Braden, Bill

Inducted: 2012

Braden, Bill

Louisville, Kentucky

Bill Braden, a Louisville Male High School graduate, followed the same pathway as many of his predecessors who made it to Kentucky’s Softball Hall of Fame by initially playing baseball, then fastpitch softball, and finally ending his career on the slow pitch diamonds.

Mr. Braden graduated from his days as a University of Louisville baseball player in the early '50s to become a member of the fastpitch squad, Cabbage Patch, in 1953 and 1954.

During the summer of ’55, Braden’s attempt at the slowpitch game began ominously enough as he positioned himself about 10 feet in front of the first-base bag to guard against would-be bunters or slap-hitters. “I learned real quickly they didn’t bunt in slowpitch,” remarked Bill, as a wicked ground ball drilled him because he was in too close to the batter.

Bill Braden moved back from then on but moved forward at the same time eventually falling in love with the slow-pitch game which he played from that first day with Early Times Distillery in 1955, until his last at-bat with LG&E in 1979.

From his first team, Early Times, first baseman Braden went to Duffy’s Tavern of Louisville, and he also moonlighted playing for his LG&E industrial club. LG&E was not only his softball team, it was his livelihood where he worked until 1992, but not before making his co-workers and teammates proud by winning the 1972 USSSA World Softball Championship, held that Fall of ’72 in Louisville. That feat trumped his ASA Open runners-up finish with Duffy’s some 13 years earlier in Cleveland (1959).

As the home run champion for Duffy’s, in the early ’60s, close to an .800 batting average for LG&E in 1967, and a 58-5 record for the Electrics pitching 420 innings one summer, it is obvious that Braden’s teams’ accomplishments were a direct result, in part, due to his individual efforts. Perhaps, his finest performance was in Detroit in 1965, when now Hall of Framer, Bill Braden, was selected to the All-World team as a pitcher for LG&E.

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