2004 Hall of Fame Inductees SLOW PITCH
Bill Wheeler

Bill Wheeler can’t get enough of a good thing. In this case, a good thing is softball. Still going strong at age 71 (his birthday was just three days ago), Wheeler still plays approximately 130 games each year. Wheeler’s endeavors on the softball field started with humble roots – two-man stickball on a paved school yard in New York City. “We painted a strike zone on the wall and used broomsticks for bats and tennis balls with the fuzz rubbed off them for balls,” Wheeler recalled. After coming West in 1975 to work for the Washington State Patrol, he started down the road to local softball stardom as a member of Brew Crew. Among the teams he represented through the next decade-plus were Tacoma Storm Windows, Charlie’s Chips, Puget Sound Marble, Pierce County Sheriffs / Northwest Cascade and Pizza Harbor. In 1991, at age 58, he started playing senior softball, and he was just getting started. He joined Dirk’s, later the Emerald City Masters, in the Puget Sound softball League in Tukwila. All the while, Wheeler was playing on two or three teams per season. He still plays on three teams, including a coed team that includes his son and daughter-in-law, his daughter and son-in-law, and his grandson. His schedule includes many out-of-state tournaments, including the Senior Western Worlds in Las Vegas last November. Wheeler has played on several state championship teams, and his Emerald City Masters team has garnered four separate world championships: 1996 in Phoenix, 1998 in Chicago, 2000 in Winnipeg, and 2001 in Las Vegas. Wheeler remarked recently that, “It wasn’t until after high school that I played on a team with uniforms, in a league with umpires and on dirt—and I’ve never stopped. Other than when I was in the Army, I believe I have played softball for 50 years and I hope to continue playing into my 80’s on a National all 80 year-old team!”