PLES IRWIN

Irwin-Jones Dodgers Fastpitch Team - 2nd Place 1952 Bridgeport, CT - ASA Fastpitch National Championships

 

Front row l. to r.: Dick Milford, Vern Martineau(?), Bob Gunderson, Ples Irwin, Wally Brebner, Bill Bridges, and Doug Adam.

Back row l. to r.: Unknown, Lloyd Blanusa, Doug Stromberg, Alex Watt, Bob Frankowsky, Joey Johns, and Jack Hersen.

 

Ples Irwin—they were named the Irwin-Jones Dodgers and they were Tacoma’s fast pitch pride and joy in the late 40s and early 50s. Ples Irwin was the man who made them a reality. They captured almost everything in sight as a regional softball power and many of the best fast pitch players ever to participate locally were members of his teams. Ples came to Tacoma in 1937 after an interesting career in the grocery business in Seattle and then a change to the automobile world. After winning an outstanding salesman award with the Willys-Overland company in 1924, he decided to open his own business, the Westlake Durant-Star company. In 1930 he took on a partner, Mel Jones, and they began selling Cord automobiles with much success. Because of it they were awarded a dealership on Van Ness street in San Francisco and Ples began to sell as many luxurious Cords as the factory could deliver. The depression years of the 30s caught-up with the market, however, and the company went bankrupt. Back to Washington they came and set-up shop as the Irwin-Jones Motor Company on Broadway in downtown Tacoma. They sold Plymouths and Dodges and Ples became very involved with sports in Tacoma. He became President of the Tacoma Athletic Commission and was very involved in presenting the annual Tacoma Golden Gloves. His son Lee became a sportswriter with the Tacoma News Tribune and played on softball teams, notably the Wes Hudson Athletic Club. Ples Irwin was one of Tacoma’s best sponsors in the 1950s and his teams not only represented Irwin-Jones, they traveled extensively to tournaments representing Tacoma.