First Name: Robert
Last Name: Putnam
Sport: Softball
Inductee Type: Athlete
Year Inducted: 2021
Home Town: Brookfield
County: Colchester

When the word circulated in recent weeks that Robert Putnam was going to be inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame, a huge cheer went up around Brookfield and his home area. Highly thought of by former teammates and fans who fully appreciate the depth of his talents, we expect that many of his supporters will be on hand for his big night.

Putnam could do it all as a fastball player—he added a new dimension to the meaning of hustle, and he displayed a tremendous “team-first” attitude. Much has been said about Putnam over the years, much has been written.

When Brookfield Elks won the Canadian Senior Men’s Fastball Championship at Gordie Howe Park in Saskatoon in 1980, some 41 years ago, “Putty,” as he was known by his teammates, played a huge part. Elks long-time coach Terry Henderson covered things well in a 2008 interview with the Truro Daily News.

“We won the championship game 4-3,” Henderson said. “It’s still very exciting when I think back. Robert Putnam was the winning pitcher in the Gold Medal game, he pitched five complete innings against Saskatoon All-O-Matics. We brought Steve Healy on in relief in the sixth inning with the score 4-3.

“Healy was unbelievable as he retired six straight batters to secure the win. We moved Putnam to rightfield and I remember he made an outstanding catch late in the game. It was a tremendous team effort and Robert Putnam played a big part in our winning the Canadian championship.”

Henderson described Putnam as a terrific guy to coach.

“Robert never once questioned a coaching decision. Putty could hit, he could pitch, he was an outstanding first baseman defensively, he was also a brilliant outfielder. Robert could run and he could steal bases for you. There were so many ways Putty starred and won ball games for our team.”

When Putnam was asked to comment on winning the national title, it was all about the team:

“One of the things that stands out to me is that we won the 1980 Canadian fastball championship without placing a player on the all-star team,” Putnam said.

“We were a well-rounded team, there seemed to be a different hero every day. When I look back and think about the win and our team, a lot of the players grew up together, we played minor ball together and junior ball together and then we moved up to the senior level with the Elks. That holds special with me.”

Mike Henderson, a close friend, and Putnam’s lifetime teammate, had this to say:

“Putty’s impact on the game was incredible. What people might not realize is that he suffered a very serious eye injury early in his career. It took two years for him to regain his full vision. Putty played Gold Glove defence at three positions, on the mound, at firstbase and in the outfield. As a batter and as a baserunner, he put tremendous pressure on the opposition with his blinding speed.”

John Matheson is a former Elks outfielder who coached minor ball in Brookfield for more than 30 years. Matheson coached Putnam during the early 1970s as a member of the Brookfield Junior Elks.

“I remember Robert as the ultimate team player,” Matheson recalled. “he was very quiet, a coach’s dream. When we won the Maritime junior championship, Robert starred at several positions. Robert was a real student of the game; he knew what his job was as a leadoff hitter or in any role.”

Following his junior days, Putnam went on to enjoy 16 outstanding seasons in senior fastball. Somewhere on a long list of achievements, he was named Most Valuable Player multiple times in major fastball events. Putnam was named Nova Scotia Male Athlete of The Year in 1980 and he was named the Brookfield Athletic Association Male Athlete of The Half Century in 1986. The incredible list goes on and on…

Next up: Putnam’s induction into this province’s coveted sport hall, how would he sum it up?

“It is definitely an honour,” Putnam said. “It is hard for me not to talk about the team when I think of this recognition. They say it takes a village to raise a kid, well, it takes a village to raise an Elk. There are so many people I feel are responsible for getting me to this point.

“I think of how lucky we were to have had the Brookfield Athletic Association, now in its 85th year. There’s no question, I’d never had the opportunity I did in sports without the community of Brookfield behind me. Sports have taken me from one end of the country to the other.”

Putnam and his wife Kelly reside in Brookfield, they have two grown daughters Alycia and Janelle. Now retired, Robert was employed with the Town of Truro for more than 30 years, as Director of Finance. A dedicated community man, Robert serves on the board of directors with the Don Henderson Memorial Sportsplex, he is the treasurer of both the Brookfield Athletic Association and the Brookfield Mens Club.

The family’s popular band ‘Alycia, Kelly and Rob Putnam’ (pictured above) has been entertaining Nova Scotia audiences for more than 25 years now. The band plays at numerous festival, community, and private events. Alycia is on the fiddle; Robert is on the guitar and Kelly plays the bagpipes.

[Article by Lyle Carter]

  • 1 gold medal, 1 silver medal, and 2 bronze medals at the National Senior Men’s Fastball Championships
  • Played 16 seasons of senior A fastball with the Brookfield Elks
  • Winning pitcher for the Brookfield Elks when they became the first team east of Ontario to win a National Senior Men’s Fastball Championship (1980)
  • 8 NS Senior Fastball Championship titles, 6 of them consecutively
  • Brookfield Athletic Association Male Athlete of The Half Century (1986)
  • 1980 Nova Scotia Male Athlete of the Year