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Clowns’ hurler Bun Ryan reflects on WWII experience

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By Mike Cote

For some, Independence Day not only means fireworks and cookouts, but reflection on what it means to be independent.
And while World War II veteran Bernard L. ‘Bun’ Ryan certainly played a part in that, rarely did he have the time to reflect in the years following the war.
“I didn’t do anything. I was always busy pitching,” said Ryan, the star hurler of Pierotti’s Clowns of the Fourth of July holiday. The Clowns or the other softball teams he threw for were almost invariably playing in a tournament or exhibition game during the holiday.
Ryan was among the hardest throwing pitchers in the country during softball’s heyday following World War II and was, along with team captain and third baseman Lou Pierotti, who, like Ryan, is a longtime Los Alamos resident, was the Clowns’ main attraction.
Pierotti’s Clowns was a five-man softball team made up largely of players from Los Alamos National Laboratory’s S-Site – notably, Pierotti himself was not one of them, but instead was a local entrepreneur. The Clowns played exhibition games for charity and in their 200 official games spanning from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s, went a remarkable 177-23.
When Ryan was on his game, he was virtually unhittable and was a big part of that stellar won-loss record.


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