Nationwide Advertising was a team that Ted Stepien, Dave Neale, Skip Felice, Buddy Langdon, and Dick Koval put together to contend with the big boys in softball. For a number of years all 3 coaches were trying to win a national championship with just the local talent from Cleveland. To be the number one team in Cleveland back then was quite an accomplishment in itself. So we had our battles back then between the teams from Cleveland. The only way we were going to beat the big teams was to put together all of the talent in Cleveland for one year and see what happens.
That is just what we did!
So you take these three gentleman along with Ted Stepien and add the players from the Pro League team the Cleveland Competitors and you will have some tremendous talent. So Dave held try outs for the 1981 season between all of the players from these teams. There are only so many spots on a team so a number of players were kept and a number of them were let go. Some of them had played with their respective managers for a number of years, so I know it was a hard job to put this team together.
Charles Wright SS
Rich Petrunyak OF
Steve Blanchette 1B / P
Dana Andry P
Benny Holt C
Fred Miller 3B
Roger Wilt OF / C
Marty Rolnick OF
Mark Brown OF
Mike Macenko 2B
Chris Varndell 1B / C
Jim Bizzell OF
Rich Amdsen* 1B
Doc Booker OF
Buddy Langdon Coach
Players not pictured: Mike Campo, Rick Citino, Fred Ryan, and coach Frank Gaudio*.
Dave Neale was in charge of the Hillcrest team that had finished 9th and 5th in previous national tournaments. The 9th place finish was in Parma, Ohio at the ASA Men's Open in 1977 and the 5th place finish was in 1978 at Elk Grove, California in the ASA once again.
Skip Felice had managed a number of Teamster 293 teams to respectable finishes 9th in 1969, 8th in 1970, and a 5th place finish in the ASA in Montgomery, Alabama in 1980. One of the great things that Skip had going for him was his ability to give players jobs on the Beer Trucks in Cleveland. Wherer players are compensated with personal service contracts today Skip would help you out with a great job. I know a number of the players that played for Skip still have their jobs today.
Dick Koval was the manager of the famed Non Ferrous Metals Co. that was made up of some serious power hitters from their own era. Mack Chandler, Preston Powell, Ted Manfress, Ed Chavez just to name a few. Non Ferrous had some pretty high finishes in the nationals themselves. They finished 3rd in 1971, 10th in 1972, and 5th in 1973. They were a very strong team in the 70's.
Note: This team was ranked number two in the nation in 1981 all year long.
Only to come up one run short to Howards Furniture in the NSPC Championship...
Here I am receiving the MVP award from the founder of the York Barbell Company, Bob Hoffman at the first NSPC tourney in York, Pa.
1981 NSPC All World Team Standing:L-R Dick Bartel, Stan Harvey, Ben Holt, Rick Scherr, Marty Rolnick. Kneeling: L-R Ed Roth, Mike Cellura, Mike Macenko. Not Pictured Doc Booker. Harold Kelly, Craig Elliott, Mike Nye.
1981was the first year the ASA had made some rule changes to the residency rules. The rule stated that you could live anywhere and play on any team you wanted to. Prior to this rule change you had to show recidency in a certain area and you had to play with a team in that area also. Once this rule was changed they also made some moves in the Men's Open Division. The year before in 1980 there was still only one division as far as the big teams were concerned in the ASA association. . There was 50 teams that participated in the ASA Open in 1980.
In 1980 Craig Elliott took the ASA to court to have a ruling on his residence. He was playing for Jerry's Caterers and had a Miami address to show his place of living. The Alabama ASA State commisionar Pat Adkinson said that Craig was really living in Alabama. When the court battle was done you could play with who ever you wanted to after 1980. You used to have to go to a drawing before the tourney started and have a drawing to see who played who. Dave and I went to the drawing and guess what team we drew for the first game of the ASA. That's right! Jerry's Caterers.
The 1981 ASA saw Howards win the National Championship in Burlington, North Carolina behind the hot hitting of Rick Scherr. Also helping Rick with the hot hitting was Don Arndt (11-18, .611, 17 RBIs), Howard's.
1981 ASA Super
1. Howard's/Western Steer, Denver, NC
2. Steele's Sports, Lima OH MVP
Rick Scherr, (16-19, .842, 8 HRs, 23 RBIs) Howard's HR Champ
Rick Scherr, Howard's 8
Henry McBeth, Steele's 8 Leading Hitter
Rick Scherr, Howards - .842
Here I am completing a double play against Shimer's in the NSPC championship at Daniels Park in Willoughby , Ohio.
The player sliding into second base is Jim Bowen from Shimer's out of Minnesota. Just recently he was inducted into the Minnesota Softball Hall Of Fame. Congrats Jim!
Ted Stepien presenting the championship trophy to the legend himself Richard Howard*. On the right is Robert Brown and on the left is Randy Gorell.
#13 Dana Andry receiving hand shakes from Rich Amsden*, Steve Blanchette,Dick Koval, and Dimag.
#6 Rich Petrunyak with another leadoff home run for the boys from Nationwide.
1981 NSPC Championship
Howard's/Western Steer, Denver, NC
Nationwide Advertising, Cleveland, OH MVP
Dick Bartel, Howard's/Western Steer (9-13, .692, 6 HRs, 15 RBIs) Leading Hitters
Harold Kelley, Jerry's (10-12, .833) and
Ed Roth, Howard's (8-11, .727, 12 RBIs)
The Doctor is in the House
Doc Booker is holding his All-World trophy. In the finals of the 1981 NSPC championship game Doc Booker hit a ball that everyone thought for sure was a game ending home run for us and a national championship. Instead Dick Bartel reached up and robbed Doc of the home run. We lose and Howard's wins the Triple Crown of softball that year.
1981 NSPC National Championship Tournament (Willoughby, OH)
Regular Season NSPC Leaders:
Regular Season Home Run Champion -Mike Macenko, Nationwide Advertising - 46
Regular Season RBI Champion - Mike Macenko, Nationwide Advertising - 94
Regular Season Batting Champion - Bill
Ferguson, Howards/Western Steer (.643)
Regular Season All-NSPC Team
1st Team Selection
P - Dana Andry, Nationwide
C - Jim Bizzell, Nationwide
1B- Steve Blanchette, Nationwide
2B- Mike Macenko, Nationwide
3B- Bill Ferguson, Howards
SS- Charles Wright, Nationwide
OF- Dick Bartel, Howards
OF- Rick Petrunyak, Nationwide
OF- Mike Nye, York/Sanders
OF- Braxton Speller, Snyders/Strohs
Ut- Stan Harvey, Howards
Ut- Rick Scherr, Howards
2nd Team Selection
P - Buddy Slater, Howards
C - Greg Fuhrman, Jerrys
1B- John Geckle, Steeles
2B- Dennis Myers, Shimers
3B- Curtis Williams, York/Sanders
SS- Rick Trudeau, Snyders/Strohs
OF- Ron Ford, York/Sanders
OF- Harold Kelley, Jerrys
OF- John Gendron, Snyders/Strohs
OF- Larry Garrard, Steeles
Ut- Russell Bradley, Howards
Ut- Chuck Drewicz, Snyders/Strohs