In his 17 years playing USSSA softball, Brian Schultz has played on the who’s who of elite Illinois teams including Belcher’s Construction, Joe Black’s, Mid America Concrete, The Bank of Westmont and Tron Piping.
A fleet outfielder blessed with an exceptional glove, Schultz is a lifetime .678 hitter who likes to hit the ball to all fields, but who, with 600 home runs to his credit, clearly has the power to hit the ball out to all fields as well. He was also a threat on the base paths, usually taking an extra base.
“I like to take the extra base if the defense gives it to me,” Schultz said of his running ability.
Schultz remembers his lead off inside the park home run against Steele’s for the Illinois All-Stars in Rockford as one of his greatest softball memories, among one other in particular.
“My greatest thrill was playing in the 1989 USSSA Major World Series in Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska against the likes of Bruce Meade, Rick Scheer and Dirk Androff. They pushed me to be a better player,” Schultz said.
Finally, he’s proud to have been part of the two-time defending National 35 & Over champs, and to have done it with so many friends, saying “It was more than I could as for.”
“Brian is a special talent,” old teammate and Joe Black’s manager Tom Starck said. “No matter what the competition, leagues or tournaments, Brian played his hardest and left no doubt about who the best player on the field was. Even today, when I talk to young players, I use Brian as an example of drive and having pride in your performance.”
Starck remembers him as a player who never loafed or took innings off; he always gave it is hall every at bat, every game.
Among the tournaments at which Schultz won honors are the 1988 Great Lakes B Divisional, 1996 35 & Over World, 1993 Kiracoff Memorial AA/A NIT, 2002 40 & Over World and 1998 35 & Over World. He was also All-State at the 1988 B State, 1990 Open State and 2001 B State, as well as MVP of the 1997 and 1998 35 & Over and the 1997 Fall State.
Schultz said his most amusing incident in softball occurred during a qualifier at Rockford’s Forest Hills Diamonds when he threw a ball from left field that sailed over the backstop and into the bleachers across the way, hitting a woman watching another game in the back.
“She didn’t scream or rub her back,” Schultz said. “She just turned and shook her head.”
Softball players usually loathe to miss an opportunity to raze a teammate, and Schultz caught plenty of grief for “not having a good enough arm to injure an old lady.”
Schultz said he is honored to be entering the Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame, but that “it’s hard for me to talk about myself and why I belong in the Hall. I feel there are so many players who played before me who are also worthy.”
“I hope I have given something to the game over the years and have made it a better sport, and have done nothing to tarnish it,” Schultz said. “The game of softball and the Illinois USSSA have both been good to me. It’s enabled me to compete at a high level and also make friendships that will last a lifetime.”
The Illinois USSSA is pleased to have players of Brian Schultz’s caliber competing in its program. We are equally pleased to welcome him into the Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame.
“I thank God for my talents, this game and the opportunity to make a mark on it,” Schultz said.