National Softball Hall of Fame Member
Harold (Shifty) Gears
Year Inducted: 1957
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Category: Men's Fast Pitch
BioSome people think Harold (Shifty) Gears, the first inductee into the National Softball Hall of Fame, got his name because he could pitch a softball with either hand.
Not true. Gears got his nickname because of his shifty footwork playing basketball growing up in his hometown of Rochester, NY.
Gears started pitching a softball out of apathy because his teammates didn’t want to pitch and Gears was tired of his team getting beat badly. “When I saw the opposing team’s pitcher throw a rise ball I went home and worked on it,” said Gears. “I got so I could pitch and conked my catcher in the nose a couple of times and wound up as our pitcher.”
Gears played softball five nights a week and baseball on Saturday and Sunday. Eventually he gave up baseball and concentrated on softball.
In national championship play, Gears had a 20-6 record and finished his career with 866 wins and 115 losses. He hurled 61 no-hitters, nine perfect games, 373 shutouts and struck out 13,244 batters, averaging 13.5 strikeouts per game during his career. He retired as a player in 1951 and died November 18, 1974 at age 67. He was the first player elected to the ASA Hall of Fame.
Gears passed away November 18, 1974 at 67 after suffering a heart attack. He was the first player elected to the Hall of Fame.
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