TRAVERSE CITY — Playing, coaching, umpiring and organizing.
When it comes to softball, Barb Beckett has done it all.
Because she has been so active in so many different facets of the game for more than 30 years, Beckett is being inducted into the Michigan Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Midland on Jan. 18. She’s among 13 people who are in this year’s class and one of four being inducted for meritorious service.
“It’s fairly overwhelming because the people that are in that Hall of Fame already are huge heroes of mine when I was going through the softball ranks,” said Beckett, the Traverse City YMCA Program Director who lists Dick Honig, Bob Loveland, Billie Drake, Dick Alpers and Mark Presseau among those who have had a strong influence on her. “They have different categories — player, sponsor, mine is meritorious service, so that means I did a little bit of everything.”
Beckett got her start in the sport as a player and added umpiring duties from 1986 until 2008 — one of the earliest woman umpires in the ranks — working nine MASA state championships in men’s slow pitch, women’s slow pitch and co-ed divisions.
“I started playing softball in the late ‘70s,” said Beckett. “I started umpiring in the ‘80s. It was a huge sport back then. It still continues to be big here. It started with fast pitch and then slow pitch evolved out of the fast pitch. It was just gigantic up here.”
In 1992 she took over as District 19 MASA Commissioner, a role she continues in today. She’s also been the host and tournament director for five MASA state tournaments in Traverse City, served as the director for the Trout Festival men’s slow pitch tournament over 18 years and the Cherry Festival tournament for more than 20 years.