Former Wildcat Ron Oreskovich to be honored posthumously

By Larry LOpez
The Pueblo Chieftain
Nov. 13, 2017

The late Ron Oreskovich was called "Big O" for a reason.

If you gave him a ball, he knew what to do with it.

As a high school junior he played on the Central Wildcats' 1961 state championship football team and in hhis senior year was among the city's top pass receivers who was selected to play in the 1963 All-State Games summer football game.

On the basketball court, he was a 6-foot-2 sharpshooter who averaged 13.3 points per game for the Wildcats and was a unanimous all-city selection.

A hard-throwing southpaw, Oreskovich dominated hitters in both baseball and later softball.

Ron OreskovichRon Oreskovich

He even was a hall of fame bowler who rolled the sport's perfect 300 game and coveted 700 series en route to his induction into the Greater Pueblo U.S. Bowling Congress Hall of Fame.

Before he was done, Oreskovich earned letters as a three-sport standout in his three years at Central.

He will be inducted posthumously into the Greater Pueblo Sports Hall of Fame in a 7 p.m., ceremony Wednesday at the Pueblo Community College Fortino Ballroom.

Oreskovich , a vice president at Minnequa Bank, died unexppectedly in 2009. He was 64.

His children, Ron M. Oreskovich and Kristy Oreskovich of Albuquerque, N.M., will be on hand to accept the accompanying award.

Amazingly, neither really knew much about their father's athletic prowess and reputation.

"He was pretty humble. He never elaborated on things," his son, a self-employed contractor in Pueblo, said. "Mostly, he talked about baseball and softball. He was an avid sports fan."

"I probably heard mostly from his friends. They would say how great he was in basketball... He had a great jump shot and played good defense. In football, he was a tough, gritty player. I also heard he was a great pitcher in baseball and softball. He went to a Yankees pitcher/catcher camp in Omaha, but screwed up his arm and walked away from it."

Oreskovich bypassed a college career for four years in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed at Vandenberg (Calif.) Air Force Base, Department of Defense space and missle testing base with a mission of placing satellites in orbit, with several deployments to Johnston, Atoll, a military island in the mid-Pacific Ocean.

The younger Oreskovich said he only saw his father play slow pitch later in life. "We played catch some, I was a pitcher and he'd show me the mechanics."

John Zobeck, who grew up with Oreskovich in the same Eiler Heights neighborhood, did see him play in his heyday.

"he was outstanding in all sports, not just ordinary in any of them," Zobeck said. "He was not just a good all-around athlete, he excelled at all fie sports he played. He was really, really, good - except for golf. He never excelled in golf."

We joined the Air Force together. he was stationed on Johnston Island...The Air Force has four different commands and they would fly him from Johnston to Florida to pitch in the (Air Force's championship) tournament," Zobeck said.

"When he came back, he took up softball and bowling and fully emerged in them."

"He was a heck of a bowler," Zobeck said, noting that Oreskovich had a perfect 300 game and 700 series to his credit.

In softball, he checked hitters with his assortment of pitches - smoking fastball, riser, drop, curveball and changeup - while hurling Alibi Lounge to two state fastpitch championships. He retired in 1975 after 20 years in the circle.

His son saod Oreskovich would be honored by his induction.

"It is nice to hear someone talk about how good he was and to experience the recognition for a parent who passed," Ron M. Oreskovich said. "But it's his honor, not ours. It''s unfortunate we have to be the recipients and not him."

 

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Remembering Our Fallen GPSA Inductees

The Greater Pueblo Sports Association (GPSA) has announced a list of honorees that have passed since the 2022 induction ceremony on Nov. 16.

 

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