History of ECSA
In 1980 a group of guys in Seattle got together each week to play softball in the University District of Seattle. They started playing “scrimmage” games against a team in Vancouver, B.C. They would take turns hosting one another at their homes for these “scrimmage started just as some pick up players and fun. It wasn’t long before they realized that they were a pretty good team. Since they didn’t’ have a lot of other ‘gay’ teams in Seattle to play against, they also started playing in the Seattle Metro Leagues. They called their group the “Seattle Gay Softball League”.
Within two years, the league was at 4 teams and sent a team to the 1982 Gay Games in San Francisco. The scrappy “Ritz Café” proudly team took the silver during those games.
The following year, 1983, the league became a member of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association. (NAGAAA) This was also the first year that Seattle sent a team to the Gay Softball World Series in Chicago, IL. The league eventually changed its official moniker from the Seattle Gay Softball League to Emerald City Softball Association (ECSA). Since those meager beginnings on a playfield in the University District, the league has grown to one of the largest NAGAAA-member organizations.
Seattle’s Tournament History
In the late 1980’s, Seattle started to host an annual tournament in Seattle. The tournament, currently known as the Emerald City Classic, has reached up to 70 participating teams.
It has also been known as the Cascade Cup and the Seattle Cup. It was originally held over the Fourth of July weekend, moved to Labor Day weekend for a brief period and then moved back to the July 4.
For a brief period of time, the tournament (Cascade Cup) was shared with our sister league in Portland (Rose City Softball Association, RCSA). Each city hosted the tournament in alternating years. Eventually, the ECSA and RCSA settled into their own tournaments.
The ECSA has also been the host of the Gay Softball World Series on two separate occasions. In 1995 the theme was “Catch the Spirit”. In true Seattle fashion, the week had it’s share of rain…but that didn’t stop the Seattle Committee that worked with our parks department and in one instance even used fire to help dry the fields so play could continue.
In 2008, the Gay Softball World Series returned to Seattle. It was branded as the “Northwest Quest”. The weeklong event was the LAST time that a city hosted both a Women’s Division World Series (under their new moniker of ASANA) and an NAGAAA Open Division World Series. The official hand off of the flags to the next host city (Milwaukee) was done by sky divers dropping from a plane over the playfields, with the NAGAAA and Pride flags attached to the divers.
Champions On and Off the Field
The teams and players from the ECSA have won (and placed) in a multitude of various tournaments, including Seattle Metro Titles, Gay Softball World Series Championships and NAGAAA city tournaments. The ECSA has also partnered with several non-profits along the way and created a community where ALL people are welcome in the spirit of softball and friendship.
Our history is rich and diverse. It includes a wealth of phenomenal athletes, not-so-good athletes, quirky characters, amazing leaders, a wide variety of ethnicities, genders, religions and orientations. All of them woven together to create a tapestry that every member of this organization can be proud of. The ECSA “Open Division” is open to both gay and non-gay individuals. Playing levels range from advanced to beginner and cover five divisions (A, B, C, D, and E). Division placement depends primarily on player ability and overall team ability.