1964 TUCCI & SONS MEN'S SLOWPITCH TEAM

 

          In 1964, Tucci and Sons became the first Tacoma team to compete in a national slowpitch softball tournament. Players from successful Tacoma-area baseball and fastpitch teams, many of whom had finished as national amateur champions or runners-up, formed the nucleus of the Tucci and Sons squad. From 1961 through 1964, Tucci and Sons won the Northwest Regional Slowpitch Championship tournament, the first team to accomplish the feat. Their success at regionals mirrored a Pierce County slowpitch dominance that lasted for many years.

Front row l. to r.: Dick Webster, Joe Stortini, Ken Young, RonStoraasli, Bill Funk, and Doug McArthur.
Back row l. to r.: Gordon Pfeifer, Jim Gallwas, Dale Bloom, Marty Erdahl, and Jack Johnson.

           

          Marty Erdahl managed the club to a 36-2 record, including an extra-inning 5-4 win over another local team, Pine Tavern, for the regional title. Gordy Pfeifer, one of the standouts on that team and later on a national handball champion, hit the game-winning home run at Peck Field. The team competed that entire season with a 14-inch ball, but had to change its style of play because a 12-inch ball was used at the national tournament, held in Springfield, Ohio.

           

          Tucci won the opener, beating Rhode Island 10-0, on a rare three-hit shutout by pitcher Doug McArthur. Pfeifer had two homers, a triple and a doubles in the game, but Tucci and Sons lost the next two games and was eliminated.

           

          Many of the players on the 1964 Tucci and Sons squad had played for the Stanley Shoemen, the Tacoma team that won the national amateur baseball title in 1956. Among that group were Dale Bloom, Jack Johnson, Jim Gallwas, Ron Storaasli and McArthur. Former professional players Bill Funk and Al Maul were also outstanding players on several Tucci and Sons teams. Other members of the 1964 team were Dick Webster, Joe Stortini and Ken Young.

           

          Dale Bloom, a Lincoln high grad, helped lead the Shoemen to their national title in 1956 as the winning pitcher in the state, regional, and national championship games and two years later joined the Woodworth Contractors as they finished second at the national championships under coach Marv Scott. Bloom pitched in the Detroit Tigers organization for several years, played for the Tri-City Braves of the Western International League from 1953-54 and after three season with the Cheney Studs retired after pitching and managing Criswell's to the city league crown in 1960. He also refereed high school and college basketball for over 25 years.

           

          Erdahl, the manager, was Director of Utilities for Pierce County and officiated local high school and college football and basketball games for 28. He also served a 14-year stint as a Pac-10 football official.

           

          Bill Funk, a 1944 grad of Stadium high, attend CPS and played in the St. Louis Browns minor-league organization before pitching for the Tacoma Tigers of the Western International League and for the Woodworth Contractors from 1957-58. Funik toured the Far East with the Major/Minor Leauge All-Stars in 1946 and while on injured reserved, was the Brown's batting practice pitcher.

           

          Jim Gallwas graduated from Bellarmine in 1950 and played baseball for the Lions as well as at Seattle University. A standout for the Shoemen and the Woodworth Contractors, he pitched a no-hitter against Ft. Lewis during his career. Gallwas signed a minor-league contract with the St. Lous Browns.

           

          Jack Johnson was a three-sport star in baseball, basketball, and football at Pacific Lutheran College and signed a contract with the Seattle Rainiers. A catcher for the Shoemen, he hit .512 for the club in the regional tournament in South Dakota. The first Naitonal Football League officials to come out of Tacoma, Johnson worked many AFC and NFC championship games as a linejudge during his career from 1976-91. He also served as athletic director at Green River Community College from 1968-85.

           

          Maul, who hailed from Bremerton, had an outstadning minor league baseball career including a stint with the Bremerton Bluejackets of the Western International League from 1947-48.  A first baseman by trade, he also hit .344 with 20 homers and 130 runs batted in during a season in Albuquerque. The "Mauler" was known for his ability to hit the long ball.

           

          McArthur has had a huge impact on Pierce County athletics. The Tacoma native and graduate of Lincoln High School and the College of Puget Sound, McArthur started his baseball coaching career in the amateur Sunset and Valley leagues with three league titles to his credit but the highlight was guiding the Shoemen to the 1956 national amateur championship. He also served as athletic director at the University of Puget Sound from 1969-78, highlighted by the Loggers' 1976 NCAA division II national basketball title. A member of the UPS Hall of Fame, Doug led the successful Tacoma Dome bond issue campaign in 1980.

 

          Pfeifer, long-time athletic facilities coordinator at University of Puget Sound, was arguably the region's best slowpitch player between 1963-71. In 1968, he led Heidelberg to a fifth-place finish at the world championship tournament in Long Island, N.Y. He hit .833 and became the only player from the West Coast selected to the All-World Team.

           

          Ron Storaasli was an all-city league basketball played at Lincoln high where he graduated from in 1952. He attend PLC before finishing up at Western Washington College while playing baseball. Another member of the 1956 Shoeman club, Storaasli was the leading hitter on the national title team and was also  MVP of the state tournament. Storaasli was baseball coaching at Lakes High School for 10 years where he won seven league titles and he was also a highly regarded high school and college basketball official.

           

          An all-league selection as shortstop at Lincoln high and later an All-Evergreen Conference shortstop at the College of Puget Sound, Joe Stortini  consistenty hit over .300 while playing in the City and Valley Leagues for Stanley's Shoemen, the Cheney Studs, the Woodworth Contractors, Western State Hospital, and Portland Avenue. A member of the UPS Athletic Hall of Fame, Joe enjoyed a successful football coaching career where his Mt. Tahoma T-Bird team won the 1974 state championship. Joe played on the 1998 and 2000 Senior Softball 65 and Over World Championship teams and in 2002 his team won a gold medal a the World Games as the 70 and over champions.

           

          A three-year varsity player in football and basketball at Lincoln high where he graduated from in 1948, Dick Webster played shortstop and second base for the 38th St. team in the City League, the Irwin-Jones Dodgers fastpitch team from 1950-53, Wood Realty and Criswell's. "Webby" was also an outstanding baseball, basketball, and football official.