Colorful Characters

Over the years, we have had our share of colorful characters in the club. Players who come to mind are Joe Paris, who would hunch over the table and with dogged determination proceed to block the world away. Ken VanDewater’s cries of missed “bunnies” are remembered. Charlie Burroughs, when he wasn’t hurling fast pitch softball shutouts at Kodak Park, or weight lifting, or skiing down the local slopes, played at the top Rochester level in the Classic League for a few decades, and owned County Doubles championships for the 60’s-80’s, also. Tony Natale, a world ranked horseshoe player, offered up a unique backhand flick, and Steve Kazak would unnerve you with his stone face. Andy Anvelt chattered to noone in particular (or to whoever might be listening), and could recite match scores dating back 3 decades or so. Lefty and many time, talented champion Jim Shoots practiced endlessly, and the effervescent Bill Spry, with shouts of “Super Loop” deserve mention. Walt Stephens had an array of bats that were equipped with lights and music, and he once made a paddle that weighed 3 and ½ pounds! “Wrong Way” Halladay caused opponents’ body contortions, and Doug “the BLOCK” Kleinhammer gives extra effort, mostly from the backhand side. Wayne “Mad Dog” Carney gave new meaning to giving 110%. And, check out some of the old ping pong paddles that Marty Salata has. He has original paddles that were made in or around 1910 (!) and a full set of paddles from the 1930 era. Marty donated his collection for history purposes to the Strong Museum in 2013.