In over a quarter of a century of USSSA softball, Roscoe’s John Wood was able to quench his thirst for competition. Wood played with and against some of the most talented players in the state of Illinois during the early 70s through the middle 90s. Park Town Hall, Club 51 and Rogers Drywall were a few teams he played for over those years.
A right-handed pitcher, Wood really has no idea how many games he has won and lost over his years, but suffice to say the wins probably vastly outnumber the defeats. The modest Wood approximates he hit .475 with 25 to 30 home runs over his 25 years of playing, both of which are most likely lower than the actual numbers.
The first State Championship for Wood was in 1977 when his team, Schlichting Excavating won the B State Title. Two years later, Wood and his Club 51 teammates brought home a Top 10 finish at the Divisional Tournament at St. Louis. It was 1981 when Wood may have had his finest season when his team won the Class B Divisional at Milwaukee in a year they may have played over 150 games. In that tournament, Wood was named to the All-Tournament team, which for most players would be their fondest memory; however, Wood has another highlight in mind.
“Scoring the winning run in the Divisional Championship game was a great thrill,” Wood said. “It was raining all morning, but we played anyway to determine a winner. I tagged from third base and slid head first into home plate. I went between the catcher’s legs and slid all the way to the backstop. I was covered head to toe with mud, but safe.”
In 1987, Rogers Drywall won the Class B State Championship in Champaign with Wood on the mound. Wood lists that he retired in 1996, but notes he is “still playing a little.” He also commented on how the USSSA gave him the opportunity to play the game he enjoyed.
“Illinois USSSA was my highway to play a game I loved to play,” Wood said. “I would play any kind of ball, but I was competitive and wanted to play against the best. USSSA ended up being the game to play in that regard.”
The Illinois USSSA takes great honor in returning the accolade as we welcome John Wood into an elite class of people – the Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame.