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Encyclopedia > Pekin Lettes



The Pekin Lettes is a fast-pitch softball team in Pekin, Illinois, and is the oldest member-sanctioned Amateur Softball Association team in the United States. The Lettes were started in 1930 and were then called the "Caterpillar Girls" because the team was sponsored by and comprised of women from construction and mining-equipment manufacturing company Caterpillar Tractor Company, in nearby East Peoria. They became the Caterpillar Dieselettes in 1933, the Sunnyland Lettes in 1956, and the Pekin Lettes in 1959. In the late 1950's and early 1960's the Lettes average attendance-per-season was over 100,000, with thousands of spectators attending each game. The 1963 season averaged over 5,000 fans per game, setting a national ASA attendance record of 122,000 for 21 home games. In 2005, the Pekin Lettes team was inducted into the ASA Hall of Fame. Softball is a team sport, in which a ball, eleven to twelve inches (or rarely, 16 inches) (28 to 30. ... Pekin is a city in Tazewell County, Illinois. ... The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) is a volunteer, non-profit organization based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. ... Caterpillar Inc. ... East Peoria is a city in Tazewell County, Illinois, United States. ...


The Lettes play home games at Pekin Memorial Park. The Pekin Park District renamed "Diamond 1", the historic playing field of the Lettes, "Lettes Field" in 2002.


  • Illinois State Championships: 1940, 1942-1955, 1957, 1969, 1977-79, 1991
  • ASA National Tournament: 1959 (7th place), 1960 (4th place), 1961 (4th place), 1965 (3rd place), 1966 (7th place), 1970 (5th place), 1971 (7th place)


ASA Women's Fastpitch First Team All-Americans prior to 1990

  • Gloria Bonelli (1950)
  • Marie Wadlow (1950)
  • Carolyn (Hart) Thome (1950-1952, 1959)
  • Shirley Coney (1950, 1951)
  • Sunne Bea Thomas (1960)
  • Lorene Ramsey (1960, 1965)
  • Ann Mullins (1965, 1970)
  • Kelly Waldrup (1986)
  • Wendy Smith (1986)
  • Leanne Bonifas (1987)
  • Linda Wells (1988)
  • Margie Wright (1988)


The Peoria Journal Star is a daily newspaper, serving the area around Peoria, Illinois. ...

External Links

  • Pekin Lettes Homepage
  • Amateur Softball Association



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