Abbotsford Slo-Pitch Hall of Fame Members
Al is considered by many to be the best outfielder B.C has ever had. His outfield arm is the stuff of legend. A consistent power hitter back when that was a rare thing. A perennial MVP with the powerhouse Royals team through the seventies and early eighties. Al won many provincial and National titles along with a Softball Canada championship with the Batts in 1982. A true legend of the sport.
Howie started playing in the Abbotsford mens league in 1971. A member of the legendary Royals team thru the seventies and early eighties. Howie shifted his focus to umpiring in the nineties and continues to umpire to this day. Howie has volunteered his time to the game for many years. His passion and love for the sport is unparalleled .
John started his slo-pitch career in 1969. The first year of the Abbotsford league. A major contributor to the game of softball in Abbotsford in its early years. John played over 35 years in the Abbotsford league before hanging them up. An incredible string of longevity that will probably never be touched. There was once three generations of Molner’s on the Schols team! Another amazing milestone.
Bob is considered the founder of slo-pitch in Abbotsford. Bob had seen the game being played in Bellingham and came back and started a small league here in 1969 that has since grown into the 71-team men’s and ladies league, as we know it. The sport of slo-pitch softball owes Bob a tip of the cap.
Not enough could be written to describe the impact that Willie had on the Abbotsford league and slo-pitch softball in this province. Willie started playing slo-pitch in 1971 and along the way played for what seems like every great team through the seventies and eighties. Bradner Royals, Wilson&Reimer and EFF jets to name a few. In 1972 Willie started organizing umpires for the Matsqui/Abbotsford league. A move that would eventually become the Abbotsford umpires association of which Willie would become one of its presidents. In the 70’s Willie helped organize the Abbotsford league in signing up with softball B.C. A move that would lead to teams being able to compete for provincial and national championships. He would later become the B.C slo-pitch coordinator and later yet the director of slo-pitch for B.C. In 1979 Willie was instrumental in changing the slo-pitch ball from its then 14” diameter to its current 12” diameter. A move that would see the game get new life. Another major impact he would have on the game in Abbotsford was the organization with the district of Matsqui for the construction of Ellwood park. Ellwood would go on to be one of the major parks in slo-pitch softball which continues to this day. Many Provincial and National championships along with Western Canadian championships would be held here over the years. An umpire for over 30 years Willie could handle games at any level in both slo-pitch and fast pitch. If all this was not enough, Willie was also the president of the Abbotsford league from 1979 to 1992.
Ray has played in the Abbotsford men’s league since 1983. Ray is a competitive and dedicated player who has been the main force in keeping the Sunrise Toyota Rats together for all these years.
Maria started playing slo-pitch in 1985 in the Abbotsford league. Maria has played in the ladies league from its lowest point of 2 teams to its current high point of 30 teams. In between she has been actively involved in growing the sport through her efforts on the executive, as a player and as a coach. Maria is well known as an outstanding player and coach.
“Deuce” was another member of the famed Royals team of the seventies and eighties. An outstanding power hitter with a great arm Ronnie helped his teams win many provincial and national titles. A fierce competitor who elevates all those around him, Ron’s longevity in the sport playing at the highest levels is a testament to his outstanding athletic ability. One of the truly nice guys in the game.
Betty has played in the Abbotsford women’s slo-pitch league virtually since its inception in 1984. She has played,coached,organized and managed the team known as “Able Cresting Breeze” for the last 22 years. From the team’s beginnings as “Sunlife Insurance”, to “Coppertone Farms, Finnegan’s Pub and VRC, Betty has been instrumental in holding the team together and finding sponsors. She also helped to keep the league going when it was down to just three women’s teams! She continue’s today to be a player/manager. Betty has also helped support the Womens league through her work with the Parks and Rec. commision.
Barry was a recruit of Howie Williams in the early 70’s and also played on the famed Royals and All-Star mechanical teams throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. A gifted pitcher and a player who could perform at a high level at many positions gave Barry the reputation as a great all around player. Barry has played in and won many Provincial and National Championships including the first National ever in 1979. Barry continues to play and umpire today and has earned the respect of both teammates and opponents over the years. A true ambassador of the game.
Neil “Jake” Johnston
Jake was also a member of the Royals and All-Star mechanical teams of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s gaining a reputation as a formidable opponent and fierce competitor. Jake commands respect on and off the field with his insight into the game. A master at finding and developing some of the finest ballplayers B.C. has ever known. A winner of many National and Provincial championships over his 30 plus years in the game he continues to coach today. Jake can always be found at the ballpark or on the golf course and is a big contributer to the game in general. A true credit to our sport.
Pat “Tapper” McDermott
Tapper, as he was affectionately referred to by everyone, started playing in the 70’s as a player/coach with the JW electric team. Then Abbotsford Slo-pitch president Willy Reimer recalls that Tapper was a bit of a rebel and to keep him close decided to bring him on as an executive member to help make decisions and be a part of the system. He went on to be strong member of the executive and helped establish many new rules for how the game was played and was a key person in making the then M/A league the strongest and most respected league in B.C. Tapper is also well known for starting the Tacky tourist tourney. Considered one of the most enjoyable tourney’s to play in it wasn’t just about how well you could play but how good your costumes were as well. Tapper is most well remembered for his over 30 years of umpiring and his trademark line “see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya”
Dave was another one of the core members of the original M/A slo -pitch league and was involved in many aspects of the league to help get it established working many years on the league executive. He was a top umpire in not only league but also tourney, provincial and western Canadian championship play. Dave was a member of the EFF Jets masters team that won several provincial championships and competed in the western Canadian masters championships. He is known as one of the best 1B’s who could catch and field a ball while looking in the other direction.
Don “Hutch” Hutchison
Don began playing in the league in 1977 with the Matsqui 50’s team. He has done it all over the years as a player, coach, executive member and of course, as an umpire. Don is still umpiring and is still an executive member in 2020 and still has a great passion for the game. He has been a great asset to the league for decades.