Baseball: Mt Pleasant man Bob Ossey inducted into Australian Hall of Fame

Bob Ossey playing for WA in the Claxton Shield in 1983. Photo from The West Australian.
Bob Ossey playing for WA in the Claxton Shield in 1983. Photo from The West Australian.

WEST Australian baseball icon Bob Ossey has been inducted into the sport’s Australian Hall of Fame as part of the three-man class of 2017.

The Mt Pleasant resident was an outstanding player at all levels of the game, with batting and fielding statistics that lead all the leagues he played over two decades beginning in 1968.

In addition to his contribution as one of the era’s greatest players, Ossey was also a leader and visionary and played a major role in changing and improving the way that baseball was played in Australia and WA in particular.

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Following his playing career, Ossey was one of WA’s most successful club coaches, leading Victoria Park Baseball Club to four premierships and top-four finishes on another four occasions.

His technical knowledge and effectiveness at teaching both game skills and strategies significantly influenced game development in WA.

Ossey was as passionate about on-field standards as he was about providing great guidance as an administrator of the game.

The standard of ground presentation, facilities and playing surfaces were all improved significantly during Ossey’s involvement off the field in WA.

Ossey tirelessly and persistently lobbied league executives about the need for improved grounds and facilities, including player amenities.

Perhaps his most significant contribution to baseball in WA came as a result of his vision for a purpose-built stadium in Perth.

In 1977 Ossey started the campaign to build a facility in Belmont, which culminated in the establishment of Parry Field ballpark.

Ossey was particularly adept at connecting key people, influencing the stadium design and layout and lobbying key stakeholder groups, including both State and Local governments, for funding and support.

The other two inductees in the class of 2017 are John Stephens and Wally Buchanan.

On-field accomplishments

· Lifetime Claxton Shield batting, slugging and OPS average: .320/.503/.933
· Lifetime club batting, slugging and OPS: .411/.776/1.309 (67 HRs)
· Golden Bat award for highest average in 1976 Claxton Shield .526 (Adelaide)
· Led the 1977 Claxton Shield (Perth) in total hits, HRs and RBIs and narrowly missed out on winning the Helms Award.
· Won the Mickle medal for the best WA player in the Claxton Shield in 1977 (WA won the Shield)
· Was the leading offensive player for WA when the State won the Claxton Shield four times over a five-year period (1975 to 1979)
· Was a regular and key offensive player for the Australian National Team playing against visiting Asian powerhouse teams, and represented Australia on international touring teams. Ossey represented Australia in 1973, 74, 76, 77, 78, 79 and 1983.