Nine softball legends forever enshrined into the National Softball Hall of Fame at 37th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Nine individuals received softball’s highest honor on Saturday evening as USA Softball inducted nine members to the National Softball Hall of Fame at the 37th Annual celebration at the Sheraton Greensboro.
A night to remember, the 2017 class consisted of 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, Bob Quinn (Branchville, N.J.) – Fast Pitch Player, Willie Simpson (Oak Lawn, Ill.) – Slow Pitch Player and Evans Telegadas (Scottsdale, Ariz.) – Fast Pitch Player.
Read more about the 2017 National Softball Hall of Fame Class:
Mike Candrea (Tucson, Ariz.) – Meritorious Service
Mike Candrea is synonymous with softball success. His resume with the USA Softball Women’s National Team spanned over a decade, starting first as an assistant coach in 1994 on the Women’s World Championship team that captured the Gold Medal in Canada. Beginning in 2002, Candrea took over the helm of the Women’s National Team, during which time the U.S. captured two World Championship Gold Medals, two Pan-American Gold Medals, two World Cup titles, one Olympic Gold Medal and one Olympic Silver Medal. With a passion for making world-class athletes and individuals, Candrea was a driving force behind some of the most dominating performances in international softball. “I don’t just want to win, I want to dominate,” is a phrase Coach Candrea echoed during the journey to the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Making his words a reality, Team USA recorded one of the most dominant Olympic performances in history, outscoring opponents 51-1. After retiring from his Head Coach duties following the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Candrea continued his involvement with USA Softball as the Director of Coaching Education, where he took on a series of educational roles to continue the development of the sport both domestically and internationally.
Jimmy Derrick (Douglasville, Ga.) – Umpire
With an infectious enthusiasm, professional pride, and love for the game of softball, Jimmy Derrick’s resume speaks for itself. Regarded by his peers as one of the top slow pitch umpires in the game, Derrick has worked some of the highest levels of men’s slow pitch softball. Whether at the Slow Pitch Championship Series or the international Border Battle, Jimmy has proven to be the consummate professional both on and off the field. Boasting a resume of 19 National Championship appearances, he continues to share his love for the game through his contributions to the USA Softball Umpire program as a member of the National Umpire Staff. Serving as the Region 3 Umpire-in-Chief, Derrick is a skilled instructor through National and Local Umpire Schools and Clinics. A dynamic instructor, he is a leader in the interactive learning process for the umpire program. With a belief that “you must give respect to earn respect,” Derrick’s approach to the game truly encompasses what being a USA Softball Umpire is all about.
Gary Evans (Mason, Mich.) – Umpire
Having been involved with USA Softball for almost 50 years, Gary is considered one of the top umpires within USA Softball of Michigan. A firm believer in taking advantage of the valuable training USA Softball offers to its umpires, Evans applied the lessons learned and always gave 100% on the ballfield. His dedication to his craft led him to a path of national excellence, as he got the call at eight National Championships and served as an Umpire-in-Chief or Assistant Umpire-in-Chief in five National Championships. A true mentor for his fellow umpires, Evans took on the role of Michigan UIC, a position he held for 15 years, where he helped lead countless District and State clinics and National Umpire Schools. His insight, knowledge and love for the game will have an everlasting impact on the Michigan umpire community.
Dick Gulmon (Valley City, N.D.) – Meritorious Service
At a time when the sport of softball was at a crossroads with new equipment technology, Dick Gulmon played an integral role in the Certified Equipment standards of USA Softball. Having been involved in the game at a variety of levels, Gulmon personifies leadership through his contributions to the sport. In addition to his playing and management of teams during his career, Gulmon has also served in a variety of leadership capacities. Serving on the North Dakota Board of Directors and Classification Committee since 1989, Gulmon was appointed President of USA Softball of North Dakota in 1996 and became Commissioner in 2013. At the National level, Gulmon has served on the USA Softball Board of Directors and has served on the Council for over 20 years. Gulmon has also served on various USA Softball Committees. His most noteworthy position is his role as Chairman of the Equipment Testing & Certification Committee, a role he has held since 2005. In this role, Gulmon spearheads the efforts in the development of state-of-the-art bat and ball testing protocol which help level the playing field. A great ambassador for USA Softball, Gulmon is and has been a leader of change throughout the sport of softball.
Mark Martin (Fayetteville, Ark.) – Slow Pitch Player
When you talk about champion slow pitch players in the game of softball, Mark Martin is one of the names that comes to mind. With a playing career that spanned over 20 years, Mark was an unselfish teammate who inspired his teammates both on and off the field. A seven-time All-American, Martin was a member of four National Championship teams as a member of Bell Corp. In 1989, Martin was selected to play in the Olympic Festival at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium and led the East Team with a .743 batting average. Known for hitting some of the longest home runs ever witnessed in the game, Martin had a 535 ft. home run recorded in 2009 in Las Vegas while playing in the 50-Over division for Hollis Appraisals at a Senior National Championship. His dominance in the game helped earn him the title of “Outstanding Softball Player” by the Orlando Amateur Athletic Association three times and he is also a member of the Orlando Hall of Honor. Martin also contributed to the game through his role on the Wilson Sporting Goods Advisory staff from 1990-97.
Rick Minton (Cerro Gordo, Ill.) – Fast Pitch Player
With a career at the major level that spanned 15 years, Rick Minton was a sparkplug and vocal leader of the legendary Decatur Pride. A six-time All-American, Minton collected two Men’s Major National Championships, his first in 1994 and his second in 1995, as a member of the Pride and also earned two Men’s 40-Over National Championships in 1999 and 2000. With his quick glove, great anticipation and accurate arm, Minton was a renowned defensive magician at second base with play so steady that it earned him a spot on four Men’s National Team rosters. Twice Minton earned a Pan American Games Silver Medal, 1987 and 1991, and in 1988 he was a member of the last Gold Medal winning United States team at the World Championship. He also was named to three U.S. Sports Festival teams, earning a Silver Medal finish at each appearance.
Bob Quinn (Branchville, N.J.) – Fast Pitch Player
Best known for his rock solid defense, clutch plays and aggressive base running, Robert “Bob” Quinn was one of the most fundamentally sound players on the field. A key player on the legendary Raybestos Cardinals, and later Franklin Cardinals, Quinn earned four National Championship titles during his 15-year career. Regarded as one of the best middle infielders in the game, he also made a name for himself as an offensive igniter. A two-time All-American, Quinn received softball’s highest honor in 1979 when he was chosen as a member of the Men’s Fast Pitch National Team, which would go on to win the Silver Medal at the Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He would follow with a Bronze Medal at the 1984 World Championship in Midland, Mich. In addition to his Team USA and All-American accolades, Quinn was also selected to four All-Star Series during his playing career. His teammates would say his greatest attribute was that when the game was on the line and you needed a big play, Quinn was your guy.
Willie Simpson (Oak Lawn, Ill.) – Slow Pitch Player
Regarded as the greatest clutch hitter and toughest competitor in 16-Inch softball, Willie “Steamer” Simpson was one of the last guys you wanted to face when the game was on the line. Always clutch at the plate, Simpson is a six-time All-American, 10-time National Champion and two-time MVP of the Men’s 16-Inch National Championship. Spending most of his career with the Bobcats out of Chicago, Simpson helped his team come out of the loser’s bracket in the 1979 National Championship, including seven-straight wins on Championship Sunday. Finishing his playing career after the 1988 season, Simpson’s loyalty to team play was reflective in his tenure with the Bobcats. When asked what his strong points were, Simpson quickly replied it was his team mentality, noting: “I got a lot of clutch hits, but you know somebody has to put you in that situation. There were always guys who were on base ahead of me. It takes 10 or 11 guys to play a softball game.”
Evans Telegadas (Scottsdale, Ariz.) – Fast Pitch Player
Playing on multiple teams in National Championship Play, Evans Telegadas earned six All-American honors throughout his career. An outstanding shortstop, he played in nine Men’s Major National Championships and was known to make big plays when the stakes were high. Winning the 1979 Men’s Major National Championship as a member of McArdle Pontiac-Cadillac, Telegadas and his teammates earned the opportunity to represent the United States at the WBSC World Championship in Tacoma, Wash. Telegadas earned a Gold Medal with his fellow teammates through his competitive nature and all-around talent. Holding a .336 lifetime batting average, Telegadas understood the need to put aside personal goals for the accomplishments of the team, a quality that in addition to his career accolades has certainly earned a Hall of Fame honor.
In addition to honoring eight individuals with their induction into the National Softball Hall of Fame, the Class of 2018 was also announced following the conclusion of the Hall of Fame Committee meeting earlier in the day. The Class of 2018 inductees include: Dick Brubaker (Fast Pitch Player), Crystl Bustos (Fast Pitch Player), John Daniels (Sponsor), Ricky Huggins (Slow Pitch Player), Todd Joerling (Slow Pitch Player), Bill Silves (Umpire), Christa Williams (Fast Pitch Player), Charles Wright (Slow Pitch Player).
The 38th induction ceremony will take place at the 87th Annual USA Softball Council Meeting, which will be held in Oklahoma City, Okla. Rules and guidelines to nominate potential Hall of Fame candidates for 2019 are available at USASoftball.com. There is a deadline submission of September 1, 2018.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, 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 2 million. USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch. USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships. The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.
As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.