If you have been a player/coach or fan of the Emerald City Softball Association, just from the quotes above, you already recognize this nominee as Gary “MEATBALL” Gilman. For 30 years the ECSA has celebrated and respected Gary as one of their own. Although, he has never been a player, manager or coach in our league Gary is certainly part of our amazing and proud history. His professionalism as an umpire and his ability to remember that this is a competitive AND recreational activity for our members has made him a fixture in our organization and a VERY deserving candidate for the Emerald City Softball Association Hall of Fame.
Gary Gilman has been here throughout our history. He has been umpiring in the ECSA since it was formed.
The Emerald City Softball Association is comprised of the GLBT community, their friends and families. While most nominations of greatness would never need this particular caveat, it remains a true testament to Gary’s loyalty, love of the game and his openness/tolerance of ALL people that he has umpired our league for all of these years. Thirty years ago, times were very different. The idea of a gay sports league was new and scary to a lot of people. Gary is not G,L,B or T he is an open minded professional that has won our appreciation and adoration. As an umpire, Gary could choose any league and any part of town to call games, but he has consistently chosen the ECSA
One of his early memories from our league is when we held our regular season games at the Rainier Playfields. “Rainier Playfields were some of the first fields the league used and we had to have a player from each team watch our cars so at the end of the game they would still be there. That was a pretty nasty neighborhood to be playing in back then.”
Years ago, the ECSA Board created an “Umpire of the Year Award”. Gary Gilman won that award every year except one. The league actually stopped presenting the award because it became clear that the members of the ECSA were going to cast their votes for Gary every time. There was simply no competition.
In addition to the ECSA “Umpire of the Year Award”, the Seattle Metro Softball Umpires Association (SMSUA) actually re-named their “Most Requested Umpire of the Year Award” to the “The Gary Gilman Most Requested Umpire of the Year Award” which is given out every year. Gary continues to be the winning recipient of that award year after year.
In addition to the ECSA regular season, Gary has umpired for the Emerald City Classic, formerly the Cascade Cup, for over 20 years. (This is the annual tournament hosted by our league.) Tournament umpires are held at a higher standard than regular season umpires. When you invite teams to compete in your home town, you naturally only want the BEST and the BRIGHTEST to call those games. He has consistently been that person. Additionally, as tournaments progress, only the best from your pool of umpires will get to work the championship games. Gary has held that honor more times than we can count.
Each year NAGAAA requests that member organizations, such as the ECSA, submit their most qualified umpires to officiate at the Gay Softball World Series (GSWS). Gary has been one of those considerations every year. Unfortunately, because umpiring is not his primary career, he was unable to travel due to work. However, the nation’s top softball teams did get the privilege of seeing him on the fields during the GSWS in 2008 hosted by Seattle. He made both the city of Seattle and the Emerald City Softball Association proud.
So proud in fact, that the ECSA GSWS Host Committee specifically requested Gary Gilman to umpire the very first NAGAAA Hall of Fame. Before the game Gary was presented with a Jersey at that game which was customized to read: “Meatball”, which he had framed and is now hanging in his home.
We are honored to have Gary Gilman as part of our community. Gilman has said many times before, “I truly love the game and the people that play it.” “The ECSA is the best organized and best run league in all of Seattle . . . the best league period.”
As you look at the amazing individuals that have shaped our league during its long and wonderful history, you have to go beyond just the players, the coaches and the fans. Gary Gilman is a true staple in our organization. His excitement, commitment and love of the game keep people coming back year after year. It is time we recognize and induct one of the most consistent, respected, and appreciated umpires we have had in the ECSA and in the city of Seattle.
As you consider Gary’s nomination into the Hall of Fame please consider these words regarding his nomination:
It is exactly because of that attitude, commitment and excellence that we should induct Gary in what he calls, “the prestigious ECSA HOF”.
Should Gary Gilman be a part of our Emerald City Softball Hall of Fame? The answer to that question… THAT is a “MEATBALL.”