I had trouble with the computer and I may be repeating this one.This is a chapter from my bio at www.townshipnews.us

 

In researching information for this story, I conversed by phone with a couple of reps from the International Softball Congress (ISC). They told me of an individual living in Salt Lake City, Utah by the name of Scott Simons, an ex-ball player who had created a “Trejo Legend.”

Trejo, a legend in Salt Lake City? I’ve never robbed 7-11s in Utah!

I contacted Scott and what he had to say was very flattering. He had heard from a friend that saw a hitter (me) in Phoenix get 4 hits in a game who handled the bat differently each time.

Later, Scott witnessed a game I played in California and he decided to switch from being a right-handed batter to a left-hander. He developed the same type of swing and taped a demonstration to teach others.

Scott attributes this “new found style” to his being selected to the ASA All-American team in ’76 and the ISC in ’80. This became known as the “Trejo Swing” in the Salt Lake area. What an honor.

After my conversation with Scott – “Wow!” you can imagine the thrill I felt when he said he even had 3 license plates with TREJO 1, TREJO 2, and TREJO 3 written on them. I knew a meeting with Scott had to be, for a possible addition to my story; Lil’ Black Cloud or not.

My co-editor, Mabel Leo, a writer with 8 published books, accompanied me on a trip to Salt Lake City a month later. I talked her into hopping a freight train from Phoenix to Salt Lake City to re-experience an adventure I took as a 14-year old to San Francisco.

Two miles out of Phoenix she threatened to destroy my manuscript if we didn’t fly. Two clouds of dust sprang up as we jumped off the train. If you believe that one, you’ll believe IRS employees will begin going to confession this coming Sunday.

I had never been to Salt Lake City and what a beautiful place. It reminds me of how most of our cities used to look, clean, before socialism. Socialism began to deteriorate our cities along with our people.             

When I started playing fast-pitch softball I had heard of some left-handed hitters swinging down on the ball and making it hit the ground and bounce up in front of the plate area allowing enough time to beat the throw to first. I witnessed this in the early ‘50s, and tried it. It was easy for me; especially swinging down against drop balls.

As I’ve said before, (do you remember?) I don’t. As a youth, my type of entertainment hitting a tennis ball against a wall and swinging at bottle caps, plus playing a lot of pepper (hitting the ball back to a row of fielders in front of you) helped develop eye coordination and timing (bat control). I learned hitting balls over the infield to both sides of the infield.

By choking up on the bat, thus giving me bat control needed, I was able to execute the swing while running forward and towards first at the same time. This made sense. It put me closer to the bag at first. That inch or two allowed me to slide underneath the throw when stretching a routine single into a double. This type of swing confused the defense.

The swing gave the pitcher and catcher a new challenge. How to pitch to Trejo? Outfielders played in when they saw me choking up on the bat. And many times at the very last moment I’d slide my hands on the bat and take a regular swing and hit the ball over their heads – often.

When I was in a bunt situation I’d “slap” (swinging bunt) the ball passed the infielders. If they played back, expecting me to “slap,” I just laid the ball down. It was a cat and mouse game taught to me by Raton. (My cat) This is why I loved the game so much. I could be unlike others but still be a team player. Even Lil’ Black Cloud was impressed.

 Don’t recall seeing anyone using my style of swing. When I started playing again in ’63, I began to develop the “Trejo Swing.” I left Phoenix and started playing ball against the best in California; that swing became permanent. Others may have used the same swing, how could I know, I attended both world tournaments (ISC and ASA) and never saw anyone use it.

I started noticing some of the players using the slap swing. Due to, I believe, when I played too close to the batter anticipating a sacrifice. As long as the bunter just laid the ball down, 99.9% of the time I threw him out – easy pickings for me.

Prior to Scott developing and spreading the “Trejo Swing”, no one had seen that type of swing in the area. They said women’s softball began to execute the swing later on, and credit the “Trejo Swing” as being responsible. What can I say…it was all so moving.

While Scott was demonstrating the swing, Lil’ Black Cloud got jealous, and rained out some practices.

True or false about the “Trejo Swing” revolutionizing the hitting game, really, who cares. After all, it’s just a stick and a ball. If anyone has a better story, please contact me. Frankly, I found swinging a broom at bottle caps more challenging.

I’d like to express my gratitude to Scott Simons for the work he did in promoting something he believed in. I saw his videos demonstrating his new-found swing, and by golly, it sure looked like mine.

He wanted me to demonstrate the swing, but I wasn’t up to it. I’ve told others that if I ever took a swing at a ball, I would have to call a cab to get to first. Thank you, Scott for taking an interest in my ability.

After our visit ended and Scott took us to the airport I surprised him with a gift. As we parted I called him back and handed him a purple-velvet tiny container. It was my Hall of Fame ring given to me when I was inducted into the Hall of Fame of fast-pitch softball.

He was a little shocked not knowing how to react other than saying thanks, of course. He later told me he had a little wooden display case made on which he has the ring mounted and displays it in his office desk. I was just as thrilled of the license plate he gave me (TREJO 2) as he was of the ring.

All my life I’ve been that type of personality that just can’t “wait.” As a young kid I don’t remember awakening to day light – I would be off and running before the sun said hello. Later in life aboard the ship in the Navy the alarm to get out of the sleeping rack would sound off at 6:00 a.m. I was aboard that ship for three years and never found myself still in bed when the alarm went off.

All my working days I would always be the first one at work. When I played ball I was always the first at the park. When I drove a cab in Las Vegas I’d drive off the yard before my shift started. At social gatherings I was always first at the table. Always in a hurry as if I didn’t want to be left behind or miss anything.

I even found humor in my quirky personality. At my funeral services I’d be waiting at the cemetery for the procession. At the crematory my daughter would show up with a bag full of my ashes and ask for a discount. And of course you remember me telling you about going to a dance with my father and going home with my future mother the next morning.

Larry Miller, of Toyota Miller; owner of the Utah Jazz and a great sponsor of softball teams in Utah, I never met. But through a mutual friend he had heard of my ball-playing career. In 1969 I played in a world tournament and Larry was there.

When I published my book I sent him a copy. He’s secretary sent me an e-mail and wanted my address because Mr. Miller wanted to send something to me.

A few days later a CD arrived. (Caramba! I was expecting a new Toyota) I quickly played it, not knowing what to expect.  It was a video he had taped of me playing a game in a ’69 tournament. What a thrill – a multi-millionaire taking such an interest in my ball playing.

By now my girlfriend, Mabel Leo, understands my personality quirk. As we were watching the tape she had never seen me swing a bat and when she saw me running into the ball she remarked that I couldn’t wait for the ball to get there as I ran to meet it.

I had never stopped to think why I was like that. And when Mabel pointed it out – it convinced me of the old adage – a picture is worth a thousand words. I have to go now I’ve got an appointment at the pearly gates – I’ve got a reservation to make.                     

 

 SLC 002


 We’re laughing because I asked Scott,

 Shouldn’t a car be attached to it?

 

 

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