Moore, Glass brothers lead locals in softball HOF
One thing was obvious during the heyday of fastpitch softball: If you were on the field with Jimmy Moore, you wanted him on your side.
The strapping pitcher from Butte Falls was the best in the world for a good chunk of the 1980s, and recollections of his exploits and those of others were shared when a half-dozen former local stars were inducted into the USA Softball of Oregon Hall of Fame.
Moore was joined by brothers Gary and Greg Glass of Medford and Mike Cornutt, who grew up in Roseburg but joined the other three as members of the powerful Blitz-Weinhard team that reached its zenith in 1980 when it placed second in the national tournament.
Two others with expansive fastpitch resumes in the Rogue Valley, Lloyd Campbell and Darwin Moore, were inducted as player-coaches.
A ceremony with limited participation due to COVID-19 concerns was held at Rogue Valley Country Club Sunday evening.
Mike Wells, the commissioner and CEO of USA Softball of Oregon, presided over the celebration. Under normal circumstances, the state association honors inductees every two years in December.
With all the Southern Oregon ties of this class, it was moved ahead on the calendar and staged here.
“Tremendous credentials,” said Wells, describing the 2020 group.
He, like others, “was floored” to learn Moore wasn’t yet in the Oregon hall. From 1996 to 2003, Moore entered the International Softball Congress, the Greater Seattle area and the Amateur Softball Association national halls of fame.
Now, the oversight in his home state has been rectified.
Jimmy Moore was born in Medford and graduated from Butte Falls in 1973. He now lives in Everett, Washington, largely because his phenomenal pitching for Blitz attracted the attention of one of the best teams in the country.
Moore didn’t begin pitching until Ron Sizemore — himself a state hall-of-famer from Butte Falls — began tutoring the then 22-year-old.
In the late 1970s, Moore refined his riseball, dropball and changeup and dominated offenses.
It was an unlikely happenstance that Moore wound up with Blitz in 1980 and led them to nationals.
That year, Moore pitched for D&D Radiator out of Butte Falls and led it to the Jackson County Softball Association (JCSA) title, ending a string of six straight championships by Malot’s Mudhens. But before the state playoffs, Moore was in a motorcycle accident and wasn’t his usual overpowering self.
The top three teams advanced from state to the Northwest Regional, and Gary Glass recalled Blitz facing D&D and trailing 6-1 entering the top of the seventh.
“Jimmy Moore has probably never given up six runs in an inning in his life,” said Glass.
But he did this time, and Blitz eliminated D&D, 7-6.
Teams could add players for regionals, and Moore was only part way through the handshake line when Blitz snagged him.
“We got him, right on the field,” said Glass, adding that Malot’s tried to land Moore moments later.
With Moore’s right arm and its own booming bats, Blitz won the regional in Missoula, Montana, then headed to nationals in Oswego, New York.
Blitz was the first Southern Oregon team to advance to the 64-team national finals, where it lost, 2-1 in 10 innings. Nevertheless, Moore was the most valuable player and was mobbed by New York fans at game’s end.
Blitz hoped it was a marriage made in heaven, said Gary Glass, but teams with deeper pockets came calling.
The following year, Moore was recruited by a Florida team he had ousted at nationals. As he drove east to join it, he got word from his father that a Seattle team had a nice offer on the table: join it for three days in Hawaii, then three weeks in New Zealand. He would pitch for the team, no strings attached.
Moore turned around, went to Seattle and stayed.
“We were thinking we were going to destroy the world the next year,” said Gary Glass, “because Jimmy was just getting better and better.”
Blitz returned to nationals in 1981 and placed fifth.
Moore retired from major fastpitch competition in 1992.
His Seattle team won three ASA open national titles and three International Softball Congress World Tournaments from 1982-90.
In 1985, it became the first team to win those championships and the gold medal at the National Sports Festival, earning the Triple Crown. Seattle repeated the feat the next year. During those two years, Moore was 104-9.
He was named all-world four times and three times was the MVP of the ASA nationals and ISC tournament.
Blitz wasn’t left for dead. It continued to dominate the JCSA and had two more top-five national finishes.
Wells, the state commissioner, said Oregon and the Northwest Region have created team categories for the hall, and he’ll nominate Blitz for 2022 induction.
Gary Glass was a big reason for the team’s success. When it placed fifth at nationals in 1981, he led the tournament in hitting with a .643 average.
His best season from a power standpoint was 1987, when he belted 35 home runs in 71 games.
Glass, originally from Richmond, California, was a three-year all-conference and all-region baseball player at Southern Oregon University.
He took up fastpitch in 1978 at the behest of Raiders teammate John White, who is also in the state softball hall of fame.
Gary Glass was twice a first-team national All-American, the regional MVP once and all-region five times. He was twice the state MVP and was all-state eight times.
His brother, Greg, made a mark in baseball locally well before the fastpitch bug bit him.
A graduate of Eagle Point in 1978, he led the Eagles to their first state championship as a senior. Eagle Point went 24-3, and Glass had a 10-0 league pitching record with a 0.13 ERA. He added complete-game victories in the state semifinals and finals.
He also led the league with a .444 batting average.
Greg’s introduction to fastpitch came in 1979, when he joined Mr. Sport in Medford, playing alongside his dad, Clovis, and brother, Gary.
A shortstop and third baseman, Greg excelled on defense. In 130 games in 1982 and ‘83, he played both positions and didn’t make an error.
A highlight at the plate came in the 1990 regional in Missoula, Montana. His extra-inning home run in the bottom of the eighth sailed more than 300 feet and advanced Blitz to nationals in Las Vegas.
In the 1993 national tourney in Boulder, Colorado, he was 13 of 15 with six home runs.
Greg Glass made four all-region teams, was a state MVP and made five all-state teams.
Cornutt was a standout baseball player at Roseburg High, leading the Southern Oregon Conference with a .405 batting average in 1972.
He started fastpitch in 1975 and honed his hitting craft by learning to read pitchers and their tendencies.
A 13-time tourney MVP, he helped Roseburg Merchants to the national tournament in 1978, where the team placed eighth.
Blitz lured him in 1980, and he was picked up by a team from the The Dalles in 1985, helping it to the regional crown while being chosen MVP.
Campbell was a multisport standout at Phoenix High, helping the Pirates to the 1963 state title in football and setting the school record in the high jump.
He began playing fastpitch in the Air Force in 1966, and four years later kicked off a 35-year career in the JCSA, including with Blitz from 1980-2005. He played in five national tournaments.
Campbell began his pitching career in the early 1970s and recorded a league record of 103-2.
As successful as he was a player, Campbell had a big impact as a coach. He followed youth baseball and flag football coaching by taking up fastpitch mentoring in 1975. Over the next four decades, he coached at several Rogue Valley high schools and at Southern Oregon University.
Darwin Moore played and coached for 69 years. As recently as 2017-19, at age 87, he was the high school head coach at Butte Falls/Crater Lake Charter Academy. That concluded a long mentoring career that included players of all ages and in a variety of sports.
He took up fastpitch in 1951 while in the Air Force in Long Island, New York. Upon begin transferred to Marysville, California, there was no base team, so he wound up playing baseball in Butte Falls.
After a bout with cancer in the late ‘50s, he joined the JCSA in 1960. He played for a number of teams, winning the A state tournament with the Butte Falls Willow Lakers, and doing likewise in 1983 and ‘84 with Lithia Motors.
Moore was a feared leadoff hitter, using his speed and drag bunting to post a .750 on-base percentage in league play.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or firstname.lastname@example.org.