William “Sweet Billy” Holford

The year that “Sweet Billy” Holford began his 16″ career in 1972 with the Strikers and the Kelleher brothers at Foster Park, they entered the Kelly Park league, where they were routinely beaten by most of the teams. With determination and pride however, they returned in 1973 and won a few more games. 1974 proved to be their year as they won the Windy City Championship with a season record of 140 – 30. Their championship string continued into 1975 when they won he Winston World Series. When the Strikers broke up  in 1976, Holford joined the Bobcats, helping them to national championships in 1977 and ’78. Of the many titles Holford was a part of, he remembers the 1980 title with Whips, because they entered the tournament as underdogs and had to beat some top teams to win that title. The Whips then went on to win national titles in 1981 and ’83. Although he banged out over 550 homers in his career and was known as a gap hitter, Billy says that defense was his forte.  A second baseman who also played short center or third (especially with the Whips) Holford was always counted on as a solid fielder because he remembered hitter tendencies and was often able to predict their hitting spots. William Holford is a retired diesel mechanic who lives in Mokena with his wife, Lynn. His current passion is rebuilding classic Chevy Chevelles.