Fun Facts about
SJCC Softball League
For more than 30 years, the SJCC Co-Ed Softball League has been a mainstay of Seattle summers. This year, 28 teams competed for championship titles in four divisions. Maybe you’ve played on a team or watched a few games, but below are some fun facts you may not have known about the J’s best-kept secret!
in 2014, the league is thrilled to have facilitator Tiger Budbill in our dugout. Not only is he an organizational master who’s been in charge of scheduling 450 games this summer, but he’s also a pretty cool guy. He was a contestant on season 1 of X Factor, runs a karaoke company called Cat Daddy Entertainment, and spent some time as the Mariners Moose. Learn more about Tiger and the 2014 softball league.
At one time, the SJCC Softball League was considered the largest Jewish softball league in the U.S.
The league started in 1981 as part of an outreach program for Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath Congregation in Seward Park; games were played at Miller Field on Capitol Hill.
A longtime captain of the league noted that:
“One clearly stated purpose for starting the league was to provide a family-oriented ‘safe’ social venue for young people in the Jewish community. Players could meet others on their own teams, of course, but many of the single players used the league as a vehicle for meeting players on other teams. This is one of those instances when you can say that softball was more than just softball. The league played a crucial role in fostering lifelong friendships between strangers who became teammates, as well as countless marriages and children. Because of these connections, the league helped create a stronger Jewish community.”
In the first year, there were six teams representing local synagogues in the Greater Seattle area including Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath, Sephardic Bikur Holim, Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Herzl-Ner Tamid, and Congregation Beth Shalom. The sixth team was an all-Jewish singles team. By the 1990s, the league grew to more than 30 teams!
The first-ever league championships pitted Temple De Hirsch against All-City Jewish Singles. Four years later, the two teams met again in the championship game, which ended with a tied score at the bottom of the seventh inning.
One of the founding teams, Congregation Beth Shalom, is still led by its original captain, Stan Sorscher. Ron Pergamit, former league committee chairman, is another player from the inaugural season who still plays today.
It’s estimated that nearly 5,000 people have played in the league since its inception.
In 1984, the SJCC adopted the league as one of its programs; our very own Matt Grogan (former SJCC Director, Facility Operations) spearheaded the project!
In 1988, the league moved to South Mercer Playfields on Mercer Island which could accommodate four games at a time – a much needed change to fulfill the ever-expanding league.
The Bitewings (2014 A League champs) began as a D team and worked their way up to the A level.