The Kansas City Metropolitan 50+ Softball League
(A factual history)
This is an abridged document. Any additions, deletions, suggestions for changes,
should be forwarded to kcseniorsoftball.com for consideration.
Wes Weddle, along with many other interested individuals founded the league. It was felt that a factual account should be made, relating to the history of the league, otherwise a lot of facts relating to the league might be lost. An attempt was made in preparing this document, to be as factual as possible and record the events as Weddle perceived them or as the facts were presented to him. Names of some participants have been recorded, but names of others have not. Facts are facts and this document is as factual as Weddle and others have been able to present it.
Weddle feels that any favorable comments reflecting on the leadership of this league should be with the understanding that all things are made possible by a person’s faith in GOD. Further Weddle shares any success the league has had with the patience and understanding of his marriage partner of over sixty-three years, Ethel, as of June 4, 2011. He also shares with her their successful eleven-year leadership of their co-ed softball team in the nineteen eighties.
After this process of recording the history began, Weddle read an article written about actor Sidney Poitier. A quote by Poitier about recording facts about his own life states: “When we die, we are going to be taking with us to the grave an enormous amount of information, experiences, points of view, positions, attitudes. We should leave some of those parts of ourselves behind.” Weddle felt that Poi tier’s quote pretty well summarized his own feelings.
The formation of the league began shortly after Weddle read an article in the American Association of Retired Persons publication dated October of 1989, in regard to a Senior Softball USA World Series being held earlier that month in Greensboro, North Carolina. Wes telephoned the local AARP office seeking information about the World Series, but they did not know anything about the event. He then wrote Bob Mitchell of the Senior Softball USA, Organization and received a letter from him in regard to senior softball.
Bill Richardson, sportswriter for the local Kansas City Star, was contacted and wrote an article, which appeared in that newspaper about the desire to form a local senior softball organization.
Two problems developed: (1) Weddle had inadvertently mentioned his wife’s age, to the reporter, and that age appeared in the article; (2) the article appeared in the newspaper three days prior to the Christmas Holiday with many family members visiting the Weddle’s for the holiday season.
About thirty telephone calls from interested softball players were shortly received. Two of these calls were from women, who were interested in playing softball.
Scott Raider and Bob McMillan of the Jackson County Parks & Recreation, Kim Johnson of the Johnson County Parks & Recreation and a supervisor of the Raytown Parks & Recreation telephoned and showed interest in assisting the group.
YEAR 1 — 1990
In the middle of March 1990, all interested persons were invited to an enrollment meeting at the Fleming House associated with the Jackson County Parks & Recreation Department.
Scott Raider of the J.C. P. & R. Dept. attended as well as William Day, Gerald Isenhower, Jim Melching, Abe Reddekopp, Dale Young, Huffman Walker, Kim Johnson of the Johnson County Parks & Recreation Department and Weddle. Johnson provided the enrollment form. A news release about the proposed league was sent to local newspapers, television and radio station.
In April Weddle and his wife had the privilege of appearing on the television program “55 and Growing” with David Francis on channel 30. A discussion followed about the group’s interest in forming a softball league for mature adults.
The first year, three softball teams were organized. A team from Lee’s Summit, Mo., which was basically intact. A group from north of the Missouri River formed a team which later became the North Star Mobile Village Team. A group composed of persons from Cass, Jackson and Johnson Counties formed a team called the Timeless Ballplayers.
These three teams practiced on their own. The Timeless Ballplayers traveled to North Kansas City one Saturday in May for a practice game with the North Team, which Timeless won 19 to 0.
Let the games begin!
The league’s first softball games were played on a beautiful Saturday evening June 3, 1990.nThese games were played at a softball field at the Aldersgate Methodist Church located in the south part of Lee’s Summit, Mo. Gerald Isenhower was instrumental in setting up these games and paid for the professional umpire.
The Lee’s Summit Team played the Timeless Team in the first game, and after the completion of the game the scorekeepers of both teams claimed the victory for their team by a score of 9 to 8.
What a way to begin!
The score sheet for this softball game is still in the possession of Weddle.
Timeless ball players were catcher William Day, pitcher Dean Eklund, first base Don Hicks, second base Harvey Case (Dale Young replaced Case at second base later in the game), third base Huffman Walker, shortstop Bob Steen, left fielder Weddle, team (Manager Chuck Bua showed up late and placed himself in left field and moved Weddle to left center field), right center Ben Flucke, and right field Fred Stein.
Lee’s Summit players were Warren Dew, Denny Masters, Gerald Isenhower, Jim Turrentine, Richard Rowland, George Howard, Joe Smith, Clyde Johnson, Paul Underhill, Mike Hooper and Roger Welty.
The Lee’s Summit team then played the North team and won. No score sheet is available for this game. Abe Reddekopp managed the North Team and their players names were Brent Arant, Ed Barnes, CN Enderson, Vern Linscott, Roger Mast, Lloyd Robert, Lois Roberts, Jerry Slack, Andrew Swearengin, Charlie Tucker and Harry Waterhouse. After play began, The North Team’s third baseman was injured, so Weddle filled in for him.
This was the format used the rest of the season on Saturday evenings with one team playing two games so that all three teams could play at least one game. The Lees Summit team had several members who worked for Blue Springs Ford and were not available to play early, so the games did not begin until 6.00 pm.
One day after a softball practice Isenhower, Bua and Weddle met. Isenhower suggested that Weddle be the president, he (Isenhower) be the vice president for rules & regulations and Bua be vice president for publicity. Later Jim Turentine was designated as secretary then moved to Florida. Bob Steen took over the secretary and treasures job.
The league was formed and a system was later developed for meetings of the league members so that these officers and each team manager in attendance would have one vote on league matters.
Much later Manuel Morris was elected as vice president. Years later Steen resigned, and Jake Magee took over the secretary’s and treasurer’s job. Jake later resigned and Ken Whisler took over the membership secretary’s job, Jim Cunningham took over the treasurer’s job. Dick Stine later became the membership secretary.
No more games were played in June as a result of rain. In July the league played on a field north of the river, the Timeless Team was short of players so Ethel Weddle pitched for the Timeless Team.
Weddle had written and sent letters to several newspapers and media organizations in the area publicizing the start of the league. Charles Beneke a photographer with the Wednesday Magazine telephoned Weddle requesting him to schedule some league members so that he could photograph them playing softball. These pictures then appeared in the paper’s publication.
League member Earl Stevenson volunteered, and Weddle telephoned league member Santo DiMaggio requesting him to appear with the group. Santo replied “Oh Weddle! I don’t have time for stuff like that”. Weddle replied, “Santo come on, your picture might appear on the front page of the Wednesday Magazine.” Without hesitating Santo replied, ”What time do you want me to be there.”
The picture was taken and appeared, on the publications front page showing Santo batting, swinging the bat, Weddle kneeling as a catcher with Earl, acting as an umpire. After the picture had appeared, Santo’s wife telephoned Weddle asking him where she could obtain 10 more copies of the paper for their family members.
August 10th players from all three teams, formed one team, journeyed to Topeka, KS and participated in the Kansas Senior Olympics. The league’s team won both games 27-0 and 7-2. A lady played for the Topeka team so Ethel Weddle pitched for the league’s team in the second game.
In September the league’s teams plus a team from St. Louis, Missouri competed in the Heart of America Senior Olympics held at the Frank White Sports Complex. The league put together a co-ed team to play a co-ed team from Topeka. Results were Lee’s Summit 2-0, St. Louis 2-1, Timeless 1-2, North 0-2, Topeka Co-Ed 2-0, and the KC Co-Ed 0-2.
A total of twenty-six games were played by the league’s teams that first year. Standings for the league were Lee’s Summit 10-2, Timeless 7-6 and North 0-9.
A collection was taken from the players, to pay the qualified umpires. Bob Sutton umpired most all of the games.
A picnic was held on the grounds of South Broadland Presbyterian Church September 23 with 60 persons participating. League members Earl Stephenson and Jack Holt grilled hot dogs for the event.
League member William Day and his wife joined a group of Senior Softball USA players, toured and played softball in Arizona, Hawaii and Australia.
Year 2 — 1991
Several meetings were held during the off season, and several articles were published in local newspapers about the league. Dave Stewart, a local sportscaster for channel 9, visited one of the Timeless Team’s practice sessions and interviewed four of the team members. The tape of this interview was shown later on hannel 9.
The league’s membership fee was established at $25.00.
A schedule was prepared for the league’s enrolled seven teams to begin play May 4 but the games were rained-out. These teams then played each other one time each. Later an eighth team was added at mid-season, and the teams again played each other one time each.
Thirty-eight of the forty-six games played that year, were played at Colman Park in Raytown, Mo. Because of scheduling problems, games were played at Cooley Park and the Auto Workers Local Union Ball Park north of the river.
In September because of difficulty of finding a place for the teams to play all eight league’s teams traveled to Harrisonville, Mo. and played scheduled softball games. An umpire at these games was so impressed with the results of these games that he invited the leagues teams to play in a tournament there in the Harrisonville’s Log Cabin Festival Days Event in October. This event basically was a fund raiser for the local Kiwanis Club.
Two teams composed of league members traveled to Oklahoma, City and competed in a national qualifying tournament for the Senior Softball USA Organization. Six of the league’s teams, as well as two teams from St. Louis, MO and one team from Topeka, KS competed in the softball tournament at the Heart of America Senior Olympics held at the Frank White Sports Complex.
Later two of the league’s teams traveled to Topeka, KS and competed in the Kansas Senior Olympics.
League member, Paul Underhill age fifty, passed away September 19th.
This second year climaxed with a picnic held at Colman Park with seventy-five persons attending. The league’s teams competed in one hundred and one softball games and ended the season with $801.18 in the league’s treasury.
Dale Young and Weddle appeared on David Francis’s “55 and Growing” TV Program.
Year 3 — 1992
League member Stan Hudson, age 54, passed away April 27.
Eleven teams started play in May and played each other one time each. A tournament was scheduled with teams from the league and a team from Warrensburg, Mo. named The Old Crows. The tournament was scheduled over three weekends with two divisions of competitive play.
Some of these games were played on a field in Kansas City, KS in the league’s attempt to play at different locations in the metropolitan area. Frank Murphy, Manuel Morris and other members of the Half Century Softball Team spent the morning preparing the field for the game.
Two teams again traveled to Oklahoma City as well as one team traveled to Lakewood, Co. and competed in tournaments.
Nineteen teams competed in the Heart of America Senior Olympics, thirteen teams competed in the Harrisonville Tournament and four teams traveled to Topeka, Ks. to compete in the Kansas Senior Olympics.
Two of the league’s members and their wives, joined one hundred thirty others persons, involved with the SSUSA Organization, toured and played softball in Italy for thirteen days.
Weddle was sitting watching one of the leagues games one day when a league member sat down beside him and stated “Wes you know that you are responsible for all of this” throwing his arms out indicating the game in progress. Weddle replied, “I plead guilty to that charge.” The gentleman then stated, “Well you may think that you are dealing with a bunch of grandpas but you are still dealing with a bunch of kids.”
How true this statement became as over the years grandpas in the league have been disciplined for bumping into other member grandpas, sometimes knocking them down, violating the league’s rules and regulations, cursing, swearing and scuffling among themselves. Let it be known however, that infractions have been a very small number, as compared to the large number of players who enjoy the camaraderie with members of this organization.
Year 4 –1993
During the off-season, meetings were held with developments and modifications of league’s rules and regulations.
Early one spring, Wes received a telephone call from a lady newspaper reporter who replied, “Wes I understand that you are the Czar of local 50 + softball.” Wes replied, “That he had been a secondary school principal of two inner-city schools and felt that he had been called every name in the book, but that Czar was a new name for him.” The reporter asked Wes several questions and then wrote a real nice article about the league, which later appeared in the newspaper.
Efforts had been made over the years on several occasions to seek businesses or groups to sponsor the league’s teams or even the league itself. Boatmen’s Bank, a locally owned and operated bank, had been sponsoring the local Senior Olympic Events and Weddle became very friendly with a secretary and vice president of the bank. This bank switched their sponsorship from the Senior Olympics to a team in our league and later the league itself. One of our teams was completely, outfitted with quality uniforms.
League member Darwin Landers and Weddle spent time selecting these uniforms and made sure that the uniforms satisfied the sponsor. Of course, the name of the team was Boatsman’s Bank, and Landers managed the team for years. The bank continued to sponsor this team for many years and contributed the finances for the league’s picnics, etc.
The league’s fourth season opened with fifteen teams competing. Play was started April 17 with some games, being canceled because of rain. Additionally, eight of these teams formed a conference and played games on Wednesday evenings.
John Wright, a member of one of the league’s teams, telephoned Weddle one Sunday afternoon and stated that he and some other members of their team desired to form their own team and were requesting information about how to proceed. Weddle asked if they had said anything to their manager about this and John said no. Weddle then suggested that they discuss this with their current team manager and after they did, Weddle proceeded to help enroll the new team Foresters.
In the middle of May, league member Eugene Payton and Weddle telephoned league members over the age of sixty and invited them to practice, and later play in an over sixty conference. Eleven players from Kansas and ten players from Missouri formed teams and played games for “The Border War”. Six innings were played with the score ending 15-15. Thirteen of these players were 65 or older. Several games were played by this group.
Weddle received a request from an official with the Columbia, Mo. Parks and Recreation Office asking him to send a team of the league’s players to Columbia as the office was opening their new Rainbow Sports Complex June 12″. Several of the league’s teams were out of town playing in tournaments, but 12 players were recruited, went to Columbia and played two softball games with senior softball players from Columbia. Of course, our men won and upon their return told Weddle that if he had any more requests like that one to include them in the group. They also stated that they had had, if you will the pardon the expression, “A BALL.”
A team the Heartland Hitters, age sixty and over, and a team of our members, age fifty-five and older, competed in the National Senior Olympics held in Baton Rouge, LA.
Teams also competed in tournaments in Oklahoma City, Lakewood, Heartland and Kansas Senior Olympics and The Log Cabin Festival Tournament.
Solicitations were made among league’s members, forty-five members responded, and a basketball group was formed to play games during the winter months.
Five hundred and fifty-three softball patches with the league’s logo, were purchased and made available for the league’s players to affix to their jerseys.
A league telephone number 816-941-3878 was received, and a league telephone answering machine was purchased.
Year 5 — 1994
After much deliberation about divisions of play within our league the 94 season was started with ten teams in the “C” competitive division and six teams in the “LC” less competitive division. Eight teams continued to compete on Wednesday evenings.
It is believed that this was the year that league member Eugene Payton and Weddle started a program at Colman Park for mature men to meet and play softball on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Men who showed would form two teams and play a softball game. Sometimes two games would be played.
Jackson County took over the sponsorship of the Senior Olympics.
The league’s teams continued to compete in tournaments mentioned earlier as well as branching out to tournaments in Columbus, OH, Scottsdale, AR and Orlando, FL.
Three league members, their wives and two other local residents joined 72 other persons, flew to Australia in mid-October to tour the country and play softball. One of these teams played a local women’s team just for the fun of it. These women had a difficult time getting the ball across the plate for a strike, so Ethel Weddle pitched for their team.
The last three days of this trip were spent on the Fiji Islands, swimming, sailing in the Pacific Ocean, lounging on the beach, vacationing and watching beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. What a FANTASTIC three days this was.
In early November, representatives from Senior Softball U.S. A., visited the area with the anticipation of holding their National AAA and Major Softball Tournament at the Mid-America Sports Complex and other complexes in Johnson County the following summer.
Year 6 — 1995
The year began with the Sun Publications of Overland Park featuring color pictures of five league members, in their uniforms, on the front page of the publication as well as a two-page spread about the league in the center of the paper. Enough interest was received from players that a new team was formed. In addition, the paper published a follow up article on players of the new team.
During this time Weddle was painting houses. One day he stopped at a paint store to purchase some paint. As he entered the store, a young sales lady shouted, “Here comes Mr. Centerfold”, referring to the pictures of the article in the center of the paper.
The newly organized team was named the Inland Containers. League member, Leo Riggs and a member of the new team purchased the team’s jerseys.
Riggs had lived in Chicago area and played softball there prior to moving to the K. C. area. Later Riggs purchased two more sets of jerseys for teams in the league. When Leo, was complimented by Weddle, he replied “I have to do something in order to play on a team in the league.”
The league advertised in thirteen local newspapers and shopper magazines in an effort to offer more mature adults an opportunity to play softball.
In March the Senior Softball USA held a news conference locally and announced that they would hold their World Championship Tournament at the Mid-America Sports Complex.
Ten teams started play in the league’s “C” division, eight teams in the “LC” division and ten teams played in the Wednesday conference.
Three league’s teams journeyed to San Antonio, TX, during May and competed in the National Senior Olympics held there.
Rollie Baldwin started a 50 + softball session at a field in North K. C. which met from 8:30 am to 11:30 am each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Several of our league members participated. The Northland section of the KC Star featured some articles about this group with one of our league member’s pictures appearing in the paper.
The league picnic was held June 17th during the afternoon at Colman Park sponsored by the Boatsman’s Bank.
August 5″, league play was moved to Cottonwood Park in Lenexa, Ks. Three fields were used by out teams as having more of our players together at the same time had been one of our league’s goals for some time.
August 12th, fourteen of the league’s teams competed in the Muscular Dystrophy’s Association Super Softball Weekend an event to help raise funds for that worthwhile organization.
August 19th, two of the league’s teams journeyed to Little Rock, Ark. and competed in the Softball Players Association Qualifying Tournament. These teams also went to Johnson City, TN, and competed in the National S.P.A. World Championship Tournament.
Over the Labor Day Weekend three of the league’s teams participated in the qualifying tournament in Lakewood, CO and the 50 + team qualified to compete in the N.A.S.C.S. World Series in Palm Springs, Ca. Their team manager paid the national tournament enrollment fee and then the players backed out of playing and the manager lost the enrollment fee! What a blow it was for this league’s team manager.
About year 1995, league member Roger Gramly, in a league meeting proposed that the league authorize a $750.00 honorarium for the president and secretary-treasurer for services rendered. A statement was made that it would be nice if the league could award the president $25,000.00. After deliberation, honorariums of $590.00 were approved for the president and secretary-treasurer. The president stated that he did not need, nor want or would he accept the honorarium as he was having fun, and a good time is his leadership position.
The secretary-treasurer accepted the honorarium. Two years later a different treasurer was in office and stated that he would not accept the honorarium unless the president accepted his honorarium. Under this situation and the pressure of the president’s wife, the president accepted the honorarium.
Later the league’s board expanded the number of honorariums to include, the president, the secretary, the treasurer, the membership secretary, and the tournament director, the chairperson of the competition and scheduling committee and finally the women’s conference coordinator.
Through all of these distributions, the president kept informing the recipients that they should report this income on their income tax returns.
On September 5″, the S.S.U.S.A. Organization’s 50 + AAA World Championships were held at the Mid-America Sports Complex, with eighty teams from throughout the U.S. of A. and Canada competing. Four of the league’s teams competed, with Team 60 and the WOV’s 50+ team placing second.
League members sold tickets to the Royals-Toronto Blue Jays baseball game played during the event and about 400 members and tournament players attended. One of the league members sang the national anthems for both countries involved, and the league’s members were involved in throwing out the first pitch.
Prior to the game a Canadian player, on his way to play in the tournament telephoned Weddle and stated he had heard that our members were going to present the colors at the Toronto- Royals Baseball Game. Weddle replied, “That’s right, would you like to carry the Canadian flag?” The player replied, “Yes”, so he and four of the league’s members were involved in presenting the colors for the game.
On September 12th, the SSUSA Majors World Championships were held with fifty teams competing.
The Senior Sports Classic, sponsored by the Jackson County Parks & Recreation Department was held the weekend of September 16th. Several league’s teams competed with two of these teams winning championships. Teams from Topeka and St. Louis also competed.
One Sunday evening while our league’s teams were playing at Cottonwood Park, Noreen Maxwell walked up to me, with Duane Vann and Noreen asked me what she had to do in order to enroll a team in the league next year. Of course, the procedure was explained and team M & V was enrolled and started competing the following year. Several of the team’s players had played with Half Century.
League play was completed at Cottonwood Park September 23rd. The “C” division competed in a two-division tournament and the “LC” teams played each other to finish the season. AAA Linen won the championship of the “LC” division and team Lawrence won the championship of the “C” division. These teams were presented a trophy and team members were each given a blue 50 + softball cap.
Several league members 65 years of age and over journeyed to St. George, Utah, joined some men there to form a softball team and competed in the Huntsmen Senior Games.
The Harrisonville Tournament was scheduled, postponed by rain and held October 14″ with twelve teams competing. Teams AAA and Lawrence won their respective divisions and were presented trophies. Second place teams were also presented trophies.
October 7 & 8, several teams from our league participated in the Senior Olympics at Topeka, Ks.
Year 7 — 1996
In February, officers of the league spoke with Ken Mass of the National Association of Senior Citizens Softball about the possibility of the league hosting a qualifying tournament in our area for their organization the following year. Progress was made, and the league hosted the tournament August 15-17, 1997, at the Frank White Sports Complex.
The Wednesday conference began play with eleven teams. After the completion of the first schedule of play, a second schedule of games was held. Team M & V finished in first place in both schedules of play, but the Adams Auto Group’s Team won the tournament after the first schedule of play. Team Lawrence came in second the second schedule of play.
The name of Team Inland Containers was changed to Midwest Sales, and Team Foresters name was changed to Wringers.
Charter member William Day recruited his son to play on the Cass County Team becoming the first father-son combination in the league.
Saturday conference, play “C 1”, the most competitive division, was made up pf six teams with team M & V taking first place and team Lawrence placing second. Noreen Maxwell, the league’s first female manager, managed team M & V.
C2, the second most competitive division, was made up of five teams with team Adams Auto Group taking first place and team Sixty K. C. placing second.
LC, the less competitive division, was made up of four teams with team AAA Linen taking first place and Team Boatsman’s Bank placing second.
Several league’s teams competed in qualifying tournaments through the U.S. of A and also the N.A.S.C.S. World Series, The Softball Players Association and the Senior Softball USA World Championships. Team 65 + and M & V qualified at the Missouri Senior Olympics in Columbia, MO to participate in the 1997 National Senior Olympics. Seven league’s teams competed in the Kansas Senior Olympics held in Topeka KS, and four of these teams qualified to compete in the National Senior Olympics to be held in Tucson, AR, in May 1997.
Two league members and their wives, journeyed to England, Ireland and Wales with a group of Senior Softball U.S.A. individuals, toured and played softball in those countries. Ethel Weddle again pitched for one of the teams. Another women’s player from Texas also played in these games.
The league finished the season with nine teams competing in the Harrisonville Log Cabin Festival Days Tournament. This annual event was delayed one week because of rain.
The league suffered a major loss of one of its finest members. Bob Jackson passed away during the winter. He is remembered and missed by all 225 members of the league.
Bob, we miss seeing you setting up top of Colman Park scouting all the teams to see if you might be able to pick up a Willie Mays for your team.
Year 8 — 1997
The year brought the resignation of the league’s secretary-treasurer Bob Steen. Members of the league are indebted to Bob for his efforts and work the past six years.
Job descriptions were prepared and approved for all league’s officer and committee chairperson’s positions. Ed Lane was elected chairperson of the Rules & Regulations Committee.
Jake Magee took over the secretary-treasurer’s position; Mike Sharon became the scheduler; Don Hicks became the chairperson of the Awards & Recognition Committee, and Chuck Bua became the chairperson of the Publicity & Advertising Committee.
Prior to the opening game, a memorial service was conducted for departed member Bob Jackson.
The team name Midwest Sales was replaced by the name Hustlers, Boatsman’s Bank name was replaced by All Star Auto Sales. Consolidated Services sponsored two teams C. S. Gold and C. S. White and a new team B.0.G. entered the league.
The Wednesday evening conference began play April 16″ with fourteen teams divided into two divisions of play. Las Chillis won first place and Lawrence Hawks came in second in the C1 division. C. S. Gold won first place with Super Seniors placing second in the C2 division.
The second schedule of play was won by Lawrence Hawks with Las Chillis coming in second in the Cl division. Team 60 won first place, with Team Goodtimers coming in second, in the C2 division.
Saturday league play began May 3th, with six teams making up the CI division and seven teams making up the C2 division. M & V won first place and Adams Auto Group came in second in the Cl division, AAA Linen winning first place and Ageless Wonders placing second in the C2 division.
Several league’s teams and members also played in a league on Sunday evening at Cottonwood Park in Lenexa, KS.
Team’s Ageless Wonders, M & V and Team 65 competed in the National Senior Olympics held in Tucson, AR. the latter part of May.
The Raytown Dispatch and the Kansas City Star both featured outstanding articles about the league’s activities.
Several of the league’s teams journeyed to various sites and participated in qualifying tournaments, Senior Olympic events and national tournaments.
Five of the league’s over 70 years of age members journeyed to Columbia, Mo. on several occasions to practice and formed a team with 70-year-old ball players from St. Louis, Mo. and Western Illinois. This team competed in a qualifier tournament held in St. Louis the later part of June along with other teams from our league. They also competed in a national tournament held in St. Louis the first part of September. The team had to compete with teams composed of 65-year-old players, but they won the 70 Gold even though the team lost six of the seven games that they played.
Letters were sent to league members over the age of fifty, to see how many would be interested in an over fifty draft. Eleven members responded so the idea of the fifty + draft was dropped
The league sponsored their first qualifying tournament “The Kansas City Classic” for the North American Senior Citizens Softball Organization August 15-17 which was held at the Frank White Sports Complex. Eight teams compete in this tournament. The event was a first-class affair.
Charter member Bill Day suffered a slight stroke the early part of August but continued to compete on a limited basis.
The Harrisonville Log Cabin Days Tournament was the culminating activity for the league this year. Topeka’s Prime Time team worked their way back from the loser’s bracket to win the C1 division title and a team composed of players from Ageless Wonders and Super Seniors came in second. AAA Linen won first place in the C2 division with Cass County coming in second. Ten teams competed in the tournament.
A nice article appeared in the S.S.U.S.A’s organization newsletter featuring team M & V’s manager Noreen Maxwell.
At the year-end league meeting several members volunteered and were appointed to a committee to study the league’s operation and report back at the next league meeting.
The league ended the season with a bank balance of $9,401.00.
Year 9 — 1998
At the 1997 year-end meeting, several league members were appointed and volunteered to serve on a committee to study the league’s operation and report back at the next league meeting. From this effort the committee made the following recommendations:
- A league Competition and Scheduling Committee should be formed to be in charge of scheduling and deciding competition concerns of the league’s teams. This committee is to study team and member competitiveness and make recommendations for placements of teams in divisions of play and members for placement on teams.
- League’s teams should begin to declare their intent to become an over 60 years of age team, or an under the age of 60 team, effective by year 2000.
- This group and others studied several softball complexes as to cost, availability, etc., and recommended that:
- There be team play at Colman Park on Wednesday evening. Nine teams competed in two sessions of play. Central States took first place, and Goodtimers took second place in the first session. KC Thunder took first place, and All Star Auto Sales took second place in the second session.
- There be, team play at Cottonwood Park on Thursday evening. Eight teams competed in two sessions of play. Wringers took second place in the first session of play and shared the championship with another team for the second session of play. These were the only standings available for this conference.
- There be team play at Coleman Park on Saturday. Twelve teams competed in two divisions of play. Midwest Driving took first place in the “C 1” division followed by M & V in second place. Las Chillis took first place in the “C2” division followed by AAA Linen in second place.
- There be team play at Cottonwood Park on Sunday evenings. Some teams did not play in this conference as a recommendation of the Competition and Scheduling Committee. Nine teams competed in these nine- inning conference games in ten- and seven-week sessions. Statistics are not available for this group.
- That new membership guidelines be initiated with requirements for members to purchase and have on hand a $10.00 league membership card.
These recommendations were approved by the league.
League member Jake Magee developed, had printed, and distributed a league recruitment poster.
Charles Hiller, Bob Uphoff and Weddle journeyed to league member Dick Souder’s home one summer day to discuss with him the starting of a web site for the league. This subject was discussed for a while when Uphoff stated that we could ask players for a donation to help finance this web site. Weddle stated, “Bob, the league has enough money to pay for the web site.” Souder got the web site functioning, and Uphoff took over the operation of the league’s website as webmaster.
Bumper stickers advertising our league were developed, printed, and distributed.
The Kansas City Star Newspaper featured a nice article about members of league’s team AAA Linen.
The league sponsored its second “Kansas City Classic Qualifying Tournament.” This time, it was for the Softball Players Association. Eighteen teams competed.
The end of the season Harrisonville Tournament was held with two divisions of play. KC Thunder won first place in the “Cl” division, and Goodtimers came in second.
Angles took first place in the “C2” division, and H.P.S.I. came in second. KC Classics took first place in the “CA” division and Cass Co. team came in second. Nine teams failed to show for this tournament.
The Competition and Scheduling Committee met and recommended that the league play all league’s mid-week games on Thursday evenings at Mid-America Sports Complex. This move was approved at the year-end meeting held at the Dingers Sports Bar at Mid• America Sports Complex.
The season ended with 346 members in the league, 23 teams, and a balance in the treasury of $13,000.00.
Year 10 — 1999
Shortly after the above-mentioned league meeting, several members whose teams had been playing at Colman Park on Wednesday evenings voiced their concerns for continued play at Colman. A league member, officers, and committee chairpersons meeting was conducted to discuss this concern. Approval was forthcoming to offer four conferences similar to those offered in year 1998 including play at Colman Park on Wednesday evenings.
The league sponsored a pre-season tournament held at the Mid-America Sports Complex at no cost to the teams. K. C. Players took first place in the white division. Central States finished in second. W.0.V. took first place in the red division, and R.L.V. Services came in second. K. C. Classics took first place in the blue division. Insurance Analysts ended up in second.
Mid-America Sports Complex charged a $1.00 admission fee, so Weddle sat at the entrance and issued a ticket to league members so they would not have to pay this fee. Former league member, John Wright, mentioned previously, walked up saw Weddle and replied, “Are you still around?” He accepted the free ticket, however!
A ten-week schedule was developed with eleven teams playing in two divisions of play at Colman and Kenagy Parks on Wednesday evenings. Another team joined this group for the second session of play.
Two ten-week schedules were offered at Mid-America Sports Complex on Thursday evenings with fourteen teams competing in two divisions of play in the first session, and eleven teams in the second session.
A Saturday, schedule was developed with eight teams playing each other one time each.
Later four more teams joined the group for a second session of play, which offered two levels of play for six teams each. Scheduling problems developed as many of these teams were going to tournaments out of town and also desired to continue to compete in the league.
The Sunday evening conference offered a seven-week spring session with six teams involved. A seven-week summer session was offered with eight teams participating and a seven week fall session with six teams competing.
The league sponsored its third “Kansas City Classic Tournament” with thirty teams involved. The tournament netted the league an income of $2,900.00.
A league member and his wife joined a group on a cruise to Hawaii and played softball while there.
Jake Magee, who had served diligently for three years as the treasurer of the league, requested to be relieved of those duties. Jim Cunningham a Heartland Hitter’s team member accepted and was approved as treasurer, and Kenny Whisler, a Goodtimers team member, accepted and was approved as membership secretary.
Charter member Earl Stevenson put together an over 70 + team, qualified at a tournament in Topeka, KS, and traveled to and competed in the National Senior Olympics held in Orlando, FL.
The league had 27 teams and 385 members enrolled and ended the season with a balance of over $16,000.00 in the bank account. Two of the twenty-seven teams competed in all four conferences offered, and two teams competed in three conferences.
Year 11 — 2000
A preseason tournament was held with twenty twenty-two teams competing in three levels of competition.
Three sessions of play were offered on Sunday evenings at Cottonwood Park. Games were nine innings or one and one-half hours in length. Each session of play offered two levels of competition. Results were W.0.V. 6-1 in the “C 1” division, and Super Seniors 6-1 in the “LC” division of the spring session. Team Wringers posted a record of 9-1 in the summer session in the “Cl” division, and Super Seniors were 7-3 in the “LC” division. Just Friends posted a record of 5-2 in the “C 1” division in the fall session, and Super Seniors posted a record of 5-2 in the “LC” division.
On Wednesday evenings at Colman, Kenagy, and or Little Blue Trace Fields, thirteen teams competed in two levels of play for two sessions. KC Players had records of 10-0 and 7-1 for both sessions of play in the “Cl” division, and AAA Linen had records of 8-1 and 7-1 for both sessions of play in the “LC” division.
On Thursday evenings at Heritage Park, fourteen teams competed in two sessions of double header games on two levels of play. Avengers had records of 20-0 and 11-3 in the “C 1” division, and Lucky’s had a record of 16-4 and Longbranch had a record of 6-1 in the “LC” division of play.
On Saturdays, during the day at Colman Park, thirteen teams competed in two levels of play for two sessions. Central States posted a record of 8-3 in the “C 1” division, and Goodtimers posted a record of 12-1 in the “LC” division of play.
Formal protests forms were developed for the league and nine protests were filed and processed.
The positions of president and treasurer were bonded, and $10,000.00 of the league’s funds was placed in a certificate of deposit.
The fourth K.C. Classic Qualifying Tournament” was sponsored by the league for the Softball Players Association.
Three different newspapers published articles during the season. These articles displayed pictures of several league’s teams and members.
One reporter telephoned the president of the league and stated, “I understand that you are the Czar of 50 + softball here locally.” The president replied, “I do not know about that. I was principal of several inner-city schools and feel that I had been called every name in the book, but Czar is a new one for me.” The reporter proceeded to write and publish a nice article relating to the league’s activities.
A request was received by the league from the Salvation Army Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center for used softball equipment. League members responded with three automobile trunk loads of balls, bats, gloves, bases, shoes, jerseys, and other softball equipment which was delivered to the center. This organization sponsored a team which utilized the equipment in their play in a city sponsored league.
Again, several of the league’s teams competed in qualifying and national tournaments throughout the USA and Canada.
The league officers studied other softball league’s sets of by-laws and put together a proposed set of league by-laws. One of the league members, a practicing attorney, was enlisted to study this work and make recommendations. An expanded set of by-laws was produced. The officers and attorney met, discussed the document, and requested changes which were then made in the document.
Twenty-nine teams and 483 members made up the league this year.
The league ended the season with a bank balance of $7,840.56 and the $10,394.62 certificate of deposit.
Year 12 — 2001
A letter was sent to all league members with a copy of the proposed by-laws for the league and inviting members to a meeting January 13 to consider the adoption of the by-laws. Sixty-seven league members attended the meeting. Several league members made sort of a mockery out of the consideration for the adoption of the by-laws, but the by-laws were later overwhelmingly approved, adopted, and incorporated by a vote of the membership. Actually, seven members voted against the adoption.
The adopted by-laws proposed for nine league members to be elected to serve as a board of directors to oversee the involvement of the league and be responsible for the league’s operation. Nine league member’s names were placed in nomination for these offices by the by-law committee. Six names were nominated from the floor. Weddle adds that he felt that some league members more or less again made a mockery of this phase of the meeting. However, the nine members nominated by the by-law committee were elected.
Of the nine elected board members, five of them received more votes than Weddle. Weddle was elected to the board for two more terms of office. Interestingly, is the fact that even though he was instrumental in starting the league and led the league’s successful operation for seventeen years, he never received the highest number of votes for any election held. Weddle is only stating facts. He certainly lives with the facts but finds it very interesting in the way that some people select their priorities!
As has been stated earlier, prior to the approval of the by-laws, each team manager as well as the president, vice presidents, secretary, and treasurer had one vote on decisions affecting the operation of the league.
At the above-mentioned meeting, a member suggested that the league should consider applying for a 501c3 tax exempt statute with the Federal Internal Revenue Service. The treasurer and president consulted with a so-called advisor, completed the necessary forms, compiled the necessary material, and sent it all to the IRS for consideration. The Treasurer and President had a real experience trying to work with this so-called advisor.
A letter was received from the IRS requesting more information which was compiled and returned to the IRS. The application was approved officially making the league a 501c4 organization. The league had not involved itself in enough philanthropic work to qualify as a 501c3 tax exempt organization.
The league sponsored a preseason tournament which was held in May. Twenty-two teams competed.
The league sponsored their fifth “Kansas City Classic Tournament” with thirty teams competing.
Concern was expressed for mature ball players who might not be playing on league’s teams, so Gerald Isenhower and Roger Gramly developed a draft program for members over the age of sixty.
At mid-season, letters concerning the draft were sent to members over the age of sixty. Enough players responded to form seven teams which played each one time each the remainder of the season. This 60 + draft conference has been a yearly feature for the league each season since.
Teams AAA Linen and Midwest Driving School competed in the national S.P.A. Tournament and won championships. Midwest came through the loser’s bracket to win the 60 + division. It was the third time that year that Midwest played through the loser’s bracket to win a tournament.
On October 20, the second league’s membership meeting was held. Twenty-nine members attended, and the necessary league business was conducted. Each year three board of directors’ terms of office expire. One of the retirees this year desired to be nominated, and he and two other nominees were elected. There were no nominations from the floor.
Teams were offered an opportunity to compete at a newly constructed complex in Overland Park, KS for year 2002.
Twenty-nine teams and 438 members made up the league this year. The league ended the season with a bank balance of $7,840.56 and the $10,394.62 certificate of deposit.
Year 13 — 2002
Late in the year, board member Jim Cunningham approached Weddle asking about the possibility of forming a women’s conference within the league. Jim had been connected with an organization which sponsored men’s and women’s softball teams and felt that the league should form a women’s program. This women’s conference was formed, and the age limit was lowered to age 37 in order to attract enough participants. A few games were played this first year of the formation of the women’s conference. Cunningham guided this group along for several years.
Year 14 – 2003
This year, letters were sent to league members who had not participated in our league for some time seeking answers as to why they had not participated or had quit playing in our league. This was an effort to obtain answers so the league could, if possible, address some of the reasons that members had quit or offer more opportunities to its members.
Year 15 — 2004
The women’s conference increased to four teams and continued play. A highlight of this program was that they played four games under the lights at Little Blue Trace Fields.
One team player expressed herself that she felt as if she was playing in the big leagues.
Early-on this year, one of the league’s team managers, along with some other disgruntled league members over the use of a particular brand softball that the league was using and other matters, formed a group and played some softball games outside of the league’s jurisdiction. Some of these teams also continued to play games within our league sponsored conferences.
It was interesting as Weddle was invited to set in on one of the group’s organizational meetings. Discussion ensued as to the group’s rules and regulations, which ended as being very close to the league’s rules and regulations. The difference being was the use of a different brand of softball than the ball our league used. This group did not prevail very long.
On October 9, the league sponsored a picnic at Colman Park with several League’s All Star Games for its members being played. Food and beverage were catered for the picnic. Wes Weddle was honored for his leadership efforts for the league over the years and helping to make the league what it had become to date.
The Softball Players Association installed Wes as their seventh Hall of Fame member, and the softball field at Colman Park was renamed ‘The Wes Weddle Field.” Dan Dolquist, minister of the church where Ethel & Wes attend, spoke at the ceremony as well as Dave Turner from the Raytown Parks & Recreation Office; Brad Delay from the Overland Parks & Recreation Office, as well as many league members who all had many pleasant comments to offer. Ethel Weddle was presented a bouquet of red roses and several of the Weddle’s family members were introduced as well as members of the Weddle’s former co-ed softball team.
A video and CD were produced of this occasion. It was a very grand and humbling experience for Wes.
At the league membership meeting this year, a few items within the league’s by-laws were to be reviewed for consideration and approval by the membership, which were approved.
The league’s membership reached a total of 670 members.
Year 16 — 2005
A league’s woman player, Debbie Grabb, was elected to the league’s board of directors. Grabb and Weddle put together the first ten game schedule of play for the four women’s teams. A second session of women’s games were scheduled. Weddle had encouraged a fifth women’s team to enroll, and he followed this group until they were enrolled.
This new team lost their first game but won all of their remaining games, which they played that year.
Around mid-August, Weddle learned that a new director had been hired for the Raytown Parks & Recreation. He asked for and met with Kevin Boji, the new director, and David Turner for about one hour. He explained that the league and the Raytown Park & Recreation had had a very congenial relationship for fifteen years and that he and the league desired for this congenial relationship to continue. Weddle explained that the league had recently experienced some internal problems which should not interfere with this relationship.
Explanation was made that our league had a set of by-laws and was governed by twelve members elected by the membership to serve as our board of directors. It was further explained that three of those board members were being considered for recall, but that overall, our league was in good shape. Again, our strong desire for our league’s congenial relationship with the Raytown Parks & Recreation Department to continue was expressed.
Problems developed within the league as 240 members of the sixteen teams playing softball at Community Park informed the league that the league needed to change the brand of softball provided for the league’s teams to use. They also, as well, petitioned the board for removal of two of the league’s board of directors, if in fact, these teams were to stay enrolled in the league.
A smaller group petitioned the league’s board of directors for the removal of a third league’s board member.
The league’s board of directors authorized the use of any brand of approved ASA 44-core 375-compression rated softball. In addition, the league’s board utilized guidelines in the league’s set of by-laws and conducted a recall election of the three mentioned board members. The first two mentioned board members were recalled, but the third mentioned board member was retained on the league’s board of directors.
Unbeknownst to the league and its president, Raytown Parks & Recreation officials saw fit to enter into an agreement with a newly formed 50 + league thus necessitating our league to find other complexes in which to play softball.
League vice-president Gerald Isenhower resigned from the board, and later, board member Debbie Grabb resigned.
League member Belle Neil was elected to the league’s board of directors.
Allow me to read you an unsolicited card I received from one of the leaders of the other group. The contents read, “Wes, thanks for all that you do for all of us. The rewards are not what should be for all your time and effort. But you continue to build a great organization that lets a lot of people still have a lot of fun.” This card was signed by board member Jerry Hinton.
Weddle considers this whole affair of not being allowed to play softball within the Raytown Parks & Recreation system to be a Hall of Shame!
The teams of the Kansas City Metro 50+ Softball League had been playing their games in the Raytown MO Parks & Recreation’s facilities successfully for fifteen years. October 9, 2004, the softball field at Colman Park was named “The Wes Weddle Field” in honor of one of the league’s members. Less than one year later the use of the Raytown Parks & Recreation’s softball fields was given to another 50+ group. One Raytown Parks & Recreation Director giveth, another Raytown Parks & Recreation Director taketh away, and the Raytown Parks & Recreation Board of Directors keepeth it away.
These are true statements.
Year 17 — 2006
Being that our league was not allowed to play softball games in the Raytown P. & R. facilities, a meeting was held in January for the women’s phase of the league and plans were made for the league’s six women’s teams to play at Hartman Park in Lee’s Summit, MO. Belle Neil used her computer e-mail skills to expand the women’s program for the league. Board members Cunningham and Neil did an outstanding job of overseeing this phase of the league’s women’s conference.
Five of the league’s gold rated men’s teams played double-header softball games on Tuesday evenings at the Frank White Sports Complex. Five silver and bronze rated teams played double-header games there on Wednesday evenings.
Eight, over the age of 60 teams, played double header games at Community Park on Tuesday evenings; and nineteen, gold, silver and bronze teams played double-header games there on Thursday evenings. Four, over the age of 60 teams, played games on Saturday’s mornings as well as four 60 + draft teams at Roe Park.
Our league sponsored our “Tenth Kansas City Classic Qualifying Tournament” for the Softball Players Association at the Frank White Sports Complex with twenty teams participating.
On July 22, the league again sponsored a picnic as well as four all-star softball games for its members at the E. F. Young Park in Riverside, MO. A barbeque lunch was served.
Year 18 — 2007
The sign “The Wes Weddle Field” no longer is displayed at the softball field at Colman Park in Raytown. Raytown Parks & Recreation officials even had the audacity to ask Weddle if he had had anything to do with the sign’s disappearance.
After serving successfully as the president of the league for seventeen years, Weddle requested to be relieved of this duty. Asked whether he was being pressured to leave this position, he replied, “No.” There had been two league team managers who had stated openly at league meetings that he should be replaced, but Weddle had not let those statements influence his request.
Randy Rowe was elected president. John Gerstle was elected vice-president, and Weddle said he would serve as secretary if no one else desired this position. Hardly anyone desires to serve as the league’s secretary.
The league had eight teams composed of members over the age of 60 playing on Tuesdays and eighteen teams playing double-header games at Community Park in platinum, gold, silver and bronze divisions.
Much to the credit and diligent work of Belle Neil and Jim Cunningham, the women’s program of our league expanded to eight teams which played on Monday evenings at Hartman Park. Plans are to sponsor a women’s qualifying tournament June 28 & 29, 2008, for the Softball Players Association.
Five men’s teams played on Tuesday evenings, and seven men’s teams played on Wednesday evenings at Hartman’s Park in Lee’s Summit.
Twelve teams played at Roe Park on Saturday mornings. A new feature on Saturday’s play was teams composed of draft players aged sixty-five and older. A total of 50 men’s teams and eight women’s teams were playing in our league, totaling fifty-eight softball teams playing in the league this year.
Humana Health Care sponsored a health fair at the T Bones Baseball Complex Friday – June 29th. The theme of the fair was built around baseball or softball players hitting a homerun by keeping themselves healthy and in shape. Our league was invited and sponsored a booth. Softballs and softball caps the league had purchased and never used were passed out to participants.
It was a rainy morning, but the fair was well attended. The league felt honored to have been asked to participate in the fair.
One evening Weddle visited the league’s teams and entered the Relics team dugout and sat down on the bench. A very young-looking ball player, as it turned out to be Dave Pattison, approached him and placed his hand on Weddle’s shoulder and stated, “I really thank you for starting this league!” Weddle expressed his thanks and stated that he did not feel that the player was old enough to play in the league as he looked so young, but the player stated that he had been playing in the league for three years.
At the All-Star Games and Picnic on August 4, 2008, at Roe Park, Weddle was able to get better acquainted with Dave.
A total of one hundred and twenty-seven lunches were served at the picnic.
Statements made to Weddle over the years, such as the one mentioned above, by Dave, as well as complimentary statements by Ted Growe, John Brodrick and many other league members, in addition to the many complimentary cards and kind words of appreciation, and statements that former board member Jerry Hinton’s sent and spoke to Weddle, makes all of the work and controversies that Weddle has experienced leading the league worthwhile!
On Saturday, November 3, the league held its’ yearly membership meeting at South Broadland Presbyterian Church. League members Randy Rowe, Charles Hiller, Dick Stine, and Freemon Jefferson were elected board members whose terms expire in year 2010.
Teams in the league had been playing at Community Park at 135″ & Switzer since year 2002. The league had a very successful experience playing there at that park with eight 60 + teams playing double-header games on Tuesday evenings and 16-19 teams playing double-header games on Thursday evenings.
During the fall of 2006, Johnson County residents failed to approve a tax which would have allowed the county to build a large soccer field complex.
During year 2007, Overland Park Parks & Recreation officials approved closing two softball fields at Community Park and, with some adjoining land, preparing soccer fields.
Year 19 — 2008
The use of Community Park was closed to our league.
Following is the schedule for this year: Sunday, nine teams enrolled for nine inning games at Heritage Park. Plans were made to include 35+ year-olds in this conference.
Monday, eight women’s teams enrolled at Hartman Park.
Tuesday, eight teams composed of members over the age of 60 played double-header games at Black Bob Park. Four competitive teams played double-header games at Happy Rock Park.
Wednesday, seven teams played single games at Hartman Park.
Thursday, nine bronze and silver teams played double-header games at Heritage Park. Nine gold and platinum teams played double-header games at Mid-America Sports Complex.
Saturday, thirteen teams composed of 50+, 60+, and 65+ draft teams played single games at Roe Park.
The league now has competitive designations: 50+, 60+ & 65+ draft, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum labeled teams.
On June 7, the league’s women’s, group sponsored a tournament for seven teams in Blue Springs, MO.
For several years, the league had eight 60+ teams playing on Tuesday evenings. This conference was a well distributed player ability conference, as referenced to team competition. Last year a manager brought a much more competitive 60+ team in to play and tried to obtain more competitive players.
This year this team was even more competitive, and other teams were concerned and talked about dropping out of the conference. The league president was out of town, so Weddle and the Competition & Scheduling Committee’s chairperson convened a meeting of the team managers and discussed the situation. The upshot of the situation was that the more competitive team was moved to a conference which was more competitive in nature and relieved the situation for this conference.
The league’s membership meeting was held in November with members John Dehan, John Gerstle, Mike Hooper, and Bill Klinkenberg being elected to the league’s board of directors.
The name of the league was changed to The Kansas City Metropolitan Senior Softball League.
Weddle was presented with an engraved walnut plaque designating him as Chairman Emeritus.
Year 20 — 2009
A league’s managers meeting was held at the South Broadland Presbyterian Church in January.
Senior Softball Hot Stove League News Letter was published by league board member Charles Hiller and sent to league members in January informing them of the offerings of the league. A note was inserted in this newsletter about a mature gentlemen’s game to be held June 7th.
Weddle made announcements and telephoned quite a few league members and former league members to inform them of the game. He telephoned charted member Bill Day who informed Weddle that he was pushing ninety. Weddle replied, “Bill, you told me earlier in our conversation that you walked two miles a day, so if you can do that, you certainly could show up to see your friends.”
Bill showed up and participated in the game. He lost his balance fielding a ball in the outfield and fell down. Several men rushed to the scene to assist him getting up, and the mature gentlemen stated, “I will get up by myself” The following day Bill telephoned Wes and asked, “When are you having the next mature gentlemen’s game?” There were quite a few members of the team which he used to coach present, and he wanted to have his former team members play another game. He invited Mike Hooper and Weddle to also play on his team if in fact another game was held.
About forty persons attended with thirty men participating in the game. About ten persons attended who did not play, and there were about eight persons who attended that participated in softball games the first year the league began operation.
On August 4, a league picnic and all-star softball games were held at Roe Park with 127 league members being able to receive a free picnic lunch. The day was sunny with mild temperature, and the event was well attended. The atmosphere was fantastic!
During the fall, a league membership meeting was held with league members Tim Burkindine, Mike Hooper, Donna McGuire, and Belle Neal being elected to the league’s board of directors. Board member Bob Uphoff had decided not to be on the board any longer.
Year 21 — 2010
A league membership meeting was held at South Broadland Presbyterian Church February 6th.
At one of the league’s Saturday softball game’s an umpire walked up to Weddle and asked if he had any more league shirts. The umpire explained that his father lived out of this area, had been a mature softball player, that his father had a birthday coming up soon and that he would like to send his father one of the shirts if there was one available. Wes explained that he had no more new league shirts available, but he would check and at least bring him one of Wes’s personal league shirts next week if he was not able to obtain a new shirt.
Interesting is the fact that league member Gary Lathrup overheard the above conversation reached into his softball bag took out his new 2010 league shirt, handed the shirt to Weddle and stated, “See if this shirt will take care of his request?” Weddle took the shirt, went to the umpire on the field, held up the shirt and stated, “There is a statement in the Bible which goes like this, ask and you shall receive” and handed the umpire the shirt. To Weddle this attitude on the part of Gary was a true reflection about what our league is all about.
About year 1993, Wes Weddle’s wife Ethel purchased at-shirt for Wes, which had the following phrase lettered on the front of the shirt, “My wife or softball?” On the back of the shirt was the phrase lettered, “When do we play?”
Another shirt purchased had a statement which reads, “We interrupt this marriage for the softball season.” The statement on a third shirt reads “Hay Ref” and below is a reading chart like seen in an optician’s office.
As late as this year, although these shirts and lettering have faded, when Wes wears these shirts, he still receives very favorable comments about the shirts as he did the first time the shirts were worn.
A photographic album of pictures of league members, teams and a brief history of the league was composed, printed and made available for purchase. This album was a first class piece of work.
Friday, December 10th, at 7 pm, a banquet was-held at the Matt Ross Senior Center in Overland Park, Kansas celebrating twenty-one years of the league’s successful softball operation.
One hundred and two members attended the catered buffet dinner. Wes Weddle was ceremonially roasted at this banquet.
Year 22 — 2011
Board members for 2011 were Charlie Hiller, Mike Hooper, John B. Dehan, Greg Bakian, Donna McGuire, John Gerstle, Randy Rowe, Belle Neil, Bill Klinkenberg, Bob Brown, Tim Burkindine, and Bill Nees.
The league’s Saturday conference opened the league’s twenty-second season with sixteen teams composed of players over the age of sixty participating.
Over the past several years, as he did this year, prior to the start of each season, Weddle has conducted memorial services for members who have departed our midst and hopefully have gone on to greater rewards. These departed members names are place in the league’s rule-book, which is updated each year. At this ceremony the ashes of one of the league’s cremated deceased members was scattered over the playing field.
Saturday, September 10, Ethel and Wes drove to Dalton, Georgia, and Wes was inducted into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame (ss.hof.com). League member Rodney Brock was there playing in a tournament, so Wes was able to see Rodney play softball. Rodney and his sister stayed over for the induction ceremony. WHAT an HONOR for Wes!
Wes’s daughter and family from Florida drove to Dalton to attend the event.
The 2012 softball season, the league’s twenty-third season of play, opened with the First Lady of Kansas City, Missouri, Licia James, wife of the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, throwing out the first softball for the League’s Women’s Conference April 16. The event was a joyous occasion.
Saturday, April 21, the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, Sylvester James performed a similar task for the league’s men over 60 + Conference.
Year 23 — 2012
New to the board this year are Jim Chastain, Clint Berger, and Mark Splettstaszer, replacing John Dehan, Bill Nees, and Bob Brown.
Lots of friction created between the Monday night 50+ Independence (Missouri) draft conference and the 60+ one at Jewish Community Center (Kansas) – because of a desire to drop the allowable age with the JCC to 50+. Allowing JCC to be 50+ would steal players from Independence. Three teams does not allot for a viable conference. Bill Klinkenberg was allowed to work with specific 50+ year old Kansas players to move to the JCC to create a better situation for them.
General feeling was that our website was outdated, not user-friendly enough, and Wes Weddle was still the owner. Jim can’t make any changes unless we have a web-hosting scenario. $2,000 was allotted for Jim Chastain (webmaster) and Charlie Hiller to upgrade our site. Several upgrade ideas were suggested and would be investigated. Bill Klinkenberg, and a few others, wanted this upgrade to include the simple addition of a web-version of our board meeting notes to be posted on our site.
Several chain-link pitching screens were in need of repair, which would be addressed by Randy Rowe.
Team equalizers, due to an imbalance in the quality of the teams being meshed into single conferences, was a hot topic throughout 2012. No answers at this time, aside from teams submitting their requests to the competition committee to be reviewed.
$300 charitable donations we made to the Make a Wish Foundation (actually, Love Fund) at Children’s Mercy, the Wounded Warrior program and the Cancer Society through Hoops for Hope and Special Olympics.
Year 24 — 2013
Larry Green was voted onto the board starting with the 2013 season….replacing Mike Hooper. Rowe said we still are trying to close out checking account at Heartland Credit Union, and move everything over to United Missouri Band (UMB). One outstanding check yet to clear.
Year 25 — 2014
Estimated membership was 745.
Any additional input for the year 2014 (from anyone reading this document), will be appreciated.
Year 26 — 2015
2015 coincided with the introduction of League Sheets to the organization. Bill Nees and Karen Riffle worked in tandem with Scott Flodin (League Sheets) to get our website up-to-date accordingly. Our website hosting, along with online payment of membership dues, roster creating, etc., will be moved to Mr. Flodin’s group.
The “Hot Stove” publication, comprised by Donna McGuire, was renamed to “Extra Innings”.
As result of Belle Neil’s resignation (who had been Secretary) Susan Scholler was elected to take her place. Doug Bennett also resigned after the election for this year. Rocky Osborn and Bob Reynolds were nominated as replacements. A closed ballot election concluded with Osborn as the person to take Bennett’s place. Charlie Hiller was voted to be removed from the board for cause. Bob Reynolds was elected to take his place.
The current copy of our By-Laws were voted to be updated to address approximately eight changes, most of which were typos or minor wording clarifications.
Our 25th anniversary items were approved for sale.
The Long-Range Planning Committee began investigating the possibility of acquiring the use of the park property at 103rd & Holmes.
Total membership for this season – 857.
Year 27 — 2016
Bill Klinkenberg, Larry Green and Chris Laddish were replaced by Jody Myers, Bill Nees and Steve Krull as board members.
The idea of giving back to our members introduced annual Rookie of the Year and the Wes Weddle – Spirit of the Game awards. Each conference would be allotted one of each.
KC Metro “Senior Day at the K” (for a designated day during the upcoming 2017 season) attracted a total of 420 members requesting tickets. Randy Rowe was selected to be the Captain’s Club honoree at the game. He will be on the field prior to game time for group introductions; and after extensive conversations four ticket holders have been confirmed as the winners of the batting practice access. They are Vonda Williams, Don Morse, Jim (JJ) Jones and Jim Cunningham.
2016 will be our first year whereby our members will be able to cast their board election votes “online”.
Total membership for this season – 854.
Year 28 — 2017
New board member was Larry Hightower, replacing Rocky Osborn.
Our first 80+ men’s team was allowed to play in the same conference as our 40+ women on Monday nights at Hartman Park in Lee’s Summit.
The Monday night women’s conference at Hartman Park in Lee’s Summit is going to, again, add another men’s Antiques team to their team list for 2018. This team will be a 75+ team.
Our “Field of Dreams” (i.e., building our own complex around 103rd & Holmes, or anywhere else continues to be running into one roadblock after another.
Total membership for this season – 856.
Year 29 — 2018
Jody Myers is no longer a board member. A tie occurred in the board voting for 2018. As a result, it was decided to retain both candidates due to the fact that the board was entertaining the expansion to 15 members anyway. Barry Gordon and Rocky Osborn were new the board members.
Our first attempt at rating individual “players” and the players determining the rating classification of each team on which they play (opposed to SSUSA’s “team” rating system) was implemented this year. A work in progress.
A new 65+ conference will be started this season at Black Bob Park. In order to assist in getting it off the ground, the board approved grandfathering in a maximum of three 61+ year-old players (as of 1/1/18) who played on any of the teams at Black Bob in 2017 — who wish to move “with their team” to the 65+ conference. No player will be allowed to change teams in order to be a grandfathered player on some other team.
Our first Co-Ed conference will start this season….with four teams. Original thought to work at Colman Park – Raytown, it was ultimately switched to Hartman Park – Lee’s Summit.
For player safety, and since managers are now able to view their team’s roster online, it was requested we acquire as many as possible ECI (Emergency Contact Information) phone numbers for the players. The manager then has that info available if needed.
Generic organizational business cards have been printed and were made available to all board members to utilize as a handout to any interested non-member.
Rowe stated SSUSA is offering lifetime memberships to 75+ year old players. It was questioned (by some of our members, as well as some on the board) as to whether, or not, we should do the same. It was decided to follow in SSUSA’s steps. Concern remained as to the monetary impact on our bottom line.
Interest in revitalizing our Facebook page was addressed. It seems someone created a page a few years back, and Larry Hightower is unable to create a new one as a result. Will have to uncover who administered the original one (in order to take it down) to start a new one.
Field of Dreams has moved away from the 103rd & Holmes site (due to it flooding twice in two months….now declared a floodway – meaning we cannot erect any structure hindering the flow of flood waters through the property. Burkindine is now investigating a new planned project believed to be under consideration at Renner Rd. and College Blvd.
Our Hall of Honor distinction was introduced by Barry Gordon. The strict criteria in order to qualify is being worked on. It is felt that since this should, and will, be considered such a prestigious award, the qualifications in receiving one should be extremely demanding.
Presidential Recognition Award was born this year also. Rowe’s suggestions for this award were: Bill Nees – Monday 70+ Hybrid league, Dave Barragan – Wednesday Independence league, and Susan Scholler – Friday Coed league. Hightower added Karen Riffle for her hard work on the website. The vote was six to approve and four against, for these four nominees to receive the first-ever Presidential Recognition award.
Awarding an “Ambassador” jacket to each member who achieved 20 active years with the KCMSSL was also born this year. The first-year volume of jackets was knowingly understood to be large – due to the number of recipients who had already passed the magical 20-year milestone years ago. That number should subside with each passing year. First-year number of jackets was 107.
All award winners are listed on our website, under the Awards heading. Future winners will continue to be added as they happen.
We ended the year with 929 paid members.
Year 30 — 2019
Bill Nees decided not to run for 2019 board re-election. With a 14th board member being added in 2019, Dave Barragan and John Mondi were elected. Steve Krull decided to resign from the board (as of March), Dave Hendrikse was elected to replace him.
All of the chain link guts of our pitching screens have been replaced with netting material.
It was agreed that Barry Gordon could proceed with the purchase of a 30th anniversary hat for every one of our male members and a visor for every one of our women members – to be distributed at the start of the 2020 season.
Randy Rowe’s attempt for the KCMSSL to gain access back onto Colman Park in Raytown was again shot down by the Raytown Parks & Rec — after several meetings over the winter. We were told we would be allowed access to Little Blue Trace Park, or any other city of Raytown parks, but that HASSL had sole rights to Colman.
KCMSSL’s “Night at the Comets” (Comets are Kansas City’s indoor soccer league team) was approved for their April 18th game. Larry Hightower will work with Deb Brown on the details. For marketing/advertising purposes, we will be allowed to have a mini half-time “soft” softball game on the field. The plan is for that game to be a co-ed game. All interested members will be asked to submit their requests.
In May of 2019, Dave Barragan was voted off the board due to a number of monetary issues. He was, additionally, banned from the league, for life – with the ongoing appeal option for re-instatement if voted accordingly by the setting board at the time of Dave’s request to be re-instated. SSUSA informed Randy Rowe that they are going to follow KCMSSL’s lead with Dave. As long as he is banned from our league, he will be banned from any SSUSA tournament.
Jeff Harlan was voted to take Barragan board position.
KCMSSL had a “Day with the T-Bones”. Our goal was to get 100 members to participate. We sold 104 tickets. Randy Rowe threw out the first pitch. The game did, however, get called (due to rain) in the 3rd inning. We do not plan a KCMSSL group return to utilize the tickets. Everyone was free to use them as they wish.
Allowing all 75+ year-old members lifetime membership “once they’ve paid 1 year of dues at, or above, the age of 75” will be implemented for the upcoming 2020 season.
Larry Hightower coordinated the airing of a story on our 70’s+ players with TV station KSHB. Hightower said there were numerous air times (at least four).
Three lightning detectors were purchased for use at the fields where they are currently not provided by the P&R, or otherwise. Per Donna McGuire, 10 miles is their limit for detection. When lightning gets that close or closer, the Parks & Recreations delay games 15 minutes.
There were 21 Ambassador Jacket awardees this year.
We now have 386 members on our new Facebook page, per John Mondi.
Total paid membership for this year was 980.
Year 31 – 2020
Prior to the start of the 2020 season, the United States was hit with the COVID-19 virus (a world-wide communicable disease pandemic). This was a major disruption to our organization. The KCMSSL ended their 2019 season with 957 active/paid members. Covid-19’s toll dropped that figure, for 2020, to 847.
The Board of Directors met in a special session to create COVID-19 safety rules and protocols to govern 2020 league play. These protocols were developed after looking at the national, regional, state, and county policies.
Early on we determined a league-wide shut down would occur due to any positive COVID-19 case. As more information was made available, we followed the path of case-by-case protocols governing how and when we would resume play and or shut down.
Player skill ratings were changed from the Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze categories to a 10-to-1 (highest to lowest) rating. Those ratings will translate as follows: 8.01 thru 10 is equivalent to Platinum, 7.01 – 8 = High Gold, 6.01 – 7 = low Gold, 5.01 – 6 = High Silver, 4.01 – 5 = Middle Silver, 3.01 – 4 = low Silver, and 1 – 3 = Bronze. This numeric system would be the foundation for team classifications.
In June, President – Randy Rowe and Secretary – Donna McGuire turned in their letters of resignation from the Board of Directors; this was followed by Mark Splettstaszer’s resignation in August. The board chose Chuck Tipton, Brad Uecker, and Ray Harre to serve out the terms of office of those three former Board members. Tim Burkindine took over the office of President and Bobby Gregg was elected to the office of Vice-President. Subsequently, someone was needed to replace Gregg (as Treasurer), so Chuck Tipton was elected to position. And someone needed to replace Donna as Secretary, so Ann Willkett was elected to that Executive Committee position.
Again in June, the Board followed the advice of ex-President Rowe, new President Burkindine and Vice-President Gregg to cancel our annual Wes Weddle Classic softball tournament (scheduled for the end of July) as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on the states in the Midwest…Kansas specifically. Senior Softball USA took over those dates, conducting a Midwest qualifier at the Mid-America Sports Complex in place of the Wes Weddle tournament.
League/conference play “cautiously” started in late June. And it didn’t take long before play was suspended for two weeks due to the positive Covid-19 test by members of the organization who had played in our Thursday, Sunday and other venues around the league. The decision to cancel for two weeks was made after the Board went through additional lengthy information-gathering, contact tracing, and response from county and city health organizations.
In an effort to continue organization’s growth, committee chairs were charged with the responsibility of adding a minimum of two non-board members to each applicable Board committee. There was a large number of non-board members who stepped up and volunteered to serve.
After using a storage-unit facility in Lee Summit for many years, the Board voted to rent a larger unit closer to where the majority of Board members lived. A Martin City Storage Mart unit was chosen. It offered the easier access desired, at a better price for our needs.
Our annual July All-Star Games & Picnic for 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19. Our hope is we will be able to resume full activities (games and the picnic) for our entire membership in 2021. Also due to COVID-19 all of our annual conference awards were canceled, except for the various conference championship shirts and the Ambassador jackets awarded to eight qualifying members.
A review of our financial situation uncovered the organization running in the red for the past three years. To that end, a decision was made that in 2021 all teams playing in our conferences will purchase softballs from the league rather than getting them free from the league – as it has been the case to date. It is the Board’s hope this is going to be the only move necessary to get us back in the black and set us on the path towards operating on a zero-based budget going forward. Also, as a result of this information, the Board of Directors decided to forgo charitable donations for the year 2020. The Board hopes to be able to get back to making the organization’s normal charitable contributions again in 2021.
After an in-depth look at our By-Laws and checking with the state statutes of both Missouri and Kansas, it was determined the Board and its officers were not covered with adequate liability insurance. It was, therefore, decided that we purchase a liability policy through West Bend Mutual. The coverage with and cost from West Bend was determined to be the best fit for our needs.
The annual Managers’ Survey was delivered by that committee to the Board. Resulting suggestions and recommendations were sent to all the appropriate committees for action. The entire survey document – containing the manager/member responses, the Board’s recommendations, etc., were then posted on our website for our membership to review.
We received news, late in the season, that the Wes Weddle Classic tournament dates at the Mid-America Sports Complex were no longer available to us. The one-year moratorium we decided to take relative to running the tournament due to Covid-19, somewhat backfired on us as the corresponding 2020 dates (for 2021) were claimed by an alternate SSUSA Qualifier. However, thanks to the persistent hard work of Clint Berger, SSUSA agreed to allow us to move the Wes Weddle Classic to June 24-27 – to be held at Black Bob Park in Olathe, KS and Hartman Park in Lee’s Summit. The tournament is again listed as a qualifier on SSUSA’s website. Again…thanks Clint!! Great news, as this will not only retain the existence of a great tournament, but hopefully assist us in making up for some of the lost revenue experienced the past three years.
As always, several of our local teams played in tournaments around the country in 2020 — including SSUSA Wolds, which was moved from the routine Las Vegas, NV location, to St. George, Utah – again due to Covid-19 concerns: B&B Drywall (50+), S&S Interiors (50+), KC Monarchs (55+), KC Vintage (55+), Big Daddy’s Donuts (60+), KC Kids (65+), Antiques of Kansas City (80+).
Along with a number of other firsts in 2020, the Board decided our annual membership meeting in December was going to be a virtual meeting. This was only made possible thanks to the efforts of Susan Scholler who reached out to her IT person (Phil Brown) at work who was able to set up the meeting for those members wishing to participate. The following board members were up for re-election: Bobby Gregg, Susan Scholler, Barry Gordon, Rocky Osborn, and Ray Harre (who replaced Mark Splettstaszer). All, except for Rocky Osborn, indicated their desire to rerun for the Board. The Nominating Committee moved forward, presenting a total slate of 10 candidates for the 2021 Board of Directors seats. The following candidates were elected to serve new three-year terms: Bobby Gregg, Barry Gordon, Susan Scholler, Ray Harre, and John A. Dehan (son of John B. Dehan – creating the 1st father-son pair to serve on this Board).
As we move closer to the end of 2020, it is our hope that members remain healthy, happy, and their families are also safe. The KCMSSL Board extends a deep heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped us make 2020 a successful as possible. God bless, and farewell to 2020. We are all looking forward to seeing everyone again in 2021. Play ball!! We ended this Covid infested season with 847 members.
Year 32 — 2021
Following the 2020 Covid-19 season, during which Tim Burkindine assumed the position of President from the then-resigned Randy Rowe, the board performed their routine January meeting assignment by electing Executive Committee members for 2022. Clint Berger was elected President. Clint had held the Membership Secretary position, so Barry Gordon was elected to take that position, with the other three committee positions being retained: Bobby Gregg – Vice-President, Chuck Tipton – Treasurer and Ann Willkett – Secretary.
Steve Krull, who had been a board member from 2016-18, but then decided not to run for re-election in 2019; then subsequently ran again in 2020 (and was re-elected)…sent in his board resignation letter — due to his job not allowing him to serve as needed. Bill Boos, who had run for the 2020 election, was voted to take Steve’s place.
Many individuals, along with some full teams, entered spring play after a winter of indoor practicing at Homefield – 2115 E Kansas City Rd, Olathe, KS 66061. The KCMSSL has now teamed up with Homefield for its 2nd consecutive year for winter workouts.
With 2019 being our 30th year of existence, we had planned to present all members with a 30th-anniversary hat in conjunction with the routine April start date of the 2020 season. But with the onslaught of Covid-19 in 2020, those hats were never distributed. The hats ended up being distributed this year instead (since they had already been purchased in 2019…i.e., the money had already been spent).
2021 was the year the KCMSSL departed from the use of its original “navy blue and white” KC Metro logo, to its newly devised “yellow softball with red stitching, overlaid with the large white script-lettered ‘KC Metro’ outlined in blue, with the word ‘Senior’ resting at the top of the softball logo and the words ‘Softball League’ in a half circle supporting the bottom of the softball. Our online store, for anyone to purchase items such as hats, shirts, polo, windbreakers, etc., was launched in conjunction with our new logo.
Due to the still-lingering world-wide Covid-19 concerns, it was decided we would bring back the All-Star Game event again this year, but would be health-cautious with the picnic menu in an effort to reduce the chances of transmitting Covid.
KCMSSL agreed to team-up with Dick’s Sporting Goods to take advantage of what Dick’s was promoting as “Community Day”. We were allotted two dates of our choice (out of the entire year) when KCMSSL members would be given 20% off their entire store purchase. We were also given several $50 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift certificates to hand out as we desired. 10 of them were raffled-off to the members during the All-Star Games/Picnic event, while the remaining 7 were given away, via a raffle, at the annual December membership meeting.
Our spring tournament attracted 15 teams this year. A Swap Meet, as conducted in 2020, was again held in conjunction with the tournament. And due to its popularity, a second swap meet was added to the end of the season. Both were held at Black Bob Park. The Wes Weddle tournament (with 32 teams entered) had to be moved to May this year – due to our previous July date being unavailable. This year’s event was going to be played at Black Bob Park – Olathe, and Hartman Park – Lee’s Summit, but in the end, it got rained out.
It was voted that the method by which each league team has been classified/rated over the past 4 years (2017-2021) which assisted in determining each game’s run equalizers, will change in 2022. The new process will simply average the top ten individually rated players on the team’s official roster to determine the team’s rating.
The idea of creating a “Military Service Wall” for qualifying KCMSSL members, for our website, had been introduced 5-6 years ago. Some preliminary work had been done on it at that time but was never completed. Chuck Main resurrected the idea again this year. With the very strong assistance of John Mondi, that wall was launched (with the help of Karen Riffle – our webmaster) with 108 members. We all hope to continually add to this listing as more and more members become familiarized with its presence.
Our annual awards (except for 20-year Ambassador jackets), which had been postponed in 2020 due to Covid-19, were re-instated in 2021 with members receiving the Wes Weddle – Spirit of the Game, Rookie of the Year and Presidential Recognition awards. Due to Covid, those eligible for the Rookie of the Year award in 2020, were also included as being eligible for the award in 2021.
We set an all-time high in the number of paid KCMSSL memberships for a season, in 2021, with a total of 981. Our previous high mark was pre-Covid, in 2019, when we had reached 980. Our obvious goal is to hit that magical 1,000 mark.