• Wednesday, February 19th, 2020


At one point in time, the Oakland Raiders were thought of as the “bad boys” of the NFL.  It was an image cultivated from the top down.  Former owner Al Davis had no problem thumbing his nose at the establishment.  The notorious bad boys wore silver and black, and also wore the “black sheep” mark on their backs as well due to their history of being the nastiest and meanest team around.  They were rebels, and represented the dark side of the NFL.  Now, insert the name “Jay’s” above for the “Oakland Raiders” and “Jay Hopkins” for “Al Davis,” the color “pink” for “silver and black,” and the sport of “softball” for “NFL,” and 1970-’95 softball enthusiasts from anywhere on the east side of the Mississippi will instantly recall the many antics associated with the legendary player-manager-sponsor Jay Hopkins and his colorful team.  Easily the most inspirational manager in the history of Greater Cincinnati softball, Jay invented a style of play that was coined “Jay-ball,” and which often motivated his often underdog teams to overachieve.  He believed that anyone could be beat anyone on any given day.  He backed his players, and was always encouraging and teaching them.  Those strategies paid off with countless upsets in league and tournament play, but most notably when his team won the 1975 Ohio Valley Classic, shocking the number one team in the country two-time defending ASA Major National Champion Howard’s Furniture in the finals before a packed stadium at Ross Park in St. Bernard.  It was the greatest upset in the history of Cincinnati softball.  The fiery manager would pack the house again 18 years later when an estimated 5,000 of his team’s followers packed Rumpke Park to watch Jay’s capture an ASA Major Metro title.  Jay was named tournament MVP.  All told Jay was voted Greater Cincinnati Men’s Major All-City Manager 9 times during his legendary career, was selected Manager of the Decade in 1990, and to the Greater Cincinnati All-Century team as both a manager and sponsor.  Those who knew this maverick character well will always remember the comb he carried in his pocket and his trademark line “who loves ya baby!”

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