Men’s slow pitch softball in Northern Florida had been growing in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Jo’s Pizza, featuring H.T. Waller, finished second to Milwaukee Copper Hearth in the 1969 ASA Championship. Other teams were very competitive as well although most did not go to some of the big tournaments like the Stroh’s or Ohio Valley Classic during the regular season and if they didn’t win their Regional tournaments, they did not get as much national exposure. It was Harold Warren in Jacksonville who brought Florida its first Men’s Slow Pitch National Championship when his Warren Motors team won the ASA in 1976 in their hometown of Jacksonville, finishing the year with a 94-2 record.
He assembled players who came for the most part from the North Florida, including some of the best to ever play the game. Bruce Meade, Mike Nye and Ronnie Ford were the biggest stars along with Ray Fleetwood and Lonnie Turner and were managed by a top softball man, Darrell Leake. Mike Nye hit .769 that year and he and Ronnie were the co-MVPs of the ASA Championship Tournament.
The next year, despite losing Meade to Nelson’s, Fleetwood to Howard’s and Ford and Nye to Detroit Caesars (Nye started that year with Nelson’s), Warren still finished in the top 10 at the ASA Championship. Unfortunately, as other sponsors continued to recruit their players, Warren Motors was disbanded. However, that team will always have a prominent place in softball history.