Cuddy Shark: ISC makes Hall of Fame catch with Glenn Verge

August 8, 2014

Kitchener, ON


ORIGINAL STORY  by John Cudmore - Aurora Banner

Cuddy Shark: ISC makes Hall of Fame catch with Glenn Verge


Aurora Banner

It seems as if Canadian teams have made the International Softball Congress title their personal trophy in recent years.

That said, a lot of the credit must go to the dogged Glenn Verge.

For there was a period of time when Canadian men’s fast-pitch teams that dared seek out the best competition they could by competing beyond the world of the Canadian Amateur Softball Association were penalized for their bold efforts. Once teams such as the Newmarket Ray’s (later to become Nationals) defied Canadian softball authorities by daring to take on non-approved tournaments, it was game on for Verge.

Now 74, Verge is to be inducted into ISC hall of fame in the service contributors category on August 10 during the ISC 2014 World Championship tournament in Kitchener where 48 teams will battle for supremacy in the main men’s division.

Although he spent 45 years in softball as a player, coach, manager and sponsor of teams mainly in Newmarket (Ray’s) and Owen Sound it is his battles with governing bodies in Ontario and Canada for the right to compete in ISC play for which he will be also remembered.

“I did it because I love the game,” said Verge, who managed in several ISC tournaments with Newmarket and Owen Sound. “Those years were expensive because of all the travel. But I really made a lot of friends. Even the players that played against me were part of making me what I am. It’s been a very, very good ride for me.”

Verge entered the Newmarket scene when he was persuaded to move the Winston Park Chubb Security team to Newmarket in 1976.

That move put Newmarket squarely into the thick of top-notch international fastball.

He eventually moved his family to Mount Albert from Toronto.

In 1980, the spitball hit the fan.

After the Grimsby Peach Kings and Newmarket returned from the ISC world championships in Tempe, Arizona, national and provincial softball authorities deemed the players ineligible for domestic competition.

That ruling sparked a legal fight which ultimately attracted intervention from then-MP Sinclair Stevens before the players were reinstated.

“We fought to see if the players could compete at Canadians but the money required was way over my head,”

recalled Verge.

“I wrote letters to politicians and coaches I knew to put the pressure on. But Sinc Stevens wrote one letter to the Canadian sports minister and the suspensions

were lifted.

“Everyone had a hand in it.”

A pitcher in his playing days, Verge went on to become renowned as a field manager and sponsor in fast-pitch circles

“I wasn’t quite the calibre of player as the level at which I ended up (managing) but I was pretty good,” Verge recalled. “They kept moving the pitching plate back and I got worse and worse.”

It is fair to say Verge was well within the inner circle for the Golden Era of fast-pitch. The sport has long since retreated into small pockets of interest, far removed from the glory days of the Ray’s/Nationals and Owen Sound teams with which Verge helped win five Canadian titles.

“That’s when the ball was at its best,” said Verge, who now resides in Ballantrae. “Now it’s all about tournament teams. Guys are flying in from Nova Scotia to play in Ontario then fly home again.

“In order to build a team now you’d need local players people can identify with to build a following.”

Although he had stops in Owen Sound and Oshawa, it is Newmarket that holds a treasure chest of memories.

“Newmarket is where we started and where my heart was,” he said. “I have got to thank Owen Sound, but in Newmarket with (the late) Bob Ritchie, the players were like brothers. We were so close and stood up for each other. Our team was so close it was incredible. Newmarket was where we wanted to be and the most enjoyable place.”

It will no doubt be a proud moment when Verge is officially inducted to the organization he helped get its feet on the ground in Canada.

“I’m very happy I was selected,” he said. “It’s just a good feeling somebody, somewhere felt I was worthy.

“A lot of people were involved in this, not just me. Without us fighting the battle, the Canadian teams that won (ISC world) championships in the past six years wouldn’t be here now.

“It’s a great honour to be recognized by one of the best organizations in the world.”





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