Baseball Australia just announced the 2018 Hall of Fame inductees, and Baseball Victoria is proud to confirm the induction of Brett Ward, who has enjoyed a decorated baseball career in Victoria. He’s joined by fellow inductees Ben Shom, Greg Elkson and Mark Ettles. Ward is the 16th Victorian to be welcomed into the Hall of Fame. His long list of contributions to the sport in our state is a testament to his abilities, both as a player and a team leader.
BRETT WARD (VIC)
Category of excellence: Playing (1986-1988 & 1989-1999)
Brett Ward has been a constant in Australian baseball circles since his debut in the Victorian State League for Coburg in 1977.
Ward broke onto the national scene in 1979, as he was a key part of Victoria’s U18 National Championship, while also representing Australia’s U18 team in the same year.
Fast-forward five years and Ward was a regular in Victoria’s Claxton Shield lineup, where he claimed two championships in 1984 and 1986.
Ward holds a number of Claxton Shield records, including most hits (22) and highest batting average (.550) in a ten game Claxton Shield series. With a batting average north of .300 in his six years of Claxton Shield action, Ward was one of the most consistent hitters in the competition.
Ward was honoured with the Claxton Shield’s highest individual honour in 1984, claiming Helms Award before his debut for the Australian national team.
Ward has the distinction of hitting the first home run at the Altona Baseball Stadium, and was named in Victoria’s Claxton Shield All-Star team.
- Coburg Baseball Club (player, 1977-1985) – two championships.
- Victorian U18 National Champion (1979)
- Australian U18 team (1979)
- Claxton Shield (1983-1988) – two championships.
- Helms Award (1984)
- Geelong Sportsman of the year (1984)
- Australian national team (1984-1987, 1989-1990)
- Sunshine Baseball Club (player, 1986-1990 – one championship.
- Melbourne Monarchs (1989/90 & 1992/93) – one championship
- Williamstown Baseball Club (manager, 1991-1993) – one championship.
GEORGE BENJAMIN (BEN) SHOM (WA)
Category of excellence: Playing (1919-1946 & 1947-1967)
Ben Shom began his baseball career in 1936 and by 1939 he was a key member of Western Australia’s Claxton Shield team.
An outstanding shortstop and top-level hitter, Shom was a key part of Western Australia’s inaugural Claxton Shield triumph in 1952.
In that 1952 Claxton Shield, Shom starred with three hits in a record breaking 16 inning marathon against Victoria, as WA claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win. Shom’s third hit was in the top of the 16th inning, and he came around to score the game’s only run off the bat of fellow Hall of Famer Charlie Puckett (a game where Puckett also threw a 16-inning shutout).
The final game of the 1952 Claxton Shield saw South Australia claim an early lead, but Shom scored the team’s first run of the ballgame, a squeeze play which drove in Charlie Puckett.
Shom was selected for the 1952 Australian team after WA’s Claxton Shield win.
Following the absence of a WA Claxton Shield team in 1946, Shom was a key part of reigniting the return of a Claxton Shield team in 1947. Shom was outstanding in a three-game exhibition series against South Australia. Western Australia won all three games, as Shom batted in the winning run in game two, and scored the winning run in game three.
- Captain/Coach of Victoria Park’s first premiership team (1946)
- Claxton Shield
o 1x Claxton Shield victory (1952)
- Australian Representative (1943 & 1952)
GREG ELKSON (SA)
Category of excellence: Playing (1968-1988)
A name synonymous with South Australian baseball is Greg Elkson, with the star pitcher becoming a regular in both the South Australian and Australian setups.
The 1978/79 season was a breakout one for Elkson, as the starting pitcher led Glenelg to a premiership, and earned the first of five Capps Medals for the best and fairest player in the South Australian Baseball League (SABL). The highlights didn’t stop there for Elkson, who made his debut in the Claxton Shield and in the Australian team during 1979.
Elkson won the Bob Finn Trophy for the best and fairest in South Australia’s Claxton Shield team for three consecutive years between 1981 and 1983, and was a regular in the Australian team setup, as he toured Japan, Korea and North America between 1979 and 1985.
Elkson’s longevity at the top level was enviable, as the dominant lefty finished with five Capps Medals over a 12 year period, with his last coming at the Goodwood Baseball Club as a 33-year-old.
Elkson’s SABL career spanned 19 seasons between 1977/78 and 1996/97 as he accumulated 510 senior appearances with Glenelg, Goodwood and Southern Districts
- SABL Division 1 Premiership (1978/79, 1979/1980, 1983/84)
- Capps Medallist (1978/79, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1987/88, 1989/90)
- Claxton Shield (1979-1984, 1986-1987)
- Australian national team (1979-1985)
- Bob Finn Trophy (1981-1983)
- Inaugural Adelaide Giants player (1988/89)
MARK ETTLES (WA)
Category of excellence: Playing (1989-1999)
Mark Ettles made history on June 5 1993, becoming the first ever Western Australian to reach Major League Baseball.
Ettles paved the way for the next generation of Western Australian talent, as his dedication and application proved a career at the top level of baseball was an achievable goal.
Beginning his career in the USA with the University of West Florida in 1988, Ettles played a key role for the Argonauts in a variety of roles. He lead the pitching staff as both a starter and a closer, making 14 starts and 14 relief appearances. Ettles struck out 102 hitters at West Florida in 1989, leading his team to the Southern States Conference Championship and a professional contract with the Detroit Tigers.
A dynamite split finger fastball was Ettles’ main weapon, as he climbed through the ranks, debuting for the Padres and becoming the second Australian (behind Graeme Lloyd) to register a win at the MLB level (July 2 1993).
A regular in the Western Australia and Perth Heat setups for well over a decade, Ettles was named to ABL All-Star teams in 1992 and 1997.
Ettles claimed a bronze medal at the 1997 Intercontinental Cup, and capped off his international career with the honour of Olympic representation at Sydney 2000.
- University of West Florida (1988/89)
- Detroit Tigers (1989-1991)
- San Diego Padres (1991-1995)
- Western Australia/Perth Heat (1985-1998)
- ABL All-Star Team (1992, 1997)
- Olympian (Sydney 2000)
- Australian national team (1997-2000)