Davenport, Jim

Inducted: 2012

Davenport, Jim

Louisville, Kentucky

Jim Davenport's softball career spanned six decades, playing in or managing more than 2,000 games - winning more than 80 percent of them.

Jim began playing fastpitch softball at the age of 15 in 1946. As a left fielder, Jim played both fast and slow pitch softball through the 40s, 50s, and 60s, but a line drive in 1967 changed his fate. A ball hit and broke his arm as he ran to third base. His injury sidelined him into a new position as acting manager of the GE Hawks where he led the Hawks to an Appliance Park and City Championship in 1967.

In 1968, Jim took over as manager/coach of the G Wacos where he built his softball dynasty. Under his leadership, GE Wacos racked up 21 city championships. 14 metro championships, 11 midwest regional titles (with a 55-0 record in regional tournament play), and at the pinnacle of his game in 1978, a national championship.

That year, as coach and manager of GE Wacos, Jim lead his team to go undefeated to win the Midwest Regional title in Cincinnati, Ohio, averaging 18 runs a game while holding their opponents to an average of five.

After winning the Midwest title, GE Wacos advanced to play in the ASA Men's Major Industrial Championship in Charlotte, N.C. They beat Aetna Life and Casualty, 19-14, for the national title, making GE Wacos, the best of more than 100,000 registered ASA teams.

Wacos scored 160 runs in the '78 national tournament, averaging 23 runs per game, while holding their opponents to an average of 14 runs. Eight players from Jim's squad made the All-American team that year.

During Jim's career, he lead his team to play in 14 ASA Men's Major Industrial Championships, winning one and finishing as runner-up in 1972, 1973 and 1979, and third place in 1984. Jim led his team to play in two NSA National Championships, where the team placed second in both tournaments and in two USSSA National Championships.

Nine of Jim's player have been named First Team All-Americans for a career total of 17 placements on All-American Team.

Jim was named Manager of the Year in Louisville in 1972. His coaching philosophy was to play the top teams in the region.

"We never went trophy hunting." Jim said. "We did not like playing teams we could beat. We liked playing teams that were better than us. That made us a better ball club."