Don “Pinky” Loid
In over 20 years as a player and manager in USSSA softball, Don Loid has been associated with some of the best talent in the game. That, he says, is why he is entering the Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame.
“You’re only as good as the rest of your teammates,” he said of the guys with whom he played. “I’m excited and proud. I never really thought too much about it. All the things we accomplished were enough for me, but it’s still a great honor [to be inducted].”
As a manager, Loid has compiled statistics second to none in Illinois. His 35 & Over and 40 & Over teams have won eight straight State Titles, two National Championships, two runners-up and two third-place finishes.
He’s been associated with such top Illinois teams as the Bank of Westmont, Mid America Concrete, Tron Piping and Ken’s Beverage.
Actually, Loid’s career as manager started back with the Bank of Westmont, where he provided important input to the running of that team while still a player. Starting in 1993 with Mid America Concrete and Tron Piping, Loid non only managed but organized the teams, securing sponsorships that allowed them to compete at the upper levels of the game.
In 1996, Tron Piping won the USSSA 35 & Over World with a 6-1 record, then won another association’s National the next weekend for good measure.
Ken’s Beverage was the USSSA 2001 Men’s B State Champs, and just last fall, Loid managed Ken’s Beverage to a 7-0 record and USSSA Men’s 40 & Over World Championship (originally written in March of 2003).
Loid’s talents aren’t limited to managing. In 1995, he won the MVP of the USSSA Illinois State 35 & Over tournament with an .833 average and a 3-0 pitching record for Tron Piping. Tron Piping went on to post a 3-2 record good for third at the USSSA 35 & Over Nationals that September.
When talking about softball, Loid talks about the people. He recalls being asked to play with the legendary Lantern team back in the mid-70s, where he learned about playing competitive softball with class.
“They didn’t care who you were or how good you were. If you were a jerk, you weren’t asked back,” Loid said of The Lantern.
Soon Loid was playing for the Bank of Westmont, a period he remembers fondly because of the sense of family that sponsor Marcel Levesque fostered for the consistently victorious team.
Throughout the years, Loid says, he’s had the privilege of being on great teams with players like Gary Stone, Jeff Davies, Ron Havelka, Jim Duffy, Jim Cushing, Brian Schultz, Steve Mai and Bernie Carroll. After entering the USSSA Masters program, Loid began managing teams with players he’s always admired on opposing teams such as Bill Sahagian, Al Van Gampler, Larry Sheppard and Dan Prater.
“They were guys I’ve always admired and now you’re one team,” Loid said with satisfaction. “The biggest thing is being with the group of guys.”