While he might not like to be compared with some of the Waverley Baseball Club’s founders in terms of club history, there can be no argument that the club has had no greater contributor for so many years, in so many roles as Ross Neilson who deserves recognition as one of the club’s all-time most significant members.
Unlike many who came to the club as a parent of a junior player, Ross started at Waverley as a junior player himself and, indeed, he was a member of the club’s 1966 Under 17 team who were Waverley’s only junior team at that stage in the club’s history!
As a player, umpire, coach, committeeman and president Ross Neilson has been an integral part of the “lifeblood” that has made the club what it is today!
One of our finest junior players during the early era of the club, Ross played over 530 senior games for Waverley… and we cannot guarantee that he has finished yet!
A terrific all-round player at his peak, Ross has simply enjoyed the game so much that played at just about every level of senior baseball and remains a great example of how to respect our great game. Ross was Waverley’s Club Champion as a 19yo in 1970.
The fact that he is currently fixed at No.3 in our all-time games record holder’s list, behind only baseball “freaks” Geoff Paice and David Clarkson, says enough about his commitment and loyalty as a player.
Obviously, Ross did not think he had given enough to the club and the game when he decided to give something back to the sport by becoming an accredited baseball umpire… a role that he performed with his usual professionalism for many, many years at many levels.
He also contributed in any and every way as a parent when his own children played at Waverley. In fact, Ross had the honour of being the first ever Waverley player to see one of his own children play with the same club when Shaun started playing tee-ball circa 1983! Now Ross’s grandson is playing in the juniors.
Ross was a major sponsors of the Waverley Baseball Club for many years. He is recorded as the club’s first ever sponsor, way back in 1975.
It is already 17-years since Ross was awarded Life Membership by the club but his loyalty and contribution has simply continued to roll on unabated.
In more recent times Ross has continued to contribute to the club as a committeeman, entering his seventh year on the Board of Management, and served as President for several years from 2004.
We have certainly abbreviated and summarised just some of the more significant contributions that Ross Neilson has made to the Waverley Baseball Club and we can only hope that it has done him some of the justice he so richly deserves.
In the reverse, it also goes without saying that few people are so dedicated to the cause and who genuinely love the Waverley Baseball Club more than Ross Neilson.
Ross, like so many of the great people who have worked so hard to create and enrich the history of the WBC, is a person who shuns the accolades and the spotlight, while he does so much of his “less glamorous” work unnoticed behind the scenes.
He is also one person that can always be relied upon whenever there is a need for a fill-in umpire, player or coach. Whether it be re-stocking soft drinks, helping out with some type of working-bee or in the canteen, Ross is the type of person who simply puts himself out and who is not too aloof to do whatever is necessary to benefit the Waverley Baseball Club. There is not an adequate way for the club to thank people in this category.
Ross recently returned to Victoria after living in Queensland for several years. He immediately slipped back into ‘club life’, supporting his grandson at games and helping out with umpiring. We can only offer him our heart-felt thanks for all he has done for the club and hope that he can continue on for many more years.