< Ken Sander's Ford

Ken Sanders Ford

Ken Sanders, a highly successful automobile dealer, began sponsoring and managing a top national team in the mid-1970's featuring such stars as Craig Elliott, Charles Wright, Roger Mayo, David Beaird, Paul Wright, James Abercrombie, Sidney Cooper and Greg Smith, among others. In 1977, the team lost a heart-breaking ASA Championship Game Finals when they left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th inning in a one-run game.

Ken continued to field one of the top teams in the country in the NSPC and ASA.  Ken continued to add great players including Curtis Williams, Ronnie Ford and Mike Nye when Detroit Caesars folded and in 1981, merged with York Barbells where he acquired Bill Pollock. In 1982, Ken won the NSPC Championship which gave him his first national title.

He retired from softball after that season and turned his attention to boxing where he was the first manager of one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all-time, Evander Holyfield. Ken's legacy in softball is one of being committed to the sport for many years, fielding great teams, being a fiery competitor and along with Jim Snyder, Bob Nelson and Dave Neale, one of the few people who was successfully able to manage and sponsor a top team.


Mike's Comments:

After the 1979 season I was aproached by Ken Sanders to play on his team... I had had a exceptional ASA tournament. I was also aproached by RT Nelson that year, right in York before the tournament was done playing. RT told me if he had 10 Mike Macenko's I do not believe I would ever lose a game....

. As a matter of fact I went for a ride with RT and his wife while the ASA tournament was still going on. His team was still in the drivers seat of the tourney. My Hillcrest team went 0 and 2... Our Hillcrst team had to play Nelson's in our very first game on Friday night at Diamond #2 which was located right behind the Bob Hoffman Stadium. Games were being played in the stadium and then on two other diamonds behind the stadium...

Need less to say the stadium was packed. York had played the 1974 ASA in York. Howard's win that time.... So the players and the fans had been here before..... We lost the first game to Nelson's like 43-39.... I remember I was hitting the ball very well. I hit 6 home runs in the game as we lost. There was a point in the game where Coach Neale brought his 16 year old son Rocky off of the bench to pitch to Bruce Meade with 2 runners on base... I was at 1st base and thinking is he nuts or what. But this was the way the game was played! With brass balls. Coach Neale had a pair on him for sure. Rocky comes in and gets Bruce to ground out to our shortstop Dennis Puening who throws the ball to Dave Vehonsky our second baseman and then to me.. I really did believe that we got him. But don't you know the home plate umpire makes the call and says he is safe... The place went nuts.....

This is taken from the 1980 NSPC Yearbook.Wrote by Jerome Ernest

Ken Sanders is used to having his team in contention for the number one billing year in and year out. It's been that way the last three years. But for a while it appeared that the1980 edition of the Ken Sanders team would be just another team. It was that way but not now. It was almost time to fire the starting gun for Sanders landed three players he thinks will have his team right back in the fight for the top spot. Sanders found his team missing from the top five when the preseason rankings were released. However those experts are going to have to do some revising. Sanders kept saying all along that "we are going to surprise some people" but realistic he admitted "we are two players short."

Well Sanders has those two players now plus a third one for good measure.. Enter Ronnie Ford and Mike Nye, and Lacy Brumley ...

Ford and Nye are returning to the amateur ranks after starring in the pro-sessional slow pitch league for Detroit Caesars the last three years. Their team won the championship the first two years with Nye the MVP of the playoffs the first year and Ford the MVP of the league the second year. Ford has led the league in home runs and RBIs last two years while Nye nipped him for the batting title in 1978.

Ford who starred along with an Nye on the 1976 Warren Motors team out of Jacksonville Florida that compiled that fabulous 94 - 2 record in route to the ASA crown is considered by most observers the best all-around player in the game. He hits home runs, he hits for average, he runs, he throws, he plays defense.... And he has got a good attitude noted Sanders.

Nye is the base hitter type and is one of the most exciting outfielders in the game. Sanders needed a power hitter power and he's got one in Brumley. The 6'7" 265 pound former all-conference tackle at Clemson ranks right with Harold Kelly and just behind James Boyette before leaving the Dave Carroll Sports team halfway through last season. Sanders already had one of the top power hitters in the country in Roger Mayo and he added Tom Curtis and Jerome Webb from the Georgia state champion B&S Construction out of Rome, Ga.

Other returnees include Curtis Williams, Paul Wright, Sidney Cooper, Elton Reece, and Scott Elliott while other additions included Johnny Dean and Wayne Boyd from B&S and Rick Maze from former Alabama state champions the Bunch Brothers plus newcomer Johnny Norton.





Craig Elliott - Pitcher
Charles Wright - Infield
Sidney Cooper - Outfield
Greg Smith - Utility

Elton Reece - Infield
Ray Fleetwood - Outfield
Curtis Williams - Anywhere
TaTa Beard - Outfield

Roger Mayo - Utility
Buster Seales-Infield, Outfield
Frank Sorrells - Infield
Wayne Scarboro - Utility

James Ambercrombie - Infield
Whitey - Coach
Scott Elliott - Outfield

Ken Sanders Softball Memories

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