Todd Joerling of New Melle will be inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in September for his accomplishments as a Professional Softball player.
In 1989 Todd Joerling broke into the Major ranks of softball with the Steele’s Silver Bullets out of Grafton, OH, where he remained until the 1991 season. In 1991 Todd played for Lighthouse/Sunbelt out of Stone Mountain, GA. From 1992-94 Todd played for Woody Bell’s Bell Corporation out of Tampa, FL and in 1995 Bell Corp teamed up with Wayne Williams to form the Bell Corp/Sunbelt team. From 1996-1998 Todd remained with Wayne Williams and played for Sunbelt/Dan Smith. In 1999 Todd played with Team Easton and then back to Bell Corp in 2000.
In his career Todd was a part of 13 National Championship teams, a 31-time All-World selection and a 2 time National Tournament MVP. Todd is a 7 time National Batting Average Champion, 1 time World Series Batting Champion and a 2 time Gold Glove, as well as countless All Tournament teams.
Todd made Supreme Softball’s 1st team 7 out of 8 years and was selected as a member of the All Century Team and was 1st team shortstop on the All Decade team for the 90’s. When Todd was inducted into the National Softball Association Hall of Fame in 2001; his lifetime batting average was .720. He has also been inducted into the Independent Sports (Softball) Association Hall of Fame, the USSSA Softball Hall of Fame, and the Francis Howell High School Baseball Hall of Fame.
Todd started playing baseball as a kid. In High School he played baseball, football and basketball, then went on to play baseball at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield. He was asked to play for his first major league softball team in 1989. One of his most memorable moments was in the 1993 World Series in Daytona Beach. Bell Corp had to beat Williams twice to win the title. In the first game Bell Corp was trailing by 2 runs with 2 outs and 2 runners on base in bottom of the 7th inning. With 2 strikes on him, Todd hit a 3-run home run to win the game and Bell Corp then went on to win the 1993 World Series.
Todd attributes his athletic ability to his mother, Vivian Joerling, who was a very good girls softball player in her youth. But he also attributes his success to support from his family. Starting with his parents, Pete and Vivian, his brother Paul and Porky who allowed him a flexible work schedule to pursue his softball career, and especially his wife, Brandee (Haller) Joerling. “The time and effort I put into the sport was easily surpassed by the time Brandee spent keeping things going at home, taking care of our twins when they were small, and especially her care and attention during our son’s battle against Hogkins Lymphoma.”
Todd retired from professional Softball in 2011 when his son, Trevor, was diagnosed, but has remained involved as a coach for the Missouri Fury Girls Fastpitch Softball organization based in New Melle. His daughter, Darby, plays in that league and is continuing the family tradition, becoming quite a good player in her own right.
Throughout his career, Todd has been respected not only for his athletic achievements, but also his personal character. His bio from the National Softball Association Hall of Fame states Todd’s achievements “are superceded only by his character both on and off the field. Todd has been a genuine ambassador for the sport of softball and because of his gentlemanly manner in which he carried the ambassador banner he has been called the modern day Bruce Meade.” The NSA says Todd “is one of softball’s all time truly great people, and quite possibly the greatest shortstop this game had ever known.
Todd will be the first Professional Softball player inducted in the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame since it was founded in 2009. As a member of the 2014 class, Todd will be honored along with the following: Baseball: Chris Carpenter and Orlando Cepeda; Basketball: Kristin (Folkl) Kaburakis, Al Ferrari; Football: Gus Otto, Football/Baseball: Aeneas Williams; Hockey: Bob Plager and Brian Sutter; Officiating: Ed Hightower; Track and Field: Connie Price-Smith; Soccer: Taylor Twellman; Washington University Athletics Director: John Schael; Broadcaster: Dan Kelly; Trainer: Gene Gieselmann; Coach: Harry Statham. These 16 inductees were chosen from a pool of over 100 nominees across the various categories. Their names will be enshrined along with other outstanding St. Louis sports figures, including Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, Whitey Herzog, Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, Brett Hull, D’Marco Farr, Marshall Faulk, Orlando Pace and more.
The St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame is located 1400 South Third Street, inside the Scottrade Center -- home of the St. Louis Blues. More than 55 professional and amateur athletes, coaches, officials, owners and media have been inducted into the Hall since its founding in 2009.
The 2014 enshrinement dinner will be held at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel. It is open to the public as space allows. Tickets are $150 per person and can be purchased in advance at www.stlouissportshalloffame.com.