We are pleased to share “The Memoirs of a Batboy”, by Ron Rupp, former batboy for the Lakewood Jets, one of fastball’s elite teams in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Ron went on to play for the Jets himself, and is still at it, now heading up the new Long Beach Snakes team, as GM and pitcher.
“I would like to remember the players i watched as a batboy for the lakewood jets during the early to mid 70’s. I was able to see this fastpitch dynasty from the inside like the proverbial “fly on the wall” the inner workings of the politics and money it takes to run an open level world championship team. These players were a lot of fun to watch as a kid who learned to pitch and hit in the shadows of mayfair park in Lakewood, california. They left a big impression on me and i dont think i ever would have appreciated winning if these guys wouldnt have taught me to hate to lose so much:) That is the common thread among all these players i watched compete, they truly hated losing! it ruined their weekend if they lost! lucky for them they didnt lose very much:)Many of these players are in the softball hall of fame, and some have been ignored by the hall of fame. My name is ronald rupp and these are the memoirs of a batboy…
NICK HOPKINS: nick was fantastic in everyway, this guy could hit the ball out of the yard from both sides of the plate! hit for a high average in the clutch and play great defense! nick was a fierce competitor and well respected by everyone! (if nick struck out i stayed clear of him because he never seemed to take it well:)) and his bat could end up anywhere:) i would rate nick as the best all around player i ever saw play the game!
DON FRAZIER: don was a great hitter and had a great glove! he hit in the clutch and he played defense in the clutch. Don also has five rings! everywhere donnie went he won rings! so he’s either a great player or he must have a crystal ball:) don was also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet!
STAN GREBECK SR: stanly could play third and shortstop as good as anybody i ever saw! you couldnt hit the ball by this guy! he was like a mongoose! stan could run like a deer! nobody better running the bases! i saw stan go 9 for 9 in the world tournament and hit a homerun off salazar to win the 4th of july tournament. He was a clutch player in everyway and had a great arm! stan belongs in the hall of fame with his team mates!
BOB AGUILAR: aggie was so smooth at first base he could come off the bag and never get called for it! much to the dismay of his opponents:) aggie hit the longest homeruns i ever saw at mayfair park(into the tennis courts) also at joe rodgers (out into the street in right field! a mamoth shot! to say the least! aggie spoke softly and carried a very big stick! and his defense at first base was legendary! this man deserves to be in the hall of fame! period!
HICE STILES: hice was the best center fielder i saw bar none! he could run like the wind got great jumps on everything hit and could throw strikes to the plate on the run! what a player this guy was! he could bunt, hit for power, hit in the clutch hice could do it all! my brother worshipped the ground hice walked on:) and my dad once told me “he couldnt see how the scouts could miss this guy” hice truly deserves his hall of fame induction!
BILL HARDY: bill was a great player in every sense of the word! he could play outfield and the infield! there wasnt too much bill couldnt do on the softball field. He regularly lead the congress in hitting from the right side of the plate! nobody was a more clutch player than bill hardy! and nobody even thought about treading on him because bill would break ’em off! and that goes for anybody:) bill and his wife kathy treated me like gold and i will never forget them for it! bill played like a hall of famer his whole career and i think he should be recognized for it!
EDDIE KLECKER: eddie was a larger than life hero to me as an 11 yr old little boy! watching him pitch with that incredible drop ball is ingrained in my brain forever! what a pitcher this guy was! 6’4″ of solid muscle! eddie was the reason my dad was able to recruit these great players and win the isc ring in 1973! his pure domination was really something to see! i once saw him strike out all 21 players of this “A” team sponsored by TRW at the memorial day tourney at mayfair park! only one foul ball on clark st. and that was it! WOW! i dont care if it’s house maids batting! striking out all 21 is impressive! I will cherish my memories of watching eddie dominate great hitters! eddie was the only player i could take the bat from after a strike out! truly a gentle GIANT of a man! with a sweet disposition and sheepish smile! HALL OF FAME MATERIAL ALL THE WAY!
JOHN WILSON: johnny was a great all around player! as steady as it gets! he just went out year after year and put up big numbers in all his world tournaments! john played mostly outfield and first base,but could play anywhere you put him! a clutch hitter with a great glove! john played the game with great intensity and focus! and was great so often for so long its no wonder johnny is in the hall of fame! truly a great player and i enjoyed watching him very much!
JERRY COOPER: jerry was the catcher for eddie during the dynasty years for the jets! coop made catching eddie look effortless! but i can assure you other catchers without jerrys talent would have been broken up trying to catch eddies drop ball! Jerry had an orange bat,almost like a fungo. These were the days before the metal alloy bats, just wooden bats! nobody could have made catching eddie look so easy as coop! and i know eddie agrees 100% jerry cooper you were the best and i enjoyed watching you!”