Who would have believed that a high school kid who once beat legendary professional bowler Carmen Salvino, would someday become one of the top 16″ softball players of his time? The stage was set for this to happen when “Willy” Schmitz began his softball career with the Earle School Midgets at ten years of age. He then moved to play with the Vipers in eighth grade, and with the Panthers after high school. Fortune smiled on Schmitz when he was recruited to play on the Whips/Moaners Club at Clarendon, Kel’s and Kelly Parks. Their 6-1 victory over the Bobcats that year gave them the confidence to succeed in the premier leagues around Chicago. After his stint with the Whips/Moaners, Schmitz played first base with Moore’s Loafers from 1968 to ’78, winning the City Championship in 1970, and competing against such softball legends as Tony Reibel and the Berekis and Abatacola brothers. Willy then played with Shoos in the Industrial League in Burbank in the ’80’s. He ended his career with Eddie Zolna in ’89 at Kennedy Park. Primarily a first baseman, Schmitz also played third base. With a career batting average over .600, Willy was known as a singles and doubles clutch hitter who could always be counted on for the big hit. Willy Schmtz is a retired toolmaker and lives in Evergreen Park.