Born: September 29, 1944 Died: October 15, 2011
High School: Abington High School, Abington, PA
College: Dickenson College, Carlisle, PA
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Lew played his first slow pitch game in the late 1960’s and “caught the bug.” He played in city and SSA leagues before moving to Columbia and, in 1978, formed the Terminators, his first co-ed team. He began entering a team in every co-ed and women’s league in Columbia and in every end of season co-ed tournament, always finishing in the top two. He was intensely competitive in league play and a mainstay of the program. Lew could be found at Cedar Lane Park every night.
In the early 1990’s, Lew started working with the Blue Stars, a newly formed women’s tournament team. This talent laden team would later become Lew’s Crew.
Lew’s players recall that he was more than a player, a sponsor and a manager. He was a confidante, advisor, match maker, mediator, companion and, most of all, a friend. He got people involved in the game who had no interest in softball or sports. He is described as charismatic, urbane, quirky, generous, funny and sometimes silly. He was a detailed planner and a “master strategist” whose moves often made teammates exchange glances of bewilderment. He would call, email and text his players to discuss games, lineup changes, defensive moves, errors and missed cutoffs - - in the middle of the night!
Lew’s career lasted more than 40 years before his tragic death, in Phoenix with his Lew’s Crew 40+ team, attending a National Tournament. The team honored and rewarded him by winning the Tournament of Champions in Orlando in February 2012.
Lew Oppenheimer loved softball; his players loved him.