Al Van Gampler
A shortstop whose defensive abilities were recognized by all who knew the game of slow pitch softball, Al Van Gampler also filled in as both a pitcher and outfielder over a 16-year career. A career .675 hitter, Van Gampler hit more than 300 home runs.
He played ball for Malnars Tap (Joliet), Lilly Air Systems (Itasca) and Joe Blacks (Highland).
Van Gampler played in five USSSA Major World Series. His 1985 Lilly Air Systems team, arguably the best ever from the state of Illinois, was ranked as high as fourth in the country by the National USSSA.
He twice won the Best Defensive Player award in USSSA Major NITs and was named to numerous USSSA Major NIT All-Tournament teams. A five-time Illinois Class A All-State team member, Van Gampler was named MVP of both the 1984 and 1987 Open A State Tournaments.
In 1996, he came out of retirement to play with Tron Piping, winning the USSSA 35 & Over Major World Title and again earning USSSA World All-Tournament team honors.