Alumnus to be Hall of Famer

Apr 18, 2011

Alumnus John Spring '53 is being inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in September for his 20-year softball career.

Softball has been a constant in the life of Kettering University/GMI alumnus John Spring ’53.

Spring, a Detroit native who earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University/GMI, is being inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in September for his softball career, which spanned nearly 20 years and took him all over the country.

“Knowing John since our GMI days, this (hall of fame induction) is something he has wished for for many years,” said Robert Meshew, Spring’s friend and the Kettering/GMI Class of 1953 Class Agent.

Spring has also been inducted into four other sports halls of fame; he was the youngest member ever inducted into the National Amateur Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, being enshrined in 1970 at age 41. He’s also been inducted into the Michigan Amateur Sports Hall of Fame and the Connecticut and Illinois softball halls of fame.

When inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame this year, Spring’s class will include several big names, including former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr, NFL Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau and former NFL star Jerome Bettis.

Spring attended Detroit Southeastern High School, then Lawrence Institute for two years after high school. At Lawrence, Spring was approached by the Fisher Body Central Office about pitching in the Industrial League. From 1949-1954, Spring pitched for Detroit Briggs Beautyware, leading the team to world championships in 1952 and 1953 and world runners up in 1954. During those three runs in the world tournament, Spring compiled a 16-3 record for the team.

At GMI as a co-op student starting in 1951, he pitched for Alpha Gamma Upsilon fraternity, only losing one game while at GMI, to Ed ‘Creepy’ Grabovac of Phi Tau Alpha fraternity.

Spring was in the U.S. Army from 1954-56, in Fort Monmouth, N.J., where he compiled a 9-0 record during the 1955 All-Army Championship.

From 1955-1962, he pitched for the Raybestos Cardinals in Stanford, Conn. During that time, his team won two world championships and was the world runner-up three times.

He pitched with the Aurora Sealmasters in Aurora, Ill., from 1963 to 1965, helping the team win a world championship in 1965.

Spring played in 17 straight world softball tournaments from 1949-1965. During that time, he compiled a 47-12 record, a record that wasn’t bested by another pitcher for 26 years. He also pitched a perfect game in the 1958 World Championship on just 64 pitches, a record that still stands.

Spring was selected to the World All-Star First Team 10 times and the Second Team three times in his 17 seasons. He also conducted softball clinics for U.S. troops in Europe in 1961 and the Far East in 1960 as well as participated in numerous softball clinics for young athletes all over the United States.

Spring married his wife, JoAnne Brune, in 1955. They have two children, Deborah (Michael) Farley and Terri (Peter) Mann, and five grandchildren. Spring worked for Eonic Gear Inc., in Detroit, retiring in 1993. Eonic Gear was run by CEO Larry Nolta, also a GMI class of ’53 alum.

Spring currently lives in St. Clair Shores, Mich.

Contact: Patrick Hayes
(810) 762-9538