Preston Powell

Induction Year : 2012

Sport: Softball

Preston Powell was an athletic superstar at Grambling University in Louisiana and recently was inducted into its Hall of Fame. The Cleveland Browns picked him in the seventh round of the 1961 college draft as a fullback to play behind the great Jim Brown, but Powell became a local legend in quite a different sport — slow pitch softball.

 The Browns released him after one season because Preston suffered a knee injury. He spent the next year with the Dallas Cowboys and a year with the Chicago Bears, but his knee never healed and his football career was over.

 He continued to live in Cleveland where he quickly became hooked on slow pitch softball. While playing in a Sunday morning league he was discovered by Joe Nato, who sponsored and managed a team called Star Motel in the old PD-Major Slow Pitch League at Morgana Park, one of the top softball leagues in the country. Preston couldn’t run but he compensated. He hit the ball out of the park. Soon Preston was the premier slugger in the league and one of the best in the world. Preston moved on to play for Erie Sheet Steel, Non-Ferrous Metal and Ohio Sealants, teams that were perennial contenders for national championships.

 In the 1960s and ’70s both The Plain Dealer and the Cleveland Press picked all-city softball teams and Preston made all-city 10 straight years. He played in 10 world tournaments. His teams won one world championship and others finished third and fourth in the world.

Mike Macenko

Induction Year : 2010

Sport: Softball

He is the greatest home run hitter in the history of slow pitch softball. In 27 years of softball, 25 of them in the country’s highest level, Mike Macenko hit 7,000 home runs. Only one other player in the world ever hit as many as 6,000. In 1987 alone he hit 844 home runs and in 1988 he hit 830, the two greatest seasons by far that any softball player ever enjoyed.

A six-foot, three-inch behemoth who tipped the scales at 285 pounds in his playing days, Macenko grew up in Brook Park where he began playing softball in 1973 at the age of 16 with Tom Coyne’s team in the Brook Park Men’s League.

“In my first game, my first four times up, I hit four home runs. As I rounded third base after the fourth home run, Tom Coyne said, ‘You’ve got to sign this.’ It was a contract,” Macenko recalled.

Two years later Mike was recruited by John Neale, manager of Number One Lounge, one of the powerhouse teams in the PD-Major League.

“Do you want to come to Pittsburgh with us this weekend to play softball?” Neale said to him.

“I’ve got to ask my mother,” said Mike, who was 18 years old.

Mike’s mother gave him the green light and Tom Coyne gave him his release and Mike began a 20-year association with teams managed by John and Dave Neale.

Fourteen of those years were with Steele Sports, a sporting goods firm in Grafton, Ohio, which traveled the country taking on all comers in the ancient tradition of “barnstorming.” They played more than 100 games a year. In 1986 Sports Illustrated featured them in a story headlined “Men of Steele,” which can be found on Macenko’s web site.

He was the most valuable player of five different national tournaments. He was named to 34 different all-world teams and was inducted into five different softball halls of fame. He lives in Brunswick and sells sporting goods on line.

Vincent Marotta

Induction Year : 1980

Sport: Softball

A prominent Cleveland business executive who devoted much of his time to the support of athletic activities in the Greater Cleveland area. Backed numerous youth and adult softball teams and has also been a consistent backer of youth and adult bowling leagues. Served as regional director for the amateur Athletic Union. Also an active member of the Shaker Heights Country Club for many years.

Bud Weiser

Induction Year : 1980

Sport: Softball

Coached and managed many of the city’s finest women’s fast pitch softball and basketball teams during the 1920’s, including the Fleming Furniture Girls’ Team which was the national fast pitch champion from 1922 to 1927 and won the international championship in 1927. Among his players were such area greats as Stella Walsh, Whitey Doljack Primosch, Rose Boczek, Rose Nagy and Ann Smith.
(Deceased)

Bobbie Payne

Induction Year : 1980

Sport: Softball

Pitched in Amateur Softball Association leagues in and around Cleveland from 1941 to 1965, amassing over 600 victories and 50 no-hitters during his career. He played on teams which won 36 league, city and ASA open championships, including the 1957 ASA Open Regional in which he defeated a powerful Detroit team featuring ASA Hall of Famer Bonnie Jones. Payne also garnered victories over such other softball greats as Warren Gerber, Sambo Elliott and Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice during is illustrious career.

(Deceased)

Dorothy Underwood

Induction Year : 1980

Sport: Softball

An All-American fastpitch star of the ‘30’s, she played first base, third base and the outfield and was considered among the best players in the world. Starred for three world championship teams, the Cleveland Bloomer Girls (1935) and National Screw & Manufacturing Co. (1936 and 1937). Later won five Cleveland City championships from 1940 through 1944. Once hit a 300-foot home run at Elks Park in Lakewood.

Mary Skorich

Induction Year : 1978

Sport: Softball

Star pitcher in the 30’s for a number of area teams. Pitched and won the longest softball game ever played up to that time by girls teams. Game went 22 innings and the Cleveland Num Nums defeated the Parichy Bloomer Girls, 4-1. Once won 25 games in a season. Pitched perfect game in the Chicago Girls’ Major League.

Bernice "Jerry Joyce" Toohig

Induction Year : 1978

Sport: Softball

Although standing just over five feet tall and weighing barely more than 100 pounds she was an outstanding pitcher. Between 1932 and 1940 she built a record of 133 victories and 29 losses and pitched 11 no-hit games, including one perfect contest in which no batter reached base. Was a mainstay for the World Championship Bloomer Girls in 1935 and pitched 80 consecutive scoreless innings in 1939.

Steve Loya

Induction Year : 1978

Sport: Softball

Selected to the National All-Star Team four times and to the Cleveland All-City Team nine times. Was named the most Valuable Player in the 1975 National Amateur Softball Association Tournament, setting a team record of 23 consecutive hits. Once had six consecutive home runs. Received the Harwood Player of the Year Trophy at age 37 in 1971 when he hit .758 with 27 home runs.
(Deceased)

Frank "Horse" Boldin

Induction Year : 1978

Sport: Softball

An outstanding pitcher for two decades between 1928 and 1948. Possessed an overpowering fast ball that kept every team he ever pitched for in championship contention. Starred for the 1939 Nickel Plate Grille team which represented Cleveland in the national tournament that year.
(Deceased)