JAMES (JIM) F. PORTS, SR.
Jim’s involvement with the game of slow pitch softball spans a period of over 50 years to include all aspects of the game: as a player, manager, coach, sponsor, umpire, and administrator. Jim played amateur softball as a young man in Baltimore City and for Baltimore Junior College (Baltimore City Community College). Jim also coached and umpired high school and college baseball from 1955-1962. He was also the coach for the Maryland Girls State Champion softball team from 1958-1965. In 1968, Jim was introduced to slow pitch softball by some executives of the Worth Sporting Goods Company at a national sporting goods convention in New York. Jim accepted an offer to direct the Maryland operations of the fledgling USSSA. Upon attending the USSSA’s first World Championship in Pittsburgh in 1968, he was captivated by the fast pace and the game’s seemingly unlimited ability to cross boundaries of age and skill level. Ports saw a game in which everyone could participate and he dedicated 30 years of his life to USSSA.
Jim was also founder and owner of The Baltimore Monuments, Maryland’s 1977 entry in the American Professional Slo-Pitch League. The Monuments were comprised of the premier players from the Maryland/DC region, many who have been recognized for their individual accomplishments, since being inducted into several softball Halls of Fame. The Monuments played their home games at Rips Memorial Stadium in Bowie, Maryland. The Monuments completed their inaugural season finishing second among the twelve contenders. Currently, six members of The Monuments have been inducted into the Maryland Slow Pitch Softball Association’s Hall of Fame.
Jim is still running softball leagues in the Parkville/Perry Hall area today.
1967 Governor’s Citation to James F. Ports for serving as a member of the Baltimore County Commission on Physical Fitness, Spiro T. Agnew, Governor
1968 Appointed Maryland USSSA State Director
Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness Participation Award to James F. Ports for
his outstanding contribution to physical fitness activities, Spiro T. Agnew, Governor
1971 Appointed USSSA Region II Vice President
1976-81 Served as USSSA National Industrial Program Director and registrations increased from 900 to almost 6,000 teams
1980 Appointed USSSA Region IV Vice President and awarded a seat on National Executive Board
1981 Received USSSA President’s Award
1985 Assistant Tournament Director of the USSSA Men’s Major World Series at Indianapolis, IN
1986 Tournament Director of the USSSA Men’s Major World Series at Greensboro, NC
1987 Inducted into Washington Metropolitan Slow-Pitch Softball Hall of Fame
1988 Appointed USSSA Mid-Atlantic Division Executive VP and awarded a seat on the Executive Committee, the association’s highest decision making board
1990-91 Elected USSSA National President in San Diego, CA and served as Executive Board Chairman, directing open meetings at the National Conventions
1991 Hosted and Directed USSSA Men’s Class “D” Regional in Baltimore County, MD with 124 teams
1992 Received 25 year USSSA Service pin in Virginia Beach, VA
1994 Baltimore County, MD, County Executive Citation to James F. Ports congratulating him for his induction into the USSSA Hall of Fame from Roger B. Hayden, Baltimore County Executive
Governor’s Citation to James F. Ports, Sr. for his outstanding service as the Maryland USSSA Director, William Donald Schaefer, Governor
1996 Hosted and Directed USSSA Men’s Major World Series in Frederick, MD
Jim also served on various USSSA committees during his tenure, such as: Hall of Fame Fun Raising, Ways & Means, Equalizer, Disbarment, Nominations, Youth, Open Field, Men’s, Women’s, Black Americans, and National Equipment Safety & Standards.
Jim says: “I have always wanted to participate in the process. I have tried to get involved and work on behalf of the players, teams, sponsors, tournament directors, and umpires. I am one of them.”