In her 29-year playing career, 12 of those participating in the USSSA, Evansville’s Jeri Siegfried-Mueller played on some talented women’s softball teams.
Siegfried-Mueller, a solid shortstop with some time at third and first base, played on Dashners of Red Bud and Plums/Bud Light out of Belleville before retiring in 1997. A line drive singles hitter with some power, Siegfried-Mueller boasted a .640 average over her years on the diamond. In USSSA tournaments or leagues, she was named Most Valuable Player seven times and was selected to five state All-Tournament teams. Also in 1992, she was awarded the Most Valuable Defensive Player at the State Tournament in O’Fallon.
She played on teams that were Class C State Champions four times. With Dashners, Siegfried-Mueller and her mates won the 1986 Illinois State Title at Evansville and also in 1989 at Columbia; however, her fondest moment was her first participation in the USSSA World Tournament in which her club finished in eighth place.
“The most exciting event was attending our first World Tournament,” said Siegfried-Mueller. “The opening ceremony followed by the overwhelming number of teams. The quality of play and the friendliness of the other players was great. The tournament was well organized and the umpiring was good.”
All the great players want to play against the best competition and, in the early years, women’s softball in southern Illinois was just beginning. But Siegfried-Mueller has thanks for those who got the ball rolling in her area although she feels the number of teams and players decreasing.
“USSSA softball in southern Illinois is very small and I feel women’s softball is decreasing every year,” said Siegfried-Mueller. “I’m thankful to Mike Reeves and Brenda Paulson for getting the USSSA started here.”
Most players forget from time to time that the game of softball is just that – a game. While being just a game, it is still a requirement for players to give everything they have for not only themselves, but for their team. Over the years, Siegfried-Mueller feels she left it all on the field and loved every minute of it.
“While playing, I always tried to give 100 percent and be a team player,” Siegfried-Mueller said. “I never let playing the game of softball become a job. I enjoyed every game I played in.”
We honor a player who did everything in her power to make herself and her teammates better. It is with great pleasure that we say congratulations to Jeri Siegfried-Mueller for her induction into the Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame.