The city of Louisville has long been associated with the sport of softball, and in the 70’s stars aligned to form quite possibly the city’s greatest softball duo.
Bud Gagel is for countless area softball fans a legendary manager of Louisville’s famed Jiffy Club.
A softball team that produced some of the most exciting games in the history of national softball, the Jiffy Club established their dominance under the tutelage of Gagel; who took the team over in 1968 after sponsoring the team for several years prior.
The Louisville native early on proved his managerial skills in the Kentuckiana area winning thirteen metro championships.
It was in 1972 when Gagel’s squad won the Men’s National Slow Pitch Championship. At this point it was clear that the Jiffy Club was becoming a legacy team in the sport of softball and this was proved the following year when the team won the World Series of Softball.
For his work Gagel was honored by the city’s chamber of commerce and received an induction into the Amateur Softball Association of America’s hall of fame in 1977.
Playing for Gagel as a true all star on the Jiffy team and following him to that hall of fame as a 2000 inductee was Bill Gatti.
Gatti’s story goes back to his college days at the University of Louisville; as a Cardinal Gatti was a standout football and baseball star. Despite his stand out abilities he had trouble drumming up to much professional interest in either sport.
So, Gatti looked to slow-pitch softball and while Gagel started his second year managing the Jiffy Club Gatti become a dominant force for another Louisville ball club, the Guards. It wasn’t actually until 1971 that the young man joined with the future champs.
An offensive machine Gatti was a home run hitter, plain and simple and it was with the combination of Gagel’s leadership and Gatti’s bat that the Jiffy Club reached their full potential.
Image courtesy of Find Free Graphics
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