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Michael Staschak

It is extremely interesting on how much effect fate has on our lives. In Mike Staschak’s case, if he hadn’t hit a homerun in a celebrity softball game he would not be receiving the Andy Palich Award for 2004. Don Krizo had set up a softball game with a team of celebrities versus a Stow team made up of men 70 years and older. He asked Staschak, the Marketing Director for the Chapel Hill Mall, to participate. After then 62-year old Staschak’s homerun, which aided the celebrity team’s win, he got several congratulatory phone calls. It prompted him to call Krizo and say, “I think we’re onto something here!” That game occurred in 1986 and one year later the Akron Silver League, with competition in softball and basketball, was born. That first year began with only four softball teams. Today there are some 425 or so players on 36 teams in five divisions from age 50 to over 67. The oldest competitor is 83. That first year finished in the red as a few umpires were not paid. The players in 1988 were asked to fork over extra money and restitution was finally made to those unpaid umpires. Today the Silver League softball budget is over $30,000. The organization of the Silver League is unique in that every year a player is on a different team. “We balance each team with four levels of players,” explained Mike, “that way it is very competitive and no one can build a dynasty.” In basketball there are over 100 players in two divisions on 10-12 teams. Staschak has been an active player, manager and officer in both sports. He was president of the softball league the first two years and has been on the board of directors for 18 years. At age 80 Staschak is the oldest player in basketball, where he has been the chief administrator for all 17 years.

Inducted 2004 | Basketball, Softball