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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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Where Softballs Still Fly Fast, Hard

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Snow.95WTSiouxCityRuss Snow pitching in 1995 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

“It hurt when the military bases dropped fast pitch and stopped developing young pitchers. (San Diego) city used to have 125-150 teams in 10 or 12 divisions in the ’70s before slow pitch took over.” – Russ Snow, fastpitch pitcher

(A timeless story about pitcher Russ Snow and the Vista, Bombers, which were led in ’92 by owner and general manager, Jim Flanagan, editor of Fastpichwest. Flanagan will be in Santee, Calif this weekend broadcasting some of the 2013 California Classic games via Ballpark Radio.)


Russ Snow, 35, spends his life pretty much dedicated to three things: gathering and selling firewood, breeding and selling catfish – his two businesses – and playing softball.

In fact softball is one of few things that takes Snow away from the picturesque 160-acre ranch that his family owns at the top of Highland Valley in Escondido. His home there is an 1800s caboose, one of the first ever built by Southern Pacific Railroad Co., and he has lived among the orange and avocado orchards that cover the rocky, rolling hills for most of 22 years.

But, as a left-handed pitcher on the nationally known Vista Bombers men’s fast-pitch team, Snow has taken his game to the big time. In fact, had he been able to throw a baseball as he throws a softball, Snow would have undoubtedly made the major leagues.

continue reading: Where Softballs Still Fly Fast, Hard

Steve Miner, a premiere California slap hitter

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

San Diego State Aztec assistant coach Steve Miner.

CATHEDRAL CITY, CALIF – While I was shooting the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, my camera found this former legend of California fastpitch – Steve Miner – hitting infield ground balls.

Miner once played for the Vista Bombers, a strong International Softball Congress (ISC) team that competed in the Western Softball Congress with the likes of the fabled Long Beach Nitehawks and Lakewood Jets.

Miner is now an assistant coach with the San Diego State Aztecs. He looks like he keeps himself in pretty good shape. I don’t doubt he could show today’s youngsters how to slap and lay down a bunt.

San Diego State went 2-3 in the tournament that featured 35 of the best NCAA Division I softball teams from across the country.