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Reliving Memories of one of fastpitch softball’s greatest pitchers

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Roy Burlison of the St. Louis Browns flies through the air before delivering a pitch to the plate in last night’s (June 16, 1973) professional softball game at Koch Park. Burlison tossed his third straight shutout, whipping the Philadelphia Patriots, 8-0. St. Louis Post-Dispatch Photo By W. Thomas Stewart

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. –Roy Burlison was one of the greatest fastpitch pitchers the sport has ever known. When his 27-year playing career came to an end in 1992, he had won over 770 games against the best teams in the world.

In 1997 he was inducted into the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame for an arm’s length of accomplishments: nine times competing in the ASA national tournament; twice selected Most Valuable Pitcher, and twice leading his teams to runner-up in the national championship.

Burlison was also renowned as a coach, teaching hundreds of girls how to play the game the right way. But sadly on May 11, Burlison, 71, passed away (see Roller Homes obituary).

His fastpitch legacy will live on, however, in the girls he coached, and with the players he both played with and against in his long and distinguished career.

Let’s relive some of Burlison’s prowess with a stroll down memory lane…

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A Step Back In Time: Fresno Rockbusters Fall To Clearwater Bombers In ASA Major National Tournament

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

The Clearwater Bombers’ pitching staff of Eddie King, left, Joe Lynch, Weldon Haney and Bob Quinn. King and Haney pitched for the Bombers in the 1964 ASA Major National Tournament in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Fresno Bee / Sept. 22, 1964

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – The Fresno Rockbusters (70-14) are headed home after bowing out of their first Amateur Softball Association National Tournament in Sunnyvale after dropping a 2-0 decision to the defending champion Clearwater, FL, Bombers.

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Art Gillis, fastpitch icon passes away

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

art gillis

Gillis, Arthur 4/12/1925 – 12/30/2014 Saginaw, Michigan Passed away December 30, 2014, Age 89 years. Art was born April 12, 1925 in Saginaw, Michigan and grew up in Plymouth, Michigan. He returned to Saginaw shortly after high school. He married Janet Dougherty, October 16, 1954. She passed away March 26, 2001.

Art was the owner of Gillis Locker, for many years the largest installer of lockers and shelving in the United States. He also owned the Saginaw Bolters Men’s fastpitch softball team, which won the 1979 ISC World Championship.

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Hardnosed Mike Smith, NAFA Hall of Famer and 20th Year Anniversary selection

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

“…He’s an absolute fighter.” – Matt Dailey

ALLENTOWN, PA – He’s been called tough and hardnosed. The kind of guy every ball club needs: determined, driven. A winner.

That sums up Mike Smith.

“He’s a grinder,” says Mike “Kusy” Kusmuk, who teamed with Smith for several years on D.C. Tire and the Reading (PA) Sunners.

“He’s a tremendous competitor who plays to win, and he’s hardnosed.”

Kusy remembers just how tough Smith can be. It was in an Allentown tournament when they first met over 25 years a go. Kusy’s team against Smith’s team. Kusy’s swinging a hot bat and goes 2 for 3 off Smith.

And Smith didn’t much like it.

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