Hank began his 16-inch Chicago-style softball career in 1977 in California when he and three colleagues (Rich Collins, Oren Cobb and Bob Gouveia) founded the OB Phils Softball Club and joined the Men’s A Division Ocean Beach Chicago Style Softball League.
Hank was the primary starting pitcher for the team for over thirty –five years. For the past five-plus years, he has been the team’s #2 starter. He continues to play every week and has been managing and running the team since 1978. He has managed the teams as well as sponsored the teams for over forty years.
Over the years players and teams left the league to play 12 – inch slo-pitch softball (men’s and co-ed). In an effort to keep the only 16 – league in the city of San Diego alive, Hank recruited new players (including teens 15 and over) and formed two additional OB Phils teams in 1996. The organization had the three teams play for five years. As the league stabilized, he combined the teams back into two teams. Over the forty years (eighty seasons) the team captured thirty-five league championships and generally finished second or third spots in other years.
The team began traveling to play in tournaments in the year 2000, making its debut in the “A” Division Nationals in Chandler, AZ. Since then the team has played yearly at the Donnelley 16-inch Memorial Weekend Tournament in Yuma, the Cedillo 16-inch Tournament in Yuma in March, and for the past two years at the “Las Vegas 16” October Get Away” tournament in Las Vegas. They have also played in the Maag Charity Tournament in Tempe, AZ in March 2017.
The team has also helped start a “Black Friday 16” Turkey Day” tournament in Chula Vista, CA. This past year the tournament drew 14 teams from Southern California and Arizona.
The OB Phils are proud to have players from varied socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Sixteen-inch softball and team play has created a family atmosphere over the years. Now the organization has seven father and son playing combos and one father-son-grandfather combo. The spouses, significant others and younger children attend the games regularly and travel with the team to its tournaments. The highlight of the year occurs at the Yuma Memorial Tournament at the family Sunday BBQ and pool party.
In 2011, team members created the “OB Phils Hall of Fame” in 2011. Hank was the first inductee and was recognized for his many years as a top player, manager and team/organization sponsor. Each year two new members are inducted at the Annual BBQ in Yuma.
The team truly is “Not Just a Softball Club; We’re Family.”