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Former ISC Executive Director and Hall of Fame member Milton Stark passes away

Saturday, July 26th, 2014


Eight distinguished Taft Union High School graduates were inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame Saturday night at a banquet held in the Mullen Gymnasium. From left, they are Ben McEnroe and Evelyn Dykes accepting for the late Dr. Ben Dykes (Class of 1940), John T. Howe (Class of 1953), Larry Peahl (Class of 1953), Bill Black (Class of 1943), Lee Roy Kelly (Class of 1960), Milt Stark (Class of 1950), second from right and Dick Walsh (Class of 1956). Inductee Tracy Rogers (Class of 1985) was unable to attend. They join 47 others enshrined in the Hall of Fame since its inception in 2007.

READ: Taft Union High School Hall of Fame adds eight distinguished alumni

Milton Dale Stark
April 28, 1932 – July 24, 2014

Milton Dale Stark, 82, class of 1950 died from congestive heart failure Thursday, July 24, 2014 peacefully at home in Anaheim. He was born in Fellows on April 28, 1932 to Ernest and Ruth Stark.

Milt left Taft after graduating from Taft College in 1956. He then graduated from Whittier College in 1958. He taught English and coached for 30 years at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights.

Through years of military, collegiate and recreational competition, Milt began to compile one of the most powerful resumes in the history of fast-pitch softball as a catcher. He was a member of the famed Long Beach Nitehawks and was an All-World catcher in 1966 and 1968.

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Long Beach Nitehawks Second Annual Fourth of July Tournament

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013


LONG BEACH, CALIF. – Sixteen teams played in the Long Beach Nitehawks Second Annual Fourth of July Fastpitch Softball Tournament according to the Nitehawks program.

But on the printed program one very important piece of information is missing: the year.

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Irvin “Red” Meairs Dedicated Long Beach Nitehawks Man

Friday, November 15th, 2013

The fabled Long Beach, Calif. Nitehawks won 10 International Softball Congress World Tournaments during their long run in men’s Major Division fastpitch softball. Photo illustration By BOB OTTO

“All I want of a ball club is a lot of hustle, keep the ball moving someplace, and most of all a desire to win,” said Irvin “Red” Meairs in the Nitehawks 1979 official program. “If a club has these qualities, they will win many games.”

Originally published Sept. 24, 2001

LONG BEACH, CALIF – His devotion is legendary. His commitment 100 percent. So claim his former players and friends who know him best.

Drop the name “Red” or “Nitehawks” in Long Beach, California, and fastpitch softball old timers have instant recall. However, mention one name without the other, and those knowledgeable old timers will likely scold such rudeness.

In a career that spanned over 30 years, Irvin “Red” Meairs and the Long Beach Nitehawks men’s fastpitch softball team were linked as one. Their marriage never faltering right up until the team folded in 1988.

Devotion. Red’s strongest attribute, say Nitehawks players.

“This was his team, his players, his family,” said Bob Todd, a 15-year Nitehawks pitcher. “If you played for the Nitehawks you where part of Red and Connie’s family. Red’s devotion and love of the game and for the Nitehawk players was beyond that of anyone I ever knew.”

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“We Play It Fast” is still available

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Stew Sabiston of the Winnipeg Bullets is featured on the front cover of We Play It Fast. SEE BELOW for ordering information of this one-time, limited edition book about boys’ and men’s fastpitch softball.

YUCAIPA, CA – In 2011, I wrote a boys’ and men’s fastpitch softball book entitled, “We Play It Fast.” The book is part documentary, part memoir, part feature story, and part photo essay.

It has 170 pages and over 200 black and white photos, all packed in 8.5 x 11 inches. The front laminated color cover features Winnipeg, Canada pitcher Stew Sabiston. His is determined expression shows why we play and love this sport.

Michael White, 2009 ISC Hall of Fame member, leads all World Tournament pitchers with 70 wins, with Peter Meredith second at 61.

The book has feature stories about ISC Hall of Famers Mark Sorenson, Michael White, Milt Stark, Russell Boice, Jim Rubbelke, Irvin “Red” Meairs, Carl Hansen, K.G. Fincher, Joe Avila, Dave Blackburn, Hice Stiles, John Becker, Darren Zack …

Mark Sorenson, 2010 ISC Hall of Fame member set many World Tournament records.

And there are also contributed stories from Milt Stark about the great Western Softball Congress league, Jim Flanagan in his tribute to Dave Blackburn, Kyle Beane, Marc Gillis, Wally Groehler…and more.

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