Passing of Lindsay Anderson

Passing of Lindsay Anderson
23 May 2011

The softball communities on both sides of the Tasman are mourning former Canterbury and South Island infielder Lindsay Anderson.

Anderson, 53, died suddenly in Perth early last week after a brain haemorrhage. The third baseman represented New Zealand in a domestic series against top American club Peterbilt Western in 1981 before moving to Perth.

He captained the first Australian team to attend a men’s world championship in 1988 and is still the only man to captain and coach the Australian national team.

Anderson may have lived in Perth for close to 30 years, but he remains a legend in South Island softball circles for scoring the only run in the last inter-island game held in New Zealand in 1981.  South Island softball fans still maintain the North have been too scared to play since.

Former New Zealand coach Mike Walsh said Anderson had “a outstanding series’’ against Peterbilt in 1981. “He would have been in 1984 New Zealand team [which won the world championship], however he chose to move to Aussie and live there’’.

“He was a super guy in every way.’’

Anderson grew up in Dunedin and played for the Dodgers club and Otago before moving to Christchurch to join his brother Graeme, a leading catcher and first baseman.

Canterbury Softball Association life member Arnold Hall coached Anderson at the Burnside club and said he was a dream to coach. “No doubt about it, he was one of the most intelligent and excellent players I’ve ever come across. He was a great third baseman, a very good pitcher and he was a very fast base runner and a terrific guy.’’

Hall was disappointed when Anderson chose to move to Australia at the peak of his powers _and “took my son Allan [Burnside and Canterbury’s pitcher] with him. But  Lindsay had a very successful career, on and off the diamond, in Perth.’’

Softball Australia noted in an on-line tribute that Anderson was “Australia’s number one capped player’’.

The Kiwi made an impressive international debut on the pitching mound against Mexico at the 1988 world championships in Saskatoon, Canada. He pitched seven complete innings to lead Australia to an historic 4-3 victory over Mexico.  

Anderson played in and also coached the Western Australia state team which won seven out of the first 10 domestic men’s championship titles. He coached the Australian Steelers national team at the 1992 world championships in Manila and continued to support both his adopted nation and New Zealand.

The Softball Australia Hall of Fame member travelled to Christchurch in 2004 to see the New Zealand Black Sox win their third consecutive world championships title and witness the Steelers claim their first medal _ bronze.

The Softball Australia website noted, “In 2009 [Anderson]  returned to the place where his own international career commenced - Saskatoon, Canada - where he and long-time friend and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Bill Downing’’ (a former West Coaster) watched Australia win the gold medal game against their native New Zealand.  

Current Australian Steelers team manager Michael Titheradge  said It was fitting for the Steelers to have “a true pioneer of our history right there with us in Saskatoon to enjoy and be a part of our world championship celebrations, for it was he who paved the way for many Australian players to achieve their dreams in representing their country’’.

“Not only was Lindsay a superb softball player _ he was a true gentleman and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.’’