Five people will enter the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame during the 33rd Annual Induction Ceremonies in Oklahoma City, Okla. Although they are in different categories, there is one common bond they will share for life. They all went above and beyond in their dedication to contribute and support amateur softball, whether on or off the field.
Laura Berg–Fast Pitch Player –Santa Fe Springs, California
USA Softball’s only four-time Olympian, Laura Berg has made a name for herself as one of softball’s greatest outfielders’ to ever play the game. One of four women who hold three Olympic Gold Medals in the sport of softball, Laura is no stranger to success on both the national and international scene. In addition to competing in four Olympic Games, Laura also appeared at four ISF World Championships, and three Pan American Championships, all Gold Medal finishes. Laura also was a three-time ASA All-American, once with the California Commotion, once with the California Players and once with the California A’s. With the Commotion, she earned a Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship title in 1999. Laura joined the USA Softball National Team program in 1994 and retired following the 2008 Olympic Games. In 2012, she rejoined the Red, White and Blue as an assistant coach, helping lead the Women’s National Team to a World Cup of Softball title and a second place finish at the ISF World Championship. In 2012, Laura, along with the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team, was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Lisa Fernandez – Fast Pitch Player- Long Beach, California
One of the greatest players to ever play the game, three-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Fernandez is a nine-time ASA All-American and was instrumental in helping Team USA take home the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Gold Medals. The only pitcher to appear in all three Olympic finals, Fernandez served as a threat on both sides of the plate. Overall, she achieved a 7-2 record throughout her Olympic career, allowing only 20 hits, seven walks and six runs (four earned) while striking out 93 over 74.2 innings. In addition to her pitching accolades, Fernandez maintained a .333 batting average overall in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens with three home runs, 15 RBI and 13 runs scored. A rare pitcher/hitter, Fernandez has the distinction of holding four individual Olympic records: most strike outs in a game (25 at the 2000 Olympic Games), fewest runs allowed, highest batting average (.545) in Olympic play and most doubles (3). These accolades helped land her in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame as both an individual and with the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team. Fernandez also competed in three ISF World Championships and three Pan American Championships, all of which earned her a Gold Medal. At the national level, Fernandez collected nine ASA All-American titles and seven ASA Women’s Major Fast Pitch National titles, three times with the Raybestos Brakettes and four times with the California Commotion. She also won the MVP award five times and the Bertha Tickey Award five times.
Randy Melvin–Umpire –Dowagiac, Michigan
Randy Melvin first came into the ASA Softball scene in 1976 when he registered as an umpire with the Michigan ASA. Throughout his career with ASA, Randy became one of the most respected slow pitch umpires in the state of Michigan. He umpired in 16 State Championships and five National Qualifying Tournaments and his talents would eventually carry over to the national level. Between 1993 and 1999, Randy umpired in eight ASA Men’s Slow Pitch National Championships, including two back-to-back appearances at the Men’s Super Slow Pitch National Championship. Randy became a member of the National Indicator Fraternity in 1995, became ISF certified in 1998 and was inducted into the Michigan ASA Hall of Fame in 2012.
Shirley Simmons Snell –Slow Pitch Player – Shreveport, Louisiana
Shirley Simmons Snell is the sixth person and first slow pitch player from Shreveport elected into the National Softball Hall of Fame. Beginning in 1983, Shirley’s career with ASA Women’s Slow Pitch spanned over 20 years, where she earned All-American accolades five times. She competed at the National Level in six ASA Women’s Slow Pitch National Championships, ranging from Class C to Women’s Major. In addition, she was awarded Home Run Champion in 1994 and 2001, Tournament MVP in 1996 (.615) and Batting Champion (.512) in 1994. Her most notable accolade occurred during the 1998 Women’s Class B Slow Pitch National Championship. While at bat, she hit a home run 350 feet and became the first woman to hit a ball that distance in the Bloomington complex.
Margie Wright – Meritorious Service– Clovis, California
Whether as an athlete, coach or clinician, Margie Wright’s softball resume speaks for itself. During her 35 years of involvement with ASA/USA Softball, Margie left a lasting impact at every level of softball. As an athlete, she collected five ASA All-American titles, including one first team All-American selection in 1988 when she threw a perfect game with the Pekin Lettes. Her greatest legacy, however, is her coaching career with the Women’s and Junior Women’s National Teams. From 1982 until 1989, Margie served various roles throughout the international softball world, including a two-year stint as an international coaching consultant for the Netherlands Antilles National Team. She also served as a consultant for ISF events, including the Pan American and Central American Games. In 1991, she made her first coaching appearance as an assistant coach for the 1991 Pan American Women’s National Team, which took home the Gold Medal. Three years later, she followed up with a Gold Medal finish at the ISF World Championship. In 1995, she became the first-ever female head coach for the Junior Women’s National Team, leading them to a Gold Medal at the ISF Junior Women’s World Championship. The following year, Margie served as an assistant coach to the U.S. Olympic Softball Team who would go on to win a Gold Medal in Athens. In 1998, she became the first-ever female head coach for the Women’s National Team and would lead them to a Gold Medal finish at the ISF World Championship. That same year, she earned the United States Olympic Committee’s Coach of the Year in the sport of softball. Wright served as the head softball coach at Fresno State, where she led the Bulldogs to the school’s first-ever NCAA Division I title in 1998. She also holds the NCAA record for all-time winningest softball coach.
The Class of 2013 will increase the membership in the ASA Hall of Fame to 371 since it was established in 1957 to honor the former players and non-players for their contributions to softball. The formal Hall of Fame ceremonies were started in 1981 and since 2001 the ceremonies have been held in conjunction with the ASA Annual Council Meeting.