Our family Little League story begins with “Big Jim the Arm” Armsberg (aka Papa). Jim, a South Dakota farm boy who learned to be a flame throwing pitcher by throwing rocks at rabbits, moved to Wenatchee, Washington, in 1953. This was the first year Wenatchee ever had organized Little League baseball. Jim continued pitching up through high school where now his name is engraved in our high school Hall of Fame for 1959. He earned a baseball/basketball scholarship to Seattle University. After college he played eight years of semi-pro baseball in the Seattle area.
Jim married high school sweetheart, Darla, aka Grammie, and they produced three more pitchers who played many years in Little League with Jim coaching and Darla score keeping.
Timmy, the oldest, was selected the Medford, Oregon, Black Tornado MVP for baseball in 1980 and earned a scholarship to Merced Community College in California, which led him to San Diego State College where he was selected to play in the Pan-American Games in Cuba in 1985.
Tim went on to play professionally for the Houston Astro organization for three years in the minor leagues. He presently assists coaching baseball at the Golden Valley High School where his three sons have or will attend. They have all had their time on the mound, too.
Our next pitcher, Bradley, was featured as a twelve year old Little Leaguer in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd.” He had hit 17 home runs in 18 games and pitched and won nine of their 18 games.
Brad followed his brother to Merced Community College and had an opportunity to pitch at Fullerton State but chose instead to sign professionally with the New York Yankees. His first Major League start was in Yankee Stadium! He also pitched for the Texas Rangers organization where his claim to fame came in 1990 when he saved Nolan Ryan’s 300th win. Brad is presently the major league pitching coach for the Toronto Blue Jays. Brad has two sons in Arlington, TX, who are also pitchers.
Baby sister, Tressa Savarino, a Blanco resident, followed in her brothers’ footsteps by playing Little League softball in Medford, Oregon. She pitched her high school Black Tornados to the Oregon State Softball Championship in 1984. Tressa went on to pitch at Taft Community College in California on scholarship. She now coaches the Little League softball team of her daughter, Payton, along with assistance from Papa. Daughter-in-law Dawn played high school and college softball and played semi-pro softball in Italy for one season where only one foreign ball player per team was invited.
The Little League Softball team of our daughter-in-law, Shelley, won the Little League Softball World Series in 1979! Shelley was also a pitcher.
Billy Savarino, son-in-law, played college ball at the University of Houston. He played professionally for the Oakland A’s organization for three years in the minor leagues. He is presently President of the Blanco Little League where both his daughters, Presley and Payton, are continuing the family tradition of being pitchers.
We can attest to the fact that Little League is a wonderful team sport that creates team players throughout life. We have fantastic memories of many exciting days at “the park” and plan to continue creating more. “Play Ball!!!”