When I think of watching or playing against Gregg Hansen, the first thing that comes to mind is humility. In a game that boasted some of the loudest personalities around, you were always more of the quiet type. Is that accurate?
I was a quiet type. I liked to let my bat do the talking.
The second thing that comes to mind is you being on the early part of the curve in really driving the ball up the middle and to the right side, how did that come about?
It’s funny you mention my hitting up the middle and to the right side with power. That is exactly what caught the attention of my dear friend, Gary “Wizard” Petersen. I loved to hit against him. He got frustrated and said, “I gotta get this kid on my team before he kills me with a shot that I don’t even see coming at me!”
Along with Lura and Pfloogie….and Laba and Perrine….the duo of Gregg Hansen and Chuck Techert ranks high in the “all-time” dudes that always played together list…was that by design?
Chuck Techert and I were longtime teammates. We bowled and hunted together for many years, so we thought “Let’s play softball together.” We played together on Sheridan Lanes, Bob’s Sheridan Inn, Matador Lounge, Wizards, Zirbel Concrete, Moe’s Place, Slims Tap, and Pitts Decorating. After a long run with the Pitts team, Steve “Beaver” Griffiths and I got a great offer from John Miller, the GM of Jones Intercable in Kenosha, and formed the Jones/ESPN Team. I finished my long career with that team.
Who is the best player not named Laba you ever played with or against?
The player that I considered the best all-around was Phil Higgins. I would liken him to a young Henry Aaron. Phil could do it all. I have been blessed to have played with and against many outstanding players. Over the years I played in many tournaments put together by Wizard that included many of the greats.
What is your favorite Softball memory?
My favorite memory was hitting for the cycle in a World Tournament game in Kinston, North Carolina. After the game a father brought his young son up to me and asked me to sign their program. I was truly honored. It meant a lot to me at the time.
How was it being like “the grand old man” on some of the teams you were on towards the close of your career?
When you referred to me as “the grand old man” on the team, later in my career, it brought back a funny memory. The Jones team was playing up North and an opponent called out, “Bring it in for the old guy!” Well, you could guess it, I blasted one over his head. He didn’t make that mistake again.
Did you see yourself as having a Hall of Fame type career in softball and what was your first thoughts when you got the Call from the Hall?
I was overjoyed and honored when I got the call from the Kenosha HoF. I am honored to join friends and foes that I have known for years.
As an elder statesman of the game, how important is it to you to have a Profile like this, or to sit in that “softball circle” that took place in early August, keeping the game we all loved alive to some degree?
I have had a love for softball my whole life. I grew up 2 blocks away from Simmons Field and we played some type of ball all day long. Softball took up a huge portion on my time. There was a period of 4 straight years during my career I played 16″ on Monday, 12″ on Tuesday, 14″ on Wednesday, 12″ double headers on Thursday, and tournaments on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We had tons of at bats those seasons. It is always fun to reminisce about the great times softball has afforded me. Over the years, I have lost many terrific friends that were a big part of my softball experiences. Tom Beth, Steve Griffiths, Gary Petersen, Dennis Andersen, Greg Feivor, and others.
Who was the one pitcher that gave you fits at the plate?
I really didn’t have a pitcher that gave me fits. If I was pitched in a certain way, I made adjustments. I like to hit the high outside pitch to right, with power.
You were a base hitter, do the right thing with the ball to help the team win type, do you remember the longest ball you ever hit? And if so, where did it take place?
The longest ball I ever hit was in Horlick Field. I blasted one to deep right that was an absolute monster.
One last question, being a person that was never the loudest guy on the team, tell folks something they may not know about Gregg Hansen.
Something many people may not know about me is my love for pitching horseshoes. I play on a powerhouse team in Racine that once won 112 games in a row! I pitch shoes twice a week and practice daily on my pits in my backyard.