R.T. Nelson built a highly successful company, Nelson’s Painting Services, in Oklahoma City, where the company fulfilled government painting contracts. His son, Mike, encouraged him to get involved in men’s slow pitch softball and in 1974, he sponsored a successful team that won over 80 games. The next year, he began recruiting players from around the country who often worked for his company, including Mike Nye from Northern Florida. Nelson’s had another successful season at 98-13, this time expanding their schedule to various national tournaments but they failed to make it to the ASA Nationals.
Mr. Nelson resumed his quest for a championship in 1977 when he brought Bruce Meade, Herman Rathman, Al White, Joe Young, Henry Koper and Bill Howes to join his son, Terry Perryman, Dean Brunken, Homer Salazar and other Oklahoma based stars. Mike Nye was also a member of that team early on but he left in the middle of May to join Detroit Caesars of the Pro League who he eventually helped lead to 2 championships.
The 1977 team finished at 111-18 and won the ASA Championship, coming out of the losers’ bracket to defeat Ken Sanders twice in 2 one-run games that came down to the final at-bat. Meade, Rathman, White and Koper made the All-World Team with Meade named as co-MVP with Craig Elliott. Young also played a huge role in that title.
The 1978 team, still featuring Meade, Rathman and Perryman, got to the ASA Nationals where they lost to Howard’s. In 1979, Nelson’s once again conducted a national recruiting effort, landing Richard Willborn, Bill Ferguson, Buddy Slater and Mickey McCarty from CC Brick in San Antonio to go along with Myles Schexnadre, Danny Basso, Chic Downing and the return of Joe Young. This nucleus enabled Nelson’s to capture the NSPC and USSSA Championships. Because of ASA residency rules, many of the Nelson’s players were unable to play in the ASA Nationals . However, Nelson’s fielded a team, Nelco, led by Meade, Young, Perryman, Earl Chambers, Dean Brunken and Ed Berg went undefeated, beating favorite Campbell’s Carpets in the championship game.
Nelson’s became the first of three consecutive Triple Crown winners. Unfortunately, after accomplishing this great achievement, Bob Nelson disbanded his team and retired from softball.