From the vault: where are they now?
28 April 2015
While winter competition or sporting hibernation are the choices for baseball lifers during the Australian Baseball League off-season, it is always interesting to reflect on who and what went before us in the earlier incarnation of our national league.
Those of us who were fortunate enough to have been around the original ABL – even as supporters or commentators – were treated to some exciting, some inspiring and at times less than uplifting experiences as we followed the fortunes of clubs that were replete with the elite of Australian baseball and a surfeit of international playing talent.
Baseball stars aplenty – even in this single ABL game played over sixteen years ago.
Although it was getting towards the end of an ill-fated Australian Baseball League that faced crippling financial challenges by the late nineties, the quality of the competition – and the calibre of the players – remained of a consistently high standard.
Gold Coast Cougars won the final league title over Sydney Storm after the home and away season had been dominated by Adelaide Giants, who slugged out a late-season series with Melbourne Monarchs that featured one enthralling slugfest played in the provincial city of Ballarat.
The well-supported Ballarat game (see below) featured a cavalcade of quality Australian and international players – for Adelaide the likes of Shayne Bennett, Burnside, Challinor, Mota, current Adelaide Bite CEO Nathan Davison and Australian Olympian Andrew Scott.
Managed by Jon Deeble, the Monarchs boasted an outstanding roster including Phil Dale, David Kim, Paul Gonzalez, Mark Doubleday, Erick Nelson and starting pitcher Earl Byrne (inexplicably dubbed “Bill” by the local media photographer).
While several of these men are still well known for their ongoing engagement in baseball, some have moved on – wisely, they would probably argue - to write other chapters in their lives.
Where are they now?
Alumni members and our Facebook supporters would surely like to know.
If you have recollections, images and anecdotes that you would like to share regarding any past era in Australian baseball, feel free to engage on our Facebook page or to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss a potential feature story on our website.
While encouraging our visitors to share in recalling the rich tapestry of Australian baseball history, we remain focused on the present and on what the future holds for our emerging players and our sport more generally. Please contact us at any time with baseball news that you would like to share with Alumni membership - including professional signings, college achievements and developments at grassroots level.