ISC HALL OF FAME –
CANADIANS DOMINANT FOR CLASS OF 2018
By John Thompson
The International Softball Congress Hall of Fame Selection committee is pleased to confirm that the ISC Board of Directors approved a slate of six outstanding Canadian nominees for induction into the International Softball Congress as the Class of 2018. The inductees include three players, an umpire, an administrator and a recipient of the Bob Welby Memorial Recognition of Service Award.
Four of the inductees were born in Ontario, while the others have origins in Manitoba and Newfoundland.
Rob Gray – Vaughan ON
Rob Gray, 43, resides in Vaughan ON and had his ISC debut in 1996 with the Toronto ON Gators. Possessing a keen batting eye, Rob carved a career spanning 15 seasons that resulted in an impressive .339 batting average that included 17 home runs. Rob suited up for eight different club teams, with his prominence primarily with the Madison WI Farm Tavern (2004-09). He played in six ISC Championship games and was a three-time ISC Champion with the Tampa Bay FL Smokers (1998), Marathon WI County Materials (2005) and Madison WI Farm Tavern (2007). Rob earned All-World status four times with Portage WI County Classics (2001), Marathon WI County Classics (2003), and twice with the Madison WI Farm Tavern (2004 and 2005). Rob retired following his 2010 season as a member of the Kitchener ON Rivershark Twins. .
Sean O’Brien – Brockville ON
Sean O’Brien, 46, was born in Newfoundland and made his inaugural ISC appearance as a member of the Owen Sound ON Selects in 2000. His decade long career ended in 2010 as a member of the ISC Champion Jarvis ON Travelers. During his eleven year career, Sean was also a member of the back-to-back champion Amsterdam NY Broken Bow Spirit. He earned ISC All-World honors on five occasions – 2002 and 2003 with Amsterdam NY Spirit; 2008 and 2009 with Saskatoon SK Aspen Interiors, and in his final 2010 season with the champion Jarvis ON Travelers. During his illustrious career, Sean batted .304, including four tournaments when he batted .400 or higher.
Paul Rosebush, Bakersfield CA
Paul Rosebush, 42, originally from Ontario, started his ISC career in 1999 as a member of the Oshawa ON Gators and quickly established himself as a feared top-of-the order hitter with a career .330 batting average. In 2000, he joined the Madison WI Farm Tavern for the first of nine seasons where he earned ISC All-World laurels at three tournaments (2001, 2003 and 2008), helped his team to seven top four finishes, played in three championship games and was a member of The Farm Championship squad in 2007. Paul finished his ISC career in 2011 as a member of the Bakersfield CA Angels.
Bruce Bierman – Ayr ON
Bruce Bierman of Ayr ON has enjoyed a lengthy career in softball as an umpire and official. Within the ISC he has served for twenty years, and assumed the role as the Umpire in Chief for ISC qualifiers in 1987 and was the UIC for the inaugural ISC II in Kitchener in 2002 and again in 2006. In 2006, he also assumed the role of UIC for the ISC and has held that position for twelve years, including the 2017 championship in Grand Rapids MI. Bruce was recognized as a “Legend” in the Officials category of the Kitchener-Woodstock based Legends tournament in 2008, and was inducted into the Softball Canada Hall of Fame in Winnipeg MB in 2015.
Ferdi Nelissen – Portage LaPrairie MB
Concurrent to a lengthy career during which Ferdi Nelissen of Portage LaPrairie MB played and coached in 15 ISC World Tournaments from 1988 to 2002, he also served as an ISC volunteer commencing in 1993. For 17 years until 2009 Ferdi was an ISC Area Commissioner for Western Canada. In addition he served on, and eventually chaired the Rules Committee for 14 years, and was elected as the ISC Canadian Vice-President and a member of the Executive Committee in 1999. With an obvious passion for the sport, Ferdi spent huge amounts of time at the ball park during ISC Championship tournaments, including many hours as a member of the broadcast crew for the internet streaming of games, helping to promote the ISC world-wide.
BOB WELBY MEMORIAL RECOGNITION OF SERVICE AWARD
Jim Hallman- Kitchener ON
Jim Hallman and his family have had a long-time love affair with softball as local players, corporate sponsors and team/league administrators. At the ISC level, Jim became a co-sponsor in 2002 of the Waterloo Twins who at that time were one of the longest participating senior teams in Canada. In 2005, Jim assumed primary sponsorship creating the Kitchener Hallman Twins and was very supportive of Kitchener’s hosting of the ISC Championship in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, following an amalgamation with the Orillia ON Quaker Riversharks, the new look Rivershark Twins became just the 2nd Canadian team to win the highly competitive ISC Championship. The Hallman family was also instrumental in forming the Kitchener Cubs, a team that has also consistently competed in the ISC annual tournaments. Jim’s support and enthusiasm has been instrumental in keeping competitive men’s fastball alive in the Kitchener-Waterloo Community.
The ISC Hall of Fame Class of 2018 induction continues the tradition of casting a spotlight on outstanding individuals who have participated in or contributed to the International Softball Congress. The six new inductees will be honored in a fashion similar to previous recognition ceremonies that have been hosted annually since the initial presentation in 1965. The 2018 induction is scheduled for Sunday August 12, 2018 at 8 am (doors open at 7:30 am) as part of the 2018 ISC World Tournament hosted for the fifth time in Kitchener ON.