Aaron Pointer

Aaron Pointer's career in sports has taken him to the highest professional level in multiple sports and brought him to the South Puget Sound region. Born April 19, 1942, in Little Rock, Ark., Pointer grew up in Oakland, Calif., and attended University of San Francisco to play baseball and basketball.

Pointer was signed by the Houston Colt .45s as an outfield prospect in 1961 for a $30,000 bonus and proceeded to bat .402 in 93 minor league games playing for Class D Salisbury. That batting average makes Pointer the last professional baseball player to bat better than .400 over a full season of play (as of 2017). He made it to the big-league Colt .45s in September 1963 for his MLB debut, and he returned to the renamed Astros in 1966-67 before being traded to the Chicago Cubs organization in 1968. One of the highlights of his time in Houston came on Sept. 27, 1963, when he was part of an all-rookie lineup that boasted an average age of 19, still the youngest lineup in MLB history. During his time in Houston, he became one of only three professional baseball players who played for Houston under all three identities of Buffs, Colt .45s and Astros.

That trade led Pointer to Tacoma, where he played for the minor league Tacoma Cubs before heading to Japan for three seasons. He played the entire 1969 season in Tacoma, patrolling center field for the Cubs and finishing the season with a career batting average of .272 while helping the team win the Pacific Coast League Championship. He retired from baseball at age 30 and returned to Tacoma, where he took a job with the Pierce County Parks and Recreation Department supervising athletics programs. He began officiating high school football games on the weekends and eventually worked his way up to the small college-level before being hired as the first black refer in the PAC-10 conference. Finally, he made it all the way to the NFL as a game official, where he worked from 1987 through 2003.

Pointer's officiation career has included baseball, basketball and football, including three USSSA National Championships, numerous State and Regional Championships and induction into the Tacoma/Pierce County Oldtimers Baseball/Softball Hall of Fame in 1995 and the USSSA Washington State Hall of Fame in 2001. He officiated three girls WIAA State finals and received two WIAA Meritorious Service Awards. On the gridiron, he officiated two WIAA Class 3A State Finals and numerous NCAA bowl games, including the 1987 Rose Bowl.

Pointer has spent time as a member of the board for the Tacoma Athletic Commission and Metro Parks. Some of his favorite memories from his various sports careers include getting a hit off Sandy Koufax and getting hit by Bob Gibson, as well as officiating an NFL game where the national anthem was sung by his younger sisters – the Pointer Sisters – and a preseason game that included a catch by his son Deron playing for the Indianapolis Colts.