Gatti, Bill

Inducted: 2006

Gatti, Bill

Louisville, Kentucky

Bill Gatti, also known as the “Louisville Slugger”, was one of the greatest Kentucky athletes to ever put on a softball uniform.

Before smashing his infamous monster home runs for such teams as the professional Kentucky Bourbons and his amateur clubs, Jiffy, Elite Coating, Smythe Sox, and Ritch’s Salvage, Bill mastered another sport, football. After an Honorable Mention All-American year in 1970 for the University of Louisville’s football team, he went to the World Football League where he played for the Florida Blazers and the San Antonia Wings. His accomplishments on the football field from High School through the WFL earned him Hall of Fame status in 1989 at U of L and he was also inducted into the Waggener High School Hall of Fame.

Here are just a few of Bill Gatti’s softball highlights, too numerous to fit on just one plaque:

Jiffy Club

-1971: ASA All-American; Batting Average Leader (.867)

-1972: ASA All-American; World Champions; Home Run Title (14).

-1973: ASA All-American

Kentucky Bourbons All-Pro, 1977 thru 82

-League MVP, 1980 & 1981

-World Series Champions, 1981

-World Series MVP, 1981

-Triple Crown winner in 1981: batted .662, hit 38 HR’S, and knocked in 99 RBIs

Elite Coating, Smythe Sox and Ritch’s From 1983-1989

-Six 6 Super/Major Titles

-Six All World selections

-MVP Open World, 1989

In 1984, he signed a personal services contract with Louisville Slugger and a year later became the first softball player to have an autographed model added to H&B’s high-performance line of softball bats.

He was twice Home Run Champion at the Smoky Mountain in 1986 (hitting 18) and in 1988 (hitting 24).

In 1989, he played in the U.S. Olympics Festival in Oklahoma City.

Bill was inducted into the Louisville ASA Hall of Fame in 1987, the ASA National Hall of Fame in 2000, and the USSSA Hall of Fame in 2001.

This award bears witness that his name shall forever be in the Kentucky Softball Hall of Fame.