Chuck Saylor, Gay Softball League Co-Founder, Slides into Retirement

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by Dr. Michael C. Purvis, league player

In 1993, Chuck Saylor and a group of other LGBTQ community members organized the first gay softball team in Memphis. Nearly 30 years later, Chuck and his husband Terry have moved from Memphis to Florida for their 10 th inning: retirement! The couple has enjoyed many vacations to Florida and earlier this year, made the move there for full-time residency.

Saylor said, “Hitting the many beaches and taking in the sun is on our list of things to do… (and) we have already started!”

Back here in Memphis, he will be sorely missed. Saylor had been a staple of Bluff City Sports Association (BCSA) from its inception. He is the last of the greats in the eyes of all those that have participated in the 28 years. In fact, the last of the BCSA Charter Members played his last season with our league this year.

In 2017, Saylor received the highest honor as he was inducted into the NAGAAAA Hall of Fame during the Portland, Oregon Gay Softball World Series. He will continue to umpire and serve the LGBTQ+ community in his new city as well as internationally at NAGAAA’s Gay Softball World Series.

Those of us left behind have vowed to continue in the same spirit as the Charter Members, continuing the legacy of our goal and mission – Love Wins!

History of BCSA

In 1993, a group of LGBTQ community members sat around a bar watching the Super Bowl discussing why gays in Memphis were not more involved in sports. Saylor was in on that conversation and helped develop the first gay team, the Cruisers. The team played in the City of Memphis Parks league in 1993. In 1994 – 1995, he helped organize two more teams, traveling to Nashville twice a month to play in their LGBTQ league while teams from Nashville traveled to Memphis once a month. In 1996, Bluff City Sports Association formed a league of 10 teams. BCSA organized and hosted its first tournament in 1997, Battle on The Bluff. The tournament attracted 22 teams.

In 1998, with Saylor and other Charter Members guiding, pushing, and pulling to get the organization running on all cylinders, BCSA joined the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA). Several teams played in their first Gay Softball World Series in Atlanta. The Jaguars placed a respectable 7th in the C Division, and Haze placed 9th in the B Division. Throughout the years, BCSA has represented Memphis and the Tri-State well. In 2004, the Barflies (sponsored by Young Avenue Deli) won the D division of the NAGAAA Softball World Series in Dallas. In 2007, the Heat (sponsored by Pumping Station) won the C Division. Down N Dirty women’s team took 3rd in Phoenix.

Read more about Saylor’s Hall of Fame induction: https://focuslgbt.com/blog/chuck-saylor-inducted-gay-softball-hall-fame/

The mission of Bluff City Sports Association is to provide a safe environment for the LGBTQ community and friends of the LGBTQ community to play softball. We work to promote growth of the athletes both on and off the field. We are working to support the Memphis and Tri-State LGBTQ by providing a healthy activity, a safe place in which to socialize and to teach good sportsmanship.