for highest fielding percentage, committing zero errors. A legendary NCAA men’s basketball coach, it was inevitable his path would lead to a career in softball as he grew up alongside his dad, who was an ASA Commissioner in Stratford. Throughout his playing career, Penders was a versatile player who was willing to do whatever it took for the good of the team.
Milton “Terry” Petersen (Omaha, Neb.) – Sponsor
For more than 33 years, Milton “Terry” Petersen, or as everyone likes to call him, “T”, has been instrumental in providing support to multiple ASA/USA Softball teams. Passionate about the game of softball and the number ‘13’, T’s 13 teams have recorded a combined 3,300-plus wins – a record of successes that will go down in the history books in ASA/USA Softball history. One of the winningest coaches, sponsors and managers in ASA/USA Softball Men’s Slow Pitch Softball history, T’s 13 has competed in 34-consecutive ASA/USA Softball National Championships. Combining for a win-loss record of .796 over a span of 33 years, notable highlights include 14 Top 10 Class A National Championship finishes, seven Top Five finishes and two Class A National Championship titles. Those close to him say, “If you are a talented slow pitch player in Nebraska or Western Iowa, you want to play for Terry Petersen.” Diligently promoting ASA/USA Softball on both a state and national level, Petersen connects and stays connected with those with whom he has worked – creating a family that many players aspire to join. With his class and integrity for the sport of softball, Petersen, in his own way, has put Nebraska softball on the map and made an impact on each player he has coached and managed over the years.
Mick Renneisen (Bloomington, Ind.) – Meritorious Service
A dedicated administrator in the softball community, Mick Renneisen has a long history of working to build consensus toward making the game of softball better for all those who participate. Renneisen has held numerous leadership positions at the state and national level. In addition to his 25-year playing career, Renneisen has served in a variety of positions, including local league and state and national tournament director, ASA representative for national tournaments, parks and recreation department administrator, at-large player representative, allied member, committee chair, Midwest Region Director, and member of the ASA/USA Softball Board of Directors. Currently, Renneisen serves as the Commissioner for Indiana ASA/USA Softball while also serving his community of Bloomington as Deputy Mayor. His ability to maintain a grounded focus among a large group for the enhancement of the game of softball is what has set him apart from others. Those who work with Renneisen say his commitment and dedication to each and every role is not only motivating, but inspiring to others in his community and around ASA/USA Softball at a state and national level. Serving as a key member on the Equipment Testing and Certification Committee for over 10 years, his solid decision-making has been integral in the regulation of equipment. As chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee, he has been effective at implementing change in order to grow the game by using sound surveying and planning principles to lead change efforts. Needless to say, the impact that Renneisen has made will leave a lasting imprint on ASA/USA Softball.
In addition to honoring eight individuals with their induction into the National Softball Hall of Fame, the Class of 2017 was also announced following the conclusion of the Hall of Fame Committee meeting earlier in the day. Inductees in the Class of 2017 are: Mike Candrea (Tucson, Ariz.) – Meritorious Service, Jimmy Derrick (Douglasville, Ga.) – Umpire, Gary Evans (Mason, Mich.) – Umpire, Dick Gulmon (Valley City, N.D.) – Meritorious Service, Mark Martin (Fayetteville, Ark.) – Slow Pitch Player, Rick Minton (Cerro Gordo, Ill.) – Fast Pitch Player, Robert Quinn (Branchville, N.J.) – Fast Pitch Player, Willie Simpson (Oak Lawn, Ill.) – Slow Pitch Player, Evans Telegadas (Scottsdale, Ariz.) – Fast Pitch Player.
The 37th induction ceremony will take place on at the 86th Annual ASA/USA Softball Council Meeting, which will be held in Greensboro, N.C. Rules and guidelines to nominate potential Hall of Fame candidates for 2018 are available at USASoftball.com. There is a deadline submission of September 1, 2017.
About ASA/USA Softball
Founded in 1933, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball is the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, ASA/USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 70 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than two million. ASA/USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won 10 World Championship titles as well as claimed eight World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about ASA/USA Softball, please visit http://www.asausasoftball.com/.