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1998 SC ASA Hall Of Fame Inducts Six

by Mike Hoover
Editor of Softball Player Newspaper


ROCK HILL, SC -   Six veterans of South Carolina softball were inducted into the 1998 SC ASA Hall Of Fame on Wednesday, September 16, 1998.
    Before a crowd of over 170 guests, many of whom are past inductees, Bobby Taylor, Marion Cooter Eargle, Hallman Sease, Jimmy Neeley, Russell Hart, and Jeff Anders were awarded Hall Of Fame status for their outstanding achievements and dedication to softball.
    Bobby Taylor, of Spartanburg, has a distinguished fastpitch career of 27 years, from 1958 to 1985. He played on seven state championship teams (3 major and 4 Class A division), three regional champions, and in the 1966 Nationals. His teams won 15 city league championships. Taylor's lifetime batting average is .348.
    Marion Cooter Eargle, of Columbia, has been active in SC softball for over 40 years. He has been involved with fast and slow pitch as a player, manager, umpire, and youth coach. Eargle played ball for 34 years from 1948 to 1982, umpired for ASA for 20 years from 1954 to 1974, and has a 20 year coaching career. A dedicated and respected coach and manager, he was a pioneer in the organization of youth leagues in the Columbia area, coached the first two state champion men's master division teams, and managed five state championship teams.
    Hallman Sease, of Ehrhardt, excelled as a player, coach, and sponsor in four decades of fast pitch softball. His early teams won twelve consecutive league titles. His ASA teams have won seven state championships, two regional titles and played in four nationals. Sease has coached over 1,000 games and was voted 1991 Regional Coach Of The Year. He is a volunteer high school and youth coach, and is an active community and church leader.
    Jimmy Neeley, of Columbia, was player, coach, and sponsor for the powerful Columbia Rebs. His teams have won over 100 tournament trophies and awards between 1965 and 1985.  An ambassador for ASA softball, Neeley sponsors youth teams, and played an important role in the early development of slow pitch softball in South Carolina.
    Russell Hart, of Laurens, has a long and distinguished career in ASA softball. He has been the state commissioner since June 1, 1970, and serves on the National Council, ranking in the top 15 in seniority nationally. He served several terms as South Atlantic Regional vice president, the highest regional position, and was on the National ASA Board of Directors, a chairman, and vice chairman of many ASA committees. Hart, an outstanding recreation professional, was honored as Recreation Professional Of The Year by the SC Recreation and Park Society.
    Jeff Anders, of Simpsonville, has a 23 year career as an all star catcher and versatile fast pitch player. During his career, 1971 to 1994, he twice ranked as one of the top 60 players in the US and was invited to the Pan-Am tryouts in 1983 and 1987. Anders played in 16 state tournaments, 12 regionals and 7 nationals. His teams won seven state and five regional championships. Anders is a spirited competitor with a consistently high  batting average. He is a team player and a credit to South Carolina softball.
    The SC ASA Hall Of Fame was established in 1983 to honor those men and women who have made outstanding contributions to the success of the game of softball.
    With the addition of these six new inductees, the Hall Of Fame now has a total of 50 members whose softball careers are the hallmark of softball achievement in South Carolina.
    One particular Hall Of Famer that has been involved in South Carolina softball for nearly three quarters of a century is perhaps the most notable member so far. He is ninety-one year old Evans Cannon, known to the softball world as the Father Of South Carolina Softball.
    It was Cannon who brought softball to South Carolina when, in 1929, he organized the first softball game in Florence. He was the coach of both teams and officiated the game. The teams were The Morning News and The City Policemen.
    When asked to stand up and be recognized at the banquet, Cannon modestly stated, "I'm just happy to be here tonight to see you folks enjoying something I help start many years ago."
    Cannon was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1990. He organized the first league in Columbia in 1933 and helped organize the first state tournament in 1938. He is highlighted the the book Softball In The 48 States.
    Jim Seay, an area media professional, was master of ceromonies for the Hall Of Fame banquet held at Mid Carolina Country Club in Prosperity, where the banquet was preceeded by a golf tournament earlier in the day. See the tournament results on the next page.

Look for more exciting news to come  in the next issue of Softball Player newspaper!


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