Our first such feature presentation will be a quirky yarn with colorful characters, “The Fan District Softball League Story (1975-94).”
The unorthodox league bubbled up out of the pop culture ooze of the summer of 1973. WGOE, the daytime AM radio station that owned the hippie listening audience in town, inadvertently set it in motion when its promotional softball team of DJs and a few ringers, the ‘Nads, set up and played games against impromptu teams representing a few regular advertisers on the station, mostly bars.
As time wore on real teams began to jell and the Baby Boomer crowds swelled. By 1975 the FDSL had elected its first commissioner, Van “Hook” Shepherd. The championship was won by Cassell’s Upholstery when it beat the Bamboo Cafe in a one-game playoff.
Other teams in that initial year of play with a published schedule were: the Back Door, Sea Dream Leather, Uptop Sub Shop and WGOE. 1976 saw new teams form, such as the Biograph, Hababas, J.W. Rayle, deTreville and the Rainbow Inn. There was usually a keg of free beer on hand, which made the games into well-attended affairs where the distaff side of the generation was well represented.
SLANT’s history of the FDSL will include anecdotes, quotes, standings, Hall of Fame info, photos, cartoons, and lots more. The only place such a story will be seen is in the pages of SLANT.
Note: SLANT’s exclusive feature for its June issue will be the amazing tale of Color Radio (1982-84), Richmond’s wildest station, ever. Eclectic roster of volunteer DJs ... studio over Plan 9 in Carytown ... sounds from punk to funk, rock to Bach ... absolutely no filter.
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