Softball-OASA Newsletter December 2007

OASA newsletter

OASA AGM was held in Cobourg November 2007

I would like to welcome all of you to a new season of hope and growth.

We are starting down a road where growth is our only option, and we will grow. You will see a new program starting under the guidance of our Out Reach Program, where new ideas will be brought forth to help the grassroots of our game grow.

A lot of you barely know me. You will find that I am a great supporter of this game having played and coached it for many years. So, over this season, I hope to be at most of our tournaments to meet with you and find out ways to help you and the OASA make this game better, not only for the men but also the minor players. Our men's and minor committees are moving ahead with many great programs, so please join with them to make them succeed.

Our convenors are going to be asked to take a more active role, and more details will follow at a later date. There are a number of new executive members joining us this year in expanded roles, and some of our longer serving ones are stepping back. They are not gone, and they will be leaned on from time to time for guidance, because you cannot lose this experience, it is too valuable.

We lost many great people last year and their loss has touched us all. If you have any local stories or happenings, please forward them to our H&I editor, or our secretary for publication.

So once again, welcome, and if you have any ideas please contact our men's or minor committees, myself, or any of our executive, because it is your game. We are only here to assist you in the running of it.


Soft spoken Larry Sherwin of Cobourg was acclaimed President of the Ontario Amateur Softball Association at the 85th AGM in Cobourg in November. Sherwin, the 47th individual to head the Association joined the OASA in 2003 when he was appointed registrar, a slot he held for two years. He was elected to the executive in 2004 and 2005, became a Vice President in 2006 and was the group’s first Executive VP in 2007.

He has extensive ball and executive experience beyond the OASA and will need it as softball has fallen on hard times in the past number of years. He emphasizes the use of teamwork to solve problems.

Bob Abbot of Huntsville will enter his 28th year on the Executive as the Executive Vice President. The veteran Treasurer of the OASA announced his intention of giving up that post last year and spent 2007 coaching Paddy Fitzgerald-Nolan of Warkworth, who officially succeeded Abbot at the 35th AGM.

Abbot, an extremely skilled and knowledgeable money manager, served as Treasurer for a total of 21 years handling the post from 1984 through 1989 and then again from 1993 through 2007, after a tenure as President in 1991 and 1992. All told he was the second longest serving OASA Treasurer after Lloyd Alguire of St. Catherines, who held the post for 35 years (1937-1971) Abbot was acclaimed to his new position on the Executive.

Four delegates allowed their names to stand for the two Vice Presidents positions with Gary Wren of St. Thomas and Roy Patenaude of Toanche/Penetang being the successful candidates. Wren is returning as a VP while Patenaude served as a director in 2007. Christine Patenaude of Toanche/Penetang was acclaimed as Secretary a position she has held since 2005.

Seven individuals competed for the six directors posts and the second election of the afternoon saw Jeff Geddes of Ridgetown, Bill Horne of St. Thomas, Sylvia Ryan of Whitby George Ryder of Port Dover, Scott Tuttle of Cobourg and Bruce Young of Waterloo elected. Five of the six are returning to the elected executive while Horne is returning to the Executive after a one year absence.

Dave Reynolds of Napanee, President in 2006 and 2007, will be the Immediate Past President while Mary Myers of Gormley will again be the Registrar. Ron and Sharon Taylor of Havelock will handle the Insurance program again and Roy Patenaude has assumed control of the Constitution and By-Laws book.


"I started paying softball in public school when I was ten years of age and I've been with the game ever since, as player, manager, coach, executive, and I was even an umpire for thirty years". The speaker was Cobourg's Bill O'Neill and he had just been named the 2007 winner of the F.R. Feaver Memorial Trophy for his extensive services to the game. "I'm very happy" he continued, "this is the nicest award I've ever received." O'Neill, is the possessor of an iron handshake ("I like a man with a firm grip"), a transforming smile and an excellent memory.

Most enjoyed his twenty-nine years of coaching which began in 1963 when he arrived in Cobourg from Windsor to work at General Foods. That same year he started coaching the General Foods entry in the Cobourg Men's League. In 1970 he began coaching Juvenile and Junior teams and he mentored clubs in those age brackets for nineteen seasons. From 1970 through 1975 he piloted Cobourg to four OASA Juvenile 'B' titles in five seasons. "We should have won it in 1974 too" he confides, "we had a 3-1 lead in the final game in the 9th inning, back then we played nine innings, but we lost it (to Binbrook) in the 13”.

When H & I asked the white haired O'Neill why he stuck with the game, and played so many roles in its development, he replied "I guess it was dedication to the sport and a passion for the game - but you know, those kids I coached had respect and I think they turned out better citizens for having played the game - overall I think, looking at it thirty years later it was a worthwhile effort.

O'Neill, who reportedly was never ejected from a game in 29 years of coaching, also served his local association as treasurer for almost 40 years and performed many other duties, such as checking field conditions and re-scheduling matches. He helped to organize Peewee ball tournaments for a decade and umpired ladies and youth ball as well as men's slow-pitch until age 79.

All told O'Neill devoted some 42 years to the development of softball in Cobourg and area and as his nominator wrote "He is disciplined, responsible, reliable, accountable, honest and is known for his integrity."

The Feaver award was instituted in 1972 and is named in honour of Frank Feaver, OASA Secretary from 1943-1956 who was renowned for his hard work, dedication and devotion to the sport. There is no question that Bill O'Neill is in the Feaver mould and is an excellent winner of this prestigious award - he has truly made an outstanding contribution to the game for over four decades.

The OASA invites individuals, league or associations to nominate any player, coach, executive, or official who has made an outstanding contribution to softball. Information and documentation supporting the nominee should be included.


The 85th OASA Annual General Meeting was held in Cobourg, where the community was celebrating 50 years of ball with the Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Organization.

Several speakers at the celebratory banquet held Saturday evening November 24th, after the afternoon business session, pointed out the value of both organizations in the life of the province and the community. Mayor Peter Delanty remarked that "three generations of Cobourg children learned the skills of life " through the Legion ball system.

MP Rick Norlock (referred to as "Dr. Phil" by MC Rob Faulds of Sportsnet-and there is a resemblance!) presented a letter from P.M. Stephen Harper to the OASA for 85 years of service. Later in the evening a communique from Governor General Jean was read, celebrating 50 years of community work by the Cobourg Legion Ball system.

Host chair Rory Quigley took the some 150 in attendance back fifty years and credited an article by veteran sportswriter Layton Dodge with triggering the start of the Legion Minor Ball organization. Dodge, the 1987 winner of the F. R. Feaver award, was in attendance at the dinner, seated almost beside the 2007 winner, Cobourg's Bill O'Neill. Quigley pointed out the CLMSO is "truly family" and remarked that the night before some 50 championship teams had been invited to a celebration of a half century of softball in Cobourg.

Outgoing President Dave Reynolds of Napanee presented Presidents' Merit awards to Agnes Cole of Churchill and Bob Abbot of Huntsville. In Reynolds words "Agnes works behind the scene and has always been available to help the OASA and that help has been extremely important to the Association".

With regard to Abbot, Reynolds called the life member his mentor and alluded to many conversations at all hours where Abbot helped him see his way through some tricky situations. "He likely won't be pleased getting this award but he's getting it anyway", Reynolds remarked-but Abbot's wide smile belied that emphatically.

The Association of the year award was presented to the Waterloo Minor Fastball Association and Gil Read Coaches Honor Roll plaques went to Richard Venne and Rob Way. The evening concluded with an extensive prize draw and a dance;

Reviewed August 2020

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