From the Vault

Kingsley Collins

21 December 2014

 

With the recent All-Star Game and the Grant Balfour visit stimulating increased interest among the Australian baseball community, there has been much discussion – especially among the older brigade – about past eras, past players and past individual achievements.

 

While it is always a tricky assignment when we seek to compare any era - or any generation - with another, it became patently obvious over the past hectic week that Australian baseball is a healthy conveyance that continues to be blessed by the ongoing engagement of its baseball lifers.

 

Of whom there are many.  

 

The current Australian Baseball League – now in its fifth season - is a different beast to that which captivated us, entertained us and frustrated us in equal measure before it was disbanded in 1999.

 

Yet here we are, fifteen years later, properly paying homage to many of those who helped build Australia as a credible world baseball force. Of the Australian squad for the All-Star Game at Melbourne Ballpark last week, Jon Deeble again suited up as Manager along with Graeme Lloyd and Phil Dale as Pitching Coaches, Tony Harris as Assistant Coach, Damian Shanahan as Assistant Coach and Phil Allen as First Base Coach.

 

All of these men were former players, managers – or both – during the earlier Australian Baseball League. All have remained engaged in the sport at the highest levels and all have continued to stamp an indelible mark on our version of the sport Down Under.

 

Among others. Among the very many who have continued in the game in a range of other capacities – as professional scouts, administrators, grassroots club coaches.

 

As Masters players, or simply as supporters of our great game.

 

From the Vault this week celebrates a telling moment in Australian Baseball League history – when current National Head Coach Jon Deeble signed as Manager of Melbourne Monarchs back in February 1992, after a stint with the massively successful Waverley Reds.

 

Deeble is pictured with fresh-faced 1984 Helms Award winner Brett Ward (who looks about sixteen), multi-sport athlete Justin Charles (who is still coaching club ball, playing Masters and inspiring plenty in business) and former Monarchs 150-game reliever Ross Jones.

 

Cam McHarg kindly supplied this newspaper clipping of a story (zoom to read) penned by then Herald Sun reporter Adrian Dunn.