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Former pitcher for the Pierotti’s Clowns 5-man softball team and World War II veteran Bernard L. ‘Bun’ Ryan was chosen to be honored by the Colorado Rockies next month.
Ryan, who lives in White Rock, will be recognized as part of a pregame ceremony Sept. 1 at Coors Field in Denver prior to the Rockies’ game against the Cincinnati Reds.
Ryan, who won the bronze star for his military service in the Pacific theater of World War II, said he was surprised he earned the Rockies’ recognition.
It was a friend of Ryan’s, Wally McCorkle of Los Alamos, who contacted the Rockies organization to see if there was a way Ryan could be recognized.
As it turns out, former Los Alamos resident and standout athlete Nichole Kluk works in the Rockies’ front office and, with Kluk’s help, made the honor possible.
McCorkle said he got the idea after watching this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, before which several former service members were recognized. McCorkle said he noticed only one of the veterans there was from World War II and thought it would be a great thing for Ryan, not only for his military service but for his time with the Clowns, who played 200 games between the mid 1950s and mid-1970s to raise money for charitable causes.
Ryan, in his heyday with the Clowns, featured a 104-mph fastball and was considered to be among the top softball hurlers in the country.
The Rockies are doing a season-long “Salute To Heroes” promotion. The club sent Ryan a letter in late July congratulating him for his selection to take part.
“It is because of men and women like you that we continue to enjoy our freedom in the United States of America today and we are truly grateful,” the letter read.
Ryan was born in Leadville, Colo., and did his basic training at Fort Logan, Colo., after he was drafted into the United States Army in 1943. Ryan is also a member of the Leadville Hall of Fame.
He has also been a fan of the Rockies since they started play as a MLB expansion team in 1993.