Those were the days and a team had to declare what they would play, ASA or ISC. Teams or players couldn't play both in the same year. ISC was the outlaw according to ASA. They didn't get along. ISC was man's fast pitch only. ASA was everything, men,women, youth, in both fast pitch and slow pitch. ISC is about dead, and the ASA is still alive with girls FP and all slow pitch.
Ray, Did you get to watch any Sealmaster or Home Savings games? I just saw Three of the old Sealmaster players when I was visiting my 89 yo old father in early March. I played with Home in 73 behind Sterkel, Brubaker and Carlson. i wasn't needed and I only got to throw 11 games that year. I was used to throwing 40.
Is that the same Bobby Wills hall of famer in Virginia now? He does an amazing girls camp in Hampton roads. Outstanding God fearing man there. .
Bob Wills grew up in my hometown of Ishpeming, Michigan and was my Babe Ruth baseball coach in 1960. The last I knew he was living in California. Does anyone have any knowledge of his current address or how I may contact him? Thank you for any information you can provide. While it is unlikely that he will remember, he gave me the nickname "Shants" which is my user name on this site.
I grew up in Ishpeming, Michigan, the hometown of Bob Wills. He was my Babe Ruth baseball coach in 1960. I am trying to locate him. The last I knew he was living in Long Beach but that was many years ago. He also "taught" me to pitch and I made use of that skill in the Army at Fort Knox in 1969, never achieving the goals that Bob attained however. While it is unlikely that he would remember, he also gave me my nickname, "Shants", which is the user name I am using on this site. If anyone knows whatever became of Bob, I would appreciate any information you may have. Thank you for this post and telling of a game Bob played in back in 1966.
Sterkel Elected to International Softball Federation Hall Of Fame
By Bill Plummer III, Hall of Fame Manager, National Softball Hall of Fame, (405) 425-3433
Truck drivers travel many, many miles during a career. Sooner or later they reach their final destination. Harvey Sterkel reached his final destination in 1956. That's when he came from Denver, CO largely unknown to Aurora, IL to pitch fast pitch softball for the fames Aurora Sealmasters. Than 22, Sterkel had been driving a truck to support his family, which included the first of his three sons and his wife Gloria.
"I was going to be paid to work, not paid to play," said Sterkel, 67, now vice president of the company he was originally hired to work for by than president Charles Hurd. "He (Hurd) told me I was being given an opportunity and it would be up to me to make the most of it."
Strong words, but not for Sterkel who had learned the value of hard work and determination growing up in Denver, CO where his older brother Robert taught him how to pitch. Originally Robert. Who died of a heart attack at 45, was a figure-eight hurler and taught Harvey the same pitching style.
"But the pitching distance was changes from 40 to 43 feet, my brother changes to being a slingshot hurler and also taught me how to pitch that way," Sterkel said. Sterkel, who started pitching in the fifth grade, appeared at his first ASA national championship at 16 and in the years that followed established himself as one of the greatest fast pitch hurlers of all-time.
Already a member of the ASA National Hall of Fame, Sterkel will now be enshrined next year in the ISF (International Softball Federation) Hall of Fame at the annual meeting in Reno, NV.
Almost speechless when informed of his election, Sterkel is the second USA player elected and the first male player. Sterkel admitted, "this award is certainly right at the top" of the honors he's received during his career. Sterkel twice hurled the Sealmasters to ISF World championships, 1966 and 1968, and was unbeaten (7-0) in ISF World competition. In 1966, he was 4-0 and two years later 3-0. In 45 1/3 innings he struck out 74 batters, walked 15 and allowed only three runs (two earned). In the 1966 World championship he hurled the gold metal game and was named MVP of the championship.
Besides the two World Championships, Sterkel had another highlight when he single-handed pitched Aurora to its first ASA national championship.
The Sealmasters lost their first game and won nine in a row to cop the crown. Sterkel won eight games in a row including 24 scoreless innings in three games on the final day of the championship. In 60 2/3 innings Sterkel struck out 84 allowed four runs, walked 11 and allowed 28 hits. He beat the famed Clearwater, FL Bombers twice on the final day by identical 1-0 scores, the first two runs allowed by the Bombers after five shutouts. Sterkel and Hall of Fame pitchers Bobby Spell and Bill Massey in the two Clearwater games allowing nine hits. "The game (softball) has been great to me," said Sterkel, who likewise has been good to softball.
After retiring as an active player in 1977, Sterkel continued to stay involved by giving numerous clinics or helping the Aurora fast pitch team where necessary.
His three sons also became pitchers. None reached the level of their famous dad.
Sterkel pitching was a picture of controlled power and grace and he had tremendous control. He pitched anyplace, anytime, against any team with never a complaint, and he did it at times with an arm so sore that a less of a man would have thrown in the towel. Not Sterkel, who was respected for not only his abilities as a world-class athlete but as a world-class human.
Every softball parent keeps a hockey mask and a butcher knife in their car...