1998 Male Player: Jim Cushing

Jim Cushing

Jim Cushing batted lead-off and played left field for the 1996 and 1997 USSSA Master’s 35 & Over Major World Champions. His teams have won four other National & World Titles in both the ASA and NSA programs. Cushing was also named to three USSSA All-World teams at the 1995, 1996 and 1997 USSSA Master’s 35 & Over Major World Tournaments, as well as four more All-World/National teams in other national associations.

Three times, he was voted MVP of a National/World Tournament, including the 1997 USSSA Master’s 35 & Over Major World Tournament. Also, he was twice named MVP of Illinois USSSA State Tournaments, Men’s Class B in 1995 and Open Fall State in 1994.

Cushing has won three Gold Gloves at the 1986 Men’s Class B Qualifier, 1994 USSSA Men’s Class B State and 1995 Ottawa 14-inch Open.

Nine times, Cushing was named to a USSSA All-State Tournament team for his play at these tournaments, where his teams accumulated seven Illinois USSSA State Titles.

Known as a singles hitter, he once hit three consecutive home runs in a USSSA World Qualifying tournament with the last one coming in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the game.

“Cush” has been named to the All-American Touch and Flag Football Team four times. He is currently passing along some of his knowledge of softball by helping his good friend and head coach, Ron Havelka, as a part-time assistant for the girls’ varsity softball team at Downers Grove South High School.

1998 Male Player: Ben Holt

Ben Holt

Ben Holt played USSSA softball for 15 of his 36-year playing career. He was a catcher and power hitter who would keep people in the stands just to see him take one more swing.

Bill Veeck, the late owner of the Chicago White Sox, once held a home run hitting contest at the old Comiskey Park. The contestants hit 16-inch softballs from second base between the games of a double header. Taking his turn in front of thousands of people, he put a 16-inch softball into the upper deck in left-centerfield. A hit that Veeck often marveled about until his death.

The Professional Softball league had a Chicago entry in the late-70s and promptly signed Holt to a contract. In his first year, he became the only player in the Professional Softball League’s history to win the Triple Crown.

His greatest thrill in softball came in North Carolina when he stroked a game-winning home run for Steele’s at the USSSA Men’s World Series.

Three times, he was named to the USSSA All-Tournament team at the Men’s Class A level (the highest level at the time), including the 1979 World Tournament in North Carolina.

Holt’s teams included: Hillcrest Tavern, The Lantern, Taylor Brothers, Chicago Storm, Steele’s, Jerry’s Catering and Lilly Air Freight.

1998 Male Player: Dennis Albert

Dennis Albert

Dennis Albert was a power hitting outfielder, who has driven over 1,200 home runs over the fence in his 22-year USSSA career. He was a .640+ (career) hitter who has been named to two USSSA All-World teams in 1988 in Sterling Heights, Michigan and 1990 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1976, he was named MVP of the Illinois USSSA Men’s Class B State Tournament. In 1985, he was the beating champion (best average: .890) of the USSSA Men’s Class A State Tournament.

He was the Red Bud USSSA league home run champion five times, the Red Bud USSSA league batting champion three times and named league MVP twice.

His teams qualified for 17 USSSA Divisional, National & World Tournaments. They also accumulated one USSSA Men’s Class B State Title and two USSSA Men’s Class A State Runners-Up.

While playing in the loser’s bracket with 100 degree plus temperatures in Pevley, Missouri, he ran into the fence and received a cut above his eye that required stitches. He later returned to help his team win seven straight games in that heat to get the title.

He is an all-around athlete who was MVP of his high school’s baseball team for all four years. In his senior year of high school, he was also named MVP of his high school track team and co-MVP of his basketball team.

Dennis’s teams included: Bill James, Bills, Annie’s Army, Braun’s Tavern, Belleville Budweiser and Belleville Merchants.