2003 Dill Howell Award
Joe Stortini - A look at the previous Dill Howell Award Winners, starting with John Heinrick in 1987, speaks volumes about the meaning of this honor. Howell contributed to sports in our community in a variety of ways but his passion for the game of baseball was most evident. He and Heinrick started the Old Timer's organization to preserve the memory of the sport locally.
Howell and Heinrick both would be pleased with the 2003 recipient, Joe Stortini. He played for Heinrick at the College of Puget Sound when Howell was one of its most ardent fans.
Stortini still takes to the diamond at age 70 and his skills have remained among the highest in the nation. In 1998 and 2000 he played on a Senior Softball World Championship team (65 and over), and he was MVP at the World Games in 2000. Last year at the World Games his team won the Gold Medal as the 70-and-over champions.
Coaching also remained in his blood until this year when he retired after coaching the Curtis high school baseball Vikings from 2000 to 2002.
Joe was an all-league selection as shortstop at Lincoln high school and later an all-Evergreen Conference shortstop at the College of Puget Sound. He consistently hit more than .300 in baseball where he also played in the City and Valley leagues for the Stanley's Shoeman, Cheney Studs, Woodworth Contractors, Western State Hospital, and Portland Avenue.
A two-sport prep and college star (he was all-league in football as well), Stortini also played both football and baseball in the U.S. Navy. He still holds a school record in football at Puget Sound where he once intercepted five passes in a single game, and he is a member of the UPS Athletic Hall of Fame.
As a teacher in Tacoma Public Schools from 1955 to 1975 he also coached in high school, first at Wilson and then at Mount Tahoma. His 1974 Mount Tahoma football team won the state championship. He also coached football at UPS where he was the offensive coordinator in '75 and '76.
While teaching, he also played on numerous slow pitch teams and coached many youth
recreation teams. In public life he was a State Senator and Pierce County Executive, serving in public office from 1968 to 1992.
Joe's one Old Timer who keeps right on playing, and his continuing devotion to the game itself has earned him this deserved honor.