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SINCE 2001

“This Hall of Fame player came from nowhere to become one of the best pitchers in the Fishtown League” 1974 - 1984

At one time, Joe Wyatt did not even play softball. But if you want something bad enough, and you go out and work on it real hard, well, maybe someday…? I’ll tell you one thing; you better be a real competitor in your heart! I watched Joe start from scratch. He knew nothing about pitching modified softball. But he had his mind made up; he was going to be a pitcher. We asked Joey to go back and tell us about his start, and the years he played in the league. Here’s how he recalls things happening.

“I stopped over to Hetzell’s to watch a few games,” recalled Joe, who was working at E.J. Spangler Co. at Howard and Thompson Street at that time. “I asked the coach of one of the teams his name,” said Joe. The coach’s name was “Strings.” “Think you could give me a shot at pitching?” Joe asked Strings. “If I practice?” With no hesitation, Strings said, “Sure, Joe.” “Doc” (Donald Dougherty) was working in shipping,” said Joe. “We had a lot of free time at Spangler’s. I asked him if he would catch me in the basement when he got finished packing. He did, and he gave me some great pointers.”

Joe then spent sometime recalling players he remembered from his days with the league. “Doc was a magnificent ball player,” said Joe. “The swings of that thunderous bat won many a game.” “Wow,” was the word Joe used to describe Bobby Mc Gee. “I had so much more confidence with him at shortstop, knowing he was there,” said Joe. Joe said Bob made him feel like a “larger tree.” “I spread my branches,” he explained, of the times he and Bob played together. Reb (John Bland) was another player Joe remembered. Reb was From the south. “Reb played for Hotel #76, a terrible team,” said Joe. “But he stayed with them and became one of the best pitchers in Fishtown.” My main player “Billy Gassman” soon as I sew Billy at the awards night it all came back to me no one could dig the ball out of the dirt and “gun them down like Billy”. Of all the players in the game “if I needed help” I would turn my head to the right (he was all the help I needed he would get me out of the inning) “I would look over to him” that little amirk the two of us had “good job Billy” Yes Jack the “truth” Billy Gassman did it all. Eddie Emberger, Joe’s team’s “Charlie hustle” did not have much of an arm, according to Joe. “But he made up for [not having a good arm] with his legs,” said Joe. “He was a great ball player.” Jimo Fox and Richey Farley were the heart of every game, said Joe. And last but not least there was “Junior.” “I did not know him well,” said Joe. “He played for Bradley’s Bar.” Of all the players, Joe said he thought Junior had a shot at the big time. “He was an all-around tremendous ball player,” said Joe.

In 1978, Joe was given a league trophy for striking out 71 batters in one season and having an E.R.A. of just 2.12. The 71 strikouts may still stand as a record for one season today? Joe played with The Fifthteenth Round Bar in the Saturday league, and won the championship a number of times. He also played under coach George Ludwig with Advance Auto and won the Hetzell league championship. Joe always wore number #23, whether he played softball or football. And when he was in the Army, he was the bantamweight champion of France in boxing.
Inducted into the Hall Of Fame In 2001