Open Men – History and Winners

Open Men – History and Winners

John Reid Shield
Open Men’s Championship

As a spectator, John Reid attended his first softball game in 1940 in Wellington, New Zealand, however it wasn’t until 1948 that he began regular involvement in the game.

Responding to encouragement from the legendary Syd ‘Pop’ Lambert, a workmate at the time, Reid tried out as a player with the equally famous Island Bay Club.

After a few games that were arguably less than mediocre performances, including a batting average of .000, Reid wisely accepted Lambert’s encouragement to become one of the club’s conscripted umpires.

This led Reid to a softball career which included gaining the equivalent of state umpiring badges from four NZ provincial associations, culminating in gaining the NZ Umpires’ Badge in 1960 and re-qualifying annually until migrating to Australia in 1968.

Shortly after being presented his NZ badge, Reid was recruited by the NZ Softball Council as a Deputy Chief Umpire and examiner, a post he held until migrating. Many of New Zealand’s top umpires were trained by Reid and they affectionately nicknamed him ‘The Whip’.

Reid’s talents as an administrator were quickly recognised, and utilised; he held office in several NZ associations and was a member of the NZ Softball Council from 1953 to 1968. In addition to his abilities as an administrator, Reid retained a talent for writing, becoming a full time journalist in 1960 after many years as a casual contributor. With softball as a consuming interest, it was not long before Reid became a trailblazer in generating publicity for softball in New Zealand, an achievement recognised in Reid winning the International Softball Federation’s award for the best international articles in 1966, 1967, and 1968, an unprecedented hat-trick that remains unequalled.

After occupying the role of Chief Public Relations Officer for the NZ Decimal Currency Board and no opportunity to progress in his homeland, Reid migrated to Australia in 1968, becoming the first Public Relations Officer for Tasmania’s Hydro Electric Commission. He quickly became associated with the Southern Tasmania Association, being their Chief Umpire during his time on the ‘Apple Isle’.

Seeking a greater professional challenge, Reid moved to Sydney in 1971 assuming the role of Public Relations Officer for the Australian Bankers’ Association. It is a mark of his attitude to all his endeavours that his peers elected him as one of the Fellows of the Public Relations Institute of Australia.

Reid joined the North Shore District Softball Association, one of New South Wales’ strongest, especially in the ‘nursery’ grades. For more than 10 years he was North Shore’s Chief Umpire and major on-field activist. In this role, he was also North Shore’s major umpiring representative at many State Championships for a number of years. This ultimately led to his recruitment by the formidable Edna Nash as her formal Vice President, and Deputy Chief Umpire of the NSW Softball Umpires’ Association for many years, becoming part of the senior panel that did much to further umpiring and establish the high standards that remain today. Recognition of these achievements came with Reid’s election as a Life Member of the NSW Softball Umpires’ Association.

Reid was approached in 1978 to lead a committee responsible for fostering men’s softball. After conducting a survey of male softballers throughout Australia, and with the approval of the Australian Softball Federation, Reid, Edna Nash and Nox Bailey worked tirelessly to create the first national men’s championship under the ASF banner in 1984.

The annual event now plays for the coveted John Reid Shield.

Award winners

1984 WA in Sydney 2000 Vic in Melbourne
1985 WA in Melbourne 2001 ACT in Adelaide
1986 WA in Perth 2002 Qld in Perth
1987 WA in Brisbane 2003 ACT in Brisbane
1988 WA in Canberra 2004 Vic in Canberra
1989 ACT in Sydney 2005 Vic in Launceston
1990 ACT in Adelaide 2006 ACT in Sydney
1991 WA in Perth 2007 ACT in Sydney
1992 WA in Brisbane 2008 ACT in Melbourne
1993 ACT in Melbourne 2009 ACT in Sydney
1994 NSW in Sydney 2010 WA in Canberra
1995 Qld in Adelaide 2011 ACT in Brisbane
1996 WA in Perth 2012 ACT in Sydney
1997 WA in Tasmania 2013 ACT in ACT
1998 WA in Canberra 2014 ACT in Perth
1999 Vic in Brisbane 2015 ACT in Brisbane
2016 NSW in Adelaide
2017 ACT in Canberra