2000 - Player - Catcher
National Hall of Fame Member
Fast pitch softball teams have to be strong up the middle. And the Seattle, WA Peterbilt and Pay 'n Pak fast pitch teams certainly didn't have to worry about their strength up the middle, starting with catcher Butch Batt, who played the sport 21 years. Batt earned ASA All-American honors five times, played on two ASA national championship teams (1980 and 1982), participated in 12 ASA nationals, one ISF World Championship, two Pan American Games (1979 and 1983) and three U.S. Olympic Festivals (1978, 1981 and 1983). After retiring as a player, Batt coached for Pay 'n Pak in 1987 and managed the Knoll Lumber Legends to three ASA Master's Championships (1995-1997). Solid defensively and adept at handling pitchers, Batt could swing the bat with authority and was a consistent .290 plus hitter. He was first named an All-American in 1973 when he batted .286 in the national championship for Pay 'n Pak to earn second-team laurels. In 1978, he helped the West Team win the gold in the first National Sports in Colorado Springs, CO, finishing the year with a .305 average with 63 RBIs. The National Sports Festival was later re-named the U.S. Olympic Festival. Batt was again named a second-team All-America in 1979 and batted .280 in the tourney and .289 for the season as his team, Peterbilt Western, finished fifth in the national championship. He also was a member of the first USA Men's team to play in the Pan American Games, but the USA had to settle for a silver medal, losing in 14 innings to Canada, 1-0. In 1980 Peterbilt Western won the national championship and Batt was a second-team All-America for the third time, batting .167 in the tourney and .289 for the season (59-for-204). That year he also was a member of the USA National Team, represented by Midland Michigan's McArdle Pontiac, that won a gold medal in the ISF World Championship in Tacoma, WA, where Batt drove in the USA's first run in the championship game against Canada with a sacrifice fly. Batt smacked two homers, drove in six runs and batted .286 in leading his team to the gold medal in the 1981 National Sports Festival in Syracuse, NY. Batt had one of the best years of his career in 1982 when he was named the MVP in the Men's Major Fast Pitch National Championship in Midland, MI in leading Peterbilt Western to the national title. Batt batted .353 (6-for-17) and drove home six runs and was named the tournament MVP as well as a first-team All-America. It was the second time in the history of the ASA Men's Major Fast Pitch National that a catcher was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Batt also was nominated for the James E. Sullivan Award that year as well as Seattle's outstanding professional/amateur athlete of the year. In 1983, Batt was again named to the USA Pan American team but the USA unfortunately lost again to Canada in the gold medal game. Batt, however, emerged as one of the leading hitters with a .320 average (8-for-25), six RBIs and a pair of home runs. Pay 'n Pak won the gold medal that year in the National Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, CO with Batt batting .294 (5-for-17 with four RBIs and one home run). He also had a fielding percentage of .969 with only one error in 31 chances. Batt is the second Peterbilt Western player elected to the National Softball Hall of Fame. "Butch was a leader," said former Peterbilt and Pay 'n Pak manager Tommy Wagner. "He was an excellent hitter in the clutch, and if we had a close play at the plate, you could always count on Butch in blocking the plate. He was very strong behind the plate and did an excellent job at calling the game." Batt was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 2002.