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.
Paul Reatherford was the main ramrod in establishing Peoria's first Biddy Basketball program in 1951 at the old Salvation Army gym with 275 boys. He started as Coach and Director in that league in 1947 where he stayed for 23 years. That first year in the official Biddy program his team won the state title but lost its first game in the national tournament in Scranton, Pa., home of the Biddy program. In subsequent years, his teams would have first and third place finishes, plus one season where our town hosted the national tournament.