The local popularity and global success of Central Valley men’s fast-pitch
softball teams during the 1940s through the 1970s will be highlighted in a special talk
on Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Old Grangeville Church in Hanford.
Dan Ramirez, president of the Central California Fast Pitch Softball Legacy Project and
the evening’s speaker, said his presentation will focus on teams from Taft to Fresno.
Most Valley towns had at least one competitive men’s fast-pitch softball team when the
sport was at the height of its popularity, he said, with four–one from Taft, one from
Hanford and two from Fresno–winning world championships.
“The teams represented the diversity of our population,” said Ramirez, explaining that
players came from all racial, ethnic and economic groups. “They just loved the game.”
Bruce Bentley, board president of the Kings County Historical Society, which is cosponsoring the event with the Carnegie Museum of Kings County, said the Valley’s fastpitch softball teams enjoyed enthusiastic public support.
“Before the times of around-the-clock sports TV coverage, people would flock to the
arenas and fields to root for their favorite sports teams and fast-pitch softball was an
area favorite,” he said. “One exhibition game, played inside a modified Neighbor Field,
drew over 3000 attendees, when Hanford’s population was under 5000!”
In addition to sharing stories about the fast-pitch softball teams and their many
successes in his talk, Ramirez, who played for the Dinuba Condors from 1963-1970, will
introduce a few fellow former players.
“Co-hosting this lecture with the Kings County Historical Society is just one method the
Carnegie Museum of Kings County uses to provide people with the opportunity to learn
about an important, but largely forgotten, part of our communities’ sports history” said
Jack Schwartz, the Carnegie Museum’s president.
Ramirez’s presentation is part of a monthly Valley History Talks series developed by the
Kings County Historical Society. January’s event featured a presentation on Hanford’s
historic China Alley by local historians Arianne Wing and Steve Banister. Future talks
will highlight the history and culture of the Tachi-Yokut tribe, Aileen Apperson’s book
“The Pattern of the Land” and local veterans.
The Old Grangeville Church is located at 14060 Hackett St., Hanford. The church’s
social hall will open Saturday at 5 p.m. for an optional $10 per plate dinner that includes
three tacos, rice, beans and salad. Ramirez’s talk will begin at 6 p.m. in the adjacent old
church. Admission is free but there is a suggested donation of $5 to support the Kings
County Historical Society’s efforts to maintain and restore the historic church building