Bill Hobert (Baseball)

Bill Hobert, born on Feb. 27, 1946, starred at every level of baseball he played, but a promising career in the sport was cut short when he was killed in action during the Vietnam War on Aug. 2, 1966. A Bronze Star medal winner, he was only 20 when he died. Many who watched him play, or played with him, or coached him are quick to say that he was headed for the majors.

Bill was an unbeatable pitcher in junior high and high school, and he continued to dominate in summer league play in both national Babe Ruth and Connie Mack programs. At Orting High, the left-handed Hobert hurled the Cardinals to three-straight Cross-Sound league championships, and once pitched five consecutive shutouts with two perfect games in a row. Included in his season successes was a one-run win over one of the state's best 4A teams, Lincoln of Tacoma. In 1963 and 1964, Bill and Gary Schoenbachler were a dominating lefty-righty pitching duo.

He was a two-year letter winner in basketball, serving as team captain on the 1964-65 Orting High team that finished fourth at state. and a four-year letter winner in both football and baseball for the Cardinals. He was the starting quarterback for Orting High as a senior.

At 13 he was named to the All-Star Babe Ruth team in a league of 13-, 14- and 15-year-old players. In Connie Mack (18-and-under) play he whiffed 18 in a 6-0 win over defending champion Puyallup. In a return game, Hobert tripled home the tying and winning runs in a 3-2 victory. His Connie Mack team was unbeaten in 10 games in Pierce County League play (he allowed only one run during the season) and he pitched them to the state tournament's championship game. Among the top pitchers in the league was Lakewood's Rick Austin, who was drafted and played in the American League for the Cleveland Indians. Bill also was the youngest pitcher for Puyallup's Sportsmen in the state's National Baseball Congress semi-pro tournament in Bellingham where his team played for the championship.

He was awarded a baseball scholarship to Yakima Junior College, then acknowledged as the top JC program in the Northwest, but was drafted into the Army instead of the major league draft. Sadly, he never returned from Vietnam to resume his promising baseball career.

"Bill always had that knack for leadership just because of who he was - a great athlete, but also a great person, apparently secure enough in himself that he could be kind and generous to others," recalls former high school teammate Mike Carrigan. "That's what I remember most about him."