Ben and Helen Fagone

S.J. “Ben” Fagone & Helen Smedley Fagone, Medford Sports Hall of FameThe Fagone name is practically synonymous with softball in this area, in fact, the city’s official softball complex at Jackson Park is named for Benny. It was only natural that Helen became involved; it was either join him or never see him. Benny served as president of the Jackson County Softball Association for many years and prior to that, had been active as a player and a coach since their meeting in 1942.

Benny played softball in New York form 1938-1941 and during the war years played with the U.S. Army teams. In 1947 he reactivated the Medford American Legion baseball program and coached for two years reaching the state tournament in 11948. In 1947 he played center field for the Cheney Studs semi pro team and in 1951 coached the Central Point Millers baseball team. Turning back to softball in 1951 he umpired, played and coached Fast Pitch Softball unwell 1977. As a coach in 1980 he took the first Medford High School Girls team to Oregon State High School playoffs and was selected SOC Coach of the year 1980-1981. His 1984 women’s fast pitch team took the Northwest Regionals (Flaggs’s photo) and went on to place 5th in the Western Area Nationals at Arizona. Between 1964 and 1985 he coached 10 men’s teams to league championships, appeared in 7 Oregon State Championship tournaments, winning 3 as a player manager. His teams appeared in 7 Northwest Regionals finishing 1st in 1984 and 3rd three other times.

Helen’s father Earl Smedley, was a kitten ball catcher in the old Medford Softball Association and her mother Emma, kept a statistical account of his games. That was her basic learning, and she enjoyed the game more by keeping track of it. Keeping track she has, serving as official scorekeeper and treasurer for the JCSA, she keeps line scores with her right hand, operates the scoreboard with her left hand and in between uses the microphone for a play-by-play accounting of the game. Helen broke another barrier- she was the only women to ever selected to be official scorekeeper and statistician for the Men’s fast pitch Northwest Regional softball tournament in 1972.

Being inducted into the Medford Sports Hall of Fame as a husband – wife team speaks for itself what the Fagone’s have done for Medford Softball.