The Cage Tavern & Spud's Pizza Pete Slowpitch Teams

 

1966 SPUD'S PIZZA PETE WOMEN'S SLOWPITCH TEAM

Front row l. to r.: Bill Herbert (coach), Sandy Molzan (3B), Dar Peterson (SS), Diane Prosser (Util), Shirley Mazzuca (P), Pat Kearney (P), Della Meyers (P), Unknown, Unknown, and Jan Chase (Coach).

Back row l. to r.: Alice Jacobson (LF), Yvonne Via (C), Shirley Steele (Util), Joyce Wolf (2B), Virginia Gilson (SF), Sandy Turnley (C) and Dar Cartwright (C).              


1970 SPUD'S PIZZA PETE WOMEN'S SLOWPITCH TEAM

Front row l. to r.: Bill Herbert (Coach), Joyce Wolf (2B), Dar Peterson (SS), Alice Jacobson (LF), Kathy Hemion (SF), Yvonne Via (C) and Jan Chase (Coach).

Back row l. to r.: Virginia Gilson (SF)??, Diane Prosser (Util), Sandy Molzan (3B), Pat Kearney (P) and Ardi Schrag (RF). Batboy is Scott Prosser.         

 

          The Cage Tavern was formed in the spring of 1965 when the owners of the tavern, Spud Hansen and Harley Otis, posted a turnout schedule in the tavern. The first practice was held at Franklin field and over 30 players were met by coaches Bill Herbert and Parry McCrae at the initial tryout. The nucleus of players came from a recently disbanded women's fastpitch team.

           During the year, Spud and Harley, the tavern owners, vowed that if the team were to go undefeated and qualify for the nationals, that they would finance the trip even if it meant selling the tavern to do so. Well, The Cage Tavern, which was located at 19th and Jefferson, did just that by finishing the regular season with a perfect 22-0 record.

          In order to attend the ASA national championships in Omaha, Nebraska, lots of bake sales and car washes were held and the club received a generous $350 donation from the Carling Brewing Company. Players took care of their own food and beverages and the sponsors paid for the balance of the transportation and lodging expenses by selling the tavern as they had promised to do.

          The team hired Bill Hesselgrave and his new, single bus charter service called Hesselgrave Charters to get them to Omaha. Seventeen players, two tavern owners, two coaches, and five rabid fans (each of whom paid $50 for the trip) set out for Omaha on a very used bus with no restroom. Lodging was set up for the team at the Castle hotel in downtown Omaha.

          In their first game The Cage was defeated 5-2 by Cleveland Music in the rain. Cleveland Music went on to finish fifth in the tournament. Due to rain delays, The Cage played their second game at 12:20 am against the host team from Omaha and were edged 14-12. The team was honored at the awards ceremony for being the first west cost team to play in a women's national tournament and for traveling the furthest- 1700 miles.

          In 1966 the team was renamed Spud's Pizza Pete and played together for another six years. During that seven-year span from 1965-71 they compiled an unbelievable 381-20 record and won seven consecutive state championships. The players of The Cage Tavern, and later Spud's Pizza Pete, were instrumental in "showing the way" and bringing about widespread interest to the game of slowpitch throughout the state of Washington and in Pierce County, in particular.

 THE CAGE TAVERN - PLAYER BIOGRAPHIES

Shirley Mazzuca - Graduated from St. Leo's School of Tacoma in 1952. Played for The Cage, Spud's Pizza Pete, Clo­verleaf Tavern, Pete Lovely Volkswagen, Art Pearson Construction, M.D. Auto Parts, and Puget Sound Bank.

Bill Herbert - Graduated from Lincoln High School in 1958. Coached The Cage Tavern and Spud's Pizza Pete from 1965-71. Also played slowpitch as well for the Players, Cage Tav­ern, and NW Showman's Club.

Laura Herbert - Graduated from Stadium High School in 1960. Played for The Cage Tavern and Spud's Pizza Pete from 1965-67. Said her greatest play was marrying the coach, which guaranteed her a permanent spot on the bench. Later was el­evated to official scorekeeper

Sandy "Sam" Turnley - Graduated from Stadium High School in 1957. Played for The Cage Tavern, Spud's Pizza Pete, and McKnight's Foods.

Joyce Wolf - Graduated from Stadium High School in 1950. Started playing fastpitch in 1946 under coach Telli Pagni. Played for the Fuelerettes and then moved over to play for Hollywood Boat & Motor under the guidance of Margaret Zepeda, now in the Texas Hall of Fame as a player and coach. After playing with the Cage Tavern and Spud's Pizza Pete, Joyce began coaching the Creekwater Dispensary slowpitch team and became the second team from Tacoma to qualify for the national championships, which they attended in Elk Grove, California in 1974.

Charlene Miller - Graduated from Lincoln High School in 1960 and played for the Cage Tavern and Spanaway Exchange Tavern. Her slowpitch career highlight was pitching in the world tournament in Omaha in 1965.

Parry McRae - Graduated from Stadium High School in 1950 and helped coach the Cage Tavern team in 1965. Was been an avid ski instructor for over 30 years and taught three skiers that earned spots on the National Ski Team.

Jeanine Eshpeter - Graduated from Sumner High School in 1959 and played on the Cage Tavern and Woodies slowpitch team. She was a teacher/counselor for the Department of Defense in Okinawa, Japan.

Nancy Craig - Graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1955 and had a long slowpitch career as a player and a HOF career as the longtime coach of McKnight's Foods.

Spud Hansen - Graduated from llwaco High School and Washington State University. Over the years he sponsored teams that were coached by people who played on teams that he sponsored when they were kids. Generous to a fault, Spud sponsored male and female adult and youth teams in almost every sport conducted by both the Pierce County Parks & Recreation Department and Metro Parks of Tacoma. To quote Spud "My partner, Harley Otis, and I were the sponsors (owners) of the Cage-not coaches. All we did was sell the tavern to the highest bidder, jumped on the leased bus and accompanied the team to the nationals. We did not coach or play-we just paid bills and played around".