Jerry Pendergast, whose Miami-based catering company serviced airlines and other top clients, began sponsoring a men's slo-pitch team in the mid-1970's. Ernie Yaroshuk was the player-manager and the team was made up primarily of Florida-based players although Al White was recruited from Tennessee. In 1974, Yaroshuk, White and Jerry's lifer James Washington led the team to a 2nd place finish in the ASA Championship in York, Pa., falling to Howard's in the Finals.
From then on, with the exception of 1978 when Jerry's did not field a team, they were a perennial power, finishing near the top of every major regular season and championship tournament. In 1980, Jerry's was featured in Sports Illustrated and was favored to win it all but came up short in the national championship tournaments.
The following year, Greg Fuhrman, who had played with Jerry's in 1976 and 1977, returned to the team but again, they came up short. In 1982, Yaroshuk returned as manager, the team added Bruce Meade, Mike Parrott and Denny Jones and Jerry's won their first national titles, the ASA Super and the USSSA Major. They repeated as USSSA Champions in 1983 and played one more season in 1984 before disbanding. Among the many stars who played for Jerry's in addition to Meade, Parrott, Jones and Washington were Joe Young, Craig Elliott, James Boyett, Curtis Williams, Mike Nye, and Bert Smith.
Big Cat's remarks:
In 1980 and 1981 Jerry's was coached by Doc Brownholtz. During those years Jerry's still wore the Orange and Brown colors. The article that had the Jerry's team in it was all about the Bump. Home runs were called Bumps in the early 1980's. Two of the masters of the Bump was Craig Elliott and James Boyett.... As we talk about how there were boundries for the sponsors on just what they could do and not do as far as recruiting players.... You had to live in those boundries...
So in 1980 while Craig Elliott was pitching and playing for Jerry's out of Miami, the Alabama ASA Commisioner at the time Pat Adkinson said that Craig could not play in the ASA Men's Open that was going to be played in Montgomery, Alabama. Reason being is because the ASA Commisioner said he was breaking the rules by living in Alabama but playing for a Miami, Florida team. So Craig who had his own ditching and paving company decided to take the ASA to court and fight for the ruling... When it was all said and done the Cranker had won the case and they said that year in 1980 you could play for any team anywhere in the United States. The 300 mile radius was lifted and that was established because of Craig.....
Jerry was instrumental in the restoration of the Men's Basketball Program at his alma mater, University of Miami, in the mid-1980's and he is still honored by the school each year for his commitment.
1983 Men's Major USSSA World Series was held at Greensboro, North Carolina.
Champion – Jerry’s Caterers, Miami, Florida
Runner Up – Steele’s Sports, Grafton, Ohio
Led by Bruce Meade, Jerry’s Caterers beat an upstart Steele’s Sports in the final. Jerry’s came through the losers bracket and beat Steele’s twice in the finals. The top 5 hitters on Jerry’s (Meade, Harold Kelley, Denny Jones, Mike Bowlin and Mike Cellura) totaled 64 home runs during the tournament. That was more then most teams hit total.
This makes what Bruce Meade did that much more impressive as he shattered the USSSA HR record for a single World Series with 18.
Jerry’s beat Steeles 25-20 on Meade’s 4-5, 3 HR performance in the first final and then won the title going away 26-12 as Meade once again was 4-5 with 3 more HRs. Doug Brown and Mike Cellura also hit 3 homers in that game.
Here is something that will tell you why Bruce Meade was the MVP. On the last day of the tournament, Bruce Meade was 17-19 with 14 HRs.