The ISC's chairman of streaming
media, and SoCal pitcher David Blackburn headed up the "Tribute to
Legends" Hal of Fame dinner, Saturday, March 18, 2006, in Long
Beach, California, to honor two local greats, Ed Klecker and Greg
Sepulveda, who are to be inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2006.
Approximately 15 fellow Hall of Famers will be among those on hand
to honor Ed and Greg. For more details, contact daveb (at)
virtvent.com. This page is still under construction, so check back
soon for more, including a recap of the evening's festivities and
captions on the photos.
Click the menu buttons at left for
photos from the evening.
Bios of the Honored Guests, Ed
Klecker and Greg Sepulveda
Ed Klecker is generally recognized as one of the hardest throwing
pitchers in the history of fastpitch softball. Primarily using a
devastating drop ball, thrown with pinpoint accuracy, Ed was the
strikeout king of the sport during his reign as the ace pitching
star for Lakewood California franchises, of the early, to mid
1970’s. Ed began his softball pitching career as a teenager in 1957
for the LDS Church. As an 18 year old in 1958, Ed was named the
outstanding pitcher in the LDS Jr. Division’s National Championship
Tournament. Through the late 1960’s, Ed continued playing ball for
the LDS Church in the local leagues. The church team allowed two
non-LDS members to play on each team. One of those two players on
Ed’s team was catcher, Lanny Rupp, who would have a huge influence
on the up-and-coming softball superstar.
Rupp was a fastpitch impresario, who knew that he could build a
World Class ball club around Klecker’ s amazing right arm, and
outstanding pitching talents. Lanny convinced Ed that he needed to
play ball on Sundays, in order to achieve his full potential in the
sport. Playing on Sundays meant that he would have to give up
playing for his LDS church team, but bigger and brighter fastpitch
days were on Ed’s horizon. He would now take up Rupp on his offer,
and test his skills against some of the very best players in world.
With Big Eddie in the circle on Sundays, Rupp’ sball clubs qualified
to play in ASA National Championship Tournaments in 1970 at
Clearwater Florida, and in 1971 at Springfield Missouri. With that
National Tournament experience under his belt, Ed proceeded to make
the ISC World Tournament his domain of dominance for the next 3
consecutive seasons. In the 1972 ISC World Tournament at Kimberly,
WI, Ed Klecker of the Lakewood Jets lead all pitchers with 71
strikeouts in 38 innings. Ed allowed only 15 hits, and 5 walks,
while posting a 3-1 won — loss record, and a brilliant ERA of 0.55.
The next closest in strikeouts was Jerry Ralf’s 38 Ks in 41 inns.
The Jets finished in 4th Place in the Tournament. Ed’s star was on
the rise entering the 1973 World Tournament at Rock Island, IL,
where he teamed up with ISC Hall of Fame pitcher KG Fincher. Fincher
and Klecker were firing bullets, as the Lakewood Jets won the 73 ISC
World Championship, with Eddie posting 5 wins, without a loss. He
was named both the ISC’s Outstanding Pitcher, and the Most Valuable
Player. Ed allowed one earned run in 45 1/3 innings, again leading
the Tournament pitchers with 67 strikeouts, and posting a
microscopic ERA of 0.150. The next closest was ISC Hall of Famer Gil
Aragon’s 27 Ks in 42 innings. At Sun City, AZ in the 1974 ISC World
Tournament, Ed again was named Vt Team All-World pitcher, leading
all of the World Tournament pitchers in strikeouts, with a total of
59. His 0.57 ERA and 4 wins with 1 loss, capped an incredible 3 year
run, for the 6’4” 240 lb hurler, who made his living as a Fireman. A
blown out rotator Cuff in Ed’s right shoulder at age 35, forced him
into early retirement at the conclusion of the 1975 season. Although
his career ended prematurely, while he was throwing the ball in his
prime, his star shined as bright as any pitcher who ever threw a
softball. Big Ed KlecKer — The Fireball Hurling Fireman<
After playing hardball through High School in Santa Ana, Greg
Sepulveda began playing for the local Cine Yost fastpitch teams in
72 & 73. In 74, ISC Executive Director Emeritus Milt Stark was the
manager of the Mission Viejo Vaqueros. Milt immediately recognized
Greg’s talents, and picked him up to play his first season in the
Western Softball Congress. In the team’s 1974 team program, the
writer said “Greg is very fast and aggressive and will be an
outstanding player for many years”. That writer couldn’t have been
more right, in this assessment of Greg’s fastpitch talent. By the
1976 season, Greg helped the Lakewood Jets finish in the runner-up
spot at the ISC World Tournament in Long Beach. For the next 7
years, Greg played for General Manager Al Olivos, and his Santa Ana
Cine Yost team, which had also joined the strong Western Softball
Congress league. Greg continued WSC competition for the next 20+
seasons, winning numerous league Championships, while being named
MVP twice, and an All-Star too many times to count.
In 1983, Greg was a mid-season addition to the powerful Lancaster
Chameleons, as sponsor Tom Morris assembled his juggernaut ball club
based in the Antelope Valley. Greg anchored the infield, and was a
key offensive stalwart, as the Chameleons went on to win the ISC
World Tournament, later that summer of 83, in nearby Bakersfield.
The Lancaster ball club beat ISC Hall of Fame pitching star Peter
Finn, and his Saint Louis Budweiser Kings teammates, in the 1983 ISC
World Championship Game.
The Chameleons finished in the 3~ Place spot at the 1984 ISC World
Tournament in Allentown, PA, finishing behind in-state rival Ed
Smith Welding of Bakersfield, and Decatur (IL) ADM. Greg had an
outstanding Tournament, posting a .333 BA, and was honored as the
All-World Vt Team at Shortstop.
After a disappointing 16th place finish at Kimberly, Wisconsin in
1985, the Chameleons relocated to Lakewood’s Mayfair Park for the
1986 season. They were back with vengeance when the ISC World
Tournament was played in Sioux City, Iowa in August of 1986. After
dropping their opening ball game to an underdog team from Denton,
Texas, the Chameleons performed an amazing march through the Loser’s
Bracket, reaching the ISC World Championship game. Facing legendary
ISC Hall of Fame star Jimmy Moore, and his defending Champion
Seattle Pay & Pak squad, The Chameleons dropped an 11-inning
heartbreaker, finishing in the ISC World Tournament runner-up spot.
Greg was again named All-World 1st Team Shortstop, playing flawless
defense, and achieving a solid .316 batting average.
In ISC Hall of Fame Pitcher Kevin Herlihy’ s book titled “Striking
Out”</a>, he names his all time, All- International team of non-New
Zealanders, position-by-position. At Shortstop, he picks Greg
“Shortstop: Greg Sepulveda (Lancaster): Our Lancaster Shortstop,
Greg was a complete player. Despite his large build, he covered a
tremendous amount of ground, and had an excellent throw, which he
reserved for occasions that demanded it. As a batter he could drop a
bunt and beat it out. He could slap hit, and drive the ball hard.
Over the years, he took some outs behind me, that I had given up on.
Greg was a very humble person, and really enjoyed his company.”