William “Sugar Bear” Robinson started playing 16-inch softball at ten years old after school in a vacant lot between two vacant houses. After a few broken windows, off to the park they went.
His passion for softball carried him through high school. Playing chosen teams and paying fifty cents each for clinchers. This passion went on until 1967 when he was drafted by the U.S. Army, serving two years.
In 1969, Chicago Transit Authority started a league which included 16 teams in Grant Park. He joined the 69th St Raiders that year, starting right field for a short time, then second base, before finding his niche as Pitcher. He credits many of his pitching techniques to a Senators pitcher they called “Sun”, and still uses them to this day.
The Raiders won their first championship in 1975, then again in 1976-77. With a few more championships under their belt over the years, the 69th St Raiders are still one of the finest teams in the league.During the 1970’s, Bill joined a few other teams, including the Flamingos and the 1979 Renegades who went on to earn a bid to the Tournament of Champions. After knocking off a number of power house teams, they faced the Sun-Times team with Mike Royko. After an hour delay waiting for Mike to arrive, the Renegades won 10-7, making them the first black team to claim the tournament title, and Bill was named MVP – still the highlight of his life.
In the ensuing years, Bill played with The Saints and Stix for championships, playing at Thillens Stadium, Grant Park Industrial Tournament, Maywood, and Mt. Prospect. Participating in the Black World Series was the highlight of his softball career.
In 2019 Bill became the longest playing CTA player after 50 years in the league, achieving another milestone and highlight in the life of “this softball player.”