Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • Snick’s Place enters Hall of Fame

  • More than two decades after hanging up their gloves and bats, a group of local men who made up the Snick’s Place slo-pitch softball team were inducted into the Illinois ASA Hall of Fame April 12 in Decatur.
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  • More than two decades after hanging up their gloves and bats, a group of local men who made up the Snick’s Place slo-pitch softball team were inducted into the Illinois ASA Hall of Fame April 12 in Decatur.
    Also inducted into the Hall of Fame at the same time was Snick’s Place manager Bill Hamer of Annawan, who formed the team in 1974-75.
    “This was a pretty unexpected honor,” said Bill Hamer. “Myself, individually (as a manager), and the team that went in with me were great players and that’s what makes good managers. The team deserves the recognition.
    “I appreciate (entering the Hall of Fame as a manager). There aren’t too many managers in there. I guess it is quite an honor. It is more of a team thing for me than individual.”
    “It was a real honor to have the team recognized,” said Ted Hamer. “We had a lot of great years. We played all over and put a lot of hard work into it. It was fun. It is nice to have our work recognized.”
    Snick’s Place was owned by brothers, Ralph and Duane “Tootie” Vandersnick of Atkinson.
    The team, which spent 14 years on the diamond together, was primarily made up of players from Atkinson and Annawan, but over the years included players from surrounding areas, including Geneseo.
    Snick’s Place quickly became one of Illinois’ top men’s slo-pitch teams, and the squad traveled around the state and the country to play in tournaments.
    “When you are successful, it is easy to play and the guys enjoyed playing,” said Bill. “It was pretty much every weekend all summer long. We enjoyed being together and that is what made it easy. The road trips were legendary.”
    During the team’s 14-year existence, Snick’s Place played more than 100 games a year, and played tournaments in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Missouri and Ohio. The team also was involved in leagues at Richmond Hill in Geneseo, Annawan and Kewanee.
    In 1982, Snick’s Place won the USSSA National Class D tournament in Milwaukee, Wis., and in 1983, the team finished second in the Illinois ASA Class A state tournament.
    “The biggest thing we did was the 1982 USSSA World Tournament in Milwaukee where our pitcher, Steve VanHyfte, was Most Valuable overall and Mike Hamer was Most Valuable Defense. We came home with a lot of hardware,” said Bill.
    In 1988, Snick’s Place won the Illinois Class A state championship and went undefeated in the tournament. The squad also had three other Top 5 finishes in state tournaments.
    Page 2 of 2 - The team disbanded in 1988 after its state championship.
    “We always wanted to win the Illinois State Championship, and we got as close as second in 1983 and played more than 100 games,” said Bill. “We decided to hang it up in 1988. That year, we played 12 games going into State where everything just clicked and we breezed through the tournament. We went undefeated and won it.”
    Members of the Snick’s Place team included: Ted Hamer, Mike Hamer, Larry Vandersnick, Steve Sette, Terry Vandemore, Keith Taber, Mike Neyt, Jim Hamer, Tom Vandemore, Rodger VanOpdorp, Bob Price, Mike Murphy, Jim Powell, Barry Goebert, Pat Carmichael, Brian Carmichael, Bill Hamer, Steve VanHyfte, Dwight Morey, Guy Gripp and Randy Childs.
    Also: Shane Milroy, Brian Nelson, Steve Eilers, Mark Thompson, Rob Freeburg, T.J. Swearingen, Pat Lee, Dave Lee and Tony Wancket.
    Team members Ted Hamer, Mike Hamer, Bill Hamer, Jim Hamer and Terry Vandemore, played for Snick’s Place each year the team existed.
    “We all got along so well and lived for those weekend tournaments,” said Ted. “It was a wonderful experience and playing with family (brothers, Mike and Bill and cousin, Jim Hamer) made it extra special. All the guys on the team were like family. There are a lot of great memories.”
    “Twenty-five years later, I look back on the time we played and I took it for granted,” said Bill. “It is kind of neat to look back on. We still get together and the stories get better and better. We never run out of stories.”
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