Former South Perth baseballer Mark Ettles inducted into Australian Baseball Hall of Fame

Mark Ettles of Como. Photo: David Baylis
Mark Ettles of Como. Photo: David Baylis

INTERNATIONAL pitcher Mark Ettles found his love for baseball as an eight-year-old playing for South Perth before representing Australia and playing in the Major League.

The Como resident represented the country as a teenager before securing a scholarship to play in the United States to kick-start his international career.

That scholarship led Ettles to become the fifth Australian to ever play at Major League level.

Now retired and the owner of a local fresh fish business, Ettles has been acknowledged for his contribution to the sport and inducted into the Australian Baseball Hall of Fame.

The WA Market Fresh Fish owner said the accolade was the “cream of his playing career” to be recognised by his peers as having played “well enough” and making an impact within the sport.

Ettles fondly remembered starting his baseball career as a young boy playing at Collier Park when the old tip was where the Collier Golf Club now is.

“I remember practising and playing at this early age and just loved the game for its complexity of skills,” he said.

“I had local heroes like Ray Michell, Don Kyle, Gary Scarterfield and Tony Goadby to look up to.

“Then came the American influence with players like Don Knapp, Bob Ossey and Scott Steed that arrived in Perth to bring their knowledge and influence of how the game was played in America.

“This piqued my interests in American baseball and what it would take to get over there.”

At 17 years old, Ettles played for Australia and trained in California for the Junior World Series before moving to the US with a scholarship for the University of South Alabama.

He went on to play for the University of West Florida before signing with the Detroit Tigers and moving to the San Diego Padres to play in the Major League.

After a stint with the Taiwan Major League, Ettles was chosen to play for Australia once again, this time as part of the Sydney Olympic team.

He retired after the 2000 Games to pursue other passions and became a commercial fisherman before gaining his captains ticket which took him overseas “serving Europe’s rich and famous” as a skipper.

Now having returned to South Perth with his wife and two children, Ettles is pitching his latest career move – running WA Market Fresh Fish out of a purpose-built van at the George Burnett Leisure Centre in Karawara.