Niagara Gazette — The Western New York Softball Hall of Fame will be inducting 13 new members to its hall today. The hall was established in 1965 and currently has over 800 members.
Included in this year’s inductions are Jim Walker of Lewiston and Carl Edholm, a resident of Tonawanda.
Walker was a catcher who played throughout the '60s in Lewiston and has been an active member of the Buffalo community for over 50 years.
Between 1957-61 Walker played basketball for the University at Buffalo.
“Scholarship sports is more of a job than it is fun,” Walker said. “You practice six to seven days a week with high intensity. So softball was a different kind of thing. … It was more relaxing but it was very competitive at the time.”
Walker batted third in the lineup throughout his career, that was highlighted by a unique experience.
“There was a traveling four-man softball team that played exhibition games and their pitcher was the best in the U.S. at the time. He was literally impossible to hit,” Walker said. “He would pitch an inning blindfolded, an inning from second base and at least one batter from center field. I was fortunate to get a homerun off him.”
Walker’s career ended in 1968 and he began a new life as a physical education teacher at Lewiston-Porter. He went on to coach the varsity basketball team for 33 years, varsity football for eight years and retired as the school’s athletic director in 2000.
In 1979 he won the WNY Coach of the Year for football and again in 1985 for basketball. Just last year he retired from his 22-year position as the Section VI boy’s basketball chairman.
After all the accolades Walker has achieved over the years, he was still surprised upon learning of his induction.
“I was shocked really,” Walker said. “I was surprised, pleased and kind of shocked because it goes a long way back. It was great fun and I played with a lot of great players and great guys.”