Very few people are recognized for their contribution to the sport of softball as Willie has been - by having the Illinois USSSA recognize him with “Willie Mason Day”!
On June 9th, 2011, he was recognized for his 27 years of contribution to the sport and upon his retirement from USSSA play.
During his 27 years with the USSSA program, he competed with Riesling Motors, Erickson Chiro, Williams Construction, and Little Red School House. While playing the majority of his games at shortstop, Willie accumulated an impressive batting average of over .500 and swatted over 70 home runs. One of his most outstanding seasons with the Little Red School House team was his batting .626, while it should be noted his best years were much earlier in his career.
At his retirement recognition event, Willie stated, “I just want one at bat and one more inning in the field.” That is what he received prior to putting away his glove and spikes for good.
Some of the most memorable moments from Willie’s career are when he was playing in the state tournament at Rockford and someone on the other team said, “Come in, he’s a slap hitter.” On the next pitch, he lined the ball off the outfield fence for a triple. Following that, he acquired the nickname “Slappy”.
Willie was also known for hitting the Ferris wheel during Railroad Days in West Chicago. Teammate Dennis McSteen commented, “I thought he was going to kill some kid on the ride.”
As far as his enjoyment in the USSSA program, Willie said, “In my opinion, the USSSA organization from umpires, teams and fields are a well- run machine and I have enjoyed every year that I was a part of it!”