Today’s photo is courtesy of photographer Jack Cavanaugh and shows the first and only Y-Field Reunion held back on Aug. 24, 2002. How ironic it was, that was the only day that summer where we had quite a bit of rain all day long. But you can see Y-Fielders still had a great time getting together and seeing the Y-Field (Clifford Park) being dedicated to Jack “Monk” Curtain; sadly four days later Monk died and went on to softball heaven. Sports was the magnetism that drew all that you see pictured here.
The city hopes to revive this recreation palace that is right here in our backyard. Work on the clubhouse has been coming right along. Hopefully we’ll all continue to make it happen.
The Y-Field is where we played so many of our fast-pitch softball games, and on Wednesday, Oct. 4, this year’s inductees into Auburn’s Softball Hall of Fame will be feted at Snapper Namisnack’s restaurant on Division Street, bringing the hall of fame’s total players to 51. Food and libations may be purchased at the event, and they have a large patio behind the restaurant. Mary Curtain Rand, Monk’s daughter, and family members, will be doing the cooking. It starts at 6 p.m. and we hope to see you there!
The following are some brief stats on this year’s eight inductees, as provided by the hall of fame committee:
Bob Reardon – second base: 1964 Vic & Jack’s fast pitch champs. 1968 Shortstop Tavern city league champs. 1970-1973 J & B Lounge city league champs. Played fast pitch for 12 years, also played tournaments with Skyline TV, and Tino’s Restaurant who were tournament champs. Umpire from 1974-2016, as a college official also. He was rated No. 1 official in Florida.
Bob Williams – pitcher: 1956 Russian Club city champs. 1953 pitched no-hitter for Mohan’s. 1977 pitched for Shortstop Jokers. 1978 pitching for Mr. Ed’s, Bob struck out 20 batters in a win. 1977 won tournament in Syracuse in which Bob pitched in championship game, winning 6-3. 1977 Bob also pitched a perfect game in a Route 81 tournament, 5-0.
Ormie King – Pitcher (meritorious): Started the Auburn Softball Hall of Fame and from 1981 – 1988 his committee inducted 29 players. One of the first was the famous Jack “Monk” Curtain. Monk taught Ormie how to pitch as a kid, and Ormie was the youngest A-League player ever at 16 when he started with the National Bank A-League team, and went on to play for 25 years. Pitched the winning game (2-0) for F & W Slayton, coach Nick Diego, giving up only two hits against the Rochester Kodak team that won the national championship just two years prior, with their same pitcher Carl “Fireball” Roberts. Pitched the rare winning game against the national traveling four-man team, the King and his Court, when they were in their prime. Helped run Auburn’s Home Run Derby for 10 years with his best friend, Bill Martin (Auburn firefighters), to raise money for muscular dystrophy. Nominated and organized the bus trip to see Monk Curtain and Dudley Walsh enter the New York State Softball Hall of Fame. Writes a column for The Citizen every Sunday about Auburn’s residents, plus sports figures. Ormie is Auburn’s representative of all sports – truly a hall of famer.
Ron Netti – outfielder: From 1958 to 1975 he played 17 fast pitch seasons in Auburn with teams such as Vic & Jack’s, Skyline TV, Shortstop Tavern, J & B Lounge. Also played in 11 city championship games, winning eight. A strong-arm outfielder, he was signed by the Chicago Cubs organization in the 1960s. Still holds the Auburn Little League record for home runs, which he established in 1953.
William “Bill” Kufs – sponsor, 1962 – 1995: Kufs News and Shortstop Tavern teams won championships from 1962 to 1995. For over 20 years his teams were the best in Auburn city recreation leagues. Bill also put on fast pitch tournaments in Auburn at the Y-Field, bringing in the best talent and pitchers in all of the Northeast. Bill was one of the best sponsors in the city of Auburn and he was well appreciated by all.
Nick Bashta – pitcher: From 1950 to 1975 he played with Firth Carpet, Russian Club, Swifty’s. Won numerous championships, was also a good hitter. Played with championship teams most of his fast-pitch career; a hard-nose player. Also officiated high school basketball and city recrecreation basketball for years and was one of the best officials in the area.
Doug Saladin – first baseman: From 1973 to 1995 he played fast pitch for Tarby’s Tavern, Curley’s Blues, Teddy’s Tavern, and numerous other teams. He played in tournaments with Mr. Ed’s. Was four years in a row champions with Teddy’s Tavern. Batted .300 in Auburn recreation leagues over 20 years. Was MVP in various fast pitch tournaments.
Bill Dolan – pitcher: Played from 1964 to 1982. Started his softball career at the age of 16, where he and his teammates (Didio’s Crusaders) won three straight championships in the Auburn Recreation “D” League, won the “C” League championship his first year in that league at the age of 19. Pitched for the Shortstop Jokers “A” league team from 1967 to 1982. The team won three championships, as well as numerous major tournaments in Oswego, Rochetser and Cortland. Bill was known for his ”drop ball.” Bill threw three no-hitters and one perfect game, in his softball career. Bill was also a great hitter and true gentleman on the field and off.