Vale James ‘Jim’ Robert Manning (1951-2021)

Vale James ‘Jim’ Robert Manning (1951-2021)

VALE JAMES ‘JIM’ ROBERT MANNING (1951-2021)

Jim Manning was a gentle giant of a man.

Jim’s volunteering for various organisations was second to none – which is where his ‘giant’ contribution will reverberate through the upcoming years. His personality drew everyone to him – his kindness and thoughtfulness was endless.

Although he had no history in diamond sports as a youngster, his dedication to baseball and softball was unquestionable selfless and inspiring.

After volunteering his time with East Torrens Baseball Club – where sons Ben and Michael played – Jim took on the presidential reigns at Baseball SA for three seasons, from 1996/97, through a turbulent time and helped guide the league with his calm leadership.

Not one to just sit on his hands and let others do the hard work, Jim also guided the Adelaide competition of Softball SA – where daughter Sally plays for Walkerville – and did a mountain of work with Diamond Sports, as two of his major sporting loves, baseball and softball shared the West Beach facility.

Besides being the chairman of the Adelaide Softball Competition, in 2019 Jim became a board member of Softball SA.

Softball SA Executive Officer James Harris said, “Jim took the time to have an understanding of what it took to run an organisation like Softball SA. He was the catalyst for the vision of what we have undertaken as our new direction for positive change.”

The dulcet tones of Jim are synonymous with broadcasts of baseball and softball, at Norwood Oval and West Beach, while he also played a big part in WOW FM radio.

He has been a major part in WOW FM for the past eight years, including as chairman since 2014.

WOW FM treasurer Wayne Scott could not believe that Jim is gone, and said, “Jim has played a big part in the station and will be sadly missed.

“He was a great friend, not only to me but everyone involved here – it was great to work with him. Jim is the one who got the station involved in the community. He loved being on air – you couldn’t get the mike off him! He has left big shoes to fill, and no one around here will forget him.”

In baseball and softball circles, it wasn’t who knew Jim Manning, it was more, who didn’t know him? He was a legend who cared, cared about people, his sports and all the communities he was involved with.

If any new challenges confronted the communities Jim was involved with, if he wasn’t on the front foot in seeking the solution, he was using his contacts to resolve those issues – he was the go-to-man under so many circumstances that he was almost taken for granted.

Through his foresight in broadcasting home games for the Australian Baseball League, via the Adelaide Bite and then the Adelaide Giants, he made many friends and provided the inspiration for new friends of the sport to attend games.

Fellow broadcaster Eric Balnar, a Canadian who is now an Australian citizen, was full of praise for his ‘offsider’ behind the mike. He said, “Jim was truly an amazing man.

“I hope people love, understand and appreciate the amount of time and passion he put into Diamond Sports, for baseball and softball. Jim lived a good life.

“I think it’s easy to get swept up in politics of any sport, but Jim always had what was best for the game and the community in mind. He did everything he could to improve sports that do not get a lot of love in this country. We need more Jim Mannings. What a legend.”

Besides sons Ben and Michael, and daughter Sally, Jim leaves behind five grandchildren – Harper, Corwyn, Lola, Braedon and Harlow.

Sally, who is still involved with softball, had nothing but admiration for her father. She said, “My dad was an incredibly giving man, who gave everything he could to his community and causes that meant a great deal to him.

“Dad was passionate and caring, and had a desire to share his knowledge and vision with everyone. I always knew he was proud of me and loved me. He will be missed greatly.”

The funeral will be held on June 10, 2021, from 4pm, in the Chapel of Berry’s Funeral Home, 204 Magill Road, Norwood.