Marge Kelley Cook starred for the Favorite Knits, Fleming Furniture and Blepp-Coombs teams during the period from 1922-1930, when those teams were perennial international champions. A righthanded fastball pitcher, she also played the outfield because of her outstanding ability as a hitter. Marge frequently pitched successfully against men’s teams.
Ron Annotico played in eight softball World Championships, beginning in 1956. Selected as All-World center fielder three times in those championships, every team on which he played from 1956 through 1962 won its league championship. Ron was recognized by his peers as Cleveland’s finest softball player of that era.
A short fielder who played between the infield and outfield on ten-man teams in the 1920s and 1930s, Herb Timm was renowned for his fielding and base stealing. A better than .350 average hitter for the 14 years he competed in both 14-inch and 12-inch play, he rarely struck out and almost always reached base.
One of the greatest 14-inch softball pitchers in Cleveland history, Bill Miller regularly fanned 21 or more players in nine-inning games and once struck out 27 batters. He seldom lost a game in the 12 years he pitched. Bill led his Comella Sports team to four titles. Ultimately, he quit playing when the 12-inch ball was adopted by local leagues.
Ranked as one of the nation’s top pitchers during the 1930s, Frank Brauer competed for some of Cleveland’s best teams, including Weaver Wall from 1935-38 and Nickel Plate Grill in 1939.
During a pitching career spanning 17 years of topflight competition, Warren “Fireball” Gerber recorded over 500 wins, including 50 no-hitters. He averaged 15 strikeouts per game during his career and pitched four perfect games, once striking out 20 of 21 batters. Fireball had a 40-0 record for Columbus Ferguson’s national runners-up in 1939. In 1945, pitching for Cleveland Allmen Transfer, he turned in three consecutive no-hitters as his team won the city championship.
Widely recognized as “Ya-Ya,” he set exceptional standards for softball play over a period exceeding two decades. Competed in 16 world championships, making the All-Star team in 7 of those, once being selected as the”Most Valuable.“
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