(population estimated at 600) is blessed with two of the best, the
Ballietsville Inn and Ty Stofflet. The inn claims to serve the finest
medallions of veal baloise this side of Switzerland and may be the best
restaurant in its corner of the world. Tyrone Earl Stofflet, the lefthanded
softball pitcher, is the best at his calling in any corner of the world. And
that's not one of those Pennsylvania Dutch tall tales out of the lush valleys
of Lehigh County in the eastern part of the state, where Ballietsvilleans have
been planting corn and potatoes for the last 250 years. As a matter of fact, Ty
Stofflet is perhaps least appreciated down home. Joseph Hartmann, owner of the
Ballietsville Inn, has never even heard of Stofflet, who lives just half a mile
down the road. (Likewise, Stofflet, a man of simple tastes, has never stopped
in to sample Hartmann's medallions of veal, baloise or otherwise.)
No, Stofflet has
earned the designation of world's best out on the proving grounds of fast-pitch
softball—places like Leesport, Pa.; Aurora, Ill.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.;
Springfield, Mo.; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Auckland, New Zealand.
There, Stofflet has met—and almost always beaten—the best. They know him in
Stofflet, 37, is
at long last ready, albeit reluctantly, to accept the designation himself. For
several years now he has been advertised as "The World's Greatest
Lefthanded Softball Pitcher," as if on Judgment Day the righties and
lefties will be herded into different corrals. But the job of any pitcher is to
get people out, something Stofflet does better than anyone else, righthanded or
years I've never said too much about it," he said at the end of last
season. "I've never said nothing, in fact. I figured I'd let my arm do the
talking. But after this year, I feel different, know what I mean? If they can't
understand this year and what I've done, they don't understand
So, are you the
"Well, I still
won't come right out and say it."
Well, do you know
anyone right now in organized softball who is better?
"No, not right now."
Have you ever
pitched in a game when you thought the other pitcher was better than you?