softball-canada

(Ottawa, ON) - Softball Canada is pleased to announce that Phyllis Bomberry (Athlete), Don Bracey (Official), Gil Read (Builder), the 1949 Tip Top Tailors (Team) and Darren Zack (Athlete) will be inducted into the Softball Canada Hall of Fame in recognition for their contribution and excellence in the sport of softball across the country.

Phyllis Bomberry (Athlete – Ontario), born in 1943 in Oshweken, Ontario, grew up playing softball in a time when there were no Canadian Championships, and once they were created, it was very difficult for women's teams to qualify. Phyllis played in several world-class tournaments, most notably the Bulova Watch Tournament at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto where she had three (3) first-place finishes and two (2) second-place finishes. From 1967 to 1970, Phyllis was by far one of the best players in the country. In 1967, she won a Canadian Championship and was named All-Star Catcher, also collecting Top Batter and Most Valuable Player awards. The following year, she won her second straight Canadian Championship and once again was named All-Star catcher. In 1969, Phyllis became the first woman to win the Tom Longboat award (created in 1951) annually awarded to the most outstanding First Nations athlete. That same year, she won a Gold medal at the first Canada Games.

Don Bracey (Official – Ontario), an official from Oshawa, Ontario, has made many contributions to the sport of softball in addition to his many years of officiating. His umpiring career began in 1980 and he quickly made an impact at the local, provincial and national level, umpiring at numerous Provincial and National Championships. He was granted Level V status in 1989 at the Canadian Senior Men's Championships. At the International level, he worked the 1992 (where he worked the plate during the Gold medal game) and 2004 ISF Women's World Championships. In addition to his hard work on the field, Don was also very involved in the administration side of officiating, serving as a member of the Officiating Development Committee ODC and working as Umpire in Chief at various Canadian Championships. He mentored many officials as a Master Instructor and Evaluator, and his greatest impact on the Softball Canada Umpire Program was when he created and maintained the Softball Canada Umpire Case Book.

Gil Read (Builder – Ontario), a long-time coach from the Ottawa region, led three teams to the Canadian Championships in 1993, 1995 and 1999 and also coached Team Ontario to Gold medals at the 1997, 2001 and 2005 Canada Summer Games. Gil was a member of Softball Ontario's Coaching Committee from 1995 to 2002, also served on Softball Canada's Coaching Committee and was a Softball Canada Master Course Conductor from 1994 to 2006. In addition to all his contributions to the coaching community, Gil also served as a member of Softball Canada's Initiation Committee, and was Canada's Team Leader at the 2003 ISF Junior Women's World Championship, at the 2003 Women's Olympic Team Qualifier and at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Gil suddenly passed away in 2007.

The 1949 Tip Top Tailors (Team – Ontario) are the only Canadian team ever to win an ASA Championship, which at the time was considered the World Softball Championship for Men's Fastpitch. 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the Championship win, and four members are still alive (Ray Pulfer, Bill "Babe" Gresko, Pat McCullagh, and Len Gaull). In the late 40's and early 50's, softball would attract thousands of fans in the Toronto area.

Darren Zack (Athlete – Ontario), born in Garden River, Ontario in 1960, was the top pitcher in Canadian Fastpitch from 1992 to 2002. He is a great ambassador of the game, and is treated as a legend whenever he appears at a Canadian ballpark, a certain sign of the respect that he has earned in the softball community. Zack has participated in numerous Canadian Championships, winning Gold medals in 1993, 1995 and 1996 and a Silver medal in 1992. His National awards include Top Pitcher in 1992, Top Player in the Championship Round in 1993, All-Star Pitcher and Top Player of the Championship Round in 1995, and Most Valuable Player and Top Pitcher of the Qualifying Round in 1996. Darren also represented Canada at numerous International events from 1991 to 2004, winning a Gold medal at the 1992 ISF World Championship, a Silver medal at the 1996 ISF World Championship, and three Gold medals at the Pan American Games (1991, 1995 and 1999).

These five inductees will join the select group of Canadians who have had this honour bestowed upon them at the Induction ceremony which will be held Saturday, November 14th, 2009. The ceremony is held in conjunction with Softball Canada's Annual Meeting in Ottawa, Ontario, which will take place from November 12-14.