In the game of slow pitch softball, any player who has the ability to hit for a high average and power can help a team reach lofty goals.
Leon Kreher of New Athens used his tallents for 22 seasons as a member of a solid downstate Belleville Budweiser team, playing alongside his brother and shortstop Mike O’Connor (2002 Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame inductee).
An outfielder, Kreher hit an impressive .625 average over his career and he probably averaged one or more home runs per game. Kreher, who still competes in a 40 & Over league, says his club’s goals did not change much from year-to-year.
“Our team goal was to make it to a USSSA World Tournament every year,” Kreher said. “In 1984, we won the Illinois USSSA Class B State and finished second to Powers in the Class B Divisional Championship Tournament. I played in a World Tournament ever year from 1975 through 1992; most were Class B with two years being Class A.”
In that 1984 Illinois Class B State Tournament, Kreher put forth a solid effort that helped him be named to the All-Tournament team. He considers his most exciting moment in his career the time the team dropped their second game of that tournament, but were able to come back to win the title.
In the late 1970s USSSA league, Kreher was named most valuable player three times, while also leading the league in batting average and home runs in one of those seasons.
As far as his competitive days and the Illinois USSSA, Kreher has nothing but praise.
“Playing softball was a great experience in my life,” Kreher said. “I would play about 200 games a year. The Illinois USSSA is well-organized and they have great tournaments. I really enjoyed playing the game of softball.”
We honor Leon Kreher, a player who used his skills to help his team reach championship goals for over two decades.