Richard Melman

The Frank C. Holan Award has been established to honor a person for their deeds on and off the field. The person who best represents our game on the diamond and behind the scene and mirrors Frank’s passion for the game is Richard Melman in 1997. In fact, he is by far the most important person to impact the game in the last two decades. Rich Melman has been a softball player all his life and still plays today on the Over The Hill league. The past seven years he and Joel Zimberoff have managed the Lettuce team to 3 ASA National titles and has been runner up twice. His team has won every major championship in the game. They are the Yankees of the sport. In between games he is one of the most famous restaurant executives in the world. His influence has allowed the game to flourish the past six ears. His marketing strategy for his favorite game has been based on simple television exposure, team uniforms, and encouraging more teams to compete at the major level. The Grant Park Classic (6 years) and Pro League (3 years) that are televised were co-founded by Rich and producer David Hynes. The exposure of the game across the Midwest by the Sports channel crew of Mike North, Steve Kashul and George Bliss has been a boom to the game. The ASA reports more teams signed up more women and co-eds, and more tournaments played each year. He started the Windy City Classic which attracted A teams to set up and play the top teams. His ploy worked and the Major division has most teams competing each week in many years He is actively involved in the Hall of Fame and he and his wife Martha consistently support the community in many charitie, a few benefiting children to play 16 softball and has used celebrity softball games to raise money. He has also influenced his 3 children to play the game. His company vision at Lettuce Entertain You follows him and his team on and off the field, “Our vision is the Best We Can Be, realizing that we can always improve, we are constantly striving for excellence. Working to achieve this goal has been our ultimate reward.” If his pace and work continues, no one will be surprised if he has the most influence in the history of the sport. Frank would be pleased that Rich is the first recipient of an award in his honor.