Ten Elected To 2014 Class of Ohio USSSA Hall of Fame; Induction Ceremonies Slated For December 7th in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, OH. – Another class of ten distinguished slow pitch softball figures comprises the 2014 class of inductees into the Ohio USSSA Softball Hall of Fame.

Elected by the Ohio USSSA Board of Directors, and being inducted are Steve Dickinson, Perrysburg, OH, Paul “Shorty” Lewis, Columbus, OH, Tony Salamone, Cincinnati, OH, and Tom Taylor in the Male Player category;  Celia Fritz, Columbus, OH, Pam Patrus, Cincinnati, OH, and V.K. Lehman, Cincinnati, OH in the Female Player category; Don Rinker, Springfield, OH in the Special Service category;  Jackie Mone, Mentor, OH in the Executive/Administrative category; and Worthington Industries, represented by Rush Hatfield and Virgil Winlind, in the Sponsor category.

 

Steve Dickinson played with some of the best known elite teams in softball including Gooslin Construction, Hague, and Maroadi Transfer. This highly versatile hitter was named the Outstanding Offensive Player in the 2001 Major World Series and, for a time, held the title as career batting leader at the USSSA Major World Series.

Steve Dickinson played with some of the best known elite teams in softball including Gooslin Construction, Hague, and Maroadi Transfer. This highly versatile hitter was named the Outstanding Offensive Player in the 2001 Major World Series and, for a time, held the title as career batting leader at the USSSA Major World Series.

The ten will be inducted during the 3rd annual Ohio USSSA Hall of Fame ceremonies and banquet planned for Sunday, 7 December, 2014 at Embassy Suites Columbus – Airport, located at 2886 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH.

 

This year’s class brings the Ohio USSSA Hall of Fame to a total of thirty distinguished members in the seven categories for outstanding contributions to USSSA softball in the state of Ohio.

 

Steve Dickinson, Male Player Category – Steve Dickinson stepped away from the game in 2007 after playing for 22 years with some of the best known elite men’s teams in the country.  Storied teams like Lo-Temp, Gooslin Construction, Hague, and Maroadi Transfer all benefitted greatly by utilizing one of the most versatile base hitters Ohio has ever known.  Primarily a 1st baseman and DH, Steve was named the Outstanding Offensive Player in the 2001 Major World Series and for a time held the title as Career Batting Leader at the USSSA Major World Series.  This native of Perrysburg, Ohio was named All-World 13 times on 11 World Tournament Champions and was a proud member of the 1995 Men’s AA Hague team which  accomplished a first when it won the USSSA Major World Series.

 

Paul Shorty” Lewis, from Columbus, played for such notable teams as DuBois Chemical, Central Ohio Welding, Aqua Science, Willis Garage, and the great Steele’s Sports.  He was recently named as a member of the Columbus Hall of Fame All-Century Team and a 2014 Columbus “Legend of the Game.”

Paul Shorty” Lewis, from Columbus, played for such notable teams as DuBois Chemical, Central Ohio Welding, Aqua Science, Willis Garage, and the great Steele’s Sports. He was recently named as a member of the Columbus Hall of Fame All-Century Team and a 2014 Columbus “Legend of the Game.”

Paul Lewis, Male Player Category – Paul “Shorty” Lewis was one of the best known of the elite players in the state of Ohio.  He played with

such notable teams as DeBois Chemical, Central Ohio Welding, Aqua Science, Willis Garage, and the great Steele’s Sports.  He was named to All-State teams here in Ohio six different times and was named All-World six times.  He played the most demanding positions on defense, including shortstop, left field, and pitched, where he recorded an unheard of three no-hitters and two one-hit games.  Shorty Lewis was inducted into the Columbus Softball of Fame in 1997.  He was most recently recognized as one of the Top 25 players on the Columbus Softball Hall of Fame’s All-Century team, and was recently named to the 2014 Ohio USSSA Columbus Legends of the Game.  Never satisfied with merely playing the game, this softball legend from Dublin, Ohio has continued to contribute to the game by umpiring for the last sixteen years.  Totally dedicated to the game, Shorty recalls playing a Saturday morning game, then taking a quick shower before marrying his wife, Bernice, that afternoon.

 

Worthington Industries (Rush Hatfield, Virgil Winland), Sponsor Category – It’s quite

Rush Hatfield of Worthington Industries

Rush Hatfield of Worthington Industries

possible that the most important sponsor for softball history in Central Ohio is Worthington Industries.  Over a span of more than 50 years, some form of Rush Hatfield and Virgil Winland’s Worthington Industries softball has made its mark both on the field and off the field.  On the field starting back in 1960, they were a steady mainstay and dominant force in Industrial/Corporate play, winning more than 85% of all games played.  Off the field, Worthington Industries provided the initial and subsequent funding for the Columbus Softball Wall of Fame which now sits as the centerpiece for the newly renovated and aptly named Gary Ogle Complex in Berliner Park.  Upon the stand-up in 1995 of the Columbus Softball Hall of Fame, Worthington Industries was one of only three unanimous choices to join in that prestigious Hall’s inaugural class.  In 2008, Rush Hatfield and Worthington Industries were named to the inaugural class of USSSA’s Columbus Legends of the Game.  Hatfield resides in Galloway, Ohio, and Winland in Worthington.

 

Jackie Mone has devoted 33 of her 42 years in the game as league director for the highly successful Mentor Girls Softball League.  Her dedicated efforts have produced hundreds of USSSA-sanctioned girls' teams, thousands of USSSA games for girls to play and umpires to work…for multiple generations of players in Northeast Ohio.

Jackie Mone has devoted 33 of her 42 years in the game as league director for the highly successful Mentor Girls Softball League. Her dedicated efforts have produced hundreds of USSSA-sanctioned girls’ teams, thousands of USSSA games for girls to play and umpires to work…for multiple generations of players in Northeast Ohio.

Jackie Mone, Executive Category – Mentor, Ohio’s Jackie Mone is best known for devoting 33 of her 42 years in the game as league director for the highly successful Mentor Girls Softball League.  Through all those years, the opportunities she has helped provide to the community’s young ladies has passed from generation to generation as the mothers she once taught to play are now volunteering to help the league to continue to support both league and tournament opportunities for their own daughters.  The athletic skills she has taught are complemented admirably by the team spirit and sportsmanship skills which accompany every season.  Her dedicated efforts have produced hundreds of USSSA-sanctioned teams, hosted dozens of USSSA-sanctioned tournaments, and providing thousands of games for USSSA-licensed umpires to work in the Mentor area.  She is clearly one of USSSA’s Legends of the Game in Northeast Ohio.

 

Don Rinker, Special Service Category – This softball legend hails from Clark County and has a softball career that spans six decades now.  From player to manager to tournament director to softball innovator, this Don Rinker has been involved in all aspects of the game.  He broke in playing fast pitch back in 1950.  His teams actually played both ways for a time, playing both fast pitch and slow pitch.  He was involved in more than 700 wins as a pitcher for the Sunbeam team which later became the famous Stroh’s team.  This team won multiple County and District

Don Rinker is an Ohio USSSA Softball Legend with a career spanning six decades playing fast pitch, slow pitch, and senior softball.  His involvement with the nation’s oldest USSSA NIT, The Stroh’s Tournament, included broadcasting the finals from Springfield’s Memorial Stadium on ABC’s Wide World of Sports with Leo Durocher and Jim McKay.

Don Rinker is an Ohio USSSA Softball Legend with a career spanning six decades playing fast pitch, slow pitch, and senior softball. His involvement with the nation’s oldest USSSA NIT, The Stroh’s Tournament, included broadcasting the finals from Springfield’s Memorial Stadium on ABC’s Wide World of Sports with Leo Durocher and Jim McKay.

Championships, and won 5 state titles.  Don Rinker has a long and storied connection to the country’s first NIT, the famous Stroh’s Tournament. In fact, his involvement pre-dates the tournament even being called The Stroh’s to back when it first started in 1960 as the Hudepohl Beer Tournament. After volunteering to help with this important event, he got permission to host the event in Springfield’s Memorial Stadium (a baseball stadium), and also was instrumental in having ABC Sports’ Wide World of Sports broadcast the final game in 1965.  Broadcasters included Leo Durocher and Jim McKay. Working in the sporting goods industry this softball innovator is said to have made the first-ever order for white baseball spikes, worn by the entire team, and for which the custom-made price was $12.95 a pair.  The Stroh’s team was also well known for its softball bus, a fixture at many events around the Great Lakes and from which they apparently bootlegged enough beer to cover the cost of gas!  Don has continued to play in 60&Over, 70&Over, and now 80&Over program.

 

V.K Lehmann, Female Player Category – V.K. Lehmann, a veteran outfielder who helped Empress Chili win three straight Women’s World Championships, including the first Women’s World Series, was inducted into the USSSA National Hall of Fame in the Female Player Category in 1992. A

V.K. Lehman, from Northern Kentucky, was named Female Player of the Year in 1988, named DeBeer Sportswomen of the Year in 1990, and was a member of the historic USSSA Women’s team which toured the Soviet Union.  Pam was named to to the USSSA National Hall of Fame in 1992.

V.K. Lehman, from Northern Kentucky, was named Female Player of the Year in 1988, named DeBeer Sportswomen of the Year in 1990, and was a member of the historic USSSA Women’s team which toured the Soviet Union. Pam was named to to the USSSA National Hall of Fame in 1992.

leadoff batter with a .550 career batting average, Lehman was only 18-years old when she joined her first Major team, Riverside Ford, in 1972.  She later played for Sweeney Chevrolet in 1973, LaRosa’s in 1974-’75, Kolsar Insurance in 1976, Sorrento’s from 1977-’80, Tri-State Auction in 1981, and Famous Recipe from 1982-’85 before finishing her Career with Empress Chili.  The southpaw from Kentucky was named to the All-World Team four times, including 1972, 1982, 1986 and 1987. She was named Player of the Year in Cincinnati in back-to-back seasons (1977 and 1988) when she compiled a .543 and .589 season batting average, respectively.  She was also named All-State in 1986 and ’87. Lehmann played a key role in Empress Chili winning six NIT’s during the 1990 season and was a member of the USSSA All-Stars who made the historic softball tour of the Soviet Union. She has been named to numerous All-Tournament teams, including the 1984 Miller NIT, when she batted .850 for the weekend. Lehmann was selected the 1990 DeBeer Sportswoman of the Year.  In 2000, Lehmann was named to the Greater Cincinnati All-Century first team as an outfielder.

 

Celia Fritz, from Columbus, was a vital member of eight National or World title women’s teams including Empress Chili, Stewart-Glapat, and Ty-1-On. Known for her power hitting over a 40-year softball career, Celia has “gone yard” at Expressway, Berliner, Northside K of C, and Disney’s Wide World Sports.  She was inducted into the Columbus Softball Hall of Fame in 2005 and named to the inaugural class of USSSA Columbus Softball “Legends” in 2008.

Celia Fritz, from Columbus, was a vital member of eight National or World title women’s teams including Empress Chili, Stewart-Glapat, and Ty-1-On. Known for her power hitting over a 40-year softball career, Celia has “gone yard” at Expressway, Berliner, Northside K of C, and Disney’s Wide World Sports. She was inducted into the Columbus Softball Hall of Fame in 2005 and named to the inaugural class of USSSA Columbus Softball “Legends” in 2008.

Celia Fritz, Female Player Category – Columbus, Ohio’sCelia Fritz started playing the game at the age of 12 and has been playing ever since…a career spanning more than 40 years now. A vital member of eight National or World Tournament teams, including Empress Chili, Stewart-Glapat, and Ty-1-On, Celia was known for her all-around skills playing multiple defensive positions and excelled at clutch hitting to fit any situation.  However, she is likely best know for her over-the-300 ft-fence homeruns in championship play at Expressway, Berliner, Northside K of C, Disney’s Wide World of Sports, and a Little Miami River shot at now Mid-American Ballyard.  When not playing, Celia contributes to the game by being one of Central Ohio’s most professional umpires and continues to help younger female athletes learn to play and enjoy the game which has meant so much to her.  Celia was inducted into the Columbus Softball Hall of Fame in 2005 and in 2008 was an inaugural member of the USSSA Columbus “Legends of the Game.”

 

Pam Patrus, Female Player Category – Pam Patrus, a consistent hitter with a .535 batting average, and known to be tough in the clutch has been inducted into the United States Slo-Pitch Softball Association Hall of Fame in the Female Player Category in 1995. After playing youth and college softball, Pam, from Cincinnati, Ohio, enjoyed a 13-year USSSA softball career playing with Sorrento’s Pizza, Famous Recipe, and three time World Series Champion, Empress Chili.  During eleven years with Famous Recipe and Empress Chili, she helped lead those teams to an incredible twenty-five National Invitational Tournament titles, and competed in ten consecutive USSSA World Tournaments.  From 1981 through

Pam Patrus, from Cincinnati, holds a USSSA World Tournament pitching record of 42 wins and only14 losses for such notable teams as Sorrento Pizza, Famous Recipe, and three-time World Champions, Empress Chili.  Pam is a four-time All-World performer and was named Cincinnati’s Female Player of the Year in 1989.

Pam Patrus, from Cincinnati, holds a USSSA World Tournament pitching record of 42 wins and only14 losses for such notable teams as Sorrento Pizza, Famous Recipe, and three-time World Champions, Empress Chili. Pam is a four-time All-World performer and was named Cincinnati’s Female Player of the Year in 1989.

1989, then never finished below 5th, and from 1986 through 1990 they reached the championship game every year.  Although she has played every infield position, she is best known for her performance at third base and as pitcher. She has pitch 3 one hit games, and her world tournament won/lose record stands at 42 wins and only 14 losses. In 1998, while a member of Empress, she successfully switched positions from third base to pitcher, when the team lost its previous pitcher to injury. That year Empress Chili won the first Women’s World Series and Patrus was named series MVP. The four-time All-World performer was named MVP in 12 NITs, was selected to forty-six All-Tournament teams, including four All-State teams, was a ten-time All-City selection, and was named to ten Cincinnati’s Female “Player of the Year” in 1989.  In 2000, Pam was named to the Greater Cincinnati All-Century first team as a utility player.

 

Tony Salamone, Male Player Category – Tony Salamone played 2nd base for the top amateur teams in Greater Cincinnati for three decades, including ASA Metro champions like Savannah Café,

Tony Salamone, of Cincinnati, distinguished himself as one of the premier 2nd basemen in Cincinnati softball history, was named Greater Cincinnati Player of the year in 1991, earned All-Pro honors on the Cincinnati Suds professional softball team, and was named to the Greater Cincinnati All-Century team in 2000.

Tony Salamone, of Cincinnati, distinguished himself as one of the premier 2nd basemen in Cincinnati softball history, was named Greater Cincinnati Player of the year in 1991, earned All-Pro honors on the Cincinnati Suds professional softball team, and was named to the Greater Cincinnati All-Century team in 2000.

Greater Cincinnati Sports, Sorrento’s Pizza, VIP/ETC, and McCluskey Chevrolet.  A perennial All-City selection, Salamone has been named to numerous USSSA All-State and All-Division teams, was a USSSA All-World pick twice, and was Greater Cincinnati “Player of the Year” in 1991.  He also earned All-Pro honors with the Cincinnati Suds professional softball team, was named first team All-Decade for the eighties, and to the Greater Cincinnati All-Century team in 2000.  Salamone’s teams have captured eight ASA Metro titles, a USSSA Division Championship, and a USSSA A World crown in 1989.  The Cincinnati resident has participated in four USSSA Men’s Major World Series.

 

Tom Taylor, Male Player Category – Tom Taylor of Milford, Ohio, was the first great power hitter in the history of Greater Cincinnati softball, with approximately 1,800 home runs in his 29-year amateur and professional career.  He played with such legendary amateur teams as Gatliff Auto Sales and Century Tire, plus the Cincinnati Suds professional franchise.  Taylor was a six-time tournament MVP, including the 1968 Springfield Stroh’s, despite his team’s runner-up finish, has captured twenty home run titles – including the first two USSSA World Championships in

From the heyday of Cincinnati and State of Ohio slow pitch, one of the most respected and best known power hitters of the game was Tom Taylor.  His teams played in ASA and/or USSSA World Tournaments every year from 1967 to 1976 and Tom was named Greater Cincinnati Player of the Decade for the 1980’s and a first-team member of the All-Century team.

From the heyday of Cincinnati and State of Ohio slow pitch, one of the most respected and best known power hitters of the game was Tom Taylor. His teams played in ASA and/or USSSA World Tournaments every year from 1967 to 1976 and Tom was named Greater Cincinnati Player of the Decade for the 1980’s and a first-team member of the All-Century team.

1968 and ’69, and the 1972 Springfield Stroh’s – and was named to twenty-five all-tournament teams.  He played in either the ASA or USSSA World Tournament every year from 1967 to 1976, was a member of two city champions, and was first team All-World in USSSA in 1968.  A lifetime .575 hitter, Taylor’s primary position was right field, and he was known for his powerful and deadly throwing arm.  Taylor was named the Greater Cincinnati Player of the Decade and to the All-Decade first team in 1980, and to Greater Cincinnati All-Century first team in 2000.  He is a member of six Halls of Fame, including four in slow pitch softball, and has been named to two national teams of honor on Steve Dimitry’s Softball History website, including the Team of the Decade for the sixties.

 

This year’s Ohio USSSA Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and banquet affords an opportunity for softballers from around the State of Ohio to gather, enjoy the rich history of Ohio USSSA softball, and celebrate the worthy of inductees in the class of 2014.

 

The banquet will feature a 1 PM cocktail hour, 2 PM dinner, then induction ceremonies from 2-5 PM.  For ticket information, call Scott Kuhnen at 937-546-0102, Jerry Pinoni at 614-560-0625, or Mark Linnemann at 859-991-3860.

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