|Birth: ||Dec. 18, 1919|
|Death: ||Mar. 16, 2007|
Fast Pitch-Legend dies.
Age 87. Son of the late Owen Nathan and Millie Williams Dudley. Married to Lucille Futch of Lynchburg. A record-setting strikeout king who made the Clearwater Bombers one of the biggest names in fast pitch softball.
"He really put Clearwater on the map," said teammmate Junie Trombly, who played with Mr. Dudley from 1946 to 1951. "We had no TV back then. The whole town would turn out for the games." Standing on a rubber 46 feet from home plate, Mr. Dudley could windmill the ball 90 mph and was practically spoon-feeding the catcher by the time he was finished with his stride.
"I'd find (the opposing team's batters') weakness and place in that zone," Mr. Dudley said.
In a Hall of Fame career spanning five decades (1940-81), Mr. Dudley hurled at least 100 no-hitters and won at least 1,000 games.
There, fans cheered on a team that made the Guinness Book of World Records for winning 10 national men's fast-pitch softball championships between 1950 and 1973.
Mr. Dudley is considered one of the 10 greatest pitchers in the history of men's fast-pitch softball." said Bill Plummer III, manager of American Sosftball Association Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Some may even consider him the greatest because he played in an era that was highly competitive."
But Mr.Dudley, a member of Calvary Baptist Church, put his faith before sports. During a World Softball Tournament in the mid 1950's, he refused to pitch two Bomber games scheduled on a Sunday. His team lost the morning game but won in the afternoon. "I can play softball every other day of the week," he said at the time. "I don't need to play on Sunday." "He was a very Christian man," Trombly said. "No foolishness in the clubhouse. No curising, swearing. But he was fair."
He came here in the early 1930's from Youngstown. He got his start in fast-pitch softball in 1935 at the age of 16 while still at Clearwater High School.
He pitched for Clearwater Bombers, originally named Blackburn Bombers, from 1940-1958 and brought Clearwater it's first state championship in 1946, and runnerup honors in the 1948 men's national tournament. Mr. Dudley struck out 55 hitters in a 21-inning game against OK in the 1949 World Tournament in Little Rock, AR., to establish a single-game pitching record considered unbeatable. He was named Most Valuable Player in three national tournaments and pitched in a record 17 tournaments sonce his start in 1949. He received a master's degree and was a teacher for 30 years at Clearwater High School. He was the most sought after pitching instructor in the country during the 1980's.
He held more than 1,000 clinics at schools throughout the U.S.
BY THE NUMBERS
1,000 Estimated games he won.
100 Estimated no-hitters he threw.
61 Age when he pitched his last game.
55 Strikeouts in a 21-inning game.
10 ASA national championships he won.
5 ASA All-America honors.
2 MVP awards in national championships.
St. Petersburg Times March 20, 2007,
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, David Dudley of Prattsville, AL and Tom Dudley of Oldtown; three daughters, Rebecca Deas of Lynchburg, Susanelizabeth Turner of Melborne and Sharon Jenkins of Clearwater; his sister, Agnes D. Melvin of Phenix City, AL; 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. A Funeral Service will be held Friday 2:00 PM at Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home with Rev. Bruce Turner officiating. Interment will follow in Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Friday from 12:30 PM until service time.
Owen Nathan Dudley (1878 - 1951)
Millie Agnes Dudley (1884 - 1981)
Lucille Futch Dudley (1924 - 2013)*
Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park
Created by: Iriss Hill
Record added: Jun 10, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38190504
Thanks for the memories, Herb. As kids in Clearwater, we all tried to learn to pitch softball the way you did, and some of us did OK, but never to achieve the speed, control, and "stuff" that you put on the ball. My Dad was the radio "voice of the Bombers...(Read more)|
Added: Oct. 23, 2011
Thanks for the memories|
Added: Jan. 28, 2010
Added: Jun. 10, 2009