Bass, Bill

Inducted: 2015

Bass, Bill

Mt. Washington, Kentucky

Class act, ultimate team player, humble, unassuming, win-first attitude, honest to a fault. You can't get into the Kentucky Softball Hall of Fame just by being a nice guy and a model citizen, but if you could, it seems like Bill Bass from Mt. Washington, KY might be the first guy to go in. Those attributes were a consensus compiled from players, coaches, and teammates who knew Bill including long-time teammate, Doug Logan; brief teammate, Cobbie Harrison who played with Bill on the 1978 Kentucky Bourbons Pro Softball team; and Leon Mattingly, Kentucky Softball Hall of Famer, also from Mt. Washington who got to enjoy watching Bill close up many league nights and weekends. Coach and softball talent guru—Leon Mattingly—got a double dose of the Bass family by enjoying Bill when he played in Mt. Washington, New Hope, New Haven, and the surrounding communities, and later Pat Bass, Bill's son. Pat played for some of Leon's exciting and winning teams such as Underwood Cattle Company, and at 45 years of age, Pat continues to play softball at various law enforcement national championships.

Bill Bass began his softball career somewhat by accident, as he first thought in the late ’60s, that he was committing to a baseball team from Bardstown sponsored by Jim Beam. Both sports at the time used wooden bats and fielding gloves, but transitioning from the catcher's gear worn at Mt. Washington High School and hitting a slow underhanded pitch were certainly adjustments to be made, but that came naturally for Bill. He was asked to play shortstop and although his 6-foot plus, mammoth frame was not the prototypical shortstop body type, it turned out to be the perfect fit for many future individual and team softball awards.

His first team pinnacle was reached in 1977 when Bill Bass won his initial Kentucky State title with Carl's Boys from Mt. Washington. The State was played in Bowling Green, and there were no classes, so that was the best of the best in the Bluegrass. Bill was also MVP of the state tournament that same year (1977). Just one year earlier, Carl's Boys was runner-up at the ASA Open State in Bowling Green. Many championships and MVPs would follow as Bill continued to play for Carl Armstrong (Carl's Boys) throughout the '70s and into the '80s. A 1982 "B" State title and 4 runners-up—one at the ASA Regional in Muncie, IN, and 3 more in 1976, 1981, and 1983 ended the Carl's Boys run.

With the exception of playing for the pro team, Kentucky Bourbons at Bishop David Field in Louisville in 1978, Carl's Boys was the winning team of choice for Bill Bass. Then, Bill got older and, unfortunately for his opponents, he got even better and joined state-renowned powerhouse, Pepsi from Corbin, KY from 1983 to 2003. Immediately, Pepsi (1984) won the 35 & Over at Campbellsville with Bill being awarded MVP, and were 2nd in the Nationals played at Bloomington, Minnesota where Bass was an All-World selection. Pepsi went on to conquer many Kentucky State Championships in the 35 & Over division and later in the 40 & 45 Overs. They also dominated on the national level with top two finishes at Masters events 6 of 10 years from 1984 to 1994 ending at the 45 & Over Nationals in Sacramento, CA. Bass was All-American in all 6 of those finales and garnered the MVP in three of those winning weekends.

Mr. Congeniality rarely wins it all, but in this case, the nice guy finished lst, won the talent contest, and now takes home the roses and a ring from Kentucky's Softball Hall of Fame.

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