Steve "Bundy" Poff was never the hardest-throwing pitcher during his 32-year career in the Susquehanna League.
Nor did he have great stuff with a lot of tricky movement.
But one thing that the longtime East Prospect right-hander can claim, unlike anyone else, is a pub named after him in the backyard of a house owned by his buddy, Steve Kline.
"Bundy’s Pub," which Kline finished building last year, has a nifty looking wooden sign hanging inside the door, letting everyone know that it was established in 2015.
Poff was there for the grand opening back on Halloween Night. A picture of Poff, in a bright orange-hooded sweatshirt standing behind the bar, much like the character Mayday Malone on "Cheers," adorns the wall.
Unfortunately for Kline and his buddies, that photo of "Bundy" will be the only one they’ll have of the namesake inside the establishment. Poff, who won 87 games while playing for Yorkana, Eastern, East Prospect and Windsor, lost his battle with brain cancer early Sunday morning, just three days shy of his 53rd birthday.
“We found out he had cancer about 14 months ago,” said Kline, who was the catcher for many of Poff’s starts during his 21 years for Prospect. “I guess the prognosis is that when you are diagnosed with what he had, that the prognosis is like 12-15 months. Steve fought for 14 of those months.”
"Bundy's Pub:" While Poff, who worked at Johnson Controls with Kline, will be missed, he certainly won’t be forgotten. Kline is happy that Poff gave his blessing for the pub’s name, which will live on in his honor.
“We put this thing up called a pub shed,” Kline said. “Basically it’s nothing more than a storage shed, but they’re really popular in England. And I wanted to name it, but I couldn’t figure it out. So I put it out on Facebook and got some ideas, but they it just struck me. Let’s name it 'Bundy,' which was Steve’s nickname.
“So we settled on 'Bundy’s Pub.' And we dedicated it and had a party in the fall. We unveiled the sign and (Poff) thought that was really cool.”
So, too, was Poff’s nickname, which was related to the former wrestling superstar ,"King Kong Bundy." While the wrestler was a bald and hulking 400-pound man, Poff was not. Kline, in fact, couldn’t remember how it came about, but it definitely stuck.
“I don’t know if we ever really found out the story behind that, but I know that I’ve always called him 'Bundy,'” Kline said. “Steve is Steve, but the guy on the ball team we always called 'Bundy.' What threw me about it is that he didn’t look like him, he wasn’t his size. But we still called him that and I don’t know why.”
Dependable starter: One thing that Kline knew for sure about Poff was that he was Prospect’s most dependable starter in the early 1990s. For a stretch of six years between 1989 and 1995, Poff went 35-13 on the mound. He played a big part in helping the Pistons win the Susquehanna League regular-season title in 1993 and the playoff crown in 1995.
“(Poff) was just a super-effective pitcher,” Kline said. “He never was over-powering. But he won a lot of games, and some of his records were really impressive — 6-2, 10-4, 6-2, 5-1 — and in the Susquehanna League that was a really good season."
Kline fondly remembers the time that he hurt Poff’s finger and how Poff joked about it with the team’s manager at the time.
“The manager, who I think was Barre Ritz at the time, asked him ‘hey, how are you feeling,’” Kline said. “And (Poff) said back, ‘I feel all right, but Kliney is throwing the balls out faster then what they’re going in.’ That was just Steve. That’s the way that we was.”
Since last summer, Poff's family have also been giving out gray bands with his name, jersey number (21) and the saying "Strike Out Cancer."
There will be a viewing for Poff between 2 and 4 p.m. Friday at Bethany U.M. Church, 121 W. Broadway in Red Lion. A memorial service will follow at 4 p.m.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.