Charles Ernest Phillips 1940-2003

Whanganui-born Charlie Phillips was the first New Zealander to play, umpire and administer softball internationally.

He represented New Zealand at the inaugural world championships in Mexico in 1966, finishing third behind the United States and Mexico, and again in Oklahoma in 1968 where he placed fifth.

Those two Kiwi softball teams were the pioneers for New Zealand sides, that are now the most successful in the world with seven world titles.

Although a class pitcher for the Whanganui representative team, Charlie gained international honours as a shortstop and third baseman. He was a very alert infielder with quick reflexes and a powerful arm, as well as being a strong batter.

Charlie, a foundation member of the Braves Softball Club, was an all-round sportsman, also representing Whanganui in soccer (a top-class goalkeeper), badminton, squash and table tennis.

He was New Zealand Softball Umpire in Chief for 13 years (1983-1996), officiating at world championships, and deputy chief umpire at world women’s and junior tournaments.

In 1997 he was inducted into the New Zealand Softball Hall of Fame, and in 1999 into the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame.

His international citation recognised Charlie’s contribution and dedication to the development and growth of world softball, in particular umpiring, and mentions his experience in all facets of the sport – playing, umpiring and administrating over a 30-year span.

He was also the South Pacific Regional Umpire in Chief, which included assisting with the standardising of international umpire training programmes.

Charlie Phillips has a major legacy in New Zealand softball – he is credited with introducing popular T-Ball into this country after witnessing its popularity on an overseas trip.

The Phillips family was heavily involved in Whanganui softball: Charlie’s father, Fred, as an umpire, mother Alice a scorer, brother Bill played for New Zealand in the outfield, and sister Margaret represented Whanganui.

Page reviewed: 20 Nov 2018 2:10pm