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ALLSPACH: That slider no one could hit

October 16, 2017

Sioux City, IA - - ALLSPACH: That slider no one could hit

Michael White inducted into the Iowa Fastpitch Hall of Fame



Michael White

ORIGINAL STORY By STEVE ALLSPACH For the Sioux City Journal

 

The quintessential fastball pitcher – fast-pitch softball to some of you – of all time?

The verdict is still out and the Valhalla is littered with dialers boasting the ultra repertoire of heaters, drop balls, rise balls and changeups.

There might be only one, though, with a “cutter’’ a “slider’’ whatever you want to call the pitch … in softball, not baseball.

That particular delivery from the circle may separate Michael “Mike’’ White from the, if I may be so bold, the hoi polloi.

“In my estimation, Michael White is better than Peter Meredith, better than Darren Zack, better than all of them,’’ declares Sioux City native Peter Sandman, himself a fast-pitch Hall of Fame hurler like New Zealand native White, who once pitched in Sioux City in the 1990s for National Health Care Discount and the Gateway 2000 Soos.

“New Zealand needs to put up a statue down there in his honor. He’s Rocky,’’ continues Sandman. “My gosh, I’ve still got a newspaper clipping hanging in one of my closets relating how he pitched a perfect game for the New Zealand national team when it beat Canada and Zack in 1996 International Softball Federation world championship game in Midland, Michigan.

“Perfect game, man, and 13 strikeouts on the biggest stage in fast-pitch.

"Unbelievable.’’

John Ege, another Sioux City Hall of Famer who was both a player and manager (Soos) on teams with White, concurs.

“Mike White had the extra pitch (cutter) and you couldn’t hit it,’’ said Ege. “His changeup was probably the best in the business.’’

Sandman also marvels at the ability White had in mastering umpires.

“You want an umpire to be consistent, right?’’ declares Sandman. “Well, he had this knack of convincing umps it was a strike when he was an inch off the plate and he held them to it.

“He taught me one pitch and it extended my career five, six years. Allowed me pitch for a national power like the Tampa Bay Smokers.’’

Today, White, along with Sioux City umpires Stan Wisnieski and the late Bill Clark, and former Sioux City Penn Corp standout Scott Peterson will be inducted with six others into the Iowa Fast-Pitch Softball Hall of Fame in ceremonies Sunday in Ames (11 a.m. Quality Inn).

It’s probably the only remaining Hall of the sport that has eluded White, who is now the women’s softball coach at national collegiate power Oregon.

PREMIER UMPS

Wisnieski and Clark established reputations as two of the finest and most respected fast-pitch umpires, both in Iowa and nationwide for decades.

The two worked at all levels of competition at championship divisions from youth age-group classifications to the Big Eight and Big 12 levels for college women.

Their resumes also included work in NCAA Division II and Division III national women’s tournaments.

The two served tenures as Iowa Amateur Softball Association district commissioners and Clark worked four ISC World Tournaments in Sioux City in 1986, '91, '95 and '99 and wound up umpiring for 36 years, including six ASA national tournaments.

The pair has also been honored as umpires of the year by national federations governing the craft.

The Sioux Cityans didn’t reserve officiating to just softball either, working all sports, including football, at various levels.

Wisnieski has been the dean of Iowa umpires at the state girls softball tournament, working 30 straight meets in Fort Dodge, and was behind the plate in several state title games.

Ege was a teammate of Peterson’s on Penn Corp teams that won ASA Major Nationals titles and ISC World Tournament crowns.

“Scotty was an outstanding centerfielder with a great arm,’’ said Ege, who also teamed with Peterson on old Clear Lake Butt’r Top elite teams. “He was also perfect in the leadoff spot in the batting order.

“I don’t know if I ever saw a guy with a better batting eye up there at the plate, drawing walks and then stealing a base with great speed.’’

Peterson played for Penn Corp from 1984-91. He also played in the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival in 1984 in North Carolina.

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