Frank Cey

Frank Cey was born in Ohio in 1926 and came out to Washington in 1946 where he was stationed at Ft. Lewis. During the 1946-47 season Frank was player/coach of the Ft. Lewis team which won the All 6th-Army Fastpitch Championships. A catcher by trade, Frank played under manager Earl Kuper for the 38th Street team which played in the revitalized City League in 1949 where most games were played in Lincoln Bowl. He also played for the 6th Avenue entry under Art Berg and for Gus Paine of the "K" Street club. He also competed in the City League with Billings Electric, Fern Hill, and for the Tacoma Eagles of the Valley League. He began working as a Unocal dealing in 1952 and moved to a new location in Lakewood where he operated Cey�s Union 76 Service Station from 1954-1996. Over the years Frank could be counted on to sponsor youth and adult teams for well over 35 years.

After leaving the military service Frank got married and he began to work at NW Door by the 11th Street Bridge. A co-worker introduced Cey to Boots Christian, owner of Pacific Mutual Fuels, located across the street from NW Door. They became friends and Frank approached Boots and convinced him to sponsor the Pacific Mutual Fuels women�s fastpitch team starting in 1949.

At the young age of 23, Frank Cey took over the reins as coach of the team many referred to as the Tacoma Fuelerettes. While many of the girls had some experience playing together at Midland Junior High and their summer recreation team called the Midland Tigers several years earlier, the team was still inexperienced when it came to the fundamentals of the game.

"Most of the girl's didn't really know how to take infield practice so we spent a lot of time learning that. And then I took them out to a baseball field in Puyallup and taught them how to slide. I will tell you one thing�there was absolutely no hesitation on the part of these women when it came to taking someone out with a slide. They were tough when they took the field," remarked Cey.

Cey commented, "We had a pretty good team and finished fourth one year at the state tournament. We had a good group of women and while some of them weren't what you would call really outstanding, they all contributed and worked hard which allowed us to play well as a team. I kept a pretty tight lid on them. I'd find out where they hung out at night and then I'd go out and check up on them after the game. We didn't have any problems."

"Pat Strachan was a big, strong, versatile player for us. She was intimidating when she toed the mound and I knew that I could bring her in in the middle of a tough spot and she'd find a way to get us out of the jam. Dee Sagmiller was as fluid and confident of a player as one could want. She was strong for her stature and she made everything look easy. If I had to pick one person as the team leader, however, it would have to be our catcher, Dorothy Miskar. She was a real workhorse. She was like a locomotive behind the plate�ain't nobody moving her out! She was a little older than the rest of the girls and I think they looked up to her because of her experience and work ethic," recalled Cey.

"I coached the Fuelerettes for two seasons but with my son, Ron, to raise and playing baseball and working as well it just got to be too much. But, I sure had a great time and some wonderful memories with that team," concluded Frank.