Craig Cress

Year inducted: 2005
Hometown: Terre Haute
Category: Umpire

Biography

Craig Cress got into umpiring when he least expected it.  Cress had umpired Little League baseball with his Dad, but still enjoyed playing softball.  One evening, however, he watched a softball game in Terre Haute, IN, his hometown, and asked to umpire a fast pitch game by Dean Russell when his partner didn’t show up.  “I had played a lot of softball and watched a lot so I said ‘sure,’ said Cress.  Indiana ASA Commissioner Wayne Myers watched Cress work the game and registered him with the Indiana ASA.  Myers then told the late Ed Mayhew, the Indiana UIC, about Cress so Mayhew watched him a tourney on a weekend soon thereafter.

From there, Cress continued to excel and eventually gave up playing in favor of umpiring where he achieved a high level of competency, progressing up the umpire ladder quickly. By 1983, he had umpired three ASA national championships: Boys’ 12-under fast pitch and 18-under fast pitch and Men’s Class A Fast Pitch. Because the Men’s Class A Fast Pitch was held in Craig’s region (Midwest), he umpired the event because another umpire couldn’t work because of an injury.

Blessed with a “natural ability for umpiring,” Cress worked his first of six ASA Men’s Major fast pitch national championships in 1989, plus the Women’s Class B Fast Pitch National in 1987 and the Men’s Class A Fast Pitch again in 1990.  During his umpiring career, he officiated 11 ASA national championships. After officiating the Men’s Fast Pitch National in 1994, Craig was selected for ISF championships and did the Junior Girls’ Fast Pitch in 1995 and the Men’s World in 1996 in Midland, MI, followed by an ISF invitational two years later in New Zealand and the Men’s National Sports Festival in Sioux City, IA.

In 1992, Cress was named Indiana UIC and remained in that position until 1999. That year he also was named Indiana High School Federation Umpire of the Year and twice (1995 and 1995) worked the Indiana High School Fast Pitch Championship.

In 1993, he was ISF certified in fast pitch after being admitted to the National Indicator Fraternity a year earlier. Besides serving as Indiana UIC, Craig was a member of the ASA National Umpire staff from 1998-2002 before leaving to join the ASA national office, replacing Bill Humphrey as membership services director in 2002. During his umpiring career, Cress officiated five Midwest Regionals and was the UIC at nine ASA national championships and taught at 15 ASA National Umpire Schools.

He was a take-charge umpire who excelled at game control even under the most intense situations. He is the third umpire from Indiana elected to the National Softball Hall of Fame, following Eddie Mayhew and Bob Quillen.

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