Fastpitch softball has been around for over a century, and it has produced some of the most impressive athletes in sports history. From dominating pitchers to unstoppable batters, these players have made their mark on the game and left a lasting legacy. In this article, we will be taking a look at the top 10 fastpitch softball players of all time, based on their career achievements, accolades, and impact on the game.
Lisa Fernandez is widely regarded as one of the greatest pitchers in softball history. She led UCLA to three consecutive national championships and won two gold medals with the US national team. Fernandez was a three-time USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year and was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 2006. Her impressive record includes 93 wins and only 7 losses as a pitcher for UCLA and a career earned run average of 0.06.
Dot Richardson was a standout player both in college and on the international stage. She was a two-time Olympic gold medalist with the US national team and won the Honda Sports Award for softball twice while playing for UCLA. Richardson was also inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 2006. She was known for her impressive defensive skills and ability to come up with clutch hits in critical moments.
Jennie Finch is one of the most recognizable names in softball, thanks to her dominant pitching and her work as a television commentator and advocate for the sport. She won a gold medal with the US national team in 2004 and was named the USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year in 2004 and 2005. Finch was also a two-time national champion while playing for the University of Arizona, and she holds the school record for career earned run average at 0.42.
Cat Osterman is another legendary pitcher who made her mark on the game. She won a gold medal with the US national team in 2004 and a silver medal in 2008, and she was named the USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year in 2006 and 2007. Osterman also dominated at the college level, winning two national championships while playing for the University of Texas. She holds the NCAA record for career strikeouts with 2,265.
Stacey Nuveman was a dominant force behind the plate, known for her powerful arm and her ability to hit for both average and power. She won a gold medal with the US national team in 2000 and 2004 and was named the USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year in 2002. Nuveman also helped lead UCLA to three national championships and was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 2012.
Danielle Lawrie was a standout pitcher for the University of Washington, leading the Huskies to their first national championship in 2009. She was named the USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year in 2009 and won a silver medal with the Canadian national team at the 2010 World Championships. Lawrie also holds the NCAA record for strikeouts in a season with 533.
Leigh Ann Walker
Leigh Ann Walker was a dominant pitcher for the University of Texas, leading the Longhorns to three consecutive Big 12 championships and two trips to the Women’s College World Series. She was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year three times and was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. Walker also pitched for the US national team, winning a silver medal at the 2001 Pan American Games.
Jessica Mendoza was a standout player during her college career at Stanford University, where she was a three-time All-American. She went on to have a successful career with the United States Women’s National Team, winning a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics. Mendoza also played professionally in the National Pro Fastpitch league and has become a respected analyst and commentator for ESPN.
Leah O’Brien-Amico was a key player for Team USA during their dominant run in the 1990s and early 2000s. She won three gold medals at the Olympics (in 1996, 2000, and 2004) and was a six-time World Champion. O’Brien-Amico was known for her clutch hitting and her excellent defense at first base, and she remains one of the most beloved players in the history of the sport.
Crystl Bustos was a fearsome slugger during her career, known for her ability to hit towering home runs. She played on the United States Women’s National Team for over a decade, winning gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. Bustos also played professionally in the National Pro Fastpitch league, where she set numerous records and won multiple awards.