OKLAHOMA CITY — Eight of softball’s finest who left their mark on USA Softball history were formally inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame this evening at the 38th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. In front of nearly 500 friends, family members and administrators from all across the country, it was an evening that celebrated the accomplishments and moments that forever left a mark on the history of the sport of softball.
Inducted in the 2018 class were: 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), and Charles Wright (Slow Pitch Player).
Read more about each inductee below:
Dick Brubaker - A staple of the Home Savings & Loan squad for 13 years, Dick Brubaker brought one of the best physical and mental approaches to the game of Men’s Fast Pitch softball. With an unconventional start in the Men’s Fast Pitch national scene, Brubaker played in his first USA Softball National Championship at the age of 36, but it didn’t take long for the Illinois native to make a name for himself. With a lightning-fast delivery, “Bru’s” trademark grunt and hard drop ball would baffle batters at the plate well into his final season with Home Savings & Loan in 1984. In his illustrious career, Brubaker amassed a 337-63 record and a stifling 0.63 ERA, four times earning USA Softball All-American honors while finishing runner-up at the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship five times. These notable accolades also earned him a spot on the 1972 USA Softball Men’s National Team, which earned silver at the 1972 WBSC Men’s World Championship. Brubaker went 4-1 in the circle with a 0.18 ERA and provided for his team at the plate, going 5-for-15 (.333) with one run scored as the U.S. finished with a Silver Medal.
Crystl Bustos - One of the most feared hitters to ever step up to the plate, Crystl Bustos is considered one of the all-time greats. Between 1999-2008, Bustos helped Team USA to two Olympic Gold Medals, an Olympic Silver Medal, three Pan American Championship Gold Medals and a WBSC World Championship Gold Medal. Getting her first run with the Women’s National Team at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, she made an immediate impact as she led the team with 18 hits, three home runs and 15 RBI. Bustos would continue to be a valuable asset to the American offense, compiling an Olympic-career stat line of 26 runs scored, 14 home runs, 24 RBI and a .372 (30-for-85) batting average. A rugged slugger, Bustos also has the distinction of holding two individual Olympic records: most RBI (10) and most home runs (5), and she, along with her 2004 Olympic teammates, were inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame for their outstanding performance at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
John Daniels - An avid supporter of USA Softball for over 30 years, John Daniels has been supporting teams in the top echelon of Men’s Slow Pitch softball since the mid-nineties. Having served as a player, manager and sponsor, Daniels captured his first national title as a sponsor of Long Haul/TPS at the Men’s Major Slow Pitch National Championship and followed with his second in that division in 2000. The following year, Daniels sponsored what many consider to be one of the greatest teams assembled in the Men’s Super Slow Pitch Division, Long Haul/Taylor Brothers/Shen Valley/TPS. The team accomplished what only one other team in the history of Men’s Slow Pitch has done: winning every major national championship there was to win in their class to capture the “Grand Slam” in slow pitch softball. In all, Daniels has sponsored nine USA Softball National Championship teams.
Ricky Huggins - The only player in the history of USA Softball to be named MVP in the three highest classifications of slow pitch softball (Men’s Major, Men’s Class A and Men’s Super Slow Pitch), Ricky Huggins is a renowned southern slugger. An 11-time All-American, Huggins pitched his teams to a total of nine USA Softball National Championships: two Men’s Class A titles, two Men’s Major titles and five Men’s Super titles. Huggins provided plenty of power at the plate, averaging a .650 batting average during those nine title years, a feat which would earn him a spot on USA Softball’s 1990’s Team of the Decade. Slugging over 3,000 home runs through his storied slow pitch softball career, Huggins legendary swing also landed him a line of exclusive Worth slow pitch bats.
Todd Joerling - Joerling got his start when he was 14 years old after stepping in to play for his brother’s team in order to avoid a forfeit. As the saying goes, the rest is history. He is a 16-time national champion who earned USA Softball All-American accolades 10 times during his storied career, including an MVP nod in 1999 at the Men’s Super Slow Pitch National Championship. With over 2,000 home runs hit during his 13-year career at the major level, Joerling’s play also earned him a spot on the first-ever USA Softball Men’s Slow Pitch National Team, which defeated Canada at the inaugural Border Battle. While his achievements on the field speak for themselves, many refer to Joerling as a true ambassador of the game.
Bill Silves - Loved by his peers and respected by teams, William “Wild Bill” Silves was a highly respected USA Softball umpire for over 45 years. At the age of 18, he attended his first umpire school, which began a life-long passion for the sport of softball. After putting in the work on the field, Bill’s skills earned him the opportunity to umpire at his first USA Softball National Championship at the 1979 Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship, where he would be assigned to the Championship Game. His accolades continued as he got the call at three more USA Softball National Championships and several WBSC-sanctioned events in Canada. While his on-field achievements show the amount of work he put into his craft, Bill is also well respected for his efforts to grow the umpire program off the field. Having served as an Umpire-in-Chief locally, regionally and nationally, his commitment to the growth and development of umpires is second-to-none. Having served as an instructor at 27 USA Softball National Umpire Schools, Bill’s infectious enthusiasm sets the gold standard for the USA Softball Umpire program.
Christa Williams - A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time World Champion, Christa Williams is one of the best pitchers to come out of the Houston area. Having already pitched the United States to a WBSC Junior Women’s World Championship in 1995, Williams was the youngest member on the inaugural U.S. Olympic Softball team in 1996 when the sport debuted in the Atlanta Olympic Games. Proving age is just a number, Williams went a perfect 2-0 in the circle, allowing no earned runs to cross the plate while striking out 15 batters in her Olympic debut. She followed with another 2-0 showing in the circle for the United States at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia as the United States claimed their second Olympic Gold Medal. In addition to her international accolades, Williams also made a name for herself at the national level, earning USA Softball All-American honors at the Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship twice.
Charles Wright - Between 1993-1997, Charles Wright played for some of the top Men’s Slow Pitch teams in the country. Known for his smooth play at third base and his power at the plate, Wright earned USA Softball All-American honors 12 times and twice earned MVP honors at the Men’s Super Slow Pitch National Championship. Playing for legendary teams like Steele’s Sports and Ritch’s Superior, Wright’s top performance came in the 1986 season when he led the country with 503 home runs while hitting an astounding .771 throughout the year. He was also a member of the 1992 Ritch’s Superior squad, which was the first-ever team to win every major title, also known as the “Grand Slam”, in slow pitch softball. Statistics don’t lie, which is why many consider Wright to be in the Top 5 of all-time greatest slow pitch softball players in the history of the sport.
The 2019 National Softball Hall of Fame Class will be announced on Sunday, October 28 during the General Council Opening Session.
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 through a network of Local Associations, which includes all 50 states and select metro 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 USA Softball National Team programs 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.