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What Happened To Rickey Hill

What Happened To Rickey Hill

The Unresolved Mystery of Rickey Hill’s Championship Ring

The Unresolved Mystery of Rickey Hill’s Championship Ring

It was a story that captured the hearts of many, a tale of triumph, despair, and ultimately, redemption. Rickey Hill, a standout player for the 1978 Grays Harbor Loggers, had lived with a poignant void in his life—a missing championship ring from a victorious season that saw his team crowned champions of the Northwest League. Despite leading his team in home runs, Hill was the only member who did not receive a ring. This detail, omitted from my initial story on the Loggers, remained with Hill for over three decades and consequently, with me as well.

The Discovery of the Ring

Fast forward to six months after my original article, a surprising tweet from a man named Gerald Pense brought a new twist to the story. Pense claimed to possess Hill’s long-lost championship ring and expressed his desire to return it. Intrigued, I reached out to Pense, uncovering a fascinating backstory. Pense had grown up near the old Olympic Stadium, mingling with the Loggers during their 1978 season. His father, a sports enthusiast, had acquired the ring from Joe Tolomei, the team’s lead owner, and cherished it until his passing in 2004. Upon sorting through his father’s belongings, Pense discovered the ring, engraved with Rickey Hill’s name inside.

A Reunion That Never Was

The Grays Harbor baseball team had planned a reunion for the 1978 Loggers, which seemed like the perfect opportunity for Hill to reclaim his ring. However, the event was canceled following the collapse of the Mount Rainier Professional Baseball League, dashing hopes for a ceremonial return. Despite this setback, Pense reached out after reading my follow-up story, still determined to return the ring. I promptly shared the good news with Hill, who was overwhelmed by the gesture, seeing it as divine intervention after 37 years.

The Planned Meeting and Its Missed Connection

Arrangements were made for Hill to travel from Texas to Seattle, where Pense and I would meet him. However, scheduling conflicts led to a missed connection. I had to leave for Portland just before Hill arrived. Although I missed the moment Hill laid eyes on his ring for the first time in nearly four decades, Pense later recounted the joyous meeting where Hill, alongside former teammate Tracy Harris, celebrated the long-awaited return of the ring.

Reflections on a Story of Persistence and Closure

The journey of Rickey Hill’s championship ring is more than a story about a piece of sports memorabilia. It is a narrative of persistence, the importance of closure, and the unexpected ways lives intersect. Hill’s career was marred by physical pain and early retirement, yet this story highlights a moment of joy and resolution that few experiences. It underscores the unpredictable nature of life and how past disappointments can sometimes find resolution in the most unexpected ways.


  • Who is Rickey Hill?
    Rickey Hill was a baseball player known for his time with the 1978 Grays Harbor Loggers, where he led the team in home runs during their championship season.
  • Why didn’t Rickey Hill receive a championship ring initially?
    It remains unclear why Hill was overlooked when the championship rings were distributed. The team disbanded shortly after their win, which may have contributed to the oversight.
  • How did Gerald Pense come to possess the ring?
    Pense’s father purchased the ring from Joe Tolomei, the team’s lead owner, and kept it until his death in 2004.
  • What happened during the planned reunion?
    The reunion was canceled due to the dissolution of the Mount Rainier Professional Baseball League, preventing a formal return of the ring during the event.
  • Did Rickey Hill ever receive his championship ring?
    Yes, Gerald Pense was able to return the ring to Rickey Hill 37 years later, in a personal meeting that took place after several scheduling challenges.
  • What does this story symbolize for Rickey Hill?
    For Hill, the return of his championship ring represented a long-awaited closure and a reminder of his achievements, despite the challenges he faced throughout his career.

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