Another member of the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame dies
Walter ‘Satch’ Pakele, who made his pitch with Big Island teams in the Amateur Softball Association and later coached at the UH Hilo died earlier this month after a bout with cancer. He was 65.
Pakele had a reputation of being one of the greatest men’s fastball pitchers in Hawaii.
Pakele pitched for the Kalakoas Softball Club in 1977 and hurled 64 complete games en route to 54 victories to lead his team to four tournament championships as well as a Parks and Recreation title.
Pakele was inducted into the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.
He also pitched for Puueo Poi and the Hilo Fil-Americans.
Pakele went on to assist Calen Perreira at Hilo High, which was his alma mater, and then followed Perreira to UHH where h became the Vulcan pitching coach.
Pakele joins Honomu Rocket legend Martin Esteban Jr., who also died of cancer on Jan 3, 2012. Esteban was also a member of the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame.
The BISHF will add black ribbons on the photo to those that passed in 2012. You can see all those inducted into the BISHF on the PKP wall next to Macy’s Men’s Shop and IHOP.
The BISHF was founded by the late Jack Matsui.
The Big Island Sports Hall of Fame has decided to forego nominations and inductions for 2012.
BISHF directors meet with Price Kuhio Plaza management and together decided that the current wall of Fame in the Plaza is out of existing wall space to accommodate an additional class of inductees, according to BISHF Chairman, Jerry Chang.
“We met with Kimberly Shimabuku and Beverly Crudele of PKP and they expressed their concerns that we are running out of space on the existing wall,” Chang said.
Shimabuku and Crudele informed the BISHF that PKP will be going through a complete renovation in 2013 and they felt that would be a good time to relocate the wall to a bigger space to make the necessary improvement.
“The board decided to wait till after the renovation and location of new wall space before inducting a new class,” Chang said
The BISHF currently pays a monthly rental fee to PKP for the wall space which is located next Macy’s and IOP.
The Big Island Sports Hall of Fame was founded by the late Jack Matsui.
Gerry Meyer, a highly respected baseball coach for decades working with youth, high school and college players, has been selected the 2011 Big Island Sportsperson of the Year. A former star pitcher in his early days, he has spent countless hours helping young players hone their skills on the diamond, a positive trend that has continued for years and years.
Over the years there have been many sports legends that have left their mark on our island community. One such baseball legend is Gerry Earl Meyer who I recently had the pleasure of meeting at the rededication of the ‘Wall’.
Meyer had begun to make his mark during the late 1940’s and early 50’s as a basketball and baseball star for the Honokaa Dragons.
“I was lucky enough to receive a baseball scholarship to Fresno State College,” Meyer said. “Right out of high school I signed and played with the Tigers in the Hawaii baseball League in Honolulu before leaving for college.”
In 1953 Meyer signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and pitched in the California League. “I injured my left index finger after the season and that ended my future hopes of going any further in professional baseball,” he said.
Meyer returned to the Big Island in 1954 and pitched for the Hilo All-Stars Senior League against the Ed Lopat Major League All-Stars.
“I pitched under coaches George Thompson with the Lincoln Wreckers and James Correa of the Puna Braves,” Meyer said.
In 1955 Meyer got to be the starting pitcher against New York when the Yankees came to Hoolulu Park to play an exhibition game.
During his illustrious career in sports Meyer had won a variety of honors and in 1960 reached the pinnacle of his pitching career. While playing in the Hilo Baseball league Meyer pitched five consecutive shutouts in 102 innings of work and allowed only two earned runs for a remarkable 0.17 earned run average.
“During that pitching string I was able to strike out 88 batters and walked 14,” he said. Meyer finish the 1960 season with 12 wins and 2 loses with 121 strike-outs and a 0.32 ERA.
Needless to say that Meyer received the Most Valuable Player Award for his stellar performance during the 1960 season.
Four years later Meyer led the Hilo All-Stars to the first ever state championship. “This was the first time an outside island team ever won,” Meyer said. “Honolulu had dominated the baseball state title for a number of years, so this was a high point for us.”
Throughout four decades Meyer had not only played sports but helped the community with his knowledge through coaching.
“I helped organize the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) in Honokaa and I coached Little League baseball, boy’s basketball, women’s softball and men’s fast pitch softball,” he said.
Meyer was also the assistant Varsity Baseball coach and assistant Junior Varsity basketball coach at Honokaa under head coaches Jackie Kitagawa and Harry Kim.
“I’ve coached for over 40 years and with a number of different teams,” Meyer said. “In 1976 I was President of the Hilo Junior Golf Association and together with Larry Tanimoto was instrumental in obtaining slots for Hawaii to the Junior World Golf Tournament in San Diego.”
Meyer even coached three years at for the Hilo College Vulcans Baseball Team. “I was the pitching coach for the Vulcans, from 1986 to ’88,” he said. In those final two years the team made it to the College World Series in Idaho.”
Along the way Meyer also coached a variety of talented Big Island Interscholastic Federation pitchers, two of which were named the BIIF Players of the Year.
“I am honored to give of my time and the knowledge to all of the youngsters that have had the pleasure of working with and over the years two young pitchers, Aaron Correa and Charles Haasenritter were named players of the year in the BIIF,” Meyer said.
Today the retired Police Sergeant continues to help whoever and whenever he can. “I have parents and coaches that still call me for help,” Meyer said. “I continue to give back to the community with my knowledge as I work with youngsters from age 9 to college.”
Meyer has always believed in bringing young pitchers along slowly. “I do not let my young pitchers throw any curves, it’s not necessary, so as not to ruin their career at a young age,” he said.
There have also been difficult moments for Coach Meyer as he’s watched some of his players style of throwing changed in later development. “There are times when it becomes very frustrating when coaches try to change the mechanics of the pitchers I work with and they will call me and tell me that they are confused and having a hard time,” Meyer said.
Meyer is just one of the many fine examples of people that have been inducted into the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame’s mission is dedicated to honor, preserve and promote knowledge of significant accomplishments in sports within the County of Hawaii and those that have been selected, like Meyer, have put in countless years of expertise into helping promote a positive experience in sports participation.
The annual awards are part of the athlete of the month program sponsored by Don’s Grill, under owner Don Hoota. The athlete of the month as well as athlete and sportsperson of the year programs were founded by the late Jack Matsui. Wong, also the 2007 Big Island Athlete of the Year winner, and Meyer each received a plaque and a $100 gift certificate from Don’s Grill.
The monthly winners and athlete of the year are chosen by the program’s selection committee, which includes Costales, Hugh Clark, Goya and chairman Bill O’Rear. The sportsperson of the year is chosen from nominations submitted by the public.
Esteban passed away at home on Tuesday, Jan 3, surrounded by his 4 children and wife Edie. It was a peaceful passing, according to daughter Tina (Esteban) Cook. He was 77 years old.
Esteban lost his battle to Bile Duct cancer.
Esteban lettered in three sports in high School; basketball, baseball and football while growing up on the island of Lanai and later O’ahu.
It was baseball that Esteban is best known for, as he pitched six no hitters while in high school. During his senior year of high school Esteban attended Farrington on the island of Oahu where he was named Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year.
For his many outstanding contributions to sports Esteban was inducted into the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
Esteban also played softball for the Honomu Rockets as part of the Hawaii County Senior Citizens Softball league and had a very long and distinguished career.
He’s survived by his wife of 52 years, Edie, three sons; Nate, Greg and Martin and daughter, Tina.
Services are through Dodo Mortuary. Celebration of Life is for this Sunday the 8th, 9-11a visitation, with a Memorial service starting at 11a at Dodo Mortuary
The. following story was written four years ago by the Big Dog, when Martin Esteban, Jr. was still swinging a strong bat for the Honomu Rockets.
BIG DOG Story on Martin Esteban, Jr. (August 13, 2007)
There’s nothing more exciting in life then to be able to do things that are truly fun in life, especially when they are exercise related.
For Martin Esteban, Jr. the love of sports came at a very early age as this multi-talented individual excelled in a variety of sports activities and continues to enjoy the benefits of participation into his 70’s.
“I’ve always loved sports,” said Esteban, “especially baseball.”
Growing up as a teenager, on theislandofLanai, Esteban made a name for himself in basketball, football and baseball, lettering in all three sports for 3 years while on the Pineapple Isle.
“The school was so small that I had to play offense and defense in football,” said Esteban, “and I played forward in basketball.”
Esteban was an all purpose football player atLanaias he was both a running back and part time quarterback, then played free safety while on defense.
But it was baseball where Esteban wowed the crowds. “I pitched 6 to 8 no hitters while atLanai,” said Esteban, “I can’t remember exactly, as it was such a long time ago”
Esteban was also asked to pitch for the Plantation League at age 14 and went on to throw another three no hit games.
Because of his growing reputation Esteban was contacted by Adrian De Mello, who was one of the top officials in the league and who also had connections with Dole Plantation. De Mello asked Esteban to join the Summer Baseball League inHonoluluwhich was primarily made up of adults.
“I was only 16 when I joined the Honolulu Braves for summer baseball,” recalls Esteban, “and at that time my best pitches was my fastball, a natural curve and a slider.”
In his senior year Esteban’s father became ill with asthma and both decided to move toHonolulu. “It was too moist living onLanai,” said Esteban, “and my dad’s health required us to move to a drier area.”
As a result Esteban finished his senior year atFarringtonHigh School. “I tried to get intoSt. Louisand Iolani,” said Esteban, “but both schools didn’t want me because I was a senior.”
At Farrington Esteban got to play starting forward on the basketball team and ended up playing St. Louis for the league championship in which Esteban scored the winning basket.
“Our basketball team went on to beat Kohala in the Shrine Territorial Championships in 1952 to claim the territorial title,” said Esteban.
Farrington recognized Esteban for his outstanding talents on the court and on the baseball diamond by proclaiming him the Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year.
One month after graduating from high school Esteban’s father passed away. “It was a difficult time for me as my parents were divorced and I had lived with my dad,” said Esteban. “I felt lost and alone and for a time stayed with friends.”
Right after high school Esteban also had an opportunity to go toJapanand play professional baseball, but with the death of his father some of those dreams faded.
Esteban went on to attendClarkCollegeinWashingtonwhere he became a walk on for football, basketball and baseball athlete and was awarded a three year scholarship.
Throughout most of his life Esteban continued to play basketball and baseball while maintaining a strong physical workout schedule.
“I believe in lifting weights on a regular basis,” said Esteban, “and I continue to lift almost each day for about an hour.”
Adding to Esteban’s routine is an hour a day on a stationary bike to maintain his cardiovascular system.
“I’m also careful with what I eat as I watch my fat and sugar intake,” Esteban said, “I’ll eat lots of fruits and veggies and prefer chicken and fish over beef.”
Now, at age 73, Esteban continues to pitch for the Honomu Rockets senior softball team.
“Martin is an exceptional athlete,” said Harold Uyeno, a longtime friend and teammate. “Even though he has knee problems Martin still gives 100% and is a key player, outstanding pitcher and good batter on this team.”
Martin Esteban, Jr. was inducted into the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame seven years ago for his long list of athletic accomplishments and continues to play and contribute to the sport that he has loved since childhood.
“We all began to slow down as we age,” said Esteban, “but if we continue to exercise and stay fit we can continue to have fun and participate in the activities that we’ve always enjoyed.”
“I believe in having fun and I sometimes indulge,” said Esteban, “but the key is to do everything in moderation.”
Don’t let age be an excuse to slow you down or put you on the sidelines. If you take good care of your body by eating the right foods and maintaining a healthy fitness program you’ll be able to slow the aging process.
The Big Island Sports Hall of Fame will have a ceremony at the Wall of Fame in the Prince Kuhio Mall on Sunday, August 21 at 10:30 am followed by a luncheon at the Nani Mau Gardens at noon.
The BISHF announced last month the seven inductees for the 13th class into the Wall of Fame as:
Sam Alameda, Sr. – basketball and Manager of the Waiakea Boxing Club
Dennis Asuncion (deceased) – Boxing, Coach and Official
Olizario Galo Fernandez – Basketball, Baseball and Coach
Robert Fitzgerald – Football and Baseball
Charles Ikeda – Basketball, Coach and Recreational Leader for Youth Organizations
John Clifford Kekua, Jr. (deceased) Canoe Paddling and Coach
Stephen L. Perry – Athletic Director, Coach, State Athletic Golf Coordinator
The seven inductees will be introduced and their photos will be displayed on the wall at the Prince Kuhio Plaza. The public is invited to attend the unveiling and past inductees are encouraged to come out and support the newly inducted honorees.
Following the Wall dedication the ceremony will move to a luncheon at the Nani Mau Gardens at noon were a formal ceremony will take place.
For those interested in attending the luncheon the cost is $20 for adults and $15 for children 10 and under. Seating is limited and tickets will not be sold at the door.
Advance tickets may be purchased by calling Ellsworth Fontes at 935-5519.
The late Jack Matsui was the founder of the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame.