Those Were The Days: Rex Giberson shares memories of a great bygone era of men’s fastpitch

Written by Bob on July 31st, 2014

HOUSTON, Tex. – For those who may doubt that fastpitch softball can take a ball player to far places and great heights, Rex Giberson would beg to differ.

Giberson started playing as a teenager in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Men’s League and went on to enjoy a 29-year career playing in the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

But it was that inauguration in the Lancaster league that jettisoned him on his way.

“I started playing at 15 in (that) tough Lancaster League,” he said. “Many considered it the best league on the East Coast.”

    STRING OF CHAMPIONSHIPS

In 1976, 1980 and 1981, two of the league teams won ASA Class “A” national championships. Millersville, Penn. won the first one, with SH Good taking the last two.

Those times were some of the fondest of his career.

“We went undefeated to win the national tourney in Hamilton, Ohio (1976),” said Giberson. “In 1980 with SH Good we beat Jimmy Moore (ISC Hall of Fame pitcher.) in the finals. Jim, as you know, went on to be one of the all-time greats with Seattle Pay ‘N Pak.”

Beating a pitcher of Moore’s caliber certainly rates high. But that 1981 championship in Redding, Calif. was especially sweet.

After losing the first game, SH Good went on a win spree that would rival all such endurance feats in ASA national tournament history.

    MARATHON OF GAMES

“We lost our first game to the host team, Holiday Ehrlanger when Jim Clark of Guanella Brothers fame took me deep for a home run,” Giberson said. “We came back winning nine in a row and beat the Savala Painters of Long Beach (Calif.) to win back-to-back nationals.

Giberson – one of the sport’s great hitters and a top-level ASA Class A pitcher – went on to play in several more Class A national championships.

He remembers batting and pitching against great adversaries such as Steve Padilla and Dan Kolda of Modesto, Calif. Tea House. And Jim Flanagan and Simon Brewer pitching for Lowder Electric of Bakersfield, Calif.

    STOFFLET AND THE GREAT KIWIS

Then in 1985 Giberson made the big jump to the big show. He joined forces with a great team and perhaps the greatest pitcher in the history of the sport.

“I played third base behind the great Ty Stofflet with the Allentown (Penn.) Sunners,” he said. “What a thrill.”

And what success.

The Sunners finished fourth in the ASA Major National Championship in 1985.

“We defeated Peter Brown (Guanella Brothers, Santa Rosa, Calif.) and Kevin Herlihy (New Zealand’s late great pitcher) with the Lancaster (Calif.) Chameleons,” Giberson said. “They are two that really stand out for me. And we also came in fifth at the ISC World Tournament.”

The following year, Giberson left his home state for Albuquerque, New Mexico to play for the Roadrunners. Followed by an offseason spent in New Zealand, playing in the Upper Hutt.

“What a great time,” he said. “Pitchers in our league were Paul Magan, Chris Nicholas, Brendan Keehan, Jim Seaman, Hayden Smith…Every game we faced a flame-thrower.”

    FROM CANADA BACK TO THE PITCHERS CIRCLE

After the New Zealand season finished, Giberson returned to the states and headed north to Canada, playing shortstop for Calgary, Alberta Brake & Clutch behind, “the great Alan Colglazier, Jeff Boyce and Glen Jevne,” Giberson said. “That ABC was a great team.”

For several years Giberson played for great Open division teams, scooping up ground balls for great pitchers. But the urge to pitch never left him. And in 1988, he decided it was time to toe the rubber once again.

“I wanted the ball,” he said. “I missed pitching, so I dropped down to ASA Class A and hooked up with DC Tire of Philadelphia. “In 1989 we finished second (ASA Class A nationals) to the Texas Fliers and I ended up moving to Houston to play for them.”

Houston was Giberson’s last fastpitch stop and the place he has called home for the past 25 years. His career ended in 1999 after playing in the NAFA World Series for the Albuquerque Roadrunners.

“I was blessed to play the great game of fastpitch for 29 years,” Giberson said. “I loved my fastpitch experiences and have many great memories.”

3 Comments so far ↓

  1. victor cena says:

    Met the great Red head senior Rex in Highland Ind at my 1st A national he helped me with mg career that was 1989 got me down to Houston to pitch for Bay Town Hawks great times miss ha ya Rex

  2. John White says:

    I played shortstop behind Jimmy Moore in 1980 in Oswego, NY for a team from Medford, OR (Blitz)against Rex. That was a great championship game between two very good teams! SH Good pulled it out in extra innings. Rex was a fine ballplayer who could do it all.

  3. JAMES LONG says:

    i knew rex for a long time he helped my son michael how to throw the riser. He played at busselton and megee in PHILA. Thanks rex for all the good times against you. We were BURKES INN OF HAVERTOWN WON THE STATES 2 YEARS IN A ROW.

Leave a Comment