< Interviews - H.T. Waller

When you hear stories about players that played before you did, from veterans you have to say that the player had to be very, very good.. That is the way it was with H.T. Waller. I had never seen him play, but there were a few players that everybody talked about when I first started... Locally for me it was Steve Loya from Cleveland. Don Arndt, Stan Harvey from North Carolina and Jim Galloway from New York and then there was H.T. He only weighed 185 lbs and stood 6 feet tall.

I had actually got his number from Steve Dimitry about 6 or 7 years ago and decided to call H.T. I have been talking back and forth with him ever since... It was funny sometimes when he would call. I would be at a Home Run Challenge on a Saturday or a Friday evening and he would call just to shoot the bull! Craig Elliott and James Boyett both tried to emulate his swing because they wanted to break his records... They were both roommates of H.T.'s.... He liked to use a Louisville Slugger wooden softball bat.. He had one wood bat break in the ASA in 1969 the one year in Parma, Ohio and he had Jerome Ernest go buy another one as fast as he could..

Here is what they said about him in the ASA Hall Of Fame...
He led Jo’s Pizza to a pair of national championship runner-ups in 1968 and 1969 and earned All-America honors each year. In 1969, he also was named the MVP in the National tourney with a .594 batting average with 16 homers and 28 RBIs. By 1972, Waller joined the Virginia Beach Piledrivers and batted .923 in the national tourney and finished the season with a .595 average , 63 homers and 149 RBIs. Waller joined Howard’s Furniture in 1973 and was an immediate hit, batting .692 in the National tourney with 25 RBIs and 20 homers to earn second-team All-America honors. He finished the year with a .664 batting average and 163 homers. Waller earned his fourth and final All-America selection in 1978, batting .545 with 11 homers in the National championship in Sacramento, California. In 1977, he had one of his best seasons, hitting 212 homers, driving in 398 runs and batting .641. In 1980, Waller played less than 20 games for Howard’s and retired at the end of the season. Waller estimated he hit more than 2,500 homers in his career with 87 in eight ASA nationals.

In the photo above he is signing some softballs for young kids that were following him from one field to another....

I am sorry to say but we lost the Softball Hall Of Famer this past week at the age of 76..
The great H.T. Waller passed away during his sleep in Florida.. .
Do not know any other details just know that the man that helped with putting softball on the map is gone..

He is hitting for Joe's Pizza against Gartenhaus from Wisconsin... Look at the size of his forearms in his swing. He quit playing at the age of 34. They called him a True Superstar!

Article written by Jerome Ernest on H.T. Waller

It was the bottom of the 7th inning and Howard's/estern Steer of Denver, North caolina was about to be eliminated from the 1980 ASA Opne Nationals in Montgomery, Alabama. Howard's was third behind Campbell's Carpet of Concord, California and Jerry's Caterers of Miami...

H.T. Waller was called on to pinch hit. He didn't know at the time but it was to be his last at bat. He decided to call it quits before another season rolled around again...

Ray Molphy was doing the announcing. Waller hit a home run. It's another Waller Wallop," Molphy announced. Waller was only 34 years old. Sixteen years later he has been elected to the ASA Hall Of Fame...

Why so long? A true superstar like H.T. Waller should have been put in at the first opportunity 5 years after retirement.... I just didn't ever get around to getting the neccessary paperwork together, he said. Waller is the first male slow pitch player from Chipley, Florida to be elected.

He is the second plyer from the panhandle of Florida to be honored. Ron Weathersby, a native of Panama City who played for the Clearwater Bombers had many years before being elected in the fast pitch.

Molphy was was doing the announcing when Waller played in his first National tournament a Joes Beach, New York. in 1968. Waller unseated the great Jim Galloway as the All-America secon baseman after helping Jo's Pizza of Milton, (Florida) to a runner up finish behind Galloway's Sounty Sports team from Long Island. Jo's was the onlyteam remaining in the winners bracket when rain set in. The tournament committee said they would pay the bill if the Jo's team would stay an extra day and play.

The very next year Waller and Jo's Pizza were back in the ASA Nationals. This time in he Cleveland subberb of Parma. Again Jo's was runner up to Copper Hearth of Milwaukee. This time Waller not only was the All American second baseman again. He ws the MVP selection. He hit a record 16 home runs...

The record now is 23 home runs by Stan Harvey for Howard's in 1978. Bruce Meade nad Herman Rathman each hit 22 for Nelson's painting of Oklahoma City in 1977.. Waller later had 20 homers iona National. Bert Smith of County Sports held the record that Waller broke. They were later teammate on Howard's winner of ASA titles in 1973 and 1974. The year Waller hit 20 homers in a National Bert Smith hit 21.. Waller wasn't a big man. He was about 6-0, and weighed about 180. He played football, basketball, and baseball in High School and was the Panama City News Herald Thom McAn award winner. He went on to defensive end on two Bowl teams at Florida State University.

He might have been a majorleague pitcher if not for a football injury to his right elbow..

His foirst game with Jo's Pizza in the regional tournament in 1968 saw hi hit four home runs . He had the ability to put the right spin on the ball. "Hit just a little bit under the ball. " he said. He hit over 2500 HR"s. He hit 82 inn 8 National Tournaments. He once hit 19 home runs in 21 at bats. Walking the other two times.

Although he played most of his career with Howrd's (after one season with the Virginia Beach Pile Drivers). Waller says his fondest memories are those from Jo's Pizza of the old days with Gerald Martello, and Luther Ates and the boys1

Here is a photo of the Infamous Joe's Pizza out of Milton, Florida... H.T. is right in the middle of the team... They definitely opened some people's eyes when they came on the scene..


Obituary in the News Herald Dec. 1, 2021...

Herschel Tucker Waller, Jr.

Herschel Tucker Waller, Jr., 76, of Panama City, FL, died on November 29, 2021 after a brief illness. Born on January 12, 1945, he grew up in Vernon, FL and graduated from Vernon High School. He then attended the Florida State University on a football scholarship, graduating in 1968. He lettered multiple years and was extremely proud to have played on FSU's first team to defeat the University of Florida in 1967.

After college, H.T. worked as a teacher and a high school football coach before launching a successful business career. He also played slow-pitch softball from 1965 through 1980 for some of the nation's top teams (most notably Joe's Pizza of Milton, FL and Howards Furniture of Denver, NC), including two ASA national title teams and three runners-up. In eight American Softball Association (ASA) national championships, Waller hit 74 homers and batted over .600. He had the distinction of hitting more than 2,000 home runs in his career and was inducted into the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame in 1997.

He was also an avid outdoorsman and careful steward of his family farm, passing his love for hunting and fishing on to his daughters and then to his grandchildren. Some of their fondest memories involve time spent with their Pa on the water or on the farm.

He is survived by his former wife, Paula Lovett Waller, and their children Ashley Waller of Panama City, FL; India Witte, husband David and his two beloved grandchildren Ingalls and Tucker Witte of Tampa, FL; sister Marlene Brock, husband Kelly and brother Larry Waller of Chipley, FL, as well as extended family. He is predeceased by his parents Donie and Herschel Tucker Waller, Sr., and his brother John Waller.

A memorial will be held on Sunday, December 5, 2021 in the Chapel of Kent-Forest Lawn Funeral Home, 2401 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, FL. The family will receive friends from 1pm until 2pm with service immediately following. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to benefit the FSU Football program c/o Seminole Boosters, Inc.

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