BRAKETTES Hall of Famer Micki Stratton dies at 80
She was fast, a hitter, had a great arm: Micki Stratton was, after all, a National Softball Hall of Fame catcher.
But more important, Stratford Brakettes general manager Bob Baird said, was what she meant to the legendary softball team off the field.
“For all the younger Brakettes, she was the role model,” Baird said of Stratton, who died Friday at Bridgeport Hospital at 80. “She was the model of what a Brakette should be, on and off the field. Hustling. You don’t swear. You don’t give attitude.
“She, like, wrote the manual on how to be a Brakette.”
Born Rosemary Macchietto on July 12, 1938, in Middletown and raised in Middlefield, Stratton joined the Brakettes in 1956 after two years with the Wallingford Owlettes, according to her hall of fame biography.
She played 10 years in Stratford, leading the Brakettes in batting three times, including hitting .370 in her last season.
She met her husband in Stratford, too: John has been the Brakettes’ manager for over two decades. They were married 56 years.
The Brakettes won their first of 36 national championships in 1958; Stratton was part of three other championship teams and three runners-up.
Stratton was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 1969, the first of 25 Brakettes honored to date. She was a first-team All-American five times and a second-team All-American twice more.
“She was a headsy player, like a coach on the field,” said Baird, who went to Brakettes games for about 10 years before covering them for 20 and serving as general manager for 30 more.
“She had a great swing, great speed. She could drop a bunt down three feet in front of the plate and beat it out. She protected the plate with runners coming in.”
In 1965, her last season, Stratton hit .348 and was chosen for the all-world team at the International Softball Federation championship in Melbourne, Australia, as the Brakettes finished runner-up to Australia.
Stratton was Sacred Heart University’s first women’s basketball coach, leading the team for two years, 1974-76. She also coached softball and skeet shooting at the University of Bridgeport, from which she received a masters in physical education.
“She did everything. She umpired,” said Baird, who remembers her ejecting him from a softball game once. “She coached in college. She was a great person.”
The Brakettes named the MVP award at the Women’s Major Softball Tournament, which began in 2009, after her.
Stratton had been seen less often at DeLuca Field in recent years, but she made an appearance in early July when former batterymate Joan Joyce was in town for the Brakettes’ inaugural fundraising golf tournament. The two hall of famers sat together behind home plate. Baird said she returned for an August night at the WMS Tournament, which the Brakettes won.
Micki and John Stratton have a son, Jay, who married another former Brakettes catcher, Keri McCallum Stratton. They live in Stratford, too, with children McKenna and Conner.
She also leaves a sister, Catherine Pysar of Durham, and a niece and a nephew, according to her obituary from Pistey Funeral Home in Stratford.
A wake will be held there Tuesday evening, and a memorial service is set for Sept. 15 at 11 a.m. at Lordship Community Church.
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