Snyder’s Masonry

Jim Snyder began sponsoring his team in 1956 and beginning in the mid-1960’s, Snyder’s Masonry went from a local team based in Redford to having a roster of players from the greater Detroit Metropolitan area traveling to more national tournaments. In 1967, the team finished tied for 7th in the ASA Championship, boasting one of the best infields in the country with Cal Carmen, Tony Mazza, Milo Karhu and Bob Green. Most of the roster was comprised of players who were long-time veterans of the team.

Although Snyder’s was a very competitive team, they, along with other top Detroit teams such as Daly’s, Dino’s and others were playing for 2nd place to Michael’s/Little Caesars who was perennially one of the best in the country. Snyder’s only made the ASA Tournament in 1967 because Michael’s was the defending champion and drew an automatic berth.

As a result, Snyder’s became one of the first top teams to join the USSSA along with Dino’s and those teams went to the 1972 Eastern World Tournament in Petersburg,Va. Dino’s finished first with Cal Carmen as MVP and Snyder’s finished 3rd. That same year, Jim Snyder founded the Detroit Major Metro League patterned on the Big Eight League in Milwaukee, that included Little Caesars, Dino’s, Daly’s, Snyder’s and Academy Realty. That League produced the USSSA Men’s World Series Champions, Dino’s in 1974 and Snyder’s in 1975 and 1976. In addition, Dino’s was runner-up in 1973 and Snyder’s was runner-up in 1977.

In 1975, Snyder’s lost in the first round of the Metro League playoffs but bounced back to beat Sol Mintz and Copper Hearth, teams that they had lost to in the regular season, to capture the Championship in Rochester. In 1976, Snyder’s defeated Little Caesar’s who had picked up Stan Harvey, Bert Smith and Denny Hogan and Joe’s Army Navy to win their second straight title in Wyandotte, Michigan. Doug Gerdes was MVP in 1975 and Rick Pinto was MVP in 1976. The team went undefeated in both tournaments.

Jim Snyder along with Dave Neale was one of the best at recognizing and developing young talent. In the early 1970’s, he brought Doug Gerdes, Rick Trudeau, Rick Pinto, Dave Rhodes and Larry Elkins to his team where they became instrumental in the championships that Snyder’s won. He also brought in Chuck Drewicz from Milwaukee and Braxton Speller from North Carolina who went to work in the automotive industry. Drewicz, Speller and Pinto are all in the USSSA Hall of Fame and Gerdes and Trudeau are most deserving of that honor as well.

In 1978, Jim Snyder was one of the founders of the National Slo-Pitch Conference and served as the first president. Snyder’s played in every major tournament throughout the country and put on a hitting exhibition at Dodger Stadium prior to a Reds-Dodgers game in 1977.

Snyder’s last year was 1983 and left a great legacy for national softball.


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