2013 DOUG MCARTHUR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENT
When Joe DiMaggio captivated the country with his 56-game hitting streak in 1941, a song was written about him with a chorus of “Joe, Joe, DiMaggio, we want you on our side.”
A little lyrical license and we could certainly sing the praises of Joe Stortini, a man who has been on the side of many in his exceptional life supporting Pierce County, particularly the athletic community.
Joe’s spirit for athletic competition has had a lifetime of staying power. His baseball diamond prowess has extended from the late 1940s to recent years spent leading his 80+-year-old softball team.
Born December 4, 1932 in Tacoma, Joe has demonstrated truly unique talents. He’s the only person in the world to have won the local soap box derby races (1948) and been the Most Valuable Player of the World Games at the Senior Softball World Championship in 2000.
Joe was an all-league selection as the shortstop at Lincoln High School (Class of ’51) and later an all-Evergreen Conference shortstop at the College of Puget Sound. He consistently hit more than .300 in the City and Valley leagues for Stanley’s Shoemen, Cheney Studs, Woodworth Contractors, Western State Hospital, and Portland Avenue.
A two-sport prep and college star (he was All-league in football as well), Stortini also played both football and baseball in the U.S. Navy. He still holds a school record in football at Puget Sound where he once intercepted five passes in a single game, and he is a member of the UPS Athletic Hall of Fame.
As a teacher in Tacoma Public Schools from 1955 to 1975 he also coached in high school, first at Wilson and then at Mount Tahoma. His 1974 Mount Tahoma football team earned a spot in the state championship game, losing 14-7 to Blanchet. Joe also coached football at UPS where he was the offensive coordinator in ‘75 and ‘76.
While teaching, Joe also played on numerous slowpitch teams and coached many youth recreation teams.
Joe had an extensive life of public service from 1968 to 1992. He served eight years as a State Senator, eight years as a Pierce County Commissioner and eight years as Pierce County Executive.
Moving on from politics, Joe opened Mama Stortini’s restaurant in University Place in 1993 and currently owns Joeseppi’s Italian Ristorante in West Tacoma.
Joe has been recognized with many awards over the years honoring his community, business and athletic leadership. Knowing Joe, he likely has a few more accomplishments to add to his Lifetime Achievement resume.