Mandurah’s Ben Shom (99) wins Australian baseball’s highest honour

Ben Shom, seen here with wife Jeanie, is the latest inductee and member of the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame.
Ben Shom, seen here with wife Jeanie, is the latest inductee and member of the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame.

HE may be 99 years young, but there is no stopping RAAFA Meadow Springs Estate resident and retired sportsman Ben Shom.

The ex-serviceman was recently given the highest honour in Australian baseball and is the latest inductee and member of the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame.

Ben began his baseball career in 1936, the inaugural year of baseball in WA, at the age of 17 and was first picked to represent WA in 1939.

War interrupted things but from 1946, he resumed the sport and played for the next two decades.

The keen sportsman became captain and coach of Victoria Park and led them to their first premiership in 1946.

He then went on to captain the 1949 and 1950 WA teams.

During his time in the WA State League, Shom was known as an outstanding shortstop and a feared batter.

He also played for a team called Boans Battlers, sponsored by Boans department store where he worked for many years, eventually becoming an associate director.

In 1952, he moved to the Northern Suburbs Club and coached them for several years, when he continued to dominate the competition both in the field and at the plate.

His most memorable year was 1952 when not only did WA win the Claxton Sheild but Shom also won a place in the Australian team.

Besides baseball, he played cricket and was wicket keeper in an East Perth pennant winning side.

Perhaps one of his proudest life achievements is his 61-year long marriage to Jeanie.

The couple were two of the original residents who moved into the RAAFA Meadow Springs Estate after 39 years in Wembley.

“When I first saw Jeanie, it was love at first sight and I said to my friend I’m going to marry that girl,’’ he recalls.

“That was 69 years ago and here we still are today.”