Paul Algar pitching in the 1997 ISC World Tournament, leading the Farm Tavern of Madison, Wisc. to its first world tournament championship. Photo By BOB OTTO
YUCAIPA, Calif. – Many great players have starred in the International Softball Congress World Tournament. Zack and White, Zimmerman and Stofflet, Paton and Rychcik have become iconic names in the 69 years of the greatest men’s fastpitch tournament in the world.
But if a sponsor and manager were to assemble a world-class ball club capable of winning the World Tournament, could he do any better than drafting these three ball players: Paul Algar, Mark Sorenson and Colin Abbott.
All three have since retired from the sport, but based on their resumes, they deserve status in the most hallowed club in any sport – “Greatest of All-Time.”
Here’s what they’ve accomplished in their combined 61 years competing in the World Tournament.
Paul Algar had all the pitches – rise, drop and change-up. And he had the speed to blow the ball by most batters. Photo By BOB OTTO
Algar came to the United States a raw but talented 17-year-old pitcher, following in the footsteps of his older brother Loren. And when he finally retired, he had pitched in 27 ISC World Tournaments (1985-2012), amassing 42 wins that ties him with Todd Martin for fifth-best, all-time.
Two World Tournament championships (1997-’99 with Madison Farm Tavern)
Five All-World selections
Nine consecutive World Tournament wins (1996-’99)
Twice chosen the Leroy Zimmerman Memorial Award Most Valuable Pitcher
Selected to the ISC Hall of Fame in 2012
Okay, so we’ve got our No. 1 pitcher signed. But whose going to catch him. That would be Sorenson, also from New Zealand. And there’s none better than this versatile player, who has also spent time at first and third bases.
But he’s best known for his ability to call pitches and guide his pitchers through the treacherous ordeals of getting the best hitters in the game out.
Mark Sorenson seen batting for the Broken Bow, Neb. Travelers in the ISC World Tournament. Branded “Brutus” for his hitting prowess, Sorenson was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2010. Photo By BOB OTTO
Where to start with this super star that many in fastpitch worldwide consider the best player to ever step on to a ball diamond. This is what Sorenson – best known as “Brutus” in the fastpitch world – accomplished in World Tournament play:
- Four ISC World Tournament titles
- 18 World Tournament appearances
- 12 All-World selections
- One Most Valuable Player award
- Selected to ISC Hall of Fame in 2010 (also inducted into the International Softball Federation in 2009, where he helped New Zealand win four ISF world championships. And he’s received several prestigious awards in New Zealand.)
Colin Abbott was one of the most feared clutch hitters in the history of the ISC World Tournament, and one of the best to ever wear a Farm Tavern uniform. Photo By BOB OTTO
Let’s say that our manager elects to slot Sorenson No. 3 in the batting order. That makes Abbott a lock to follow him as the clean-up hitter. Abbott, a Canadian from Newfoundland, also starred in hockey. But he quickly drew the attention of U.S. club teams for his prowess on the fastpitch diamond.
“I won a Midget National championship and two Junior National Championships before jumping into senior ball,” said Abbott. “It was at that time that I received a call from Mike Van Lanen to play with a team in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Moving from Portugal Cove, NL to Green Bay at 21 years of age seemed like moving halfway around the world.”
And in Green Bay, he played for the All-Car Roadrunners, where he was introduced to the ISC.
“I knew nothing about the ISC as my knowledge was with the Canadian Nationals,” he said. “I played from 1992–1997 with All Car and was fortunate to win my first ISC in 1994 at the age of 23. “I moved on to The Farm Tavern and Rod Peterson in 1998. I won two additional ISC championships in 1999 and 2007 before retiring in 2009.”
- When Abbott retired, he had left quite a legacy.
- Inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2015
- Three ISC world tournament championships
- 18 world tournament appearances
- Three-time Most Valuable Player
- 10-times selected all-world (fifth place tie, all-time)
- RBI leader twice (1996 with 14; 2005 with 11)
- Leading hitter once (1994, .500 avg. going 9 for 18)
Okay, so our hypothetical sponsor and manager have drafted their top-three picks. But of course it takes more than three superstars to make a world-class ball club.
Who else would you draft?
Check out the ISC website’s Hall of Fame; it’s filled with plenty of icons of the sport to fill our world tournament championship-caliber team, anchored by Algar, Sorenson and Abbotto.