Softballer named co-winner of most outstanding player of last 25 years
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Over the past 25 years, two men have had a huge impact on the landscape of softball in Newfoundland and Labrador.
One of those men is Colin Abbott, the other is Bay Roberts native Ward Gosse.
Both men have been named co-winners of the most outstanding player award for the last 25 years (1986-2012).
Gosse is being given the award at the Softball Newfoundland and Labrador 50th Anniversary and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony being held at the Royal Canadian Legion in Kelligrews, Nov. 23.
"It's quite humbling," Gosse told The Compass last week.
Gosse said he found out about the being named the one of the most outstanding players a couple of weeks ago by Paul Smith, the vice-president of Softball Newfoundland and Labrador and the chairman of the SNL Hall of Fame committee.
The 44-year-old said at the time it was a "little overwhelming."
"It ranks up there, I'll tell you that. It would have to be one of the top things that I've done in sports," said Gosse.
There are a couple of different ways to look at the recognition.
"The fact that I'm still playing and still having fun, so I haven't really looked back over my career as such," he said. "I guess, getting an award while you're still playing, it may sink in down the road when I'm a little bit older and not playing."
It's all in the stats
Gosse has been playing softball, for what he figures, is some 30 years.
"I started when I was six or seven," he said.
In that time, Gosse has put together a storied career. It started in 1986 when he helped lead Bay Roberts to the provincial midget championship.
Gosse would go on to three successful years in the St. John's Junior Softball League where he won two most valuable player awards, a batting title and a home run title as a hitter to go along with a strikeouts title as a pitcher.
During those three years, Gosse would be named to two all-league teams and represent the province at the junior national championships as a member of the CBC Junior Travellers.
Gosse's dominance would continue as he moved into the senior ranks. In 25 years in the league, he has captured 11 league championships, a rookie-of-the-year award (1988), seven regular season MVP awards, 10 playoff MVP awards and triple crowns in both pitching and batting. In 449 careers games, he has a career .323 batting average, racking up 301 runs scored, 100 home runs, and 355 runs batted in (RBI). Gosse is the league record holder in home runs and RBIs.
In 176 career playoff games, Gosse has amassed a .331 batting average, with 29 home runs, 107 runs scored, 164 hits and 94 RBIs. He leads a number of offensive playoff categories.
On the mound, Gosse has 169 wins and 88 losses in 321 games pitched. He has garnered 2,358 strikeouts, 32 shutouts and a career earned run average of 2.126.
His record is just as strong in the playoffs, where he has 78 wins and 36 losses in 139 playoff games.
He has a provincial gold medal at the national level to go along with a gold medal at the International Softball Congress championship with the Parry Island Hawks in 2012. In that tournament, he was named the MVP and the most outstanding pitcher.
"He has been put on a pedestal with Colin Abbott," said Paul Smith. "(Gosse) has had a remarkable career."
Smith said if anyone had questions about Gosse's selection as one of the two top softball players this province has produced over the last quarter century, there is an easy answer.
"You just need to look at his stats," he said. "And, he's still playing and playing at a high level."