Tribute To Mike Macenko
Written by MIke MacenkoHello Softball Today readers, Scott Brown again, coming at you with our next installment of articles. This time I am really excited to bring you a legend in softball and I am even more excited that he is part of the Combat Sports team. I want to introduce Mike Macenko, # 1 All Time Softball Player. Mike has accomplished many things as a ball player starting with a USSSA ASA, NSA, ISA Hall of Famer, as well as being selected to 30 All World Teams.
Mike Macenko is a name that is known around the world and across the nation when it comes to softball and in the over 27 years of Big-Time softball, he has accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish. From winning numerous National Championships, to leading the country in home runs, to being selected to All American teams 34 times. Mike is a legendary player of the game and has been a solid addition to the Combat Sports family. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the game and I am happy to have him share with you some of his experiences over the years.
Mike Macenko here with Combat Sports – I started playing Big Time softball at a very young age, I believe I was 17 years old when I first started softball on a competitive level. It was one of those things where I was in the right place at the right time. It all starts with practice and that is pretty much what I did from that day on. I wanted to be one of the best, so I knew that it was going to take a lot of hard work to achieve my goal. The one thing you need to accomplish this is to associate with great teammates and coaches. Fortunately I was surrounded by the best and I knew then that if I worked hard enough anything can happen.
To be considered one of the all time best softball players is quite an honor for me. I myself know that there have been many great ball players that have come down the same road I have and deserve as much recognition as I have over the years. I think they all know who they are.
I have been very fortunate to have played at the highest level of softball for over 27 years and during this time I have had the pleasure of playing with two of the best teams of all time. I played with Steele’s Silver Bullets for 15 years and for 2 years in 1994 and 1995, I played with Ritch’s Superior. These two teams have been considered some of the best of all time, by a number of softball followers.
The Steele’s Sports Company was around for 18 years and the Steele’s Silver Bullets played for 3 years from 1998 through 1990. In that period of time we played ball in 48 of the 50 states in the U.S. as well as 10 cities across Canada. We traveled by plane or by vans, of which I did most of the driving during our barnstorming years. I really enjoyed traveling from city to city to see people come out to watch us play the game of softball. We played in over 500 towns and cities and even played in state prisons at Cross City, Florida and Pendleton, Indiana.
When you are traveling all over the place playing softball it is hard being away from your family but I knew this was a once in a lifetime experience and my family supported me the whole way. We knew it was going to be tough but we also did not know how long it was going to last, so sacrifices were made and we, as a family have no regrets.
In 1987 our Steele’s Team started out in Hawaii for the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre tournament. It was played right at Pearl Harbor and it involved a number of the armed forces teams that gave us some really good battles. We won that tournament, to start the year and finished the season with 12 tournament victories with 2 seconds and a fifth. Here are some of my stats from that year.
We hit 6690 home runs as a team - I hit 844 of them myself.
I batted .744 getting 1444 hits in 1940 at bats.
I also had 1534 RBI’s to go along with these stats.
MVP at Dudley USSSA NIT, Petersburg, Va.
MVP at East Carolina Classic, Wilson, N.C.
MVP at Old Style/Steele’s NIT Milwaukee, Wis
MVP at Smoky Mountain Classic Maryville, Tenn
MVP in the ASA Super Nationals Parma, Ohio
MVP in ISA Nationals Greensboro, N.C.
Softball Hall of Fames – USSSA, ASA, NSA and ISA, State Of Ohio, Cleveland Softball.
In 1994 and 1995 I had the pleasure of playing with some of the best; Rick Weiterman, Doug Roberson, Ron Parnell, Dave Steffen, Charles Wright, Dirk Androff, Darrell Beeler, Paul Drilling, John Meyers. This was some of the best years for me and the camaraderie that you have with your fellow teammates is something that is hard to explain.
Ritch’s Superior had conquered something that I wanted to do with my Silver Bullets (but never did) and that was to win the four legs of the National Championships at the end of the year. The USSSA, ASA, ISA, and the NSA were what you were playing for throughout the season and it was the ultimate team goal for anyone who played.
In 1990 I came close with my Silver Bullets team but we got beat in the final (USSSA) tournament. They (Ritch’s) won all four in 1992 and we came close in 1990 with the Bullets.
Those were some exciting years for me. The one highlight that stands out while playing with Ritch’s was when we hit in Tiger Stadium, just the atmosphere of being in the same batters box that I knew Mickey Mantle stood in, was exciting to me. That day, I hit two balls onto the right field roof that stayed up on the roof which was quite a thrill to be able to do that. Later that day someone told Sparky Anderson this and he said no way, I only wish he could have been there when I did it. That sure was fun! I am 52 years old now and I still put on hitting displays or exhibitions for the fans. I help promote Combat Baseball/Softball products all over the country. With the equipment being far superior in the last 20 years, who know, maybe I will be able to hit at least until I am 60 years old. Ha! Ha! - Mike Macenko
Mike Macenko is quite literally one of the best in the game and he has so many experiences and so much knowledge to share, that I feel fortunate to be able to work with him and we feel privileged that he is part of our Combat Sports family. Until next time, train hard and play hard - Scott Brown