Hi! I would like to introduce myself to the softball world, who haven’t met me, or know me. My name is Gordie Heagle and I was born and raised in Phoenix, New York, and moved to the North Syracuse area in my freshman year. I attended North Syracuse High School, and played football, basketball, baseball and also played hockey. I have been married 38 years to my wonderful wife Joan, my childhood sweetheart. We have three daughters Colleen, Kathleen and Maureen and nine grandchildren one of which is Taylor Gordon Sheridan, our angel, who we lost to a 2 year battle to childhood cancer, Neuroblastoma at 2 1/2 years old. My oldest, daughter Colleen is married Jeff Wallace. Jeff has been in our family since he was 16 years old living next door to us for a few years and I watched him play baseball in high school. He was a very talented player.
After high school, I played semi-pro baseball in the old N.Y. State League I then formed my own team in 1964 and ran that for two years. In 1966, I took some of the players that played for me on my baseball team and started playing softball in the local leagues. That’s when my love for the game started to grow. I continued to play softball through my life, right up to today where I play in a senior softball league in Daytona Beach, Florida, where I reside in the winter months. As well as playing the game, I also had interest in umpiring from time to time. In 1984, I purchased a night club facility with 15 acres of land, where we built two softball fields. We ran weekly leagues and many weekend tournaments. I brought in many entertainers of the years such as, Rick Nelson, Dell Shannon, The Belmont’s, Bo Didely and had one Major outside concert on the ball fields with Ray Charles and Martha Reeves and the Vandela’s. I also promoted and put on professional wrestling at our facility and also other places.
In 1987 to 1990, I put together one of the best softball teams, that ever came out of the Central New York area. The name of the team was called A.F. Pristera’s out of Utica, New York. I used six players from the Syracuse area which included, Jeff Wallace , his brother David Wallace and six players from the Utica area. We did not play any NIT Tournaments we just played in money tournaments every weekend. This team in a three year span played forty-eight tournaments and won forty-six of them earning over $40,000.00 in prize money. After disbanding this team I put together a Class A team and got a Louisville Slugger bat contract and began to play all over the country in Major A, AA tournaments. We played for two years with my goal being to expose Jeff Wallace around the country to other teams. You can see it paid off for Jeff as he was picked up by PACE out of Rochester, New York a very good AA team. Jeff was able to go to two USSSA World Series, the rest is history. I also watched Brett Helmer over the years playing against him in local tournaments I made a big mistake myself by not picking Brett up. Take a look where Brett Helmer is today.
Here’s a little story about my own personal life. I worked twenty years at the Nine Mile Plant II Nuclear Power Plant, in Oswego, New York and retired in 1984. I spent eight years as an on-ice official in professional hockey. I worked in the old Eastern Pro-League and also worked some American Hockey League games, did some NHL exhibition games and had the privilege to work in 1974 the Russian Hockey Team that played in Syracuse, New York in an exhibition game. One of my biggest thrills was working a game with Montreal Canadian Toronto Maple Leaf’s old timers hockey leagues. Another thrill was attending the AHL training camp for the officials in being instructed by one of the games great legends Boston Bruin’s defenseman Eddie Shore. Probably the greatest thrill for me in hockey was doing a clinic with the greatest of them all, Detroit Red Wing Gordie Howe. I’ve always been an avid sport fan enjoyed attending all sporting events. Over the years I have attended twelve Baseball World Series, eleven Super Bowls, fifteen Stanley Cup Playoff Finals, two Heavy Weight Champion Fights and the Sugar Ray Leonard-Roberto Durand fight in Olympic Stadium in Montreal.