January 9, 2010
Fastpitch star Dick Christensen dies at 70
Richard Lee “Dick” Christensen, one of the country’s best pitchers during the glory days of fastpitch softball, died suddenly on Jan. 1 in Puerto Rico while on vacation. He was 70.
By Don Shelton
Seattle Times sports editor
Richard Lee “Dick” Christensen, one of the country’s best pitchers during the glory days of men’s fastpitch softball, died suddenly in Puerto Rico on Jan. 1 while on vacation. He was 70.
Mr. Christensen, a two-time ASA All-American, played in more than 15 national tournaments, several world tournaments and the Pan American Games. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound right-hander, nicknamed “The Horse,” because of his durability, pitched for Federal Old Line, Pay ‘N Pak, Yakima Pepsi and several other top teams. He was inducted into the Seattle Metro Fastpitch Hall of Fame in 1992.
“He was one of the three or four hardest throwers in the country,” said his former coach and friend, Jim Porter. “He was clocked at over 100 (mph).”
Mr. Christensen was born in Boise, Idaho, on April 16, 1939, and grew up in Castle Rock, where he graduated high school in 1957. He played baseball for the University of Washington, and learned to throw underhand in the Navy, tossing softballs against mattresses on a destroyer.
“He wore out about 20 of those mattresses,” Porter said.
Mr. Christensen saved only a few trophies and newspaper clippings and rarely talked about his softball achievements.
“He never, ever bragged,” said his wife, Terri Christensen, of Renton. “I knew it was important to him, but he was so humble.”
Mr. Christensen is also survived by his father, Keir Stone of Fort Worth, Texas; sister Karen Buker of Anacortes, as well as three children and four step children,
Services are pending.