Chickasaw Nation
Vernon Straughn was honored in the Oklahoma Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame in January.

Chickasaw Softball Legend Considered ‘Unhittable’ Named to Okla. Hall of Fame

Gene Lehmann, Chickasaw Nation

“Even when he laid off a pitch, catching stung like a thousand bees,” Lance remembers vividly. “He would just wear you out. His pitches would rock you backward and, man, it hurt so bad.”

Indeed, Straughn’s brother, Glenn, refused to shag pitches with a catcher’s mitt.

“He wore a first baseman’s glove to catch for dad during games,” Lance said.

A first baseman’s mitt is elongated and is heavily webbed. Due to its shape, a ball can be caught without impacting the hand encased within it.

While Glenn Straughn saved his hand, his brother’s fastball destroyed the glove.

“Dad would throw so hard it ripped out the webbing,” Lance said.

Batters could tell when Straughn was “on his game” or “off his game” by the mere sound of the pitch as it raced by them.

“Dad’s pitch had a big ‘whoosh’ sound,” Lance said. “Batters who faced him with regularity could tell by the sound if dad was throwing full bore or pacing himself.”

That doesn’t mean the information helped them hit a Straughn pitch. It didn’t.

Baseball and softball fans live for statistics. While the compete record of Straughn’s 22-year career is not available, here a just a few that are documented:

Of 218 games pitched, he won 167.

Pitched 1,540 innings.

Pitched 14 “no hitters.”

Pitched three perfect games, considered the “coup de etat” of pitching excellence.

Pitched in 17 states, two regional and one national tournament.

In the 80 games where data for both hits and strikeouts are available, Mr. Straughn had 909 strikeouts while giving up 240 hits.

 He had 1,005 strikeouts in 85 games.

If you apply that average to all of the documented games, Mr. Straughn had more than 2,500 strikeouts in 218 games.

Unfortunately, since statistics of games compiled during those years were sporadic at best, putting together a full record of Straughn’s career is difficult.

“Many times, newspapers would publish only the final score,” Lance said.

That won’t deter him from working toward having his father inducted in the National Softball Hall of Fame, however.

“I worked hard to get dad into the state hall of fame in 2012, which would have been the year of his 100th birthday,” Lance said. “I put together all the information available and sent it to the state softball people and never heard a thing back from them. Then, suddenly, I receive a letter saying dad was accepted into the hall of fame this year. 
“We are very pleased and happy,” Lance said. “Now, we can get to work on a national level.”


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