May 6, 2010
From Dave Blackburn:
It is with deep sadness that I report to the Fastpitch community of the untimely passing of long time Southern california fastpitch pitcher Lester Charles Riley. Lester was known on the field by one of two nicknames, and he was always either called Les, or Moe, by his team mates, and his opponents.
It was reported to me by my Teammate Dave DeMaio that Les entered the 8:30 PM game for the Burbank Roofing Team at Robert Gross Park on Wednesday night. to pitch the third inning, Les was entering in relief of Gerald Pyle. After the third inning was over, Les came back to the dugout and allegedly complained of feeling light-headed. Les then suddenly collapsed, and he did not regain conciousness. Paramedics attempted to revive him, and he was rushed to St Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank. He was pronounced dead some time around 10 PM PST, to a stunned group of family, friends, teammates and softball buddies. He will be deeply missed by the sport.
It was opening night of the Spring / Summer session of the City of Burbank men’s fastpitch League. Les had been a stalwart pitcher in the Burbank and Los Angeles Municipal fastpitch Leagues for decades. I personally had been competing against Les since the 1980s, and I have definitely pitch more games against Les, through the years, than any other pitcher. He was a great battler, and universally well-liked by everyone he came in contact with.
I had played in the earlier game on the same field. I had left the park, just before the time of the tragic incident. But I did say hello to Les, as I was exiting the First base dugout, as he was entering. I joked with Les for a moment, and laughingly said that “in this league, we would be probably be throwing our 350th game against each other”. He laughed, I wished him well. Little did I know that it would be the last time I would ever speak to him. Please keep Les Riley and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Info on Funeral and Memorial Services pending.
Rudy Montanez, Jr. (Founder/manager of Rude Pac) adds his thoughts:
I am sad to report that the Fast Pitch community in Southern California has lost a great friend. On Wednesday Night the 5th of May 2010 Lester Riley Affectionately known as Moe, was rushed to the hospital from Gross Park in Burbank where he was playing with his Wednesday Night Fast Pitch Team. Moe was later pronounced dead at Saint Joseph Medical Center. Moe has been involved with fast pitch in Southern California for over 25 years. He has played on the Tournament circuit for many years. Though not as much recently. Moe has been a fixture in the Burbank City league for many years.
Moe’s passion and love for the game of fast pitch was not just for the game itself but for the people that played it as well. Which is why Moe had the respect of all us who have played with or against him. I know that Moe played with many team over the past years. Here are only a couple of the team names that I believe Moe has played with in the past years, All American, Rayco, So Cal Masters, Burbank Roofing (AKA Burbank) and I’m proud to say even appeared with Rude Pac Fast Pitch.
Moe was a man who I greatly admired and who taught me a lot about the game. He was one of those guys who helped me improve as a player and once I went blind was one of the first one to tell me to stay involved in the game. I’m proud to say that Lester Riley was one of my best friends at the ball park. It makes me sad to think he won’t be there anymore and I am proud too have known him. My Love Thoughts and Prayers go out to Moe’s teammates and especially his family. May you rest in peace my good friend.
Rudy Montanez Jr.
Rude Pac Fast Pitch Manager