The German Baseball and Softball Federation (DBV) used their annual All-Star Game between the German National Team and the Bundesliga All-Stars on Sunday, July 23 in Munich-Haar to honor Tom O’Connell of the International Sports Group (ISG) for his contributions to the development of German Baseball with the DBV Needle of Honor.
“Tom has been a big supporter of the development of the sport in Europe, but especially in Europe. Many of our players and coaches got in touch with him at one point during their career and got inspired by his love for the game,” says DBV President Mirko Heid. “We hope that Tom will return to Germany in the coming years and we can continue taking advantage of his expertise to grow baseball in our country.”
Coaching baseball for nearly 50 years at the High School level in his home state Wisconsin, O’Connell served as the lead MLB Envoy Coach in Germany since 1993 and spent many summers in Germany to develop baseball players and coaches. As vice president of ISG he has been instrumental in the success of the baseball clinic at the annual DBV Convention with up to 100 coaches every January.
An accomplished author, O’Connell has published three books with Human Kinetics Press, Coaching Baseball: Techniques and Tactics, one of the top selling baseball handbooks and the textbook for coach licensing in the USA, Coaching Youth Baseball, a manual for youth coaches, and, most recently, Play Ball: 100 Baseball Practice Games.
Involved in the American Baseball Coaches Association for 44 straight years, O’Connell chaired its High School Division from 1984-1996 and now serves on the Board of Directors and heads the Ethics in Coaching Award Committee. He presided over the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association and organized their successful Clinic and Convention for twenty years and, in 1991, was named their Man of the Year. He has been inducted into three Halls of Fame: The Old Time Baseball Players Hall of Fame in Milwaukee, the WBCA Hall of Fame, and in 2007 became only the 16th high school coach to ever be inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in its 64-year history.
The German Baseball and Softball Federation (DBV) is awarding the Needle of Honor to persons to recognize their tireless work in the name of baseball and softball in Germany.
Photo by Gregor Eisenhuth, www.eisenhuth-photographie.de