VIDEO: Jim Brackin Among Best Softball Players In U.S.
By SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME // May 5, 2014
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Jim Brackin, who competed in nine American Softball Association (ASA) major fast pitch and masters’ divisions national tournaments, was inducted into the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame.
JIM BRACKIN – 2014 INDUCTEE
‘MOST OUTSTANDING’ AT SATELLITE HIGH
Jim Brackin ends his emails with a quote from basketball coaching legend Bobby Knight, who once noted that “most people want to win, few have the will to prepare to win.”
At the fast pitch softball academy he operates in Virginia, Brackin prepares the next generation of athletes.
Although he currently resides in Virginia, Brackin plans to retire soon and Brevard is in his crosshairs as a perfect destination for the next phase of his life.
He is no stranger to the Space Coast, since he excelled in baseball at Satellite High School, where he graduated in 1966 and was named the most outstanding baseball player that year.
“I was a Navy brat,” explained the Miami native.
“My dad was in the Navy for 28 years, and he was stationed at Patrick Air Force Base for a while as part of a small Navy group of 10 or 12 guys who coordinated with the Air Force.”
High school baseball was followed by baseball at Brevard Engineering College, now known as Florida Tech.
Among his coaches was Andy Seminick, one of the Philly Whiz kids, those intrepid Philadelphia Phillies players who in 1950 snagged what had been rare since 1915 at the City of Brotherly Love, a National League pennant.
Unfortunately, baseball eventually drove Brackin out of Brevard, because at the time, the team at the young Melbourne college could not participate in conferences.
“My brother was at Troy State in Alabama and he made all-conference as a freshman, so I followed,” said Brackin. “I’ve come back to Melbourne for Satellite and Florida Tech reunions all the time. We had so many a good time.”
In 1971, with a college degree in math, Brackin’s luck ran out. He got drafted.
“It was the last year of the draft and I was #11,” he said. “I was upset I wasn’t in the top 10.”
In Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, for basic training, he got an order to appear before his company commander.
“I didn’t know what I had done wrong,” he said.
Brackin wasn’t in hot water at all. In fact, he was wanted because he had the right moves in baseball.
“They had a company team and they wanted me to play fast pitch softball,” he explained. “Back then, there were fast pitch teams in every town.”
Although he hadn’t played fast pitch before, Brackin had some genetic predisposition for the sport, for his father had been a very good fast pitch player.
“I grew up in the softball fields in Miami, where my dad played,” he said. “I thought baseball was my sport, but as it turned out, it was softball.”
During assignment to Ft. Meade in Maryland, Brackin’s softball talents got him selected for the All-Star team. Brackin also played with the top-of-the-league Baltimore city league before heading to the equally-powerful DC city league at Guy Mason Park.
“It was the highest level of amateur softball,” he said.
MEMBER OF THE ASA HALL OF FAME
In 1982, Brackin was selected as a guest player for the U.S. Olympic Festival by the Sunners, the Allentown, Pennsylvania, softball club that claimed world-famous pitcher Ty Stofflet as their own.
“I played with the Sunners from ’83 to ’86,” said Brackin.
Mind you, Brackin was working in DC as a computer programmer at the time.
“I would get off work on Friday and head to Pennsylvania, where I would play double headers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he said.
Brackin, who competed in nine American Softball Association (ASA) major fast pitch and masters’ divisions national tournaments, was named ASA major fast pitch national batting champion twice and is the only resident of Virginia ever inducted into the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame.
In 2003, Brackin launched Top of the Order, which provides fastpitch softball instruction for serious youth softball players.
“I’ve always stressed to hitters the importance of hitting the ball hard somewhere,” said Brackin. “If you do, good things will happen.”
THE 2014 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 9 with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. – and dinner and ceremony at 7 p.m.
FOR INFORMATION & TICKETS to the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Induction dinner call 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultimedia@gmail.com