Ron ClarkeAthlete Softball 2013
Ron Clarke could be heard for many years around the softball diamonds of the Lower Mainland and throughout North America. A long time North Delta resident, Mr. Clarke’s combination of speed and finesse led to a great career and recognition as one of the best softball players in the world during his era. Ron’s career spanned 26 years primarily playing Senior Men’s A fastpitch at Vancouver’s South Memorial Park. Although he began as a 17 year old pitcher, coaches soon realized his potential, (although a modest Ron would say his limitations) and converted him to an infielder. As a trend setting slap hitter, he led off throughout his career, amassing an impressive career batting average of .333. In one year, 1966, he hit a remarkable .440. For his accomplishments during this period of time, Ron was inducted into the South Memorial Park Hall of Fame.
But his fastpitch prowess was not limited to the Lower Mainland. During the decade of 60s, playing with some of the best teams of his era, he travelled extensively throughout North America representing not only his club teams, but also his country. As a member of the Blue Boy Hotel team, Ron was a two time gold medalist in the Canadian Championships in 1965 and 1966, and a bronze medal winner in 1967. He competed in 6 world championships (5 ISC championships and 1 ISF championship) finishing as high as fourth place in 1959. In the mid 60s he was a three time all-star in the ASA National Championships, the top international tournament in the USA. In 1966 softball was a demonstration sport in the Pan American Games and Ron was selected to represent our country. Ron proudly helped Canada win a bronze medal. Although his distinguished playing career ended in the mid 1980s, his contributions to the game did not end there. He began a 15 year coaching career, coaching his two sons, Todd and Dean, for much of this time. Under his guidance his North Delta team in 1994 captured a BC Championship and went on finish as the silver medalists in the NAFA world championship in Salt Lake City, Utah. While Mr. Clarke’s stellar playing and coaching career earned him numerous accolades over the years, this 36 year Delta resident found time to contribute in another way. For close to 20 years he umpired fastpitch including serving as an official in a world championship. When not on the ball field his interest in officiating extended to basketball and soccer where he refereed for 15 and 10 years respectfully. Interestingly Ron’s favourite memory had nothing to do with own accomplishments as a player or coach. One year while managing, for one game only, he donned the pinstripes one last time and proudly played alongside his two sons in a Senior A Fastpitch game. In recognition of his extensive contributions to the softball community as a player, coach and official Ron was inducted into the Softball BC Hall of Fame in 2001. We welcome Ron into the Delta Sports Hall of Fame.
And now, honouring his achievements and longevity in sport, the Delta Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to welcome North Delta’s Ron Clarke as one of its 2013 inductees.