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Discussion: "PRO" Softball late 1970's & early 1980's

Posted Discussion
Sept. 8, 2012
17Black
Men's 50
222 posts
"PRO" Softball late 1970's & early 1980's
I had a conversation with my knee doctor this week, and we had an interesting conversation, as he told me he played pro softball in the late 70's and into the 80's with the old "Cincinnati Suds".

This revived some brain cells, as living here in Northeast Ohio, I remember the Cleveland Jaybirds/Competitors, as I grew up not far from Daniels Park where they played. I saw a few games when I was around 19/20 years old and they even televised some games on local TV.

I "think" there were a couple of league name changes/mergers, such as the APSPL and USPL, and I don't think those pro leagues lasted more than five years or so???

I remember "Gorilla Boy" from these forums playing with the Cleveland Competitors in the early 80's.

Did any of you other senior softballers play "pro" back in the day, and are you still playing now?

I think it was an interesting concept, but trying to make a profit running a team with travel, expenses, payrolls and etc was probably an unlikely stretch of imagination at the time??
Sept. 8, 2012
Ho
231 posts
The AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL SLOW PITCH LEAGUE (APSPL) began with 12 teams in 1977 and played through 1980. In 1981-1982 the UNITED PROFESSIONAL SOFTBALL LEAGUE (UPSL) was in existance.

Looks like a beer and pizza league with team names being DETROIT (LITTLE) CEASARS; MILWUAKKE SCHLITZ, CINCINNATTI SUDS; KY BOURBONS, etc.

You can go to the web page:
http://www.angelfire.com/sd/slopitch/pro.html
for more info on the teams and some players.

Ho
Sept. 8, 2012
17Black
Men's 50
222 posts
HO, I hope you are well, and thanks for the web-link.

Actually if you google "professional slow pitch softball" a few sites and articles come up.

I was curious how many guys that visit this board actualy played on some of those teams back in the day. I'd think a lot of guys who are 55+ and up right now may have been involved?
Sept. 8, 2012
hitman
Men's 65
306 posts
Pittsburgh Hard Hats:
We had two great players Big Tom Miller from Ford City and Foxy Nelson from Apollo.
These two could crush it with the best and used to hit them regularly out Three Rivers Stadium. I think Delmastro pitched and I can't remember the rest, You know senior moment!!!!!!!!!
The Hitman #13
Sept. 8, 2012
sjuhoops
123 posts
17 black I played for the NY Clippers for one year. Play 65 Maj+ with OMEN.

It was a lot of fun traveling to a different city every other week.

Little Caesars had two former pro baseball players. Most of all the big

names in the game played. One of the biggest then was Jim Galloway. He

was the best player I had the pleasure to play with. Outstanding player

and even nicer man. I THINK?? I remember the Suds held the finals at their

complex. Big Ron D. from GSF 60 Maj+ played and Sam S played with the

Trenton Caps along with the Yankees Joe Pepitone.
Sept. 8, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Delmastro was quite a character, at least on the rubber, and quite a pitcher.

hoops, Galloway was not only the best you ever played with, but perhaps the best that ever played.
Sept. 8, 2012
CRUSADERVB
Men's 65
272 posts
17BLACK,
I PLAYED FOR THE COPPER HEARTH FROM MILWAUKEE IN 1977,[RON DANOSKI-GSF] THEN THE NEXT YEAR WE WERE CALLED MILWAUKEE SCHLITZ, THAT LASTED FOR THE NEXT 4 YEARS. ARLIS JONES PLAYS 65'S ON A MILWAUKEE TEAM, PAUL WENZEL PLAYS FOR ROBERTS CONS'T FROM WISCONSIN, RON OLIESIAK WHO PLAYED FOR THE CHICAGO STORM JUST STARTED PLAYING SENIOR BALL WITH CHICAGO CLASSICS. BY THE WAY WE USED TO KILL HANK'S NY CLIPPERS.
JIM NORTHROP AND NORM CASH WERE THE 2 TIGERS THAT PLAYED WITH CEASARS, MILT PAPPAS COACHED THE CHICAGO STORM.
Sept. 9, 2012
CRUSADERVB
Men's 65
272 posts
....OPPS, FORGOT ABOUT LARRY ''BOOM BOOM'' HUTCHERSON PLAYS WITH TURN TWO, HE PLAYED FOR THE BALTIMORE MONUMENTS & DANNY WILLIAMS PLAYED FOR KENTUCKY, NOW PLAYING FOR A LOUSIVILLE SENIOR TEAM
Sept. 9, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Crusader, did you play with Doc Neubauer?
Sept. 9, 2012
CRUSADERVB
Men's 65
272 posts
BOTH MARK AND DOC.....
Sept. 10, 2012
17Black
Men's 50
222 posts
Thanks to those who responded.

To me this is an interesting topic.

I can only "ASSUME" that with small budgets you guy car-pooled from city to city to play? You didn't fly did you??? (or maybe a bus???)

Being 30 years ago, what was an average "salary" to play pro softball ball back then??? Again, I "assume' there was some kind of salary structure???
Sept. 10, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
If I recall correctly the Jaybirds/Competitors had a bus. Don't know about the other teams.

I played the Detroit team in Louisville the year or two after they left the pro league and were back playing "amateur", and they were traveling from field to field in a bus with a giant Strohs logo on the sides. I'm guessing that might have been left over from the pro days.
Sept. 10, 2012
CRUSADERVB
Men's 65
272 posts
AS FAR AS SCHLITZ & COPPER HEARTH; WE HAD AN OLD WHITE SCHOOL BUS THAT WE TOOK TO MOST GAMES, BUT WE DID FLY TO THE EAST COAST. WE ALL GOT $1000.00 FOR THE ASAPL SEASON FOR THE MILWAUKEE TEAM, NO CLUE ABOUT THE OTHERS. LITTLE CEASAR'S HAD A HUGE SALARY....LOT'S OF PIZZA MONEY.
Sept. 10, 2012
Gorilla Boy
Men's 50
186 posts
It was in 1977 when the Jaybirds had contacted me to play with the Cleveland team. I elected to stay in the ameteur ranks. I felt the best players were in the ASA. There was more of them. Now don't get me wrong Jim Galloway, Mike Nye, Bert Smith, Bill Gatti, Rick Weiterman were all great players. It just seemed like there were more playing amateur ball. Mike Nye and Ronnie Ford played with Ceasars. Steve Loya was the first player picked by Buddy Langdon for the Cleveland Pro team. Steve was the man back then. He was a great player as well as a great person. When I first started playing ball in Cleveland the talk was about Steve. How he could hit a home run when he wanted to. Who was the best. Steve was the best in Cleveland. So of course I wanted to be like him and even better than him. I joined the Pro League in 1982 when Ted Stepien owned 4 of the 8 teams in the league. In 1982 I made 10,00.00 playing for the Competitors. I believe Steve Blanchette and Dana Andry got the same. I always said you could have a Pro League but you needed to get the Softball and Baseball Co. involved. Also we drove everywhere on the your big Lake Front bus line. It was first class all the way.
Sept. 10, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Mike, everyone in town knew you were the next big thing, but yea Steve was still riding the wave in 1977 from Pyramid's amazing run in 1975. I don't recall the Jaybirds getting many, if any, of your Hillcrest guys or even Suich's Holy Name guys. Both of those groups seemed very loyal to Dave and Bill. I don't think Jontony ever left Bill.
Sept. 10, 2012
VINNY LV
Men's 50
178 posts
hey guys don't forget about Big Paul Tomasovich that played with Louie DelMaestro out of Pgh. They're both in ASA HOF. They still talk about the HR's that Paul used to hit up onto Greenfield Ave. That was with wood bats , not metal or composite.. And the things Louie did on the mound are of lore..
Sept. 10, 2012
southernson
261 posts
Mike Nye and Ronnie Ford came from a team called Warren Motors from Jacksonville, Florida.

Those were the days....I remember going to the park and it would be full of spectators, folding chairs all around the fields watching the games. Locals close to the park,families, neighbors, ....it was a scene, and one I won't forget.

Sept. 10, 2012
Al33
Men's 55
183 posts
I played for the Rochester Zeniths in 1978 and 1979. We didn't make very much money but all our expenses were paid for. The crowds were usually pretty good and it certainly was a lot of fun playing against some of the really great players of that era. It seemed like the people that did attend the games were softball fans who enjoyed the game which added to the excitement. We flew to the midwest and drove to the closer cities. You think it's tough now travelling around playing three day tournaments every once in awhile. In the Pro League we played every weekend on Saturday and Sunday. A lot of travel because back then we were all working full time jobs. In 1977 we finished last in the eastern division. In 1978 we won the eastern division. In 1980, the team name changed to the Rochester Express. They won the World Series that year over the Pittsburgh Hard Hats.
I am still playing today at the 55 major level and moving up to 60's next year. Still enjoy playing and still see some of the guys from those years of past around the country. Always great to see those guys and reminisce. Certainly was a fun time in my softball career.
Sept. 11, 2012
Gorilla Boy
Men's 50
186 posts
I remember the Baltimore team had Chuck Hinton who use to play with the Cleveland Indians. He played with a team called Addie's in ameteur ball. Thay also had a guy named Johnny Dollar that was very good. I remember a guy named Jenks Morton. He played with Baltimore I think and Addie's also. He was one of Sugar Ray Leonards boxing trainers during his boxing career. Norm Cash, Joe Pepitone both played. They helped bring some professionalism to the league. Cincinatti had Red Ronnie Jones and Black Ronnie Jones. These were players that I knew of or might have enven played against one time or another. Big Jim Galloway probably is the best softball player to have played. The stories that were told of him were unbelieveable. I actually got into a beef with Louie D. at Woldpack park in New kensington the one year. Needless to say we were drunk. I was only 20 years old at the time. Ha!Ha!

Gorilla Boy
Sept. 12, 2012
hitman
Men's 65
306 posts
Gorilla Boy,
Wolfpack Park or the Sokol as it was called was my home park for years and one if not the only one where you could drink beer and watch the games that were being played on closed circuit TV above the bar. There were many divorices that happened over the late nights there. I got asked one night why I came home half drunk and I replied I ran out of money and that's when the fight started!!!!!!!!1

The Hitman #13
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