Four new members join the British Baseball Hall of Fame
The 2019 elections to the British Baseball Hall of Fame have introduced four new inductees, increasing the class to 38.
Ryan Bird, Jason Holowaty and Darrin Muller were inducted from the modern ballot, with Alan Asquith being elected by the historical vetting panel that was introduced in 2016.
Hall of Fame Chair Matt Smith commented: “I’m delighted to see four such worthy candidates joining our Hall of Fame, all with different stories to tell but sharing a true commitment to the game in Britain and excelling at what they did.
Ryan Bird and Alan Asquith had memorable playing careers in different eras, with Ryan representing the Richmond Flames and Herts Falcons and Alan being a pillar of the strong Humberside baseball community.
Jason Holowaty combined a playing career that brought four national championships with a long tenure of service to baseball at MLB and BaseballSoftballUK. As for Darrin Muller, for many years he has been one of the most widely recognised and respected representatives of British Baseball at home and abroad, both as a coach and particularly as an umpire.
The task of electing figures who represent the best of British baseball is both a difficult challenge and a hugely rewarding process.
There are so many players, coaches, umpires and officials who have left a mark on our game over the decades and, in contrast to the process Stateside, the full depth of their achievements is rarely packaged neatly through comprehensive statistics or biographical data. However, for us, this is part of the fun. The work that goes into researching potential candidates and writing their stories goes largely unseen but is, to us, as important as the final balloting process that determines who among that year’s list of candidates shine through the most.
Thanks to the Great Britain national team programme, we were able to honour the 2018 class at an event over the MLB London Series weekend back in June, and we will hopefully be able to do something similar in June 2020 for this year’s class. Beyond this, the contributions of Ryan, Jason, Darrin and Alan will be there for all to see on the BBHOF website as we continue to document and celebrate baseball’s rich history on these shores”.
Over eight seasons in British domestic play, South African-native Ryan Bird etched a place in the history books as one of British baseball’s greatest hitters. At the time of his retirement, Bird, whose career ran from 2008-2015, posted the highest career batting average (.508), on base percentage (.578) and slugging percentage (.822) in modern British baseball history. He was named the country’s most valuable batter three times (2008, 2009, 2013) and led the National Baseball League in RBI in 2013 and home runs in 2009. He was also recognised as the best fielding first basemen in 2012. All told, he tallied 15 HRs and 119 RBI over the course of 385 plate appearances for the Richmond Flames and Herts Falcons.
Both on offence and defence, Jason Holowaty shined in a distinguished British playing career. He was a key player for four national championship teams – Richmond (2006), London Mets (2007, 2008) and Southern Nationals (2011). Off the field, Holowaty contributed to baseball in the UK and, more broadly, in Europe and Africa, as a key game development executive for Major League Baseball in the region from 2002 to 2016. He has also worked for BaseballSoftballUK in a game development capacity. A lifetime .423 hitter, Holowaty not only earned a batting title as a member of the Richmond Flames in 2006, but also nabbed a Gold Glove award as the best defensive second baseman for the London Mets the following season.
Darrin Muller has had a long-ranging and successful involvement with British baseball over many years. His accomplishments in particular include numerous successes as coach and then one of the most impressive umpiring careers of any British umpire. Darrin has umpired in more than 2250 games. They include 17 National Baseball Championships and 13 Youth National Baseball Championships, 445 International games, 11 ISST’s (International High School) European Championships, 4 Pony Baseball European Championships, 2 Pony World Series, 6 Little League European and African Nations Regionals, the 2016 Little League Junior World Series, 12 CEB European Tournaments and the 2009 IBAF World Cup.
Alan Asquith (Historic Committee)
In 1974, the leading British baseball journal of its day, Baseball Mercury, described Alan Asquith as “for years, the country’s leading pitcher.” Indeed, for more than a decade Asquith was a leading light in the Humberside area in particular and one of the best nationwide. In both 1966 and 1967 he received the award as the top pitcher in the Northern Division of the National League, but his 1968 season may have been his most rewarding. Asquith pitched his club, the Hull Aces, to a national title by winning both the semi-final match against the Liverpool Tigers, and the finals versus the Hull Royals. He allowed just a combined five hits while striking out 17 in those two games.
Full details of the four new members, and the other 34 individuals previously elected to the British Baseball Hall of Fame, can be found a: www.bbhof.org.uk