The recent induction of six former fast-pitch softball players into the Belleville City League Hall of Fame featured deserved recognition. Those inducted on May 18 at the Fairview Heights Knights of Columbus were Ron Ames Jr., Jim Collins, George Hoffmann, Mike Rakers, Ron Steen and Charlie Summers.
As might be expected, each honoree expressed appreciation for the men’s league which exited Belleville’s South Side Park in 2003 and lasted only a few years thereafter in Freeburg.
Among others receiving praise was event organizer Terry Conrad, whose efforts continue to boost the fellowship that thrived at South Side. “You can close your eyes and visualize South Side Park,” was a recurring theme.
How sad these days to drive past South Side and recall how the City League brought athletes and fans together and then note an era that may never return.
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Art Voellinger, Belleville