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President’s Message 2012

As we get ready to close the books on 2012, we should take a few moments to reflect on the highs and lows for the year. The Club, thanks to a long list of volunteers, ran another successful NCSSA sanctioned tournament. Our annual One-pitch tournament on the 4th of July gathering was thoroughly enjoyed by members and their families. Our day play, night and Saturday leagues gave our members the opportunity to play ball all year. The Club helped subsidize five tournament teams fully manned by Club members. Once again, the Club put on a batting clinic under the direction of Terry Whitfield. Our Señors’ games competition was a big hit again this year with a large number of Club members vying for those elusive Gold, Silver and Bronze metals. Our annual Holiday party was attended by more than 150 people – a modern day record!

On the other side of the coin, we celebrated the lives of three of our members who left us during the last 12 months. The memories of and contributions by Dave Arrigoni, Bob Strand and Mel Rankin will remain with all of us who knew these gentlemen and fellow ballplayers.

2013 promises to be another great year. There will be new faces on the Board of Directors, more opportunities for direct participation in club events and, hopefully, the addition of a large number of new members.

Don’t forget: Whatever Club activity you choose to participate in: JUST HAVE FUN!

Sincerely, Bill Picht

Holiday Party on December 1

The Club’s annual Holiday party will be held on Saturday night, December 1, at 6:00, at the Veteran’s Memorial Building in Redwood City. Board member Pat Michael is again coordinating with help from Donna O’Farrell, Mo Hosoda, and Ginger Mah. The plans are for another delicious sit-down dinner, raffle prizes, open bar, creative entertainment, dancing, the announcement of Most Improved Player of the Year, and fun and fellowship. If you have an item to donate for the raffle or auction, please contact Pat Michael at 299-0331.

Last year’s party was by far the largest in the Club’s history—a 25% increase over the year before record attendance! More than 150 guests enjoyed great food and beverages; the return of the Marshettes with synchronized swimming (you had to be there); line-dancing instruction; slow dancing (except Mo the DJ’s chicken dance); 40 raffle prizes worth more than $1000; three great auction items; table door prizes of poinsettias; and a lively evening. Again, the committee delivered a smooth, on time, balanced program. Nick Loimo was honored for longevity and Joe Ramos won the coveted trophy for Most Improved Player.

Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Club will be at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center in Redwood City at 7:00 pm on January 9, 2013. At that time, election of officers will take place, board members will be elected, and other agenda business items will be addressed. There a quite a lot of By-Laws updates that will also be voted on. Every member is welcome to attend. There will be several vacancies on the board and those wishing to serve can contact Bill Picht, President, at 650-303-9114.

Club Officers

At the annual meeting in January, Bill Picht was reelected as this year’s president of the Club; Dennis Logie as vice president; Bob Cushman as treasurer; and Pat Michael as recording secretary. Other board members are Sandy Bettencourt, Bob Elwood, Joe Kirby, Steve Bowerman, and Pat Michael. Angelo Rizzato replaced Joe Kirby following Joe’s resignation. Donna O’Farrell is appointed membership secretary.

City Affirmation

Redwood City relishes its relationship with the Club, and to show its appreciation, the city put on a hot dog lunch in November, right after day play. Eric Newby, our rec department overseer and Bruce Utecht, the head of the Senior Center, were the chefs on what was probably the coldest, windiest, most blustery day of the year! Still, more than 40 members enjoyed the treat and City Parks, Rec, and Community Services Director, Chris Beth, made some kind remarks about our Club.

Saturday League Begins November 17

This year’s Saturday League at Hawes Park will be under the direction of Dean Perkins with Hiroshi Tarumi as administrative assistant and Bob Cushman as consultant. As in the past, all games are double-headers beginning at 9:00, 11:30, and 2:00. Although eight tournament teams are part of a regular schedule, there is often room for walk-ons to play each Saturday for teams missing players that Saturday. You must be a member of the Señors to play, however, and 60 or older. The league will conclude on February 23

In last season’s Saturday play, Rich Simonson had a day for the ages! On the very first Saturday, he hit a triple off of the right field fence, a home run over the center field fence at 305 feet, and another blast over the left field fence, about 340feet! Unfortunately, Hawes Park rules are that home runs into the street result in 3 outs (I guess the thinking is that you just shouldn’t play there if you are as strong as Rich).

Monday Night Winter League

The Night Winter League moved back to Redwood City on Mondays. Play began on September 10 and the first round will conclude before Christmas. Debbie Coyne is serving in her last year as the commissioner and there are four teams. As with the Saturday league, there is often room for walk-ons on any Monday night, but you must be a member of the Señors to play with a team.

Tuesday Night Summer League

This summer’s Tuesday Night League in San Carlos was an active and competitive one. Thanks to Debbie Coyne and Bill Picht for serving as commissioners of this league.

Hitting Clinic

Once again, Terry Whitfield, former Giants star and in-demand hitting coach, was our instructor for a series of batting clinics offered to all Señors members in the Spring. Despite the early season, we were able to get every session in and those who attended greatly benefited. One of them, Larry Nissim, drove 2 1/2 hours to participate! We’ll plan to have Terry come again to help us improve. He does have a batting cage in Burlingame and some members have taken advantage of further personalized instruction.

Deadline for New Dues Is December 31

Yes, it is that time of year again. Your $45.00 dues pay for more than 140 days of open play during the week with new softballs each day, liability insurance for members, Señors Games, One-Pitch Tournament and barbecue, and free membership for those 80 and older. In addition, the dues subsidize our Holiday party, batting clinic, tournament teams, and our annual trip to San Jose to watch the Giants.

Dues can be paid at any time for the full year of 2013. Future new members who pay their dues for 2012 through the end of the year will also be covered for 2013! What a bargain! Anyone you know that would like to join the Señors? Please note that after January 1, only paid up members will be able to participate in open play, a league, or be part of a subsidized team for tournament play. We are also interested in updates on address, phone, and e-mail information to keep our large and growing roster current.

Rule Change enhances play

With Board approval, a smaller women’s ball was introduced in January for women to help equalize the distance. In that month, Angeli Edhammer hit a grand slam home run! She also hit a shot to the infield that broke one member’s thumb! Now that is equalizing things!

Information: Rain Line and Web Site

If you are concerned about field conditions, location of open play, rain conditions at tournaments out of the area, and many other items, the Club’s info line is 650-363-1140. It’s accessible 24-hours a day. Check there first for information. The Club also has a web site at www.seniorsoftball.us with more information added constantly.

Tournament Results for Sponsored Teams

As the 2012 tournament season concludes with the Las Vegas World Championship, we look back on the five Club-sponsored teams that participated throughout northern California and in other states. Our sponsorship this year involved paying ASA registration, liability insurance, $1000 supplement toward tournament fees, and free entry in our own Redwood City Tournament. Here’s how our teams did on the tournament circuit. Clubs wishing to be sponsored for 2013should contact any director now for consideration.

The Redwood City Chiefs 75s continued to be the most active team as they entered 15 tournaments in three different associations. They won no tournaments in NCSSA, but came in second in Rock ‘N Reno, the huge SSUSA tournament, and third in the Western Nationals in Aurora, Colorado.

The State Roofing Royals 75s team had a challenging year after being reranked to a major status as the reigning Western Regional Champions, National Champions, and World Champions!! They were active in 10 tournaments, winning 2 of them.

The State Roofing Royals 70s team also had a good year, winning 2 of the12 tournaments they entered plus a third-place finish at the Cal Cup and a second-place finish at the Hall of Fame tourney, NCSSA’s largest annual tournament.

The Redwood City Chiefs 75-80s, is one of the two oldest teams in northern California. They entered 8 tournaments, and placed third in the Rock ‘N Reno and third in the World Championships.

The Redwood City Cardinals continued to play competitively, and began the season with winning the Palm Springs Invitational in February. They had no other wins in the 10 tourneys they entered, but claimed third in the Rock ‘N Reno.

Club Tournament a Success

Our annual June tournament made a name for itself with four days of tournament play that attracted 25 teams to our wonderful all-weather fields. The tournament was dedicated to the memory of Club member Bob Strand, a nationally known senior softball figure, who died that month. A moment of silence for Bob was held at each field at the start of play in each bracket over the four days.

Only the 75 Royals of our sponsored teams played “poor hosts,” winning their bracket. The weather was fine and the tournament finished on time and with few problems, despite the logistics of playing at two venues almost a mile apart. Many, many volunteers made this tournament a success, under the leadership of Tournament Director, Dean Perkins

July 4th One Pitch Tournament

A huge turnout for our annual tournament and BBQ this year as almost 300 Club members and families and friends attended. There were four teams in the American League competition and three teams of more “seasoned” players in the National League bracket. Many volunteers made this annual event a great success with ample food, raffle items, and tournament fun for all.

In the National League, all three teams fought hard and achieved one win and one loss each. This resulted in using established tie-breaking rules. Head to head competition was a wash, with everyone having one win. The decider was "total number of runs allowed in all games played". Perky team three, captained by Dean Perkins was the 1st Place Champion Team. Carl Woodruff’s Warriors was the runner-up team, and Bill Beshore’s Bombers allowed the most runs to be scored (only an average of 4 per game!) for third. The Bombers won last year and vow to regain the championship in2013. Of special note, 88-year-old Richard St. Denny hit a home run, celebrated even by his team’s opponents.

In the American League, all four teams played exceptionally well in both offense and defense. There were four tied games this year. Captain Gordon Bell, as he did last year, rang some bells and retained his Championship status with 3 1/2 game wins. In very close pursuit, only 1/2 game behind, was Tony Correia’s Conquerors, in Tony’s maiden voyage as a captain. John Leland’s Long-Arms returned and finished in third place. Bruce Barnes, captain of the fourth-place team, swore to return next year as a spoiler and take the championship title away from Gordy’s Bell-Ringers team. A memorable event was the home run by Dennis Kain, one of the longest in memory for senior softball play!

The champions and runners-up in both leagues were ceremoniously awarded the appropriate and prestigious 4th of July One-Pitch shirts, and have full bragging rights until next year’s annual event.

4th Annual Señors Games

September 27, 28, 2012: What a wonderful two days of competition under cloudy skies which resulted in cool weather, and a great turnout, a little larger than last year.

Hit For Distance: There seemed to be a power outage this year, as no new records were set and in some age groups, no one came close to existing records. Repeat observers agreed that our pitching machine, Old Sparky, be haved better than some years, so maybe we are just getting older! Tony Correia drove the ball 285 feet for the gold in the 50s; and Bob Ligh stroked a sharp single in the 60-64 division to win. Competition was tight in the next two divisions, as Rob Patton took first with 229 feet in the 65-69 group, with Harry Smith second at 219, and Hiroshi Tarumi 3rd with a shot of 217 feet. In the 70-74 division, the gold went to Louis Schultz with a blast of 176 feet, followed by Roger Severin at 171, and newcomer, Mike Martello at 159. Buddy Hollinger took home gold in the 75+ division, followed by Carl Woodruff and Dave Reck. Two women batted for top honors in the Women’s Division, with Division record holder Brenda Guzman edging out Angeli Edhammer.

Hit For Accuracy: Once again we saw contestants tightening their stroke in this event and outhitting their distances in the first event! In the 50s, Joe Bozzuto Jr. was the winner, followed by Peter Lewis and Brad Spuitenburg. Bob Lighand Bob Mar tied for the gold in the 60-64. There were some excellent scores in the 65-69 Division with Hiroshi Tarumi tying the world record with a perfect 100%, closely followed by Rob Patton with 80% and John Gordon with 60%. Another world record of 100% was turned in by Bob Cushman in the 70-74 category, winning the gold over Howard Patridge and followed by Louis Schultz. In the 75+ Division, Morris Hosoda tied for the gold with 60% (and a special merit for an 80+ participant) with Carl Woodruff; Bill Beshore and Buddy Hollinger tied for the bronze with Beshore amazing all by deliberately hitting to right center field. The women had a two-way tie for gold between world record holder Brenda Guzman and Donna O’Farrell, with Sandy Bettencourt taking the bronze.

Fly Ball Catching: Although the distances were the same this year, fielding percentages were down in the 50s as Joe Bozzuto Jr. took the gold and Brad Spuitenburg the silver. In the 60-64 Division, Bob Mar won over Tim Gravett. The closest contest was in the 65-69 Division where John Gordon and Jim Ilnicki tied with a perfect 100%, followed by a two-way tie for third between Rob Patton and Greg Lum Ho. A tiebreaker round was held as Harry Smith had also tied in the first round. Roger Severin astounded the crowd with a 100% score in the 70-74 since he was out of practice, and he was followed by George Brownfield and Bob Cushman tying for second. Bill Beshore won the 75+ with a 100% score and Paul Amaya took second followed by Dean Perkins for third. For the women, it was Brenda Guzman again, equaling her world record of 100%, followed by Angeli Edhammer with only one miss, and Sandy Bettencourt for the bronze.

Ground Ball Fielding: Maybe Old Sparky was tired on the second day, as the ground balls didn’t seem to have as much snap as in the past. There were lots of 100% fielding scores which led to several playoff rounds. In the 50s, Tony Correiatook gold, Pete Lewis with second and Frank Greco with third. No one entered the 60-64 Division (maybe they got older and moved up), so in the 65-69, There was a three-way tie for gold between Rob Patton, Bruce Barnes, and Greg Lum Ho. Only Bob Cushman was perfect in the 70-74, but Roger Severin and George Brownfield were only one miss behind him. Gold went to Bill Beshore, Carl Woodruff, and Warren Goodnow, with Warren surprisingly disqualified on one catch in the playoff round to miss out on undisputed gold. Special mention for 80+ Paul Amaya who tied at 100% before the playoff round. Angeli Edhammer and Brenda Guzman tied for gold, followed by Sandy Bettencourt and Donna O’Farrell for bronze.

Home to First: Perhaps frightened off by the current world record, there were no entrants in the 50s, but Bob Mar set a Division record in the 60-64 with 3.6 seconds, followed by Ron Wright and Tim Gravett. In the 65-69, Hiroshi Tarumi tied the Division record for gold at 3.6, with Jim Ilnicki showing a burst of speed at 3.9, followed by Greg Lum Ho at 4.0. New competitor Will Smith won the gold in the 70-74 with 4.1 (just .2 off the record) followed by Bernie Gradwohl for the silver. The women were led by Angeli Edhammer who tied her Division record of 4.5seconds.

Home to Home: Joe Bozzuto Jr. ran unopposed in the 50s and posted a 14.4. In the 60-64, Bob Mar proved the fastest with a14.0, followed by Bob Ligh for silver and Ron Wright for bronze. In the 65-69, Jim Ilnicki turned in an excellent time of 14.2, followed by Pat Michael for silver. In the 70-74, Bernie Gradwohl won gold with 16.5. No women ran, nor did any 75+, but the 75+ ran an exhibition lap with four runners each taking a segment and posting a fine relay time of 17.4.

Pitch For Accuracy: Pitching proved to be more of a challenge this year with two exceptions. Frank Greco won gold in the 50s with 3 for 8. No 60-64s competed, but in the 65-69 Division, Jim Ilnicki tied one of the oldest Senors Games records with 7 for 8 strikes, followed by Pat Michael. In the 70-74 Division, two competitors battled it out, but their scores will remain concealed as Howard Patridge and Roger Severin tied for the gold. Bill Beshore tied his Division record from the 70-74 and won the 75+ tying the Division record with 6 for 8. Paul Amaya, another special 80+ honoree, came in second for the silver, followed by Dean Perkins, yet a third 80+. For the women, Donna O’Farrell was first with another unmentionable score.

Third to First Throw: Another seemingly simple challenge—throw the ball from third base and hit the pitching screen at first base, was intimidating for many. Pete Lewis won gold and tied the Division record in the 50s with .600, followed by Tony Correia for silver. In the 60-64, Ron Sorg won again this year over Ron Wright. In the 65-69, scores were surprisingly low with Hiroshi Tarumi and Greg Lum Ho tying for the gold after a playoff, followed by Bruce Barnes and Rob Patton. George Brownfield was the winner in the 70-74, with Louis Schultz second and Howard Patridge third. In the 75+, Dave Reck tied the Division record with .600, and Carl Woodruff took the silver, followed by Morris Hosoda and Warren Goodnow tied for bronze. For the women, Sandy Bettencourt medaled with gold

Center Field Throw: Again the toughest event—throwing to a six-foot target from 150 feet out in center field. A real test of arm strength, a dozen men still competed for the glory. In the 50s, Tony Correia tied the Division record followed by Brad Spuitenburg and Joe Bozzuto Jr. tied for silver. In the 60-64, Ron Sorg shattered his own World record to overwhelm runnerup Ron Wright followed by Tim Gravett for bronze. Harry Smith set the new Division record in the 65-69, followed by Pat Michael for silver. In the 70-74, only Louis Schultz was brave enough to enter and took gold. In the 75+, Warren Goodnow tied the Division record followed by Dave Reck. For the first time, we had a woman entrant, but she was unable to be present for the competition.

Another great two days of competition with many of the winners gathering for an impromptu victory lunch after Friday’s conclusion. Many volunteers helped make this possible with setting up the field, lugging equipment from the parking lot, putting up a sound system, shagging balls, acting as judges, feeding the pitching machine, and handing out the awards and taking pictures of the happy winners. The competition finished before noon on both days and dreams of winning next fall rushed through many a head.

We Remember

Dave Arrigoni passed away at the age of 71 at a tournament in Pleasanton on November 12, 2011. He had played the first game, but then didn’t feel well, and evidently died while watching his Olden Bears team compete. Dave was an active volunteer with the Club, involved with all its events, particularly as a team manager in the day play games where he was noted for always batting last on the team he chose. Dave had no wife or children, so in many ways, the Club was his family and his closest friends were from its members. He was the most consistent member of the “lunch bunch” on Thursdays after day play, and his encouraging attitude and athletic skills saw him play on many tournament teams over the years.

The Club hosted a Celebration of Life for Dave on December 1, organized by Pat Michael, Rich Simonson, and Dennis Logie. Almost 100 friends attended, some came from 90 miles away, and many memories of Dave and praise for his character were expressed.

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A memorial service for Mel Rankin, who passed away on January 19 at age 77, was held at the Senior Center on Wednesday, March 21, following day play. Many guests came in their softball attire. Pat Michael and Dennis Logie coordinated the service and the reception afterwards.

Mel was a character, a longtime member of the Club, and an active volunteer, although poor health had stopped him from playing for several years and he was living in a rest home when he passed away. There were many stories shared about his life, most of them humorous

A bachelor, Mel’s closest family was his sister, Anita, who was there as well as Mel’s oldest friend, Gene Lind. More than50 people attended, including other retired players. At the service, tribute was paid to his getting off booze and staying sober without a drink for 40 years. Also, it was shockingly revealed that Mel had NO Native American blood!

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Bob Strand, a well-known national senior softball figure, and a member of the Club for many years, passed away on June9 after a short illness. Bob was the Webmaster for the Northern California Senior Softball Association and an active player on many teams over the years. He was nicknamed “Tomahawk” for his unique swing which was very effective

A service was held at Bob’s home in the San Diego area, and the Club hosted another service at the Senior Center on July 12 for his many friends in northern California. The service was coordinated by Pat Michael and Dennis Logie, along with pictures and videos from his widow, Joyce, and his family. The Vintage Softball Club and NCSSA contributed financially and a fine reception was put on after the service. More than 100 friends and Club members attended and there was lots of sharing.

Trip to the San Jose Giants

An upbeat group of 45 Club members and family and friends descended on Municipal Stadium in San Jose to enjoy a pre¬game BBQ and watch the San Jose Giants play the Visalia Rawhide in our annual minor league outing, organized this year by Pat Michael. It was only the second inning, but suddenly a group of guys rushed down the stairs from our prime seating behind home plate. It seemed early for such an urgent bathroom trip, but the puzzle was soon answered when they smilingly strode up the steps a few minutes later, a beer in each hand. It had been Visalia’s “beer-batter” who struck out, thus earning all patrons a half-price beer. Who those thirsty few were will soon be lost to memory.

Safety First

Bob Cushman has obtained some ball cap inserts, hard plastic liners to protect against errant throws and line drives. Bob knows what he is talking about as he was playing for the Major+ Streamline Circuits in Hayward in May, when he goes into run for one of the power hitters on first after a booming single. The next batter is left handed, and although Bob is alert, he can’t avoid the screaming line drive that hits his skull and bounces far out into right field.

Bob stands there dazed, then sits down as he realizes blood is streaming down. Eventually an ambulance arrives and off Bob goes to the local emergency room for 8 stitches (actually staples) on his scalp for the 6 centimeter cut. Dennis Logie drives Bob’s car home (driving a stick shift for the first time this century). A week later, Bob stops by the hospital in Hayward to get the staples out, then drives the rest of the way to Reno to participate in the Rock ‘N Roll tournament! He wears a helmet, now, when he bats or runs.

Club Honors

In a short ceremony before day play in February, with 55 members present, President Bill Picht announced and thanked three consistent volunteers for their contributions to the Club: Brenda Guzman for her work as the Club webmaster; Dennis Logie for his work as the Club Chaplain; and Donna O’Farrell for her work as the Membership Secretary, maintaining the official records of all 300 members. Each of the recipients was given a card, a box of chocolates, and around of applause.

Safety Challenges

In February, Sid Goldstein broke his hip rushing to get his bat for his at-bat in day play and tripping over the edge of the backstop. Sid refused help to get home, or go to the hospital, but insisted on driving home himself although wife was in Tokyo. Once home, he couldn’t get out of the car, the neighbor came to help, Sid ends up in the hospital, then rehab, then home the day his wife arrived home from Tokyo.

Nick Loimo Brings Fame to the Club

A reporter for the San Francisco Examiner learned about Nick still playing at age 92, and lauded his prowess in a feature article in the paper, noting his resemblance to Joe DiMaggio. A well known radio personality, Mike Sugarman of KCBS, read the article, and drove down to interview Nick and several other senior players on the field. He recorded their memories and reasons for still playing softball. This resulted in a feature that presented the melange of memories every hour on the radio the next day.

Morris Hosoda to Hall of Fame

Mo Hosoda is the latest Club Member to be elected to the NCSSA Hall of Fame, honored with a ceremony in 2012. Mo, an octogenarian, was instrumental in building the Vintage Softball Club in San Jose, and is also an active player with the Redwood City Chiefs teams. He is known for his willingness to help in our Club activities, especially the annual Señors Games and the Holiday Party. Congratulations Mo!

Nick Loimo’s 92nd Birthday

Nick’s 92nd birthday party was on April 24. More than 50 people came to a picnic following day play, organized by Ginger Mah. It has become a tradition to celebrate the oldest active player each year on his birthday. Nick had three sons present (all taller, husky, and with large hands), one of whom, Rudy, played in day play and ran for Nick (and pulled his hamstring!). It was great weather and people lingered until almost 2:00, chatting and enjoying the company. Nick received a plaque in the shape of a mitt with his photo from the newspaper in it (thank you Hiroshi Tarumi). As Dennis Kain said, “jelly bean favors, Pepsi to drink, sugary cake with inch high frosting, it doesn’t get any better than this.” Just then, the ice cream truck pulled up!!

Senior Softball In the South Bay

In the early summer, Bob Cushman and Dennis Logie met with representatives from the Rec Department of Cupertino. They had heard about our Club, and wanted to begin a senior softball program in Cupertino, and asked us to help guide them. There is now a home and home series scheduled for November with their fledgling team.

Diary

Wife’s diary:

Tonight, my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. After shopping all day long, a friend dropped me off so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we drive to the bay so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much.

I asked him what was wrong; He said, “Nothing...” I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can't explain his behavior I don't know why he didn't say, 'I love you, too.'

When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep; I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.

Husband's Diary:

One for four! Who the hell goes one for four in senior softball??!!