RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - Jerry S. Conner moved into the senior division of softball in 1994 when he joined the newly created Thomas Engineering 50+ Team and along with fellow Richmonder Ralph Godwin immediately bolstered The Engineers onto the National scene in senior softball. Now fifteen years later, Conner’s achievements in the sport are remarkable and a testament to his commitment to the game and a “work ethic” that demands perfection.
He grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia and attended public schools through his junior year at Oscar Smith High School. (He finished his senior year at Garfield High School in Prince William County, home of the ISSA World Championships). Jerry played football, baseball, and basketball at Oscar Smith and lettered in all sports. He became a starter as a freshman on the baseball team and was a member of the 1958 team that was District runner-up in the Virginia High School Summer League. He was a starting defensive cornerback on the varsity football team as a sophomore. He was a member of the Smith Varsity Monogram/Letterman’s Club.
Due to the job relocation of his family to Northern Virginia, he completed his senor year at and graduated from Garfield High School, Woodbridge, Virginia, where he was elected the captain of the football and baseball teams and inducted into that school’s varsity monogram/letterman’s club. He was offered a professional baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians following his senior year in High School.
He attended the University of Louisville, Colorado State University, Virginia State University and Virginia Commonwealth University, completing the requirements for the following degrees:
Associate Degree in Public Administration
Bachelor of Science Degree in Administration of Justice
Master of Science Degree in Public Administration
Conner is employed by the Virginia State Police, serving as a Trooper in Winchester; a Sergeant and First Sergeant in West Point; a Lieutenant in Richmond; a Captain in Chesapeake in charge of the State Police Division headquartered on Military Highway; and is currently a State Police Major, Deputy Bureau Director, on the Superintendent’s staff at State Police Headquarters in Richmond.
Conner currently plays softball, golf and racquetball, staying active in sports participation. He started playing softball at the Class A/Super/Major level in his late 20s and has continued to play at this level in Senior Softball. Jerry has been on 40 World Championship teams with the Thomas Engineering Softball Club. He has been on 24 additional World Championship teams with other softball clubs on which is has played. In his career, he has played on teams that have won a total of 64 World Championships, at all age levels, at the Class A and Super Major levels. He has been on teams that have won multiple National Softball Championships in the 40 age bracket; 45 age bracket; 50 age bracket; 55 age bracket; 60 age bracket; and now the 65 age bracket. He has been selected as a First Team All-American 72 times during his softball career and has been selected as the Most Valuable Player in a National Championship Tournament 19 times. His lifetime batting average is approximately .735 with longball power. Perhaps best known for his power hitting, he has been presented with the award for being the leading homerun hitter in numerous National Championship tournaments.
He was inducted into the National Softball Players’ Hall of Fame in 1996 and was inducted into the Central Virginia ASA Softball Hall of Fame in 2000. He was inducted into the Oscar Smith High School Athletic Hall of Fame in November 2004 for his football and baseball achievements.
Jerry attributes his success in sports to great genetics from his parents, growing up with two brothers who were outstanding athletes and being given the opportunity and support by his parents to participate in sports from a very young age. He also commented that he was fortunate to grow up in a community that provided athletic programs for young people that permitted them to participate and develop their skill levels in competitive athletics at a very young age. Jerry’s two brothers were also pursued by professional baseball scouts and given the opportunity to sign a baseball contracts.
At 67 years of age Jerry continues to work at perfecting his game and lifts weights three times a week at his local gym. He also takes batting practice four times a week, year round, with Don Clatterbough and other players in the Richmond area. Only snow on the ground and/or when temperatures drop below the 36 to 40 degree level prevent this group from taking their “cuts.” And today he continues to be one of the outstanding competitors for Thomas Engineering in the 65 Major Plus Division of Senior Softball where he roams the outfield in right center.