Some who played with or against Ramsey native Brian Martie say there is no question he deserves induction into the National Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame.
Martie will join nine others on Nov. 9 during the induction ceremony in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when he will become one of the 373 individuals enshrined in the Oklahoma City museum.
“One of the biggest things you can say about Brian is that he was humble and unassuming, for being such a great player,” said former Vandalia Freight player Rich Well. “He never carried himself like some of the other good players did.
“In the fast-pitch world, you can’t say that about a lot of people,” he said. “There are a lot of egos out there, and a lot of people who wear their welcome out.”
And even though Martie played for several teams throughout his nearly 20-year career, his attitude and skills had nothing to do with it.
The five-time Illinois state tournament MVP and six-time All-American, Martie played for Coffeen, Taylor Springs, Bob’s IGA, Bloomington Hearts, Decatur Pride and the Farm Tavern in Madison, Wisc., which is a team that Well said was as good as any in the world while Martie played there.
Martie also made a mark on the international scene, competing twice in the Pan-American Games, helping lead the United States to silver medals in 1991 and 1999, and competing in the International Softball Federation World Championships in 1996, helping the U.S. to a fourth-place finish.
“As far as infielders, he’s as good as I have ever played with or seen,” Well said. “He was outstanding with the glove, but he was at his best with his bat.”
A 1983 graduate of Greenville College and a 2000 inductee to its Hall of Fame, Martie eventually would play in 15 straight ASA national championships.
That he pursued a fast-pitch softball career isn't too much of a surprise, considering he was raised in a softball family.
His father, Lindell, was a great player in his own right, and he was inducted to the Illinois ASA Hall of Fame in 1987. His son joined him in 2004.
"There wasn't a pitcher in the world that he couldn't hit," former teammate Steve King told the Ramsey News-Journal earlier this year. "He was quicker and more mobile than most gave him credit. He rarely made errors and had a strong, accurate arm."
Minimum qualifications for a player to be inducted into the National Hall of Fame include selection to at least three ASA All-America teams at the major or super levels and having been retired for at least three years.
“They all went above and beyond in their dedication to contribute and support amateur softball, whether on or off the field,” states the ASA website of the 2011 inductees.
Martie currently lives in Bloomington, where he works for State Farm Insurance, and he used to teach physical education and coach eighth-grade basketball at Vandalia Community High School in 1980s and early 1990s.