OKLAHOMA CITY – The National Softball Hall of Fame welcomed nine new members as USA Softball held its 40th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony this evening. With nearly 350 friends, family members and administrators from all across the country in attendance, the ceremony honored the accomplishments, history-making moments and milestones of the nine inductees who helped shape the sport of softball.
Inducted in the 2020 class were: Phil Gutierrez (Meritorious Service), Lovieanne Jung (Fast Pitch Player), Terry Muck (Fast Pitch Player), Bill Pfeiffer (Fast Pitch Player), Doug Roberson (Slow Pitch Player), Carl Rose (Slow Pitch Player), Natasha Watley (Fast Pitch Player), Cecil Whitehead (Slow Pitch Player), and Curtis Williams (Slow Pitch Player).
Read more about each inductee below:
Phil Gutierrez (Las Cruces, N.Mex.) - Meritorious Service
A career that spanned 44 years with USA Softball, Phil Gutierrez has played a significant role on numerous lives through the sport of softball. Gutierrez began his career with USA Softball as an umpire in 1975, finding success at the high school, collegiate and ASA National level. He has umpired four Men’s Major National Championships, receiving phenomenal rating for each of them. Starting in 1989, Gutierrez began his Umpire in Chief (UIC) career when he was appointed as SoCal North San Diego District UIC, serving as Deputy State UIC. A 2006 umpire Inductee to the San Diego County Sports Officials Hall of Fame as a Softball Umpire, Gutierrez developed, maintained, and continually improved an Umpire Training Program renowned throughout the country. His passion continued beyond the field with the appointment to Commissioner of Southern California in 2007 where he led SoCal to become the top association annually for team, individual and umpire registrations. While serving as a Council Member, Gutierrez co-chaired and chaired several committees including the chair of the newly formed Communications Committee. In 2011, he was elected as President of USA Softball, representing USA Softball at International Softball Federation (ISF) meetings and events. His influence, dedication and ambitious nature was not only felt locally, but nationally and internationally.
Lovieanne Jung (Fountain Valley, Calif.) - Fast Pitch Player
An Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist as well as a two-time Pan American Games Gold Medalist and World Champion, Lovieanne Jung was one of the best and smartest infielders to ever play the game. As an eight-year team member of the United States Women’s National Team, Jung served as ‘quarterback’ of the U.S. defense, calling all coverages and positioning the defense for opposing offenses. Her tremendous skill set combined with her knowledge of the game allowed her to be the most proactive player on the field, always seeing things before they occurred in the game. Jung was a part of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team, dubbed “The Real Dream Team”, that dominated their way to the Gold Medal in the Athens Olympic Games and earned a spot in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Jung played the role of a true leader, demonstrating an admirable work ethic and always being an accountable teammate. Dedication, passion, and hard work are only a few of Jung’s championship traits, though, as service and taking care of people are both things she partakes in today. Jung currently works as a firefighter for the Riverside Fire Department while continuing to serve the sport of softball as an Elite Representative on the Women’s Selection Committee.
Terry Muck (Oakland, Calif.) - Fast Pitch Player
The resume of Fast Pitch Softball player Terry Muck clearly reveals he was one of the best of his era. He was barely 5’6 inches tall and perhaps weighed 150 pounds, but Muck was a mountain of a man as a fast pitch softball player. A five-time All-American and a nine-year member of the legendary Home Savings team, Muck and his teammates made 11 ASA National Championship appearances. Muck was the premier middle infielder of his time with a range that allowed few balls through the infield. Known for his small size and impressive speed, Muck encompassed the perfect attributes for a leadoff hitter while providing power that allowed him to occasionally shift to 3-hole in the Saver lineup. In addition to his All-American honors, Muck was named the 1973 national leading hitter while also earning a feat as the 1976 national homerun leader. Aside from his outstanding skill as a softball player, Muck was better known as an outstanding individual with great integrity and character.
Bill Pfeiffer (Aurora, Ill.) - Fast Pitch Player
Bill Pfeiffer exemplifies a true love for the game of softball that has allowed him to excel in many parts of the sport. A 15-year member of the Home Savings team in Aurora, Illinois, Pfeiffer helped lead his squad to 13 ASA National Championship appearances. Pfeiffer was also a member of the USA Softball Men’s National team that earned a Silver Medal at the first-ever Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. An eight-time All-American selection, Pfeiffer never stopped working to ensure his full potential was being reached on the field. His statistics alone prove excellence in the sport, but it was his character that left a mark on his surrounding peers. Following his retirement from softball, Pfeiffer took his same diligence he showcased on the field in becoming a Co-Founder of the Aurora Fast Pitch Softball Association. Pfeiffer continues to serve as a member of the Association in hopes to keep the game alive and well in the Chicago Metro area.
Doug Roberson (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) - Slow Pitch Player
One of the best outfielders of all time, Doug Roberson is considered to have had one of the strongest arms ever seen in slow pitch softball. Known as an absolute powerhouse on both sides of the field, Roberson slugged over 2,000 homeruns in his 14-year playing career, totaling a season high of 672 in his 1987 season. In addition to hitting the long ball, Roberson was an RBI machine, averaging around 20 RBIs a game. Roberson earned ASA accolades 11 times during his storied career, including Outstanding Defensive Player at the 1990 ASA Super Nationals. He was a member of six ASA Super National Championships, two National MVP awards, two National Defensive MVP awards and 27 National/World Championships. While his accomplishments speak for themselves, many refer to Roberson as a true ambassador of the game.
Carl Rose (Valdosta, Ga.) - Slow Pitch Player
Carl Rose is synonymous with homerun, totaling over 2,300 long balls throughout his playing career –– a feat that earned him eight All-American selections. A two-time batting leader and three-time homerun leader, Rose became one of few players in history to lead the country in both categories with a .751 batting average and 240 homeruns during his 1991 season. With a playing career that spanned over 15 years, Rose collected 20 All-World Selections with two National MVP awards and one Defensive MVP award. Aside from his dominance on the field, Rose was an unselfish teammate that was well-known and well-liked on and off the field. Following his storied slow pitch softball career, Rose’s legendary power at the plate landed him a signature bat, the Carl Rose Lighthouse Bat –– a Worth best seller.
Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) - Fast Pitch Player
One of the most powerful athletes to ever play our sport, Natasha Watley embodies every characteristic of a USA Softball Hall of Famer. A career with the United States Women’s National Team that spanned nine years, Watley became an immediate gamechanger for Team USA. With the ability to hit for power and average while also using her speed in the short game, Watley was the true definition of a triple threat, making her one of the most feared hitters for any defense. In addition to her offensive dominance, Watley shined as an All-American short stop with a range that allowed few balls to reach the outfield. As a member of the storied 2004 Olympic Softball Team that dominated at the Athens Olympic Games, Watley and her teammates were inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. With an Olympic Gold and Silver Medal, three World Championship titles and two Pan American Games Gold Medals, Watley’s accomplishments speak for themselves –– but it was her humility, class, pride and passion for the game that set her apart. After retiring from the sport in 2010, Watley continues to be an inspiration and leader in her work with the Natasha Watley Foundation bringing her knowledge, passion, and hope to the next generation of young ladies. Watley also continues to give back to the sport through motivational speaking and coaching.
Cecil Whitehead (Valdosta, Ga.) - Slow Pitch Player
When you talk about slow pitch players in the game of softball, Cecil Whitehead is one of the names that comes to mind. With a playing career that spanned 14 years, Whitehead is known to be one of the top five outfielders of all time. A six-time All-American, Whitehead was a member of two Super National Championships, two Major National Championships and four Super National Runner-ups. In addition to his All-American honors, Whitehead garnered 25 All-World Selections with three National MVP awards and 22 National/World Championships. A member of the Ritch’s-Superior squad, Whitehead helped claim 10 of 12 Grand Slam titles as well as 31 championships in three years while averaging a .651 batting average with 258 homeruns. Statistics don’t lie, which is why many consider Whitehead to be in the Top 5 of all-time greatest slow pitch softball players in the history of the sport.
Curtis Williams (Milton, Fla.) - Slow Pitch Player
Curtis Williams played the highest classification of softball for over 30 years, earning his first All-American award in 1977 and his last in 2000, the longest span between such awards in softball history. A 13-time All-American selection, Williams was a member of 10 National Championship titles throughout his storied playing career. In addition to his All-American honors, Williams was also awarded MVP of the 1982 Smoky Mountain Classic. Williams slugged an impressive .880 batting average, a feat that named him the 1988 Men’s Major Slow Pitch batting leader. His continued dominance in the game helped earn him 20 All-World selections with three National Defensive MVP awards.