Diamond Anniversary Claxton Shield All-Star team
Baseball Victoria announced its Diamond Anniversary Claxton Shield All-Star team prior to Game Three of the Victoria vs New South Wales game at Geelong.
In what must have been a very difficult task, the selection panel observed the criteria set down by the Australian Baseball Federation in considering the galaxy of baseball stars who have represented Victoria over the past seventy-five years (including the years of the Australian Baseball League).
The result is a team of wonderful baseball players – and people – who have represented Victoria with such distinction. A number of them have gone on to higher baseball honours.
Baseball Victoria is proud to present the Victorian Claxton Shield “All-Star” team.
Ernie Bolton had the ability to vary the pace of the ball to such a degree that he is acknowledged as one of the game’s greatest ever pitchers. An All-Australian player, he pitched a no-hitter in the opening game of the 1959 Claxton Shield series. In 80 recorded innings of Claxton Shield over six series, his ERA is an incredible 1.9.
Phil Dale started playing Claxton Shield in 1981. A former manager of the Waverley Reds and one of the finest starting pitchers in the ABL, he has a lifetime ERA of 2.8 from more than 600 innings. He won the MVP and Pitching Award in 1990 with an ERA of 1.4 from 81 innings. He was the first Australian to receive a full scholarship when signed by Georgia Southern and is the only pitcher in Australia to have 50 wins and 400 strikeouts.
Jon Deeble played in eight Claxton Shield series and for seven years in the ABL, batting at .344 lifetime with an ERA of 3.6 from over 300 innings. He was ten years an All-Australian and was a Seoul Olympian. He is the longest serving manager in the ABL, with over 250 games to his credit. He is the current Australian Coach who will soon take the team to the World Baseball Classic.
David White is among the great contributors to the first decade of the ABL. His 587.2 innings pitched – for 48 wins and 40 complete games – is second only behind Phil Dale in ABL history. With a career ratio of better than three strikeouts per walk, he represented both Western Australia and Victoria in Claxton Shield and was also a member of the Australian team that won the Intercontinental Cup in 1999.
Keith Whitford won the respect of teammates and opposition alike. One of the finest control pitchers in Australia, he was awarded All-Australian status in 1966 and again in 1968 and 1974. He won the MVP for Victoria in 1966. In 137 recorded innings his ERA was 1.8. In one play-off game in 1973 he pitched a remarkable 13 innings.
Graeme Lloyd is a pitcher who has two World Series rings with the New York Yankees. He has a lifetime ERA of 2.34 in Claxton Shield and the ABL. He was the first Australian to pitch and bat in a World Series game and may well go down in history as the greatest Victorian baseball player ever.
Brian Wonnacott is another Helms Award winner, from 1979. He won the George Heron Award in 1976 and again in 1978. He represented Victoria from 1976 to 1982 and was an All-Australian in 1979.
Peter Moylan is a real success story for perseverance. Signed by the Twins in 1995, he didn’t make his ABL debut until 1997. In 2000 – at just 21 and having moved from the west where he represented Perth Heat – he joined the Victorian roster and produced the best pitching numbers in the series. Currently playing with the Atlanta Braves and recovering from surgery.
Known as “The Man”, Don Deeble was one of the strongest-willed baseballers in Claxton Shield history. He had the ability to turn a game single-handed. His name is synonymous with baseball in this state and country
David Buckthorpe is another All-Australian who played in seven Claxton Shield series prior to his eight years in the ABL. He played more ABL games than any other person and alongside Matthew Sheldon-Collins formed one of the best double-play combinations ever seen.
John Hodges was an outstanding infielder who could also play short stop. Blessed with an extremely accurate arm and uncanny speed that allowed him to steal numerous bases, he played in nine Claxton Shield series and was an All-Australian on five occasions
Matthew Sheldon-Collins played in six Claxton Shield series and played eight years in the ABL. He played for Australia from 1982 until the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He is one of three Australians to play in the World Amateur All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium in 1991
Norman Tyshing was an outstanding outfielder who played for Victoria from 1945 to 1956 and represented Australia at the 1956 Olympic Games
One of the finest outfielders ever seen, John Swanson had the ability to cover huge amounts of ground and his judgment on fly balls was second to none. He was the Helms Award winner in 1968 and was an All-Australian on four occasions.
Brett Ward won the Helms Award in 1984. He won the Claxton Shield batting Award in 1984 and was selected in the ABL All-Star team in 1990. He played with distinction for Coburg, Sunshine and the ABL Monarchs. He represented Australia at junior and senior levels.
Ron McIver was the 1971 Helms Award winner. He represented Victoria from 1969 to 1973 and represented Australia in 1970, 1971 and 1974, winning the Claxton Shield batting Award in 1971.
Selected as Utility, Graeme Deany is a perennial All-Australia, having achieved this feat nine times. One of the smoothest fielding players ever seen, he could play short-stop or third base. He played in twelve Claxton Shield series and was a Helms Award winner in 1965.
David Clarkson played in five Claxton Shield series and eight years in the ABL – playing over 300 games. He achieved a lifetime batting average of over .300. Possessing an outstanding technique, he was capable of hitting to all parts of the field.
Regarded as one of the best tactical coaches in the game, Ross Straw spent thirteen years as the Victoria Claxton Shield Manager, winning for Championships. He was four times the All-Australian Coach and was manager of the Australian team at the 1956 Olympics
David Went participated in an amazing twenty-one Claxton Shield series, playing in six and coaching in fifteen. He also coached the Australian team.
John Galloway was a Helms award winner in 1980 who represented South Australia from 1973 to 1982. He was Victorian Team Manager from 1984 to 1986, Manager of the Melbourne Monarchs in 1990 and an Australian team representative in 1973, 1978 and 1979
Robert Rowan won the George Heron trophy three times and was named in the 1972 All-Star team. He represented Victoria in 1968, again from 1970-1073 and followed up in 1975. He was Assistant Coach from 1978 to 1982 and represented Australia on six occasions.
By Kingsley Collins (January 2009)