Inductees THE 1945 GIPPS BREWERY FAST PITCH SOFTBALL TEAM, the ninth managed by the late Harold "Red" Koeppel and the second to play a major schedule, was one of the strongest teams ever formed during a time when the sport was huge in the Greater Peoria area.
The 1945 Brewers posted a 42-6 record, four of the losses coming against the famed Ft. Wayne Zollner Pistons and the other two in the Midwest Regional tournament. Never losing to an Illinois team, Gipps also defeated the Kentucky, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and St. Louis champions.
They won the Peoria District, the Central Illinois District, the Illinois State, were third in the Central States regional, first in the Greater Peoria league and first in the Greater Peoria tournament.
Playing in the Midwest regional in Indianapolis, the Brewers won a 26-inning game against Louisville, at the time an Amateur Softball Association record.
Veteran fastballer Bill Perry led the team with a 40-4 record; Roddy Thompson and Bill Manuel each hit .351 to lead the team, Ray Fisher scored 39 times and stole 17 bases and veteran catcher Bill Porter caught almost every inning.
The Brewers were strictly a local team with every member veteran Peoria players who attended school here. The team eventually founded the Independent Sports Club that has helped thousands of young girls and boys enjoy sports.
THE 1945 GIPPS BREWERY FAST PITCH SOFTBALL TEAM, the ninth managed by the late Harold "Red" Koeppel and the second to play a major schedule, was one of the strongest teams ever formed during a time when the sport was huge in the Greater Peoria area.
At age 50, Don Wyss concluded a sensational 35-year career in the Sunday Morning League, the nation's oldest semiprofessional baseball league. He began playing in the league at the age of 15 and for the next 35 years he set records which will never be broken: As a Manager he won eight championships; set astounding career statistics as a hitter, attaining a 35-year batting average of .307; led the League in all-time statistics of most hits, doubles, triples, at bats and runs batted in; and as a pitcher won the pitching honors in 1973 with an 11-2 record. In addition, he served as Vice-President and President of the League for many years.