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Father Time can't catch up with Josephs

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Father Time can't catch up with Josephs

by Brian Gaffney
14 Feb 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

While a group of paunchy wannabe golfers practise their chips and putts and the less active down their favourite beer at nearby clubhouses, a determined-looking figure pounds around the sports field at Chukker Road in Kenwyn.

Glen Josephs (39) could so easily have been indulging in the beer brigade's reminiscing about their 'ball escapades. Or enjoying the golf talk that has become a favourite pastime for some of his former baseball contemporaries.

Two years ago he was considering joining these types, after hanging up his trusty and well-worn glove. But the VOB Baseball Club, with whom Josephs' name has become synonymous over 14 seasons, realised that their tough little pitcher still has a lot to offer.

Notably, he was VOB's top pitcher in four out of five Major League championship successes.

VOB coach Kevin Johnson's message to Josephs when he made a come-back was simple. "You can still do it. Our task is to minimise the matches you pitch. All you must do is maximise your effort in training," he said.

Josephs took up the challenge and his superb effort of throwing a no-hitter when VOB beat Bothasig 1-0 on Saturday, 3 February will go down in the record books.

The achievement meant a lot to Josephs. "I feel I am good enough to pitch for three more seasons," he enthused, soon after finishing another two kilometre jog at Kenwyn.

"The only time I came close to a 1-0 result was when Athlone Athletics beat us (VOB) by that score last season."

Josephs' senior career includes one-season stints with Athletics in the early 1990s, Goodwood Demons in 2003 and before that a five-year spell with Dynamos BC in the old Cape District Union.

His big moment in baseball? Donning the green and gold when South Africa faced Italy in Johannesburg in 1997.

"My successes with VOB are also unforgettable. The players' commitment to train hard inspires me. That we allowed Bellville Tygers to come from behind to beat us in the race for the league title last season, however, still bothers me," said Josephs as VOB prepared for an away double-header with Tygers on Saturday, 17 February.

The big name 'ballers are not top of Josephs' list when it comes to identifying his mentors, though. His mother, Betty, who encouraged him from an early age to be involved in sport, fills that role.

"She has seldom watched me play. But she treasurers her album that carries all the photos and press reports about me that she can lay her hands on," said Josephs.

The stalwart VOB pitcher's other fan is his son Shakeel (9), who plays for Athlone Athletics' juniors. He backs his dad all the way, even when VOB faces Athletics.

"Their support keeps me going," said Josephs, who describes himself as an old-school baseballer in the mould of his former senior coaches. They were Brian Lombard of VOB, Keith Carelse and the late Davey Kay of Dynamo.

Before that Aubrey Des Fountain introduced the pint-sized Josephs at age nine to the game with the Red Sox juniors in the Cape District Union.

So pumping iron and hi-tech coaching methods do not faze Josephs.

Hard work, honest endeavour and an intense love for the game has kept this little baseball icon on target for 30 seasons.

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