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 are 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 d'etat” of pitching excellence.
• Pitched in 17 state, two regional and one national tournament.
• In the 80 games where data for both hits and strikeouts are available, Straughn had 909 strikeouts while giving up 240 hits.
• He had 1,005 strike outs in 85 games.
If you apply that average to all of the documented games, 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 into the National Softball Hall of Fame, however.