Fennel, Robert

Inducted: 2015

Fennel, Robert

Fort Thomas, Kentucky

Bob Fennell, like many of our Kentucky inductees, is no stranger softball Hall of Fames. He was originally inducted into the Hudepohl Softball Hall of Fame of Greater Cincinnati on January 14, 2001, and then seven years later (2008) was accepted and honored into the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame.

His achievements as a manager are what earned him a place in both of the aforementioned “Halls”, and those accolades for his local and regional feats have also insured him a spot at the state level of Kentucky’s Softball Hall of Fame. “Impeccable character and a gentlemanly manner in which he carried himself both on and off the softball field “are just a couple of Bob’s winning traits, says Tom Taylor—one of the 20-plus players that suited up for Mr. Fennell that are the in the Greater Cincinnati Hall of Fame due in part because of Fennell’s managerial prowess.

As a native of Northern Kentucky, from Fort Thomas, Coach Bob had the fortune of being around what could be considered the epicenter of softball in the late '60s and '70s—the Cincinnati Metro area. At least a dozen complexes were built around Cincy and Northern Kentucky to accommodate the growing popularity of the sport of softball which we have all grown to love. With popularity came success as perhaps one of the greatest teams from Kentucky, Joe Gatliff Auto Sales from Northern Kentucky went on to win three national championships in the mid 70’s.

A smattering of Gatliff players participated nightly in the ever-popular Cincinnati Metro leagues, and some made their way to other teams either before or after their Gatliff runs. A few of those guys played for Bob Fennell on his Carlisle Construction and Rolling Hills Lakers teams. From 1963 to 1976, both Carlisle and Rolling Hills Lakers were considered the cream of the Cincinnati crop in both leagues and tournaments alike. Bob’s boys won four league titles at the White Oak Major League, considered to be the toughest league in Cincinnati, then parlayed that success into regional and national prominence. His Lakers won the 1974 Ohio Valley Classic, arguably against the stiffest competition in the United States with the majority of softball’s top ten national powerhouses participating annually. Two years prior, in 1972, they won the “A” Mid America and nearly won the USSSA Nationals finishing 2nd. Other proud moments were capturing the 1983 NKIT, the 1993 Bud Invitational, and the 1955 4th of July Cane Run tournament. Bob’s 35 & Over teams won eight Kentucky State Championships from 1981 to 1990.

In summary, Bob Fennell cached for 35 years, was runner up twice in the Nationals, won countless league, regional, and state titles, and accumulated a 219 wins and 525 loss record against the finest competition in the state, metro, and around the country.