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Five Inducted Into Illinois USSSA Hall Of Fame

At Cliffbreakers In Rockford On November 5th

ROCKFORD: The eleventh annual Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame Induction Banquet was held on Saturday November 5th at the Cliffbreakers Resort Hotel in Rockford with over one hundred and fifty people in attendance. Six individuals were inducted bring the total number of individuals inducted to eighty-one. Being honored at this year ceremonies were Pioneer Player Charlie Baumgartner from Oswego, Sponsor Don Metz (Metz Tool) from Rockford, Male Players Bill Sahagian from Bartlett, John Wood from Rockford and Umpire Irv Porter from Aurora.
Co-Master of Ceremonies Chuck Fisher opened the evening by saying, "Ladies and gentleman, the ultimate honor that can be bestowed upon on a player, coach, manager, director, umpire sponsor or any involved in the game of softball is to be nominated, elected and than inducted into the USSSA Hall of Fame in Illinois. The inaugural Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame induction ceremony was conducted on March the 23rd, 1996 and of this date seventy-five individuals have received this very special honor."
Co-Master of Ceremonies Jeff Brown than took the podium and introduced the twenty-four Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame members who were present at this year's banquet so that they could stand one by one as their name was called and be recognized by everyone in attendance.
Brown went on to introduce Don Metz who was being inducted as a sponsor. Metz, unfortunately was away in Florida attending to some property damage from the recent hurricane and could not accept his plaque and ring in person.
In his introduction of Metz Brown said, "Don Metz time and career in softball proves that the end destination is often not as important as the path traveled to get there." Brown continued by saying, "Don was known to his friends as 'Gamer'." Brown closed by saying, "Don once told me, 'I have been all over the world and have had many great times, but the truth is the best people, the most fun, the real life victory have come from my time in softball."
Each inductee received a ring and a plaque that said 'United Stated Slo-Pitch Softball Association Illinois Hall of Fame (persons name & category), Upon nomination and election, you are hereby inducted as a member of the Illinois United States Slo-Pitch Softball Association Hall of fame to be recognized forever this 5th day of November in the year 2005.'
Fisher introduced Umpire Irv Porter by saying, "
Hall of Famer (Class of 2004), Ken Franzen introduced Porter by saying, "I would put him on any game any time, any [place. I think he is one of the top three or four umpires we have ever had in the state of Illinois." Franzen continued by saying, "at the pre-game meeting and coin toss, the umpires at Forest Hills will tell the managers about the ground rule when a ball went into the ivy , that it would be a two base hit, Irv would always say that's not ivy out there, it's weeds and they should be burnt down."
In accepting his award Porter took the time to say something on a personal nature about each of the other individuals that were being inducted this evening. Porter went on to say, "Over the years people have asked me, 'Why, do you umpire?' and I don't understand where they are coming from. I am outside in basically nice weather with my shorts on with the sun shining watch a game that we all love. I get the best view, if I'm not close enough I get to move closer to the play to get a better view, and they pay me money to do this. Try and find a better job description." He closed by saying "It's and honor, a privilege, it is intimidating, I've looked back at the people who have gone into the hall in front me and, wow, they are the best of the best."

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(L) Don Metz - Sponsor & (R) Irv Porter - Umpire

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