A star at third base for women’s class A fast-pitch softball teams from 1923 to 1941. During that time she led such teams as the 1935 World Champion Fleming Furniture, Blepp Coombs and Weaver Walls. After Pearl Harbor she served in the Women’s Army Corps.
From 1922 through 1927 she pitched for Fleming Furniture (national champions) and Blepp Coombs. A blazing southpaw pitcher, her skills enabled her to beat men’s teams, striking out 18 in one 9-inning game, when women’s opposition wasn’t available.
Known as “Mr. Class A” in the glory days of fast-pitch softball he hit .342 in 1922, his first year. His batting exploits were accomplished against the best pitching, including the legendary Bill Miller, who purposely walked only one batter in his career: Philip Comella. His personally backed team, “Comella Sports,” won several class-A titles.
There are legends in sports and there are LEGENDS. Buddy Langdon merits all-capitals treatment when listing those who stand tallest in Greater Cleveland’s well-respected men’s softball lore. Born John Langdon in Cleveland’s Collinwood area, he moved to bat-and-ball conscious Euclid at the age of six By the time he graduated from Euclid High, he had developed the interest in slo-pitch softball which was to become integral part of his life. From 1953 to 1975 he starred in the sport, being named the Greater Cleveland All-City left-fielder four times on the All-Time All-City teams of both the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Cleveland Press. Starring for memorable teams fielded by Sheffield Bronz. Swing Inn, Pyramid Café and Lach’s Bar, he played in seven World Tournaments between 1960 and 1969 in the men’s open division. Went on to coach in six others and was a member of Pyramid café’s 1975 World Championship team. He also managed and coached Cleveland’s first professional softball team “the Cleveland Jaybirds” to a division title in 1977. Off the field, his continuing devotion to the promotion of the game led to his founding in 1985 of the Greater Cleveland Slo-Pitch Softball Hall of Fame and Museum, which he still serves as its coordinator. He, himself, was voted into the hall in 1988. he continues to make his home in Euclid.
One of the finest all-around female athletes ever to come out of Cleveland, Sue Koziol starred in basketball at Lincoln-West High and later at Cleveland State where she established a peach basket full of records and also managed to work in a school record javelin toss in track. When she elected to test the arm that enabled her at age 14 to set a Junior Olympics Softball Throw record of 232 feet in flag football, she quarterbacked her Hennie Homes team to seven national titles, winning seven Offensive MVP awards along the way. But it was as a softball shortstop that she rose to the heights of the extraordinary. Already a recognized star in the sport when she began playing for Cleveland State, she led the Vikings to the OAISW Regional Championships and a spot in the national tournament, earning first team All-American honors in 1982 while also garnering the first of her four awards as the team’s Most Outstanding Player. After her graduation in 1986 through 2001 she would win a total of 13 Women’s Class “A” All-World All-American awards while competing in the U.S. Slow Pitch Softball Association and ASA, and playing on six USSA national championship teams. She was selected the MVP of the USSA World Series in 1987, 1989 and 1992 and the MVP of the National Triple Crown Championship Tournament in 1992. Capping her career, she was chosen in 1993 for the USSSA’s All-Time All-World Team, one of just 12 players to be so honored. She is currently living in Cleveland and teaching and coaching at Lincoln West.
Even in the 1940s when 6′ 5″ high school basketball players were considered giants, Marlo Termini was still classified as a “mighty mite.” Thus it was understandable why the 5′ 2″ Holy Name High School junior guard captured the imagination of Cleveland sports fans when he led his team to its first-ever city cage championship with a 39-32 victory over Collinwood at Public Hall in 1944. The tiny co-captain was both the team’s brainy floor general and scoring leader at 11.4 ppg. and was named to the All-Senate team. He seemed to be on track for a spectacular senior season, but there was a war on, and he spent the 1945 season in the army instead. After his release, he enrolled at the University of Dayton and became an immensely popular player in the Flyers’ strong cage program before he left to join a Detroit semi-pro team. Later he turned his considerable talents to fast-pitch softball, at a time when Cleveland was a hotbed of the sport. He starred for several championship clubs and, as a center fielder and speedy lead-off hitter, earned a reputation as one of the best ever to play the game here. In a 14-year career he never played on a losing club and was a key player on the 1957 General Teamsters team that became the first squad to represent the city in the national championships in 30 years.
A prominent supporter of amateur athletics in Cleveland, he was president of Favorite Knits Sporting Goods, a company which sponsored numerous teams in various sports. Organized the first Jewish Softball League in 1932, which later developed into the Jewish Recreation Council. Served as the first Amateur Softball Association commissioner in Greater Cleveland in 1935 and later he helped bring the first world softball tournament to Cleveland.
Managed and backed softball teams from 1939 to 1964 and was responsible for the running of numerous World Tournaments held in Cleveland. His Sheffield Bronze teams won Jewish Recreation Council or Cleveland major titles for 15 successive years and played in an unprecedented eight consecutive World Tournaments form 1956 through 1962. Also backed bowling teams for 20 years and, at various times, hardball, women’s softball, Little League and basketball teams.
Pioneer organizer of the 14-inch slow pitch softball leagues, he also started the first Cleveland 12-inch leagues after World War II. Was an outstanding player himself. Served on the board of the Cleveland Baseball Federation and as chairman of the first two World Slow Pitch tournaments staged in Cleveland.
From the late 1920s through the mid ’30s, her booming home runs earned her the title of the Babe Ruth of women’s fast-pitch softball. Helped lead Fleming Furniture and Blepp-Coombs teams to state championships while starring not only at bat but in the field, playing second base and excelling on double play pivots.
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