Softball is a sport that has been around for decades, yet it’s often overlooked in terms of the incredible talent it demands from its players. Now, let us take a moment to appreciate these amazing athletes who have given us an endless supply of excitement and entertainment with their extraordinary performances: the greatest female softball players of all time.
Irony alert: These women have achieved more on the field than most men could ever dream of achieving in any sport! And so, without further ado, let’s dive into our list of top 10 best women’s softball players of all time.
From home-run hitters to masterful pitchers, these ten stars represent the best that softball has ever seen. Sure, they may not be household names like Michael Jordan or LeBron James, but their contributions to the game are just as impressive – if not more so! So without further ado, let’s get started on our countdown of the top 10 best women’s softball players of all time!
Who could possibly be the best female softball player of all time? Jennie Finch, you say? Irony abounds! After all, Finch has been an icon in the sport since her college days at the University of Arizona, where she won two NCAA Women’s College World Series titles and was named Most Outstanding Player. She was later inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 2013 and is widely considered one of the greatest players ever to grace the diamond.
Finch went on to become a two-time Olympian for Team USA, where she captured a gold medal in 2004 and a silver medal in 2008. Her international career also saw her lead Team USA to five consecutive International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship gold medals from 2002-2010. On top of that, she became one of few American athletes to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine in 2003.
It’s no surprise then that Finch is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 softball players of all time by fans and experts alike—an honor she truly deserves as a true trailblazer for women’s softball everywhere. With her incredible accomplishments both on and off the field, it’s clear why she is remembered so fondly by those who followed her career with admiration. Jennie Finch truly established herself as a legendary athlete whose impact will be felt for generations to come. With that said, let’s now turn our attention to another talented player: Lisa Fernandez…
Irony can be a powerful tool in storytelling, and Lisa Fernandez is the perfect example. The California native has been one of the most iconic faces in female softball for nearly three decades, despite never having won a single MVP award. There’s no denying that she is one of the top ten best players of all time.
This list wouldn’t be complete without her:
- 4-time Olympic Gold Medalist
- National Pro Fastpitch Hall of Fame Inductee
- 18-Time All-American selection at UCLA
- 3-Time USA Softball Player of the Year Award Winner
Despite these impressive accolades, many would still argue that she isn’t as well known as some other female softball superstars. However, there’s no denying her influence on the game and its players – she was an inspiration to many current professional athletes. From her incredible technique to her leadership skills, Lisa Fernandez will always be remembered as one of the best softball players ever. Unsurprisingly, she’s earned her rightful place on this prestigious list. Transitioning smoothly into our next section, let’s take a look at Cat Osterman – another powerhouse who was considered one of the greatest to ever play the game.
“If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.” Cat Osterman is certainly one of the greatest softball players in history and is often credited with revolutionizing the game.
Her skill and dominance on the field has been impressive since her high school days and earned her a spot as one of the top 10 best women’s softball players of all time. Here are a few highlights of her incredible career:
• Osterman was an All-American at University of Texas where she also set several NCAA Division I pitching records. • As a professional, she won three gold medals in international competitions. • She was named USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year four times.
She had remarkable control over her pitches and threw a wide array of them that kept even veteran batters guessing. It’s no surprise that she was selected to multiple All-Star teams during her career. Cat Osterman helped redefine what it meant to be an elite pitcher in softball and will go down as one of its all-time greats. With such an illustrious career under her belt, we move on to Monica Abbott who is another amazing player…
Mighty Monica Abbott is a moniker for one of the most celebrated softball players of all time. Magnified as an athlete and admired as a person, she has made a momentous mark on the world of women’s softball. Here are five reasons why Monica Abbott is regarded so highly:
• She won four consecutive national championships in college with the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers. • A six-time All-American, she was named USA Softball National Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008. • A three-time Olympic medalist, she holds multiple records within USA Softball. • She was the first professional female softball player to sign a six-figure contract with her signing bonus alone totaling more than $1 million dollars. • She has appeared on ESPN’s “The Top 25 Players in Women’s College Basketball of All Time” list.
Monica Abbott’s legacy extends well beyond her accolades and awards, however; her impact reaches far beyond the playing field and into the lives of so many young athletes who look up to her for inspiration and motivation in their own pursuits. Her commitment to excellence is undeniable and her influence will continue to be felt throughout the sport for years to come. With these incredible accomplishments, it’s no wonder Monica Abbott stands out as one of the top 10 best womens softball players ever – transitioning perfectly into what Lori Harrigan has achieved in her career.
Lori Harrigan is an American softball player hailing from California. She has been playing the sport since she was five years old and went on to become one of the most successful players in her career. Harrigan has won multiple awards, including two gold medals at the Olympic Games. Her ability to hit for both power and average makes her a complete package and one of the best players in the game.
Harrigan’s batting stats throughout her career are nothing short of impressive. She has a career batting average of .314 with 159 home runs and 564 RBI’s over her 17 year career. Her ability to hit for both power and average make her one of the most dominant batters in softball history.
Not only did Lori Harrigan excel on the field, but she also excelled off it. She was inducted into the National Softball Hall Of Fame in 2011, which solidified her status as one of the greatest softball players ever.
TIP: Watch some footage of Lori Harrigan playing to get an idea of why she is considered one of the best softball players ever!
Who would have thought that a softball player could be so inspiring? Crystl Bustos has certainly proved it to be true! She is one of the best softball players of all time, having been selected for the top 10 list.
Her career began in 1991 when she became part of the Arizona State Sun Devils team. She was part of their championship-winning team and went on to become an All-American in 1993. After this impressive start, she went on to play for several professional teams and even represented the United States in international competitions.
Crystl Bustos is known as one of the most powerful hitters in the sport, with an impressive batting average of .280 or better over her long career. Her athleticism and skills have earned her numerous awards including Player of the Year honors from USA Softball four times! She’s also a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a three-time Pan American Games champion. Clearly, she has made a huge impact on the game.
With such an impressive record behind her, it’s no surprise that Crystl Bustos has been selected as one of the top 10 best womens softball players of all time. Her skill and determination have inspired generations of aspiring athletes, making her truly one of a kind! Now we move on to another incredible athlete: Heather Tarr…
Heather Tarr is a name synonymous with excellence in the world of softball. She has done it all, from winning championships to developing strategies for success. Even more impressive, however, is her journey to the pinnacle of her sport. Tarr’s resume reads like a who’s who of softball, and she is without a doubt one of the top 10 players of all time.
Tarr has been an integral part of the softball community since her playing days at Washington University nearly two decades ago. With her leadership and guidance, she helped guide Washington to four consecutive Women’s College World Series appearances – a feat that had never before been accomplished in college softball history. In addition to her success on the field, Tarr was also responsible for creating some of the most successful coaching systems ever seen in the game.
In spite of all her accomplishments as an athlete and coach, Heather Tarr still stands out as an example for aspiring softball players everywhere. Here are just a few reasons why: • She was named Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year in 1997-1998; • She is a 3x National Champion coach; • She was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame; • She created Washington University’s Softball Dynasty. With these remarkable achievements under her belt, it’s clear that Heather Tarr belongs in any discussion about greatness in women’s softball. Her impact on the sport has been profound and lasting – something that will surely be remembered for years to come. Now we turn our attention to Leah O’Brien-Amico – another legendary figure whose name belongs on this illustrious list.
Leah O’Brien-Amico was like a shining star on the softball diamond. Her skill and prowess were unmatched by any other player of her time. With an incredible batting average, she lit up the field with her powerful shots and impressive speed.
O’Brien-Amico had a remarkable career playing for Team USA in the Olympics, National Pro Fastpitch, and at Arizona University. She was a three-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time World Cup champion. In addition to these accomplishments, she also won two NCAA championships with Arizona and held several school records.
Leah’s impact on the game of softball will never be forgotten. Her ability to hit home runs while keeping her batting average high made her one of the most feared players in the sport during her era. She set a high standard for future generations of female softball players to strive for and will remain an inspiration to many athletes for years to come. Moving on from Leah O’Brien-Amico, Dot Richardson is another name that stands out amongst greats in women’s softball history.
When it comes to the greatest softball players of all time, Dot Richardson deserves recognition. Some may argue that she doesn’t quite compare to her predecessors, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Richardson was an incredible player who used her talent and skill to become one of the best in the game.
Richardson was a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and played college ball at Cal State Fullerton from 1982-1985. She also had a successful professional career with the National Pro Fastpitch league’s Orlando Wahoos and the Chicago Bandits. Throughout her career, she was an All-American three times and a two-time national champion with Cal State Fullerton.
In addition to being a great athlete, Richardson was also an outstanding coach. She served as head coach for Rollins College from 2006-2013, where she led them to their first ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2011. This is just one example of what made Richardson such a great athlete – her ability to inspire others and help them reach their full potential on and off the field. Her legacy will live on forever in the hearts of softball fans everywhere.
Richardson proves that greatness can come in any form – whether it be as an athlete or a coach – and that dedication and hard work will always be rewarded. With this in mind, it’s time to move on to another legend of the sport: Stacey Nuveman.
Finally, rounding out the top ten of the best women’s softball players of all time is Stacey Nuveman. An Olympic gold medalist, Nuveman holds a plethora of accolades and records under her belt. She was named Softball Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002, and holds NCAA records for career home runs and slugging percentage. Here are just a few of Nuveman’s accomplishments:
• Gold Medal at 2004 Olympics • 2X Player of the Year (2001 & 2002) • 10th All Time Home Run Leader (82)
Throughout her illustrious career, Nuveman has been known for her formidable presence on the field as well as her dedication to improving young female players’ self-esteem and performance. She founded the non-profit organization ‘Play it Forward Softball’ which supports girls’ softball programs throughout California. Her legacy continues to live on in both amateur and professional softball leagues around the world.
Nuveman’s passion for the game has made her an inspiration to countless women who aspire to be as successful as she is. With such an impressive resume, it is no wonder that Stacey Nuveman is regarded as one of the greatest female softball players ever. Moving forward, we will take a look at Niki Williams – another remarkable athlete who has made a name for herself in this sport.
Niki Williams was a force to be reckoned with on the softball field. She stood tall, a strong and imposing presence in the batter’s box. Her intense focus and powerful swing made her one of the most feared hitters of all time.
A five-time All-American, she put up impressive numbers during her college career: .403 batting average; .462 slugging percentage; 95 home runs; and 255 RBIs. In addition to her hitting prowess, her defensive skills were unmatched: 25 double plays turned; 14 outfield assists; and 681 putouts.
Williams’ accomplishments are further highlighted by the following list: •\tFour-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region selection •\tNational Player of the Year honoree in 2004 •\tTwo-time Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Year (2003 & 2004) These accolades demonstrate that Williams was one of the best players ever to set foot on a softball diamond. Her strength, mental toughness, and passion for success allowed her to reach incredible heights over her career.
Her influence can still be felt today as she continues to serve as an inspiration for young female athletes looking to make their mark in the world of softball. With such an impressive resume, Niki Williams is no doubt deserving of a spot on this list of the top 10 best women’s softball players of all time. As we move onto Kelly Kretschman’s storied career, it’s clear that Williams had an impactful legacy.
Is there a list of the greatest softball players of all time that doesn’t include Kelly Kretschman? The 12th best softball player in history, Kretschman is a legendary batter and outfielder who has been playing professionally since 1999.
Kretschman’s illustrious career includes three Olympic medals, four World Cup medals, four Pan-American Games Gold Medals, and two NCAA championships. She also holds an impressive record as the only person to have competed in five different major international competitions. In addition to her international success, Kretschman was a four-time All-American at the University of Alabama and won two national championships with the Crimson Tide.
Kretschman has been named Player of the Year for both USA Softball and National Pro Fastpitch multiple times over her career. As if that weren’t enough, she was also inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2019, cementing her place in history as one of the greatest female softball players ever. Transitioning seamlessly from college softball to professional leagues, Kretschman’s career is one for the ages and a testament to her skill and determination.
Alana Addison is a force to be reckoned with in the world of softball. Born in California, she began playing the sport at an early age and quickly rose to become one of the best players in the game.
Addison has achieved a great deal during her illustrious career, including:
- Winning two NCAA championships with UCLA
- In 2003 as a freshman
- In 2004 as a sophomore
- Being named All-American six times
- Four times while playing for UCLA
- Twice while playing professionally
- Representing the USA in international competitions three times
- Becoming a member of the National Pro Fastpitch Hall of Fame in 2014.
Addison’s success on the field is only matched by her humility off it, always looking to help other young softball players reach their full potential. As such, she remains one of the most celebrated figures in women’s softball today. Her legacy will continue to live on through her accomplishments and through those who she has inspired throughout her career. With this, we move onto our next player: Jenae Leles.
Jenae Leles was like a force of nature on the softball diamond. Her tenacity and skill made her one of the most feared players in the game. She had a powerful swing that could send balls soaring over fences, but she also had an uncanny ability to read pitchers and put the ball exactly where she wanted it.
Leles was just as impressive in the field as at bat. She had a knack for making extraordinary catches look routine, and her speed on the basepaths allowed her to turn singles into doubles with ease. She was also known for being an excellent bunter and base stealer, giving opposing teams fits when trying to contain her.
What made Leles so special, however, was her passion for the game and leadership qualities both on and off the field. She was a leader for her team and always encouraged them to work hard no matter what situation they found themselves in. Without a doubt, Jenae Leles is one of the greatest softball players of all time.
Michele Smith is one of the greatest softball players of all time. She was a two-time Olympic gold medalist and led Team USA to victory in both the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. Smith was also a four-time All American at Oklahoma State University. Her impressive list of accolades includes being named the National Player of the Year on three occasions, earning the Honda Award for Softball Player of the Year twice, and winning five consecutive ASA Player of the Year awards.
Smith’s career stats are equally impressive: she hit .365 with 95 home runs, 712 runs batted in, and had an incredible slugging percentage of .743. On top of that, she pitched for Team USA in both Olympics and posted a staggering 0.20 ERA (earned run average) in those games. What stands out most about her career is her unwavering commitment to excellence and her sheer dominance in a sport that only started becoming popular during her college years.
Her legacy lives on through numerous awards named after her, including the Michele Smith Award which is presented annually by USA Softball to honor its outstanding female athletes. It’s no surprise that Smith is considered one of the best softball players ever – she has earned every bit of recognition she has received throughout her career!
The top 10 best softball players of all time are truly an extraordinary group of athletes. Jennie Finch, Lisa Fernandez, Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott, and Lori Harrigan have each left their permanent mark on the history of softball. They have set the standard for excellence and inspired generations of young players to work hard and strive for greatness.
Kelly Kretschman, Alana Addison, Jenae Leles, and Michele Smith have also made their own special contributions to the game. Each one has achieved success with a combination of skill, determination, and heart that is truly inspiring. Together these ten women have created a legacy that will live on for many years to come.
Softball has been blessed by the talent and dedication of these remarkable women over the past few decades; they have changed the game forever. Like a magnificent mosaic that is made up of countless smaller pieces, their stories will continue to be told as an example of what can be accomplished when dedication meets opportunity. Their legacy will continue to shape the future of softball for years to come.