Why do you like the game of softball?
Softball gives me the opportunity to compete. That is something that I have always looked forward to and will definitely miss once I retire. By playing softball it places me on a team which enables me to be apart of the camaraderie. I have been fortunate to play with a great group of guys that I look forward to seeing week in and week out. Nothing can take the place of the relationships that I have built with my teammates.
What position do you play?
I have been all over the infield, from 1994-97 I played shortstop. In 1998 Jim Wessel & Jeff Hague felt I would stay fresher throughout a tournament and be more productive offensively on Sundays if I didn't have to deal with the grind at shortstop. So from 1998-2006 it was third base and it went well until my age kept increasing and my arm strength was decreasing. So in 2007 I moved over to first base and that is where I have been since.
What is your nickname in softball?
It didn't take me long to get the dubious nickname of "Legend" given to me by Joe Foley, one of my Hague teammates, in 1994 shortly after my first at bat. I received the nickname because my teammates ( I didn't know any of them ) had heard they were getting a decent SS out of the Cleveland area. Well, I'm embarrassed to say that I struck out swinging in my first plate appearance with my new team to end the 1st inning. As I learned later, Joe Foley on his way to the outfield passing by our owner/coach Jeff Hague blurted out the phrase "The Legend of Howie Krause". So for my swinging strikeout I was tabbed the "Legend". Uunfortunately it stuck for a while.
For about the last decade my nickname has been "Moose", a lot easier to accept as it has nothing to do with a strikeout.
Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
That's a tough question as I have seen a ton of talented players over the last 17 years. I would have to say that Mike Macenko was the best hitter/power guy when he was in his prime as he would homer like it was free. Early in my career I had the chance to hit BP with Mike for a couple summers. What I remember the most out of those BP sessions was that wherever I pitched the ball ( and believe me I am not the best BP pitcher ) Mike would homer effortlessly.
The best all around player I would say would have to be Todd Martin. Todd could play any position on the field including LF & SS the two hardest and make it look easy. He could hit for average and power as well. On top of that he would do the right thing 100% of the time. He was a great chemistry guy, awesome teammate and old school to the point where he would do whatever it took to win.
The best Pitchers I would say I ever seen and both amaze me are Jim "Birdie" Burbrink and Andy Purcell. Both of these guys have the ability to shut down the best hitters in the game throwing it under hand. One of the best performances Ive ever seen was in '95 when Jim Burbrink at the USSSA Major World Series limited, in consecutive games, Lighthouse/Worth, Ritch'sSuperior/TPS, Shen Valley/TPS to 9 runs a piece on his way to the Championship.
Where do you call home?
I live in a Concord, Ohio a suburb of Cleveland.
What do you do for a living?
For 15 years I was a National Sales Manager for a Building Materials company. Over the past year I have started a couple of businesses. One of which is my own Baseball / Fastpitch academy and also a Building Materials Distribution company with two partners. Its real nice being your own boss.
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
In High school I played Golf, Basketball & Baseball earning 8 out of 9 Varsity letters. My only regret was not playing Football but that was not an option as 9th grade was my last year due to not being allowed to participate under the directive of my dad.
In college at Florida Southern I played Baseball and we were very fortunate to win two D2 National Championships, 1985 & 1988.
After college I had two longshot opportunities in the minor leagues. I was never drafted but spent bits and pieces of two seasons with the Minnesota Twins & New York Mets minor league teams starting off as a non-roster invitee to spring training. Believe me, I would still be playing if they let me.
Unfortunately, in the late 80's & early 90's the Independent Leagues were not around so really there was no options after being released to continue your career, giving yourself another shot. In the early 90's I did have an offer to play in Holland and my compensation included accommodations in a Condo for the season, my salary & a bicycle, yes a bicycle.
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
Greg Tavrell of Ohio Transport had followed area sports in Cleveland and invited me to go with his team to the Smoky Mountain Classic in 1992. I was amazed at the crowds and the talent on the fields. I was fortunate enough to get one AB over the weekend, in a game against Ritches Superior that was already decided as RS was on their way to run ruling us. I made the most of it and homered. Did that help? I don't know but that was it for 1992. In 1993 I was invited by Dave Neele to Steele's Sports Spring camp in Macon, GA. There was over 30 guys there fighting for 12 spots. I didn't make it but Dave Sr told me to play a year of competitive softball and the next year I would be with him. In early '94 Jeff Hague called before I ever heard back from Dave Sr so Hague it was and the rest is history.
What batting grip do you use?
I use a baseball grip with my pinky finger hanging over the knob creating leverage. My next finger is wrapped around the bottom of the knob.
What is your favorite sports team?
Being from Cleveland, I follow the Browns & Indians and now that Lebron is gone I can root for the Cavs again but I don't live and die with any of them. I enjoy watching football but am tired of seeing a guy make a tackle for no gain and jumping around like he just won the Super Bowl. Baseball is a tough watch during the regular season because the players are not into it. I know too much about the business aspect of it and how the players are trained to get through the season with no emotion, not getting to high or to low. Although, I really do enjoy watching the playoffs & World Series as the players care and get after it. The last two basketball seasons were ruined by Lebron "Look at Me" James. I cant stand ego guys, as he was not like that his first 5 years with the Cavs but the last two were unbearable. Thank god no more powder !
What is your favorite sport other than softball?
Baseball is in my blood, I enjoy watching Football and playing golf.
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
My batting gloves. I always put my right one first but wont tighten the Velcro. I then put the left one on and tighten the Velcro, then tighten the right hand Velcro. Why? I have no idea.
What is your most memorable softball moment?
1. Hitting a walk off homer to win the 1995 USSSA Major World Series
2. Winning 5 games on Sunday in the USSSA Major to win the the tourney and complete the Grand Slam. ( Winning all 4 Associations' Worlds )
3. Running the table in the 2010 USSSA Major. Being a part of a team that was locked in, every inning & dominated for 5 games straight.
Is slowpitch softball a sport or a game?
It is a sport because you compete, work & prepare in the off season, sacrifice a lot to do it, lose yourself in it 2 hours at a time trying to reach a common goal with your teammates. All leading up to the biggest stage of the year, the USSSA World Series in September.
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
Just as the new rules in college baseball for 2011, dial down the bats. Go back to single wall aluminum or some sort of alloy. It will make the game a little safer and force the traditional "non-home run hitters" to hit singles and play the game.
What is your favorite non-World tournament?
1. Palm Springs – Toys For Tots in December. Hands down my favorite of the year.
2. The Dudley – Minneapolis in June. Great crowds, sausage saggys, hardest to win – its a meat grinder
3. Smoky Mountain Classic – Maryville, TN in July. Tradition, atmosphere, and unlimited homers
Who are you playing with in 2013?
Resmondo – 20th year