ISC Hall of Fame

...now browsing by tag

 
 

Santa Dan Delivers Early Christmas Present For Ball Cap Bob

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

DAN NESSLER sent me eight fastpitch softball and baseball caps, including front row, left to right, a Mankato Bethany Lutheran College Lancers softball cap, a Happy Chef cap, WBSC Jr. Men’s Softball World Championship cap, along with my Farm Tavern cap. The second row includes Dan’s gifts of which the MSU cap is from the 2012 Mavericks baseball team that finished third in the NCAA Div. II baseball national championships. On the top row is another BLC cap sandwiched by my 1995 ISC World Tournament cap, left, and 2017 NAFA World Series cap.

YUCAIPA, Calif. – I’m a sucker for caps. Doesn’t matter if it’s softball, baseball, football – any kind of stylish ball cap will hook me into reaching for my wallet.

In the back window of my car, there’s perched a Chicago Bears’ cap. I’m not a Bears fan, so why’s it there? I just like the way the “C” is prominently displayed on the crown. And if I forget one of my caps when I leave the house, “Da Bears” is my backup.

I’ve also got NASCAR hats, my son’s Tyree Oil cap, my grandson Cam’s Spirit Aerosystems cap, Case, Farmall and John Deere hats, three Marine Corps caps…

And a bunch of softball caps – 33 in all, and of course, only of the fastpitch variety.

Click to continue reading “Santa Dan Delivers Early Christmas Present For Ball Cap Bob”

Softball Hall of Fame to induct Daniel D. Dolan family of Aurora

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Daniel D. Dolan, right, first sponsored a City League team, the Creative DJs, in 1982. (Brian Dolan)

By Rick Armstrong
Aurora Beacon-News
August 7, 2016

AURORA, Ill. – For decades, the Donlan has been synonymous with men’s fastpitch softball in Aurora. Come next weekend, its reach will be extended even further.

That’s when the Daniel D. Dolan family, longtime sponsors of the men’s fastpitch softball Dolan & Murphy Shamrocks, will be inducted into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame.

The family is this year’s recipient of the Bob Welby Memorial Recognition of Service Award that will be presented Sunday morning at the Class of 2016 induction breakfast.

The event, which will be held at the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa, is being held in conjunction with the ISC World Tournament Aug. 13-20 at Moline’s Green Valley Softball Complex.

“I got that call and I was flabbergasted,” Daniel D. Dolan, the family’s 85-year-old patriarch, said. “It is such an honor to be included.”

Click to continue reading “Softball Hall of Fame to induct Daniel D. Dolan family of Aurora”

Sprucing up Pierce Field to revitalize Aurora fastpitch league

Sunday, May 27th, 2018


AURORA, Ill
. – It’s old, it’s got an odd-ball configured outfield, and frankly, many a modern-era ball player would most likely prefer newer digs.

But not Kyle Pittman.

He has a fondness for 88-year-old Pierce Field in Aurora. Understandably so. The 27-year-old outfielder grew up learning the fastpitch softball game at Pierce. He’s played league games there since his introduction to the sport at 15.

And he gets to pitch to his heart’s desire in the Pierce Field city league. Not so much with the open-level Dolan & Murphy Shamrocks traveling squad where he primarily patrols the outfield.

But he does admit that Pierce has its peculiarities. Most notably, an outfield fence that starts out normal enough at 245-feet in left-field, but then begins angling out to 261’ in dead center, before cutting sharply back in to 196’ in right.

Odd dimensions, certainly, but none-the-less, Pittman loves the old park with its aging wooden bleachers behind home plate; and being tucked snugly in a residential and industrial area of Aurora only adds to its homeyness.

“Just about every ballpark you play in now everywhere is in a ‘cookie-cuter’ style complex with three to four fields,” said Pittman. “While those places are nice, I love being able to play in this old park a couple times a week.”

Click to continue reading “Sprucing up Pierce Field to revitalize Aurora fastpitch league”

Dolan & Murphy Shamrocks carry on Aurora men’s fabled fastpitch tradition

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

JOHN SCHWEIGHART of Camargo, Ill. plays the outfield for the Dolan & Murphy Shamrocks of Aurora, Ill. Photo Courtesy Dolan & Murphy Shamrocks


AURORA, Ill
. – Men’s fastpitch tradition is a fabled one in Aurora, rivaling that of any city, state or nation. The names are legendary: Sealmasters, Home Savings, Coors Silver Bullets, Allsteel Steelers and Creative DJ’s.

Those teams both inspired admiration and struck fear in many a visiting ball club to Aurora’s Stevens-Adamson Field where they once played.

International Softball Congress World Championships? Amateur Softball Association titles? International Softball Federation championships? More than a few, including Stealmasters (formed in 1943) ASA national titles in 1959, 1961, 1965 and 1967. And the list could go on.

As with most things in life, there comes an end. And the great teams that once graced Stevens-Adamson Field have long since disbanded. But not so with the Aurora fastpitch tradition. The Dolan & Murphy Shamrocks have kept that accord very much alive.

For 32 years, the Shamrocks have been a competitive staple in ISC and ASA competition, traveling the Midwest and beyond competing against the best teams in North America.

Kyle Pittman, 27, began playing in a local league at 15 and now patrols the outfield for the Shamrocks. He’s come to know the history of Aurora fastpitch very well.

“Once I started getting into it I started finding out more about the history and legacy of the game in Aurora,” said Pittman. “It seemed like everyone I talked to who was from here new about the game back in its prime. I never got to go watch a game at Stevens-Adamson Field where you could watch the best players in the world compete; it’s something I regret.”

Click to continue reading “Dolan & Murphy Shamrocks carry on Aurora men’s fabled fastpitch tradition”

A Step Back In Time: Mark Rako Joins Elite Company In Fastpitch Hall of Fame

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Mark “Vinnie” Rako poses with legendary U.S. Olympic softball player Dot Richardson during the University of Dubuque’s spring trip to Florida in March, 2013


Platteville pitcher to join SW Wisocnsin Fast Pitch Hall of Fame

By Jason Nihles
sports@theplattevillejournal.com
SWNEWS4u.com
POSTED June 5, 2013 2:27 p.m.

BOSCOBEL, Wisc. – Mark Rako’s fast-pitch softball career began 41 years ago as a 14-year-old boy on the old field in Arthur.

Over the course of a career that spanned five decades “Vinnie”, as he was better known by teammates and opponents alike, developed into one of the best pitchers in the area.

“I don’t think some people even know my real name,” Rako joked.

Click to continue reading “A Step Back In Time: Mark Rako Joins Elite Company In Fastpitch Hall of Fame”

A Step Back In Time: Jason Hanson’s home run ends Green Bay All-Car’s drive

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

All-Car teammates huddle around pitcher Michael White after he tumbled to the ground in the bottom of the seventh inning with an injured leg. White was unable to return and All-Car went on to lose to the Tampa Bay Smokers, 4-2, in the 1996 ISC World Tournament championship game. Photo By BOB OTTO

Tampa Bay claims title with dramatic 4-2 victory in 1996 ISC World Tournament

By Sharon Raboin / Green Bay Press-Gazette
Monday, August 19, 1996

KIMBERLY, Wisc. – Michael White of All-Car of Green Bay crumbled to the ground after pitching to Jason Hanson.

White groaned and grabbed his left leg while his teammates rushed to his side.

The crowd of about 5,000 became silent at Sunset Park.

It was the bottom of the seventh inning Sunday afternoon in the championship of the International Softball Congress World Tournament. All-Car and the Tampa Bay Smokers were tied 2-2

After a couple of minutes, White was helped to his feet. He desperately wanted to continue. He tested his injured leg.

“I just couldn’t,” White said. “There was pain shooting up my leg. I couldn’t put any weight on it at all. There was no way I could push it.”

Click to continue reading “A Step Back In Time: Jason Hanson’s home run ends Green Bay All-Car’s drive”

Al DeWall the greatest pitcher of Minnesota’s Golden Age

Friday, January 6th, 2017

ST. PAUL ALL-AMERICAN BAR won the 1976 ISC World Tournament with pitcher Al DeWall leading the way with five victories. DeWall, pictured in the last row, third from left, was selected the tournament’s Most Valuable Pitcher. Courtesy Photo

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The decades of the 1950s through the 1980s are considered the Golden Age of Minnesota men’s Fastpitch.

The Golden Age saw many outstanding teams rise to power such as St. Paul’s Belmont Club, New Bar and Clover Club, Mankato Happy Chef, St. James James Gang, Duluth and Scandia.

But none rose to power like St. Paul’s Whitaker Buick (1962 – 1973) and All-American Bar (1976 – 1986). Basically the same roster, just a change of sponsorship.

Between the two teams they appeared in 14 ISC World Tournaments and several ASA Major National Tournaments. In 1976 All-American Bar won the world tournament, beating the Lakewood, Calif. Jets twice, 5-2 and 6-0, to take the title.

    STARS A PLENTY

“It was unbelievable playing for Whitaker Buick,” said Mike Payton, the team’s centerfielder in the 1960s and 70s. “Back then you didn’t play a qualifier and go to the nationals like now. You had to win six or seven games (state and regional playoffs) and it was single elimination.”

Click to continue reading “Al DeWall the greatest pitcher of Minnesota’s Golden Age”

Ultimate competitor Dan Nessler twice a Hall of Famer

Sunday, December 11th, 2016
DAN NESSLER of Happy Chef covers second base during the 1995 ISC World Tournament in which Happy Chef finished fifth. Nessler was selected an All-World player four times and was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2009. Photo By BOB OTTO

DAN NESSLER of Happy Chef covers second base during the 1995 ISC World Tournament in which Happy Chef finished fifth. Nessler was selected an All-World player four times and was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2009. Photo By BOB OTTO

MANKATO, Minn. – With a grunt and a leap, the pitcher hurls the softball from 46 feet, causing the violently spinning missile to jump or plunge a foot just before crossing home plate and slamming into the catcher’s mitt at 85 miles per hour.

The degree of difficulty of hitting such a frustratingly elusive projectile?

Nearly impossible for batsmen of modest ability. But for the very best, an improbability they handle with great aplomb.

Mark Sorenson was one of the best, as was Bill Boyer, Shawn Rychcik and Colin Abbott. This esteemed class also includes Dan Nessler of Mankato, Minnesota.

Nessler was a magician with the bat from the left-side batters box. He played small-ball as well as anyone, said pitcher Pete Sandman, a teammate with Nessler on the world championship Penn Corp teams of Sioux City, Iowa.

“Dan was a great hitter,” said Sandman, who pitched for Penn Corp and later National Health Care Discount (NHCD) from 1981 to 1991. “He was smart, could slap, drag bunt, hit balls to left, center or right. He was gifted with the bat.”

    ACCLAIMED PLAYER AND LEADER

With the likes of Sandman, Nessler, Sorenson and Boyer leading a stable of stars, Penn Corp / NHCD won four (1988, ’89, ’91, ’92) International Softball Congress World Tournament championships. During that reign, Nessler made ISC All-World twice.

Interspersed in those Penn Corp years, Nessler also played for Happy Chef of Mankato, helping the team finish fifth in the 1995 ISC World Tournament, and claiming the ASA Class A National Championship the same year.

During the Happy Chef years, Nessler earned two ISC All-World honors (1985, 1992), along with being selected ASA Second-Team, All-American.

Nessler took over as player / manager in 1992. A post he held for 10 years. He was a leader and an example to the younger players, said former infielder Scott Christensen, a three-time ISC All-World player with Happy Chef.

“He was always thinking about game situations and our strengths and what the other team might do,” said Christensen. “He was a very intelligent player who could anticipate and be in the right place to make a play. You can’t teach that. He could adapt (at bat) and bunt or hit the other way.”

DAN NESSLER played in 16 ISC World Tournaments. In the four world tournaments in which he was selected All-World, he batted .407 with 15 runs and nine RBI. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

DAN NESSLER played in 16 ISC World Tournaments. In the four world tournaments in which he was selected All-World, he batted .407 with 15 runs and nine RBI. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

Click to continue reading “Ultimate competitor Dan Nessler twice a Hall of Famer”

Toronto Gators long glorious run comes to an end with ISC Legends Championship

Monday, August 29th, 2016
BIG BAD GATOR - First baseman Dave Hoffman hit a three-run home run to lead the Toronto Gators Masters to an 8-1 victory over the Midland Explorers Legends to claim the ISC Legends Tournament, at Green Valley Sports Complex, Sat. Aug. 20. Photo By BOB OTTO

BIG BAD GATOR – First baseman Dave Hoffman hit a three-run home run to lead the Toronto Gators Masters to an 8-1 victory over the Midland Explorers Legends to claim the ISC Legends Tournament, at Green Valley Sports Complex, Sat. Aug. 20. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, IL – Though older, grayer and a step slower, the Toronto Gators Masters still flashed some of the skills that led to ISC World Tournament championships in their much younger years of 1993 and 1995.

Battling a field of 12 of the best 50-older masters teams from the U.S. and Canada, the Gators defeated the Midland, Mich. Legends, 8-1, to claim the ISC Legends Tournament Championship at Green Valley Sports Complex, Saturday.

Several of the Gators Masters starred on the 1993 and 1995 championship squads, including Darren Zack, Ray Tilley, Terry Challis, Rod Wetherell, Dave Hoffman and Adam Smith.

    BIG GUY HOMERS

The Gators jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Dave Hoffman’s three-run home run off Midland’s Peter Finn. Frank Perez and John Kemp opened the inning with walks to set up Hoffman’s home run, his second of the tournament.

Click to continue reading “Toronto Gators long glorious run comes to an end with ISC Legends Championship”

Pitcher Jerry Ralfs reminisces about the good times in fastpitch

Friday, August 19th, 2016
Jerry Ralfs, one the greatest pitchers in the history of men's fastpitch was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2004. Photo By BOB OTTO

Jerry Ralfs, one the greatest pitchers in the history of men’s fastpitch was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2004. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, IL – Jerry Ralfs gazed out on the ball diamond as pitchers Sean Cleary of the Toronto Gators and New York Gremlins Andrew Kirkpatrick battled each other pitch-for-pitch in the 2017 ISC World Tournament.

Seeing their intensity, their talent, their will to win, brought back memories of the bygone days when he too was locked in intense battle with some of the games greatest teams and pitchers of the 1950s through 1995 when he finally retired.

Ralfs, an ISC Hall of Fame pitcher (2004), battled against and defeated some of the greatest pitchers ever to step on the ball diamond: There’s Dick Brubaker, Don Sarno, Art Bunge, Ralph Salazar, Ed Klecker, and perhaps the greatest of all-time – Ty Stofflet.

The two left-handers tangled several times. In 1969, Ralfs pitched Rock Island Sportshop to second place in the ISC World Tournament, and put together outstanding marks with a 5-2 record and 79 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings.

In that tournament, he beat the defending champion Long Beach, Calif. Nitehawks twice. Both shutouts.

But his two loses? To Stofflet. But by the slightest of margins possible in the sport, both 1-0 setbacks.

But a smile comes to his face when he remembers when he did get the best of Stofflet.

“It was in 1971 in Springfield (Missouri) and we beat Stofflet,” said Ralfs, now 80 years old, but looking 15 years younger. “I even got a bloop single to win the game.”

Click to continue reading “Pitcher Jerry Ralfs reminisces about the good times in fastpitch”