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ECSA Hall of Fame

It Takes a Village

Keeping a softball league thriving since 1980 takes amazing strength, love, perseverance, and camaraderie. The following members of the ECSA Hall of Fame represent some of the league’s most important contributors to our community- representing Excellence, Community, Sportsmanship, Acceptance– and for that, we recognize them with Hall of Fame honors.

Below is a list of ECSA Members who are also NAGAAA Hall of Fame members
JeffCard_HOF2018
Jeff Card

2019

Thomas Walker
Thomas Walker

2019

Dug Sharpe
Dug Sharpe

2017

Commissioner, Frank Pichinini, speaking at the 2018 ECSA Hall of Fame Luncheon
Frank Pichinini

2009

Dominic_Bacetich
Dominic ‘Nic’ Bacetich

2008

Time_2019
Time P. Time

2007

Below is a by-year list of the Emerald City Softball Association Hall of Fame inductees
Alex Garnett

Alex Garnett began playing softball in the ECSA back in 2007.  He started his playing career with the Seattle Throttle, Seattle Buzz in 2008, Seattle Saints in 2009-2010, Seattle Avengers (D) and Seattle Squadron (C) in 2011, and the Seattle Badgers from 2012-present. If we had been able to play this season, this would have been Alex’s 14th season.  During those 14 seasons, Alex has played on multiple teams but his pride has always been in the formation of the Seattle Badgers (C Division).  Since the Badgers were formed in 2011, Alex has only played on that team during an ECSA regular season. He is currently the second-longest tenured player on any existing team in the entire ECSA.  The Badgers are now the third longest tenured team in the ECSA.  The team has finished in the top-3 of their division in every season except 2012 and 2014.  As the manager for over 8 years, Alex has NEVER missed one game during a regular season.

As a personal highlight in 2011, Alex is one of the last few players that the Board has asked to move up divisions mid-season.  That year he went 8-0 with the Avengers and 10-0 with the Squadron.  Alex calls it his “perfect season”.

Alex has always wanted the camaraderie that the Badger teams have had to spread through other aspects of the league.  With that, he formed a Badger team in the D division in 2018 and their inaugural season was 2019.  Alex served as an assistant coach for that team.  He has also served as a coach for other teams in the league during the Emerald City Classic Tournament.   (Sinners, 2018)

In his time in the league, Alex has received multiple awards and has celebrated many successes.  In 2012, Alex was awarded the Commissioner’s Award, in 2013 he was voted by his teammates as a 1st Team All-Star, in 2016 was voted by his teammates as an All-Star, and in 2019 he received the Commissioner’s Award again.

During his time in the league, Alex has taken his love of softball and community and has volunteered on our Executive Board for 5 seasons.  Alex served as the ECSA Logistics Director from 2015-2016, and also served as our C Division Assistant Commissioner from 2016-2019.  Alex’s innate skill of being extremely organized has served the league for years as Alex has been a leading figure in setting our season schedule and ECC Tournament schedule for years.

Alex has also taken his teams to national prominence with making 7 GSWS appearances in his time with the ECSA.  He first attended the GSWS with the Squadron in 2011, Badgers in 2013, 2015-2017, and the Lawless in 2018 and 2019.

It is clear that Alex has been as involved as any person imaginable in the planning and promotion of our league.  Alex’s love for the game and for his community make it clear that he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as our other legendary Hall of Famers.

– Jay Harris

Brent Scott

Brent Scott is the type of player who exemplifies the ECSA spirit of sportsmanship.  Never angry, always even keeled, one of the most pleasant players you will ever meet, his team spirit is infectious, and everyone who has ever played on a team with Brent will remember him as part of the glue that held the team together.  Brent has played in the ECSA for 20 seasons, has won numerous awards, has contributed to the league as both a player, co-coach, and coach, has participated in countless out of town tournaments representing the league, and has won medals in the GSWS twice.  For all of these reasons, I would like to nominate Brent for ECSA Hall of Fame.

Accomplishments and Awards
Brent began his career in the league with the Prowlers in 2000, which was also the year he won the first of his many personal awards, Rookie of the Year.  Since that time he has travelled to tournaments in 11 different cities, won medals in 8 different tournaments, represented the ECSA in 8 different GSWS tourneys, and taken home medals twice in the Gay Softball World Series—3rd place with Rainiers in 2014 and 2nd place with Silverbacks in 2016.  He’s been elected as an ECSA All-Star 4 times (2007, 2009, 2016, 2019).

Leadership
In addition to being an awesome teammate, Brent has also coached and co-coached teams.  He was co-coach of the Seattle Stealth in 2009, co-coach of the Seattle Justice League in 2015-2016, and started out 2020 as co-coach of the Seattle Rusty Nuts.  He also was head coach/manager of the Seattle Stealth in 2010, which was the year that his team shocked the ECSA when they won the ECSA GSWS berth, after having gone 4-14 in the regular season.

To reprise Brent’s contributions:
·  Personal awards:  Rookie of year, 2000, All-Star 2007,2009,2016,2019
·  8 GSWS appearances
·  Team Awards:  8 NAGAAA team placing medals, 2 GSWS Medals
·  Coach, Co-Coach and Manager:  2009,2010,2015,2016,2020

Brent’s contributions to the league have been noteworthy and lengthy.  He models team spirit and has always been a positive force on his teams.  For his part, he says “When I joined this league 20 years ago, I thought I was joining a recreational softball league, but the ECSA has become more than that.  Not only have I played on some amazing teams, but I have met some wonderful people, made some great friendships and joined a community that I consider family.  This league has opened my eyes to the LGBTQ community and has allowed me to find my true inner self, grow as an individual and accept my lifestyle.”  For these reasons, Brent Scott deserves to be elected to the ECSA Hall of Fame.

– Jeff Keever

Holden Knecht

I enthusiastically nominate Holden Knecht to the ECSA Hall of Fame. He joined the ECSA in 2000 by playing on the Seattle Confusion team, a sister team to Seattle Chaos. As a Gay City volunteer, Holden was recruited with about one dozen others by Dug Sharpe to create that team, which became the Seattle Thunder in 2001. Holden joined the league through the spirit of community service, and later that season was encouraged into leadership and won a write-in vote for league secretary. Service runs the entirety of his commitment to ECSA.

Like Dug, Holden has embraced recruiting players into the league, like Fernando Garibay, Milton Artis, Barett McGavock and others. In our conversations, he has indicated to me how important the league is to his life, and that it has made such a positive contribution to his well-being that he wants others to share in the experience of being included in a supportive community. I believe that when you are with Holden you will see this enthusiasm, which is powerfully on display for new members during recruitment, and through the season.

Since 2000, he has been a fixture in our league as well as the Rose City Softball Association (RCSA – Portland). Even during the year that he played with the Long Beach Sun & Surf League, he was identified as a leader/contributor and became their league secretary.  He has contributed as a player, team manager and board member throughout his 12 seasons with the ECSA, and in 2005 he was honored as the ECSA’s Manager of the Year with the Seattle Torrents. In all three cities, Holden has been identified as a leader, and he has been happily available to serve when elected or asked.

It is this spirit of service that threads through Holden’s ongoing commitment to softball and raising up a community through this league and others. During his time with RCSA, it is worth noting that he advocated for teams to participate in ECC and was an ambassador for the ECSA while he lived in Portland. He reached out to me when starting a team for coaching referrals and I understood his drive to make softball available for all that wanted to play the sport.

Holden founded, or co-founded, five different teams and managed many others. Notably, he founded the Seattle Atomic, arguably the most successful D-Division team that participated in the ECSA. For eight seasons, he served on the boards of all the cities he has played in, a reflection of his passion to the game. In 2008, he served as an Events Committee member for Seattle’s hosting of the GSWS. Currently, he is the league’s membership director, and he aspires to be as successful as all the others that came before him by modeling their examples of service. Additionally, in 2017 he was instrumental in bringing the GSWS to Portland by serving on the bid committee, convincing NAGAAA to award it to Portland over two other competitive locations. In terms of service, he has contributed to our league and others at the highest level.

In every city in which he has played, he has been a member and/or manager of a division winning team. In tournaments, he has played on six teams that have won trophies including the Seattle Torrents, Seattle Atomic, Seattle Avengers, Portland Reign and Seattle Sinners.

He has also achieved something that many of us dream of doing while we play in a NAGAAA league, he played with a GSWS Champion, the Seattle Atomic. The following year, he returned to the NAGAAA stage with the Seattle Avengers, which finished in second place. It is electrifying to win a tournament but is something special to win GSWS and then return to defend for that title with another team.

There are some players who are honored purely for playing, and that is exceptional. There are others that are honored for their commitment to make softball available for anyone that wants to play it, regardless of their skill level or ability. Holden thrives in the latter category. While being a competitive player, he understands that we would not have a league with people to play. As I stated previously, he is an ambassador for the league. I don’t think we set out with that in mind during our first or second season, and maybe later into our softball adventures. It happens because we have a joy in playing and making it available for others. It is an organic process that happens as we continue to find enjoyment and satisfaction in something that contributes greatly to our lives. That is his commitment. I encourage you to include Holden into the ECSA Hall of Fame.

Years Active: 2000, 2003-2005, 2007-2010, 2017-2020

– Bill Freeberg – ECSA HOF Class of 2019

Howard Russell

I have known Howard since my first year in the league (2005).  During that time I have had the opportunity to play on the same team and play against Howard.  Howard is both a competitor and supporter of everyone on the field.  I have witnessed Howard go out of his way to pick up others who are having a bad day on the fields.  Howard has started, managed, coached, and helped raise money for teams.  He has raised money through performances for teams just to help support others.  When I think of ECSA players that embody what it means to play in this league I think of Howard among names like Time, Fred Parham, and many other competitors and supporters.  In addition to ECSA he is a good steward in the community fighting for minority rights.  Thank you for considering Howard Russell for the incredible honor of the hall of fame.

– Adam Droker

Jon Ericson

I am proud to present Jon Ericson for consideration for induction into the Emerald City Softball Hall of Fame.

Jon, also known as “Little Jon,” has played in the ECSA for 16 seasons and has worked behind the scenes of the Emerald City Softball Association as either a team manager, assistant coach or ECSA board member for the past 14 seasons. He joined the ECSA board seven years ago as the league Secretary, served as an Assistant Commissioner and Director of Competition and is currently our league Commissioner. He may be known as “Little Jon”, but he has shown a “giant” heart for his dedication, patience and contributions to the growth and success of the ESCA. Jon clearly exemplifies the qualities of an ECSA Hall of Fame member.

Emerald City Softball Association – Giving back to the league
Jon has served on the ECSA board for eight consecutive seasons and has worked on many subcommittees to make the league more fun, fair and a safe place to play for our members!

ECSA Executive Board
·  2020-Current – Commissioner
·  2019 – Director of Competition
·  2015-2018 – D Division Assistant Commissioner
·  2013-2014 – Secretary

NAGAAA National Meetings
·  2016-2020 – ECSA Board Member Representative

Emerald City Classic (ECC)
·  2018-2019 – Field Director

Skills Clinics
Worked on and volunteered for multiple ECSA Skills clinics (Field Days) that help new and returning players find teams in our organization.

Emerald City Softball Association – A History of Success and Hard Work
Jon has managed or coached for 14 seasons and also played on some very successful World Series teams that finished in the top 10, including the Inferno, the first place D Division World Series Champs in 2012!

ECSA History
·  2020 – Sockeyes – Manager/Player
·  2019 – Sockeyes – Asst Coach/Player
·  2018 – Atomic – Asst Coach/Player
·  2017 – Atomic – Asst Manager/Player
·  2007-2016 – Rockets – Manager/Player
·  2005-2006 – Throttle – Player

World Series Teams
·  2019 – Kansas City – Sockeyes – 7th Place
·  2016 – Austin – Atomic – 6th Place
·  2015 – Columbus – Atomic
·  2014 – Dallas – Xtreme
·  2013 – Washington DC – Buzz
·  2012 – Minnesota – Inferno – 1st Place – WS Champs!

Tournaments
Jon has represented Seattle in many tournaments, including the Autumn Classic (San Diego), Emerald City Classic (Seattle), Las Vegas Classic (Las Vegas), North Star Classic (Minnesota), Pacific Cup (Vancouver BC), Palm Springs Winter Classic (Palm Springs), Palm Springs Turkey Shootout (Palm Springs).

Emerald City Softball Association – Hall of Fame Worthy

The Emerald City Softball Association has been Jon’s life blood for 16 years. He has compiled a resume’ of success on the field as a player, manager and coach. His softball accomplishments include an ECSA regular season championship, multiple top ten finishes at the NAGAAA World Series and a World Series national championship. He has served eight consecutive seasons as a valued board member and is currently our ECSA Commissioner. Jon is always willing to give his time to the ECSA, mentor players on sportsmanship, teach players new skills and create a welcoming and supportive softball league for the LGBTQ community and our allies.

In closing, Jon is the embodiment of Excellence, Community, Sportsmanship and Acceptance.  Awarding him an induction to the HOF is truly a well-deserved honor.

– Joan Holzman & Don Okazaki

Rich Matheson

This nomination letter is in support of Rich Matheson for induction into the ECSA Hall of Fame.  I have structured this nomination to highlight the contributions and positive impact Rich has had in the softball community as a player, leader, ambassador and philanthropist.  I appreciate the review committee’s consideration of this nomination.

It was in the winter of 2006 that I first met Rich, right after he moved here from Texas.  I was attempting to recruit Rich to join the C team I coached, the Sting, which at that time was sponsored by Manray bar.  Because of his participation in multiple World Series and tournaments, Rich’s skills as a softball player were becoming known outside of his local league.  His name came to my attention as someone who would fit in well and who would be a great addition to the team.  And, even though Rich declined our invitation and choose to play on another team, our friendship was solidified and has endured ever since.

Player, Manager, Coach
Rich became part of the gay softball community in 1998 while living in Dallas.  His softball skills were noted immediately and between 1998 and 2006 Rich represented the Dallas B division in four (4) World Series, placing fourth in the 2002 Portland Series while playing for the Dallas Bandits.

Since moving to Seattle, Rich has played in the ECSA B, C, and Master’s divisions.  The Seattle teams he has been part of include the Shock, Vendetta, RVD and Fireballers in B division; the Browns in C, and most recently the Silverbacks in Masters.  Since relocating to Seattle, he has represented ECSA in five (5) world series.

While his skills as a softball player are impressive and well known, they are not what moved me to nominate him to the Hall of Fame.  My reasons for his endorsement are because of the positive impact and contributions he has made to the softball community.  Rich is a humble man.  Many do not know or realize how he has influenced the Seattle gay softball community and are unaware of his contributions as a leader, mentor and philanthropist.  This nomination is intended to share the story that goes beyond his talents and years as a softball player.  Because in my view, this is what sets him apart and distinguishes from other individuals.

Beginning in Dallas and throughout his softball career Rich has demonstrated leadership both on and off the field.  He has served as manager, coach, assistant coach, captain or informal coach on multiple teams including the Dallas Bandits, Dallas Revolt, Seattle Shock, Seattle RVD, Seattle Boys on the Slide, and Seattle Thunder.  In 2008 Rich served on the Seattle World Series Committee and was a key organizer of opening ceremonies at the Seattle Center.  It was also at this World Series where he was instrumental in planning and executing the Legends exhibition game, which featured the seasoned talent of softball players who were age 50 and older.   This tournament exhibition game was a precursor to what has now become the NAAAGA Masters Division.  Additionally, Rich was a founding organizer and coach or manager for several newly formed teams, including the Dallas Revolt, Seattle RVD and the Fireballers.

As one who has coached Rich, he is the type of player a coach/manager wishes they had more of on their roster.  He’s reliable, shows up to practices and games on time; puts the team’s interests ahead of his own; does what he is asked without complaining; cheers his teammates on; is willing to pitch in however he can; covers his costs; is willing to travel; attends team and league events; and has exceptional skills as both a fielder and hitter.  It is no surprise that several teams were interested in him when he moved here from Dallas.

Softball Community Ambassador
Through his attendance at numerous out-of-state tournaments Rich has built a network of softball friends throughout the country, at all divisional levels within NAAAGA. Rich understands the importance of and value that is derived from being part of a community.  He encourages and supports attendance at tournaments, league events, host bars, and fundraisers.  He is known to arrive at the fields early and will remain well past his last game just to show support toward the league and other teams.

Rich will tell you that some of his fondest softball memories are those where he had the opportunity to coach and mentor new and less experienced ball players. He has participated in several Fall ball seasons and was repeatedly asked and happily served as a coach and mentor for the teams he was assigned to.  He knew the importance of this role and recognized that many of these players had little or no organized sports experience.  If you were on Rich’s team, you were guaranteed to have fun and walk away from the Fall ball season having made new friends, and improved softball skills.  Assisting these ball players to find a welcoming team for the regular season was always a priority for him.  Indeed, there is a contingent of current softball players that will note Rich’s encouragement as a contributing factor for why they decided to become part of the league.  He encourages people and promotes their participation without self-interest.

Philanthropist
Rich has personally sponsored several of the teams he has been affiliated with.  He has also provided financial support to multiple players so that they could travel to out-of-state tournaments and the World Series.  He knows the value of these experiences and provided funding support so that they could share these moments with their teammates. He has designed and purchased team jerseys and bar shirts and is the one who selflessly buys the hottest new bat(s) and provides it for the team to use.  These financial contributions were often done anonymously, without any expectation of reimbursement or recognition.  Very few know about these acts of generosity, and it is a testament of his character that he did these things without seeking acknowledgement or repayment.  Knowing Rich as I do, if there’s a need, Rich will do what is within his power to see the need fulfilled, whether as a coach, manager, or sponsor.  As someone who has been fortunate to be his teammate and his coach it is indeed rare to find someone who embodies such a spirit of community, camaraderie and generosity.  He and his family foundation have contributed thousands of dollars to the gay community and have been long standing sponsors of the GSBA scholarship fund.  These acts of selflessness are in addition to the contributions he makes to a team through is exceptional athletic abilities and skills as a softball player.

Rich will say that it was his participation in sports and softball that helped form his identity and helped him get through the challenges of growing up gay.  When he began to find other gay men that shared his passion for sports and athleticism, he knew he found his community. He speaks of these early experiences as formative and feels blessed that he found a place where he could be himself, form lasting friendships and do things he is passionate about.  I think it’s our league, the teams he has been associated with and the individuals that Rich has unknowingly had a positive impact on that are true recipients of that blessing.  It is for these reasons that I submit Rich Matheson for consideration to the ECSA Hall of Fame.

– Donny Moritz

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Bill Freeberg
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Jeff Card
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Jim Cash
Brandon Chun
Brandon Chun
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Jeff ‘Pony’ Gunter
BIll Justyk
Bill Justyk
Don Okazaki
Don Okazaki
KEEVER HOF PIC
Jeff Keever
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Floyd Lovelady
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Ali Peters
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Joan Holzman BW
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Stuart Feil
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Mike Ridgeway
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Rplace | Rick and Steve
Rick & Steve
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Gary ‘Meatball’ Gilman
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Donnie Moritz
Thomas Walker
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Fred Parham
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Gary ‘Dixie’ Carter
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Commissioner, Frank Pichinini, speaking at the 2018 ECSA Hall of Fame Luncheon
Frank Pichinini
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Time P. Time
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Bobby Wright
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Dominic ‘Nic’ Bacetich
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Alex Veltri
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Joe Wolanski
If you would like to nominate someone for the Emerald City Softball Association Hall of Fame, please follow the link below and fill out the nomination form.
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