Paul “Pee Gee” Van Meter

When considering the all time greats in the history of 16″ softball, Paul “Pee Gee” Van Meter and his teams; the Gas House Gang and the Brown Bombers would have to be placed near the top of the list. A graduate of DuSable High School in 1937, Van Meter was born in 1918. He began his 16″ career in 1936, when he played for the Giles Athletic Club. From 1938 to 1940 he played with Whelan Boosters, until World War II interrupted. Paul served with the Army in the South Pacific, until his discharge in 1946. After the war, Paul’s softball career took off when he joined the Dawson Boosters, that later became the Gas House Gang. They eventually merged into the legendary Brown Bombers, which featured such Pioneer Greats as Sweetwater Clifton, Danny Dumas, Jim Watkins, Zeke Ireland, Andy Nesbitt, Bill Davis and Norvell Calhoun. Van Meter’s presence helped elevate the Brown Bombers to a place in softball history. Jim “Nuggy” Watkins, also a Hall of Famer, says that Paul’s defensive skills at third base, and his consistent hitting make him “one of the best in Windy City history.” He ended his playing career with Jives – 10 Old Men of the Daddy O’Daily League from 1954 to 1960. Van Meter switched to the other side of the plate when he became one of the top umpires at Meyering Park, once his playing days were over. Paul and his wife, Marjorie have three children; Thomas, Arla and George.