History of NAFA...How it all started...
The North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) annually hosts the largest men's fastpitch softball tournament in the world. This incredible fastpitch organization was founded in Chicago in March of 1993 by Pat Bucknell, Jim Williamson, Loren Lathrop, Ronn Kopp, Roger Regez, Milt Waschow and Bill Musolf. It was founded by and for fastpitch players to serve the fastpitch community of North America.
We are in forty states, six Canadian Provinces, and Mexico. In our World Series we have had players from all over the world including New Zealand, Argentina, Australia and Japan. The World Series has grown from 61 teams in 1993 to an expected record of over 250 teams this year. Our regular World Series have been held in Crystal Lake, IL, Salt Lake City, UT, Hutchinson, KS, Salem, OR, Albuquerque, NM, Fargo, ND, Eau Claire, WI, Des Moines, Iowa and Appleton-Kimberly, Wisconsin. Our Specialty World Series events for the "OPEN" Division is held annually in Middleton(Madison), Wisconsin at Bowling Green Sports Complex and our Masters East has also been held there and in Rockford, Illinois and our West Masters has been held in Carson City(Reno), Nevada and our AA-Major event is being held in Bay City, Michigan.
The 2009 World Series dates and locations are posted after October 15th each year on this website. The Masters World Series is being held in two locations for all classes, one being held in Carson City, NV, September 18-20, 2009 and in Rockford, Illinois September 11-13, 2009. The 2009 World Series has been awarded to Appleton, Wisconsin and the 2010 Bid presentations will be made soon. We have the most extensive men's fastpitch database in the world with over 2,000 teams. Our major sponsors are A.D Starr, DeMarini, Createch, Gamewearteamsports.com , Pepsi, and Delp's Awards. We promote men's fastpitch year round.
Philosophies that made us #1...
NAFA is an international organization run by fastpitch people to help all levels of men's fastpitch teams and especially those teams at the A, A-Major, AA and AA-Major levels of play.
The founding principles (which still ring true today are)
1) No Time Limit
2) No Tie Breaker
3) Use a real FP Ball
4) Have an enforceable pitching rule and don't overpenalize for violating it
5) Play on real FP fields with homerun fences at proper distances
6) Provide an early method of qualifying for the World Series by allowing time to raise money and plan a quality trip
7) Provide a unique 3 Game Guarantee Bracket so that teams could stay longer and enjoy the World Series.
Our mission has always been to provide a set of rules to help the game and promote the sport.
Qualifying for the NAFA World Series...
Over time we have adjusted our qualifying method to allow any team that plays in a sanctioned NAFA Tournament or League to attend the World Series in all states but Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan and California who have healthy grass roots programs, large state tournaments and have developed their own qualifying method. Any Team or Tournament Director can sanction a league or tournament with NAFA for $25. If no qualifier or league exists in your area (especially for Open and AAA teams) they can receive a direct berth from the Executive Director.
The organization is led by Executive Director Benjie Hedgecock, who assumed those duties September 1, 2003 from NAFA's founders Pat Bucknell and Jim Williamson, who still both serve as Director's Emeriti for NAFA. NAFA has a 13 person Executive Board and has State Directors in most states and Canada. Our International Umpire Staff is recognized as one of the best in the World. We work closely with the ASA, ISC and Softball Canada. See our Contact List of Directors which is extensive.
Today's Challenges...Team Classification, etc...
The greatest challenge NAFA faces is the classification of teams. Fortunately we have had success compared to other organizations in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 in classifying teams with the help of our State Directors, our National Classification Committee and our Executive Board. Getting new players into the sport, having an aging sport and finding playing facilities for leagues & tournaments continue to be top challenges as well.