1973 SOFTBALL INDUCTEE
Virginia “Ginny” Busick was a Fresno Rockets pitching missile. The slender 5’10” Busick was throwing around 65 miles an hour when the pitching distance was around thirty-eight feet as compared to forty-three feet for collegiate hurlers today. Busick was inducted into the Amateur Softball Association National Hall of Fame in 1971. Busick was blessed with a sparkling personality, a great sense of humor, and a giving mentality. “Ginny was one of the four or five best of all-time,” said former teammate Jeanne Contel. “I caught her in the early days. She had a drop and a change, but it was her speed that produced so many strikeouts. She ranks right there with Bertha Reagan Tickey, Betty Evans Grayson, Amie Peralta, and Joan Joyce. She also was a decent hitter. Ginny was fun to be around, but very hyper. She died way too young [at fifty-seven] of a heart attack.”
Busick only pitched in one of the three Rockets national championships because she turned professional and was pitching in Chicago when the Rockets won back-to-back championships in 1953 and 1954. She made that one chance memorable, winning all five of her starts and giving up just one run and ten total hits. For the entire 1957 season, she was 32-4 with only twenty eaned runs against her. In the championship game against the Phoenix Ramblers, she bested another Hall of Fame pitcher, Margie Law, 1-0. According to ASA statistics, she was 22-11 in eight national tournaments. In ten seasons with the Rockets, she pitched 952 innings and struck out 837 batters. Busick never lost a state or regional tournament game. Busick was equally dominant in the professional game leading Chicago Queens to Professional National Softball playoff championships in 1952 through 1954. She was forced to sit out the next two seasons to regain her amateur status. Busick told Kathey Clarey of The Fresno Bee during a 1971 interview that she was a “family project.” She explained that her brother bought her first pair of spikes after her first home run while playing for the Selma Goble and Diskers and a glove after she hit a second home run. “Believe it or not, I was bashful, so my father encouraged me to try out for a new team that was being formed in Fresno: the Rockets,” Busick said. “In 1946 after the wartime blackout was lifted, my Dad drove me to Fresno. I walked onto the field and was greeted by two men who asked me what position I played. Dad said, ‘She pitches.’ So I pitched and made the team.”
After retiring as an active player in 1959, she returned to manage and coach the Rockets on a full- or part-time basis until 1969 after which she still helped with softball clinics in Oakhurst and Sacramento. Busick found a job that she loved and that fit her personality with the Fresno Public Housing Authority where she was employed for twenty-five years and reached the level of administrative assistant in charge of private housing for low income families. She told Carey: “I believe wholeheartedly in what public housing stands for. There are so many dedicated people working for those who need help. The average citizen doesn’t realize that most welfare recipients are good families and people.” Busick was sitting at her desk in 1971 when she received back-to-back telephone calls from the ASA. The first was to tell her she was nominated for the ASA National Hall of Fame and the second to inform her she was one of the three elected. “I just sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks,” she described. “It’s the highest honor you can receive and I feel very privileged to have it, but you don’t do it alone; it’s a team effort.” No one was more of a team player than Ginny Busick.