Umpire and Director for USSSA since the 1980’s. Tony was one of only a select few umpires from Arizona considered to work the elite Men’s Major World Series. Most recognizable as an assignor and overseer of the umpire program, Tony also headed the Hispanic Program for many years.
Pat Farmer Sampson
Joined Big Apple in 1987 as a young utility player with a strong arm. By the time Big Apple was done, she had established herself at her natural position as a shortstop. Additionally, she was a sound fundamental hitter who delivered exactly what was needed in the clutch and was an integral part of the Big Apple run of excellence.
One of the truly dominant pitchers in Arizona slow pitch history. From 2006-2010 he was named Tournament MVP at least six times, culminating with the 2010 Men’s C World Tournament. Carl was easily the MVP and the central figure behind RMS taking home the World Title.
For almost two decades in the early 1980’s, Dennis was one of the most feared power hitters in the country. During that period, he played for noted teams like Howard’s Furniture and Campbell Carpets. Myers was the MVP of the 1983 Men’s A World Tournament as a member of the champion J & R Roofing from Phoenix. In the championship game, he went seven for seven with all seven hits being home runs. He would later tour the country doing hitting exhibitions in minor league parks. It was estimated in a 15 year span he hit over 13,000 home runs in game competition and landed 36 All Tournament awards and at least a dozen tournament MVP awards.
Started playing slow pitch softball in Phoenix straight out of college baseball in metro Chicago. Had really never seen 12” softball before starting to play with teams such as Sanderson Ford, DeMarini, JT Zooks and AZ Mizuno. Eventually won world titles in Coed with G & W Insurance, Cali Gold and West Coast Playz, and was widely thought to be one of the fastest players in Arizona. Rodney also helped found the highly successful Black Persuasion team which toured the country on the Black circuit. Had a long and distinguished career as one of the best umpires in the Southwest and is currently handling the duties as Arizona UIC and umpire assignor.
Truly a self-made standout player. His hard work and fierce competitive spirit made him the driving force behind teams like Arizona Elite, Camarena Tire, Gorilla Construction and Gil’s Arizona Heat. He started as a middle infielder who could play anywhere and also became an outstanding pitcher. Won Men’s A World Tournaments with California Aftershock in 1999 and Michigan Mountain Top in 2001 and made six consecutive Major World Series appearances from 1997-2002. In 2004 while a member of AZ Heat he was selected player of the year by Southwest Magazine.
Sponsors are truly the lifeblood of competitive softball for both men’s and women’s teams and Estrada has truly stepped up for Arizona over the past several years. His men’s MYAUTOJACK.com team has quickly moved through the ranks to being a highly competitive USSSA Conference team, winning numerous tournaments including the GSL Western World Series. The Lady MAJ team has also enjoyed a great deal of success winning Arizona State Championships, taking second place at GSL C World and 7th in the USSSA C. They will participate in B’s in 2020. Jack has truly become a known and highly respected entity within the softball community.
In her prime, Heidi was the most complete player not only in Arizona, but on the west coast. She was the perfect combination of arm strength, power, glove and even speed until injuries took that away. She joined Big Apple in 1987, and quickly became, per her manager, “the best all around player ever to wear a Big Apple uniform.” She won too many MVP awards to list, but the highlight may have been a World Tournament in Salem, OR. Heidi hit seven home runs, including three fence clearing blasts in one game. She was awarded both the MVP and outstanding defensive player for that memorable event. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2014.
Moved to Arizona from Kansas in 1982 where he was introduced to USSSA by Jim Swint. Served Arizona USSSA as State Director, Division VP, Director of Special Projects or in an emeritus status since September of 1986. Was inducted into the USSSA National Hall of Fame in 2014. Two of the highlights of Stark’s nearly thirty year playing career would include pitching for a Kansas team that qualified for the 1982 Men’s A World in Petersburg, VA, and being named the MVP of the 1987 Men’s Class C Arizona USSSA State Tournament.
Tara Licuanan Salcedo
Started play in Southern California after concluding a sterling college softball career at UC-Bakersfield. Announced her presence in 2008 by being named the Defensive MVP in the WB World Tournament for Hafta Play. She has blossomed into one of the premier players in the country. Since 2014, she has earned 21 Tournament MVP’s or Defensive MVP’s primarily with Derby Girls.
One of the first players from Arizona to earn an MVP Award while leading his team to a World Championship. Chuck accomplished this relatively early in his career pitching Trim Fit to the Men’s B World Championship in 1988 in Concord, CA. Chuck and his manager brother Jim were the driving force behind a team of over achievers who exemplified team excellence in the Men’s and Hispanic program for over a decade. He is still active today playing both Men’s and Senior softball at a high level.
Like most Directors, Al made the move from a player and manager (strong southern Arizona teams such as Nova Financial). To raise money for his team, he started running tournaments and found he had a definite aptitude for it. He came on board with USSSA in the mid 1980’s and provided almost twenty years of exemplary service. He particularly excelled as the Hispanic Program Director where he led the most successful program in the county in terms of team registrations and hosting of tournaments including multiple record-breaking World events.
Transitioned from a great infielder to a nationally renowned pitcher. He was an important cog in standout Arizona teams such as YMR/RMS and then advanced on to more of a national stage. A Conference USSSA veteran, he helped Sonny’s get established as a west coast power. D-Lo is also one of a limited group of players who can lay claim to multiple World Titles in various associations including the pinnacle of winning the USSSA Men’s Major World Title in 2014.
Better known to the softball world as Missile. Described by her long-time manager Jimmy King as “one of the most intense players to come out of Arizona.” Her nickname came from her rocket arm from third base, and missile type line drives off her bat. With skill, strength and an acute knowledge of the game, she was an integral cog in the extremely successful Big Apple women’s team of the late 80’s and more recently a force on the Women’s seniors circuit.
Arizona USSSA Hall of Fame
Phoenix, AZ USSSA-GSL
Elby Bushong Jr.
Passed away in September of 2017. An integral member of many elite slow pitch teams from all over the country. Won Men’s A World Tournaments in 1980 with Campbell Carpets of Concord, CA and in 1983 with J & R Roofing from Phoenix. Dubbed “Boom-Boom” in honor of his prodigious home runs, he was the first representative from Arizona selected for the USSSA National Hall of Fame, being inducted in the Major Player Category in 1982.
Founder, organizer and sponsor of RMS Softball. RMS culminated an outstanding run of excellence by winning the 2010 Men’s C World Tournament. Ron was selected as the All Tournament Manager for guiding his team to the title.
John Booker Sr.
One of the most feared power hitters from southern Arizona and the southwest for almost a quarter century. A member of the prestigious USSSA Major Players list for many years and an integral cog of standout teams such as SNAFU and Nova Financial. After basically retiring from playing, John served USSSA with distinction as the Arizona Black American Program Director for several years.
Mike Calise Sr.
Became a major force on the slow pitch scene after a nine year career in minor league baseball where he hit 33 home runs for AAA Louisville in 1982. Mike and brother Dominic played for Sonny’s out of Connecticut as well as several of the best teams in Arizona including Landsharks and Elite.
The driving force behind and relentless manager of Trim Fit, a dominant team in Arizona Men’s and Hispanic softball for many years starting in the 1980’s. The high point of their extended run of excellence was capturing the 1988 Men’s B World Tournament in Concord, CA.
Passed away in May of 2010. Following a stand out career in fast pitch, she joined Big Apple in 1987. Over the next 13 years she helped the team become one of true forces in Women’s softball acquiring countless all tournament and MVP awards along the way. The consummate team player, she often declined AT awards so a teammate could receive additional recognition. After the end of the Big Apple era Diane continued to play for the Saints Senior Softball Team until her passing.