Hall of fame honour for Como’s Major Leaguer
INTERNATIONAL pitcher Mark Ettles found his love for baseball as an eightyear-old playing for South Perth before representing Australia and playing in the Major League.
The Como resident represented the country as a teenager before securing a scholarship to play in the United States to kick-start his international career.
That scholarship led Ettles to become the fifth Australian to ever play at Major League level.
Now retired and the owner of a local fresh fish business, Ettles has been acknowledged for his contribution to the sport and inducted into the Australian Baseball Hall of Fame.
The WA Market Fresh Fish owner said the accolade was the “cream of his playing career” to be recognised by his peers as having played “well enough” and making an impact.
Ettles fondly remembered starting his baseball career as a young boy playing at Collier Park when the old tip was where the Collier Park Golf Club now is.
“I remember practising and playing at this early age and just loved the game for its complexity of skills,” he said.
“I had local heroes like Ray Michell, Don Kyle, Gary Scarterfield and Tony Goadby to look up to.
“Then came the American influence with players like Don Knapp, Bob Ossey and Scott Steed that arrived in Perth to bring their knowledge and influence of how the game was played in America.
“This piqued my interests in American baseball and what it would take to get over there.”
At 17, Ettles played for Australia and trained in California for the Junior World Series before moving to the US with a scholarship for the University of South Alabama.
He went on to play for the University of West Florida before signing with the Detroit Tigers and moving to the San Diego Padres in the Major League.
After a stint with the Taiwan Major League, Ettles was chosen to play for Australia once again, this time as part of the Sydney Olympic Games team.
He retired after the 2000 Games to pursue other passions and became a commercial fisherman before gaining his captains ticket, which took him overseas “serving Europe’s rich and famous” as a skipper.
Now having returned to South Perth with his wife and two children, Ettles is pitching his latest career move: running WA Market Fresh Fish out of a purposebuilt van at George Burnett Leisure Centre, Karawara.
Mark Ettles is thrilled with an accolade that reflects the esteem he is held in by his baseball peers.