Neville Pratt Born 16 November 1930, Died 28 September 2012
Neville Pratt's extremely impressive baseball CV is evidence of the number of important and high-ranking leadership positions he held both nationally and internationally. On the field, Neville was a talented player who represented both his state and country with class and distinction. Neville was a member of the WA Claxton Shield team on eight occasions and also represented Australia, most famously, at the 1956 Olympics exhibition game. The game was played at the MCG and although began with a modest crowd, by the end of the game 114,000 spectators crammed into the “G” to enjoy the spectacle.
Off the field, Neville was a critical driver of Australia’s participation in international baseball, and an early advocate in understanding the importance of Australia’s engagement with the Asian region to achieve its international aspirations. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Neville built diplomatic bridges between Australia and Asian, Latin American and European allies. This would become some of his most important and long-lasting work.
In 1987 Neville was appointed President of the Australian Baseball Federation, where he built an incredible legacy. In 1988 Australia was invited to compete at the Seoul Olympics and the following year, under Pratt’s guidance, the Australian Baseball League was created establishing a relationship between Major League Baseball and Australian baseball.
In 1993, Pratt was the architect in developing the Baseball Confederation of Oceania, which in 1994 gained status as an official Olympic qualifying region. With this qualifying region established, it allowed Australia to qualify for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, 2000 Olympics in Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics where Australia won a silver medal.
Neville Pratt truly impacted the game both domestically and internationally. It was said that he lived three lifetimes in one with all he achieved both on and off the field!
Highlights of Neville’s career include:
Australian Team Member Melbourne, 1956 Olympics
Claxton Shield All Star Team: 1962
Order of Australia (Services to Baseball): 1992
Order of Merit West Australian Sports Federation: 1988
The Australian Baseball Federation is the peak representative body for baseball in Australia. The Australian Baseball Federation has national and international regulatory and co-ordination responsibilities. In performing those functions the Australian Baseball Federation uses the descriptor: "Baseball Australia".