Thursday, July 29, 2004

Saylor has seen it all for 25 years

Best of the Metro

By Colleen Kane
Enquirer staff writer

Danney Saylor became the Metro Softball tournament director in 1979, so he heads into this year's Metro with 25 years of experience watching the best softball players and games in the event's recent history. He talked with the Enquirer Tuesday night about who tops his list of recent Metro players.

"You're going to get me in trouble, because I'm going to miss some," Saylor said. Here's what he came up with.

Q: Team with most Major wins?

A: VIP Limousine won five consecutive Major titles. ... Most of the guys on that team won a dozen together (on various teams).

Q: Best player you've seen?

A: There are some players out there that are as good as the game ever had:

• Pat Shanks, EMR Worth. The guy is all-century.

• Leo Osterday, Sidelines Cafe. The man's automatic. He would be all-century.

• The way Mike Sullivan could play third the years he was with VIP ...

• Ricky Linz could play at shortstop with a glove on defense as sweet as any pro baseball player I've ever seen in my life. In his prime, he was sweet.

• Johnny Steele in the last decade is a power hitter, and he's with Alpine now in this tournament.

• Chuck Johns, for 30 years, was hot. The man's phenomenal.

• Marvin Doyle, a class act on and off the field.

Q: Best home run hitter?

A: Tommy Thompson. Everybody knew he was going to hit the ball for a home run. They tried to keep the ball away from him or walk him. Even (with opponents) knowing he was the world's best home run hitter, he led the nation in home runs for like nine straight years. He played in the '60s and '70s. He must have hit the ball out about every time he could reach.

Q: Best fielder?

A: Ricky Linz and Leo Osterday. Leo played two positions in the outfield. Leo was the cause of some teams going to a three-man outfield. He'd run like a deer to cover two positions, which gave you an extra infielder.

Q: Best game?

A: The No. 1 game of all time here was the VIP-Jay's game in 1990 or 1991. They were two leading powerhouses in the city, in the state, in the nation, yet for one reason or another, they had never faced each other in the city tournament. It was called "The Game." T-shirts were printed up, being sold throughout the park with "The Game." There were minimum 2,500 people in here to watch, and probably 2,000 in the parking lot. They built scaffolding on the trucks in the parking lot to watch it. VIP won it in the bottom of the seventh. It went to the wire with two outs in the bottom of the seventh with a home run.

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