Richard (Dick) Hames
At the age of 19 in his hometown of Windsor, Ontario, Dick converted from a baseball pitcher to a softball pitcher and gradually rose up the ranks of recreational leagues to be a leading pitcher in the Windsor Major League.
In 1960 he moved to Providence, Rhode Island to pitch for them in the Atlantic Seaboard League. In front of Ted Williams and Yogi Berra he pitched and defeated the World Champions Aurora Steelmasters, with the legendary pitcher Harvey Sterkel, 1-0. That same year he pitched a no-hitter in the Regional Tournament to defeat the Raybestos Cardinals of Connecticut and pitcher Johnny Spring who hadn’t lost a game in the Regionals for the previous 11 years.
In 1961 he returned to Canada to start a family and relocated from Windsor to London although he participated that year with the Windsor Calcott Hotel team to win the OASA Senior ‘A’ championship.
From 1962 thru 1967 he pitched with the St. Thomas Memorials winning the OASA Senior ’A’ title in 1963 and the Senior Elimination Tournament in 1967 to earn a berth in the Canadian Championship Tournament in Saskatoon where he was voted the best pitcher and selected to the All-Star team.
In 1968 he participated with the Winnipeg Monarchs, ’67 Canadian Champs, in the ISF World Tournament in Oklahoma City. His only loss there was a final game 4-0 loss to the defending Champion USA team, the same Aurora Steelmasters and Harvey Sterkel.
From 1968 thru 1971 he pitched for London TV Cable. In 1970 they won the Canadian Senior Men’s Championship in Winnipeg where he was voted MVP and selected to the 1st All-Star team.
In 1971 he participated as a pick-up from London by the Richmond Hill Dynes to pitch for them in the Canadian Championships in Halifax which they won and earned to represent Canada in the ISF World Championship Tournament in Manila, Philippines. Along with Bob Domik and Bill Drennan, they pitched the Dynes team to a berth in the final game against the USA team. In that championship game he pitched a 1-0 win while batting in the winning run in the 2nd extra inning of a real nail biter. Dynes was the last club team to represent Canada in international competition as a National team concept was initiated by the CASA in 1973.
On returning home he was voted the winner of the inaugural OASA “Mr. Softball” award honoring the 50th anniversary of the OASA. Shortly after Dick’s pitching career was curtailed by a virus he had contacted in the Philippines which attacked all the joints in his body. Although he resumed pitching after 3 years of rehabilitation, he never regained the form of a World Class pitcher.
These days he is back pitching baseball using the softball windmill style on a mound 60’6” from home plate. Dick states “I’m having fun, I still getting to travel the country and and feel blessed for my God-given abilities”.
Harry Eckler (Deceased)
Harry Eckler, born 1916, is a former ball player. From the 1940s -1950s he was considered to be the finest hardball and fastpitch softball first baseman in Canada. He played first base on fastball teams that represented Canada in 4 World Tournaments.
Pete “Lefty” Landers
Pete’s domination of opposing hitters throughout his career gained the big left-hander notoriety locally, provincially, nationally and internationally, as he established himself as one of the best at his craft in the world.
He first began tossing strikes back in 1959 as a 12-year-old in his hometown of South Porcupine, near Timmins. So appreciative were the locals of his longevity and contributions to the sport, they named a baseball park after him in 2003, an honour he says remains as one of the top highlights of his illustrious career.
Pete moved to Oshawa in the mid-1960s to play junior with the Scugog Cleaners, where he won his first provincial championship, moving up to the Oshawa Tony’s senior club and duplicating the feat in 1968. From there his career skyrocketed including countless appearances in the Canadian championships, representing teams from Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, while winning a number of MVP awards along the way. He also was fortunate enough to play a couple of times in the International Softball Congress world championships.
Even in 1998, with his best days presumably behind him, he pitched at the Masters level in Cobourg for the Cold Springs Cats. As well as winning the Canadian Championship in St. John, New Brunswick, tossing a no hitter in the championship game.
Along the way he fired 10 perfect games, had more than 40 no hitters, and in 1974, set three provincial fastball records with 27 wins, 13 shutouts and 394 strikeouts. In 2002, Pete was picked by sports writers as one of the top 100 athletes in Toronto in the last 100 years.
Pete is giving back to the game by working with Oshawa Juniors who were silver medalists at the 2016 U 21 Canadian Championships.
Pete’s O.A.S.A. accomplishments include:
1967 – Jr. “A” Provincial Champions
1968 – Sr. “B” Provincial Champions
1969 – Sr. “B” Provincial Champions & MVP
1970 – Sr. “A” Provincial Champions
1973 – Sr. “A” MVP
1974 – SR. “A” MVP
1998 – Master’s Champions
1999 – Master’s Champions
2010 to 2016 Coach with the Oshawa BB Juniors
In 1978 Ray was a member of the Woodstock Twins, O.A.S.A. Intermediate “A” champions. In 1983 he played with the Sarnia Ranson, O.A.S.A. Senior Men’s Champions, where he also garnered the MVP award at the Sr. Men’s Elimination. In 1984 Sarnia placed fourth at the Sr. Men’s and again Ray was awarded the MVP award.
In 1985 Ray moved on to play for the Dorchester Pests, who won the Sr. “A” Men’s Championship. In 1994 and 1995 he played for the Toronto Gators who also won the Sr. “A” Men’s Championship. In 1996 Ray, went from being a player to coaching the Gators and was a member of that year’s Sr. “A” Men’s Championship. Ray is still coaching the Toronto Gators and in 2016 won the ISC Legend’s tournament.
Darren Zack is recognized as one of the top pitchers ever seen in the Fast-Pitch world. He was dominating in the circle, a wonderful sportsman and a terrific ambassador for the game off the field. Darren 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.
Darren 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. He most recently played for the Horse Lake Thunder (AB) at the 2008 Canadian Senior Men’s Championship at the age of 48.
Darren represented Canada at numerous International events from 1991 to 2004, winning a Gold medal at the 1992 ISF World Championship, a pair of Silver medals at the 1996 and 2004 ISF World Championships, as well as three Gold medals at the Pan American Games (1991, 1995 and 1999). Overall, he posted a 10-2 record in three ISF World Championships, including going 4-0 and pitching the Gold medal win when Canada last won the event in 1992. He was also a key member in his two Silver medal World Championship and in all three of his Pan American Championship appearances.
In addition to being a dominant pitcher on the field, Zack loves giving back to his community and to the sport, working with youth to develop their skills by giving clinics across the country. In 1997, Darren was awarded the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, and in 1999 he was presented with the Tom Longboat Aboriginal Award, honouring outstanding First Nations athletes.
Adam Smith is known for his fantastic two-way play, being a very dangerous hitter and a remarkable defensive second baseman capable of making highlight reel plays at any time. Throughout his career he earned the respect of his teammates, opponents and fans by putting everything on the line on every play and providing clutch hits and leadership.
At the national level, Adam is a four-time Canadian Championship Gold medalist and a five-time Silver medalist, earning All-Star and Top Batter awards in 1993 and was the Top Player of the Championship Round in 1996. He was a long time member and captain of the Toronto Gators, who had a great amount of success in the 1990’s, highlighted by three Canadian Championship Gold medals over a four year period from 1993 to 1996. Over his career, Adam also played for several other teams in Ontario, including Burlington, Owen Sound, Oshawa, Jarvis and Kitchener Waterloo.
Internationally, Adam played on Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team from 1989 to 2000, where he represented our country at two ISF Men’s World Championships, winning Gold in 1992 and a fourth-place finish in 2000 – and two Pan American Games, where he won Gold in 1995 and 1999. In 2016, Adam was a member of the Toronto Gators winning the Legends Division of the ISC.
Brian was a 15 year member of Softball Canada’s Men’s National Team, a 4 time PanAm Champion, a 1992 ISF Champion, and a member of the Toronto Gators 1993, 1995 and 1996 O.A.S.A. Senior Men’s and Softball Canada Champions. Brian still volunteers his time at O.A.S.A. Springboard Clinics.