< Nelson's Painting Service


Nelson's Painting Service

R.T. Nelson built a highly successful company, Nelson's Painting Services, in Oklahoma City, where the Company fulfilled government painting contracts. His son, Mike, encouraged him to get involved in men's slo-pitch softball and in 1974, he sponsored a successful team that won over 80 games. The next year, he began recruiting players from around the country who often worked for his company, including Mike Nye from Northern Florida. Nelson's had another successful season at 98-13, this time expanding their schedule to various national tournaments but they failed to make it to the ASA Nationals.

Mr. Nelson resumed his quest for a championship in 1977 when he brought Bruce Meade, Herman Rathman, Al White, Joe Young, Henry Koper and Bill Howes to join his son, Terry Perryman, Dean Brunken, Homer Salazar and other Oklahoma based stars. Mike Nye was also a member of that team early on but he left in the middle of May to join Detroit Caesars of the Pro League who he eventually helped lead to 2 championships.

The 1977 team finished at 111-18 and won the ASA Championship, coming out of the losers' bracket to defeat Ken Sanders twice in 2 one-run games that came down to the final at-bat. Meade, Rathman, White and Koper made the All-World Team with Meade named as co-MVP with Craig Elliott. Young also played a huge role in that title.

The 1978 team, still featuring Meade, Rathman and Perryman, got to the ASA Nationals where they lost to Howard's. In 1979, Nelson's once again conducted a national recruiting effort, landing Richard Willborn, Bill Ferguson, Buddy Slater and Mickey McCarty from CC Brick in San Antonio to go along with Myles Schexnadre, Danny Basso, Chic Downing and the return of Joe Young. This nucleus enabled Nelson's to capture the NSPC and USSSA Championships. Because of ASA residency rules, many of the Nelson's players were unable to play in the ASA Nationals . However, Nelson's fielded a team, Nelco, led by Meade, Young, Perryman, Earl Chambers, Dean Brunken and Ed Berg went undefeated, beating favorite Campbell's Carpets in the championship game. 

Nelson's became the first of three consecutive Triple Crown winners. Unfortunately, after accomplishing this great achievement, Bob Nelson disbanded his team and retired from softball

Nelson's Painting Service was your ultimate softball team. RT Nelson created this team when he decided he wanted to have the best team in the country. He wanted to win a National Champonship for his son Michael! He was a very confident person. You could tell by the way he carried himself.

Published: Mon, August 2, 1982 12:00 AM

Three years ago R.T. Nelson's teams won the so-called "Triple Crown" of big-time slow-pitch softball. But that is only a memory for the Oklahoma City painting contractor. He hasn't seen a softball game in nearly two years and has no desire to get back into the free-spending world of "amateur" softball. Nelson, 65, sponsored teams in the Amateur Softball Association's Major division from 1974 through 1980. He won the ASA Men's Major championship with his Nelson's Painting Service team in 1977. He finished fourth in 1978 and then won everything in 1979 the ASA Major, the National Slow-Pitch Conference and the United States Slow-Pitch Softball Association.

At the height of Nelson's softball activity in 1977 he had three of his teams in ASA national tournaments his powerful men'steam, the Nelco team in the Class A division and the Nelson's Saints women's team. Nelson won't say how much he spent on softball from, but it's believed to be about $750,000. And that was a tax writeoff. "In 1978 we played in 18 tournaments outside of Oklahoma," Nelson said. "By getting two-for-one plane tickets and cutting corners I could go to a tournament for $4,000. That's $72,000 to play in 18 tournaments. Now I wouldn't give 72 cents. I wouldn't buy a softball." Nelson got into softball as a pastime and got out when some of the other big spending sponsors tried to put in rules to curtail his success.

"In 1973 my business was going pretty good and I had been reading a lot about softball. I didn't have a hobby and I decided tosponsor a team. Henry Koper (a former Oklahoma City University basketball player and one of the city's top slow- pitch softballers) told me about a team he played on. "I told him I would sponsor his team in '74 and that's how I got started. In '74 we went to the nationals and won two games. I decided then it would cost the same to take a really good team to the nationals, so I kept five players off that team and brought in five super players.

"In '75 we didn't get out of the regionals. Everybody tried to hit home runs and we got beat 2-1 in the regionals over in Arkansas. I got so mad at that bunch I didn't even have a team in '76. I spent all that year putting together a team for '77." He imported long-ball hitters like Bruce Meade, Herman Rathman, Joe Young and Al White and they won the ASA in '77. Meade and Rathman played for Nelson in '78, too.

Then he decided to change his approach. "I found out players didn't have to live in the area where they played under NSPC and USSSA rules." So he put together a weekend fly-in team with players from Florida, Texas and Louisiana. Campbell Strange, sponsor of the now defunct Campbell's Carpet team in California, called Nelson's club the "U.S. All-Stars". After the 1979 season Strange and another powerful sponsor, Richard Howard of Denver, N.C., proposed the NSPC limit "recruiting." The rule would have allowed only three players on a team from outside 300 miles of a sponsor's business. That would have forced Nelson to bring in players for the summer, so he quit. I figured if those guys were such poor losers that I didn't want to have anything to do with them,"

Nelson said. "I worried about the decision to quit for about a week, then it was all over. I am not bitter. I got what I wanted out of softball. I got in it to win everything. I had a team for five years and won four championships. It's like eating a big meal. After awhile you don't want any more. You spend all that money, do all that traveling and get a $10 trophy." A year later Campbell's won the "Triple Crown" then followed Nelson's lead and got out of the softball business, apparently tired of spending so much money traveling. Nelson employed some of the players in his warehouse. "Most of them weren't very good workers," he said. "My other employees didn't say anything, but I know they resented these guys in here sweeping and visiting in a business built on sweat and blood.

I don't know that there is any money for softball players. It's mostly good treatment. We'd fly everywhere and stay in good hotels." Nelson's son Mike kept the Nelco team, that had won the 1979 ASA title, together as a local club in 1980 and played in the national tournament as defending champion. They were 1-2 in the nationals and disbanded early in the 1981 season. the Saints women's team was dropped after the 1980 season.Nelson saw one day of the 1980 USSSA tournament in Concord, Calif., but that's the only action he's seen since 1979. There are still 15 or 20 softball trophies in the company office, but he donated around 200 to the City Softball Association. "I told Mike he could take the two (ASA) championship pennants home anytime he wanted to," Nelson said. "Softball is all in the past for me now. I had fun and we won a lot of games, but it all just got to be too much." BIOG: NAME

As I said before, you have to have an ego in just about every sport to make you want to have the best in that sport. Now a 1977 they also said that the last two games of that tournament, and that is when RT's Nelsons Paints defeated Ken Sanders Ford not once, but twice in a row to double dip them for the championship. Ken Sanders went undefeated and beat Nelsons in the winners bracket to put them in the losers bracket only had to win one game against the Painters for all the marbles. But if you play sports you know it's not over till the fat lady sings.

Terry Perryman's quote:
So we set the scenario for you. Known fact. In the first meeting against Ken Sanders Ford someone told R.T. Ken liked to bet a little bit. So Ken sent somebody over to see how much money they wanted to bet on a game. RT asked his wife how much cash she had. She came in with the amount of $20,000. Then Ken said sounds good to me. So now when they get back to the championship games RT says one about 20,000 again? Ken Sanders said why not. So now the stage is set for the first championship game. Nelson's was the visitors and Ken Sanders was the home team. The game came down to the seventh-inning, Nelsons was clinging to a one run lead 23 - 22. They had the top of the order up and there is somebody on first base.

The first two batters made outs, with runner on first. Terry Perryman is playing second base and Al white is doing the pitching. Terry calls timeout and walks to the mound. On deck was James Abercrombie who had hit a ball as far as Bruce Meade in this tournament over 400 feet, and in the hole was none other than Craig Elliott. now comes RT Nelson to the mound and he says what is going on fellas? Terry looks at Al and Terry says let's walk both of them and load the bases..

So that's what they did, as they put Abercrombie on, and then they walked Elliott. The bases were loaded and Nelsons had a one run lead with Roger Mayo, another clutch long home run hitting ballplayer comes to the plate.. On the second pitch he lines to the left centerfielder for the third out. Ball game. So now we have one more ball game left the play. To see who's going to be the 1977 ASA Open champs.

They take that 15 minute break in between games and start up again with Nelsons being the visitors and Ken Sanders Ford being the home team again. So now the gambling situation was even Stevens 20,000 back and now are back 00...

I will let you think about the last game. If you want you can email me and I will tell you the outcome.

From the pitching to it's outfield you had nothing but talent and contenders. Players like Herman Rathman, Bruce Meade, Mighty Joe Youing held down the power side of things. Players like Terry Perryman, Earl Chambers, Buddy Slater took care of things on the defensive end.



Bruce Meade - Outfield
Herman Rathmanl - Catch, 1B
Mighty Joe Young - Outfield
Chic Downing - Outfield

Terry Perryman - Infield
Charlei Mitchell - Infield
Buddy Sleter - Pitcher
Harold Kelley - Outfield

Richard Wilborn - Outfield
James Abercrombie - Catch
Donnie Woods - Infield, Outfield
Danny Basso - Shortstop

Myles Shexsnyder - Outfield
Mickey McCarty - Infield
Bill Feguson - Infield
Chic Downing - Outfield

Dean Brunken - Catcher-1B
Earl Chambers - Infield
Mike Parrottt- Pitcher
Donut Favors - Coach


Nelson's Painting Service Softball Memories

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