Memorable Manitobans: James McKenzie “Jim” Adams (1923-2005)
Born at Winnipeg on 12 June 1923, he grew up in Regina, then at age seven moved with his family to Ste. Elizabeth where he was introduced to softball as batboy for the local team his father managed. This began a lifetime love of the sport. In 1936, the family moved back to Winnipeg, where he completed his education.
On 17 June 1942 he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and served overseas in the Second World War until 8 September 1945. After the war, he worked as an electrician's helper, then embarked on a career with Transport Canada Air Services, retiring after 35 years of service. His work afforded him the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Western Canada, Northwest Ontario, and the Arctic.
Sports were a large part of his life, especially softball, and he dedicated many years as a participant, coach, builder, and fan. In 1957 he began coaching a team called the Civics in the Winnipeg Men’s Industrial Fastball League. The team won the league championship each year through 1965. Recognizing his leadership abilities, the league elected him President for several years, until he advanced to serving as President of the Manitoba Softball Association (1969-1975). He was involved in the formation of the Canadian Amateur Softball Association (Softball Canada) in 1965. He represented Manitoba at CASA meetings for 10 years and, as Vice-President in 1974, and acted as convenor for two national senior championships in Winnipeg.
During his presidency, softball experienced great growth, particularly at the minor level. It was one of the original sports in the Manitoba Sports Federation and Adams was a strong supporter of the Federation from its formative days. The Manitoba Softball Association (now Softball Manitoba) officially recognized him by naming him as its first Honourary Life Member in 1977. The MSA also presents the Jim Adams Award annually to an outstanding administrator, builder, or executive member.
Considered to be the individual primarily responsible for the rebirth of organized softball during the 1960s and 1970s, he was inducted into the Softball Canada Hall of Fame in 1991, the Manitoba Sports Halls of Fame in 1998, and the Softball Manitoba Hall of Fame in 2002. He was the first Honorary Life Member of Softball Manitoba and was actively involved on the board of the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame and Museum.
He died at Winnipeg on 4 February 2005.
“Jim Adams”, Honoured Members Database, Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 15 December 2021