Play ball! Houston’s 55-and-up fast-pitch baseball league
Bill Moreland preparing to go in the game at catcher. Photo by Aswad Walker.

April annually marks the start of the Major League Baseball season, with teams and their loyal fans dreaming of a late autumn World Series run. But there are some amateur ball players that are making a late run of a different kind.

I’m talking about the 55-and-over baseball leagues here in Houston and across the country, made up of individuals from all walks of life, races and points of origin. But what they all have in common is an undying love of the game.

 The Defender caught up with members of the Colt 45s, who play in one of Houston’s 55-and-over leagues. These senior stars readily shared their love of the diamond, and why some are committed to playing until they literally have no game left.

ANDRÉ DEDEAUX, 56

Andre Dedeuax warming up to pitch. Photo by Aswad Walker.

When did you first start playing baseball?

T-ball. Probably six years old.

What excited you about baseball? What brought you to the game?

Well, my dad used to play, and he thought, “Okay, well maybe you’ll like baseball.” Because I was kind of athletic as kid. So, took me out. I liked it, and I started playing.

Did you play in high school?

Yes, and I played baseball ever since.

What high school?

Engineering at Booker T.

Did you play in college?

I didn’t play in college at UT Austin. I went for an architectural degree and I did not have time to do anything but architecture.

When did you find this league?

I was about 35 years old, working for a residential design firm in River Oaks and one of the co-owners played baseball. We got to talking and he was like, “We have a league. You can come play.” So, I came out, tried out, got picked on team. And I’ve been playing ever since.

What do you enjoy most about this league?

Just still playing baseball, getting out here. Throwing the ball around, having fun, camaraderie with the guys and trying to knock the crap out the ball.

If there’s someone your age, our age out there, that’s thinking about playing, what would you tell them?

First, I’d ask do you love to play baseball? If you do, you’re wasting your time, not being out here. Because it’s very relaxed. There’s no pressure. You’re paying to play, so it’s not like you’re trying to fulfill a contract. And if you can play any kind of decent ball, we need you.

BILL MORELAND, 73

Bill Moreland taking grounders at third base. Photo by Aswad Walker.

When did you first start playing baseball?

I played little league and one year in college. I played at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. I started playing again in 1999.

So, you’re from Texas?

I’m from east Texas. Laneville High School. I played baseball at Wiley, but for only one year because they abolished the scholarships. They only scholarships they kept was basketball. So that was it.

What do you like most about the game?

The comradery with the guys. It’s fun. You’ll never get tired of playing the game. Now, your time might go by you. At my age, there’s a lot of things I can’t do that I used to do. And I almost gave it up this year, but my guys said, “Man, you can still play.” So, that’s why I’m here.

What do you do professionally?

I have my own AC and heating company. Moreland AC & Heating.

GLENN BONE, 58

Glenn Bone. Photo by Aswad Walker.

How long you been playing baseball?

I started playing baseball at the age of five. I stopped playing after my second year of college. So that was 19 years old. I started playing again 13 years later. So, I’ve been playing from 32 to 58. I’m also a senior pastor. So, I started pastoring a church in Chicago, and played in two league there in Chicago and moved to Houston in 2017, and found his league in 2017 and I’ve been playing ever since.

What do you get out of playing? Because most of people don’t even know that this league exists.

The love of the game, man. I’ve always said baseball is a thinking man’s game. Anybody can play basketball, run up and down the court. Anybody can play football. Baseball is like chess. You always have to think one play ahead. And I’ve been able to use it in my life and skills. I just love the game. I plan on playing until I’m 100.

I’m sure you’ve preached a few sermons on baseball.

Oh, for sure.

Are you from Chicago?

I went to high school, grew up, played baseball, everything in Chicago. Moved to San Diego in 2015 and I played in the San Diego league for two years. Then, moved here to Houston in 2017. Actually, I was part of the restoration process here after Hurricane Harvey, then decided to stay.

You didn’t give me the name of your church.

Good Seed Church.

RON GARNER, 57

Ron Garner (right). Photo by Aswad Walker.

When did you start playing baseball?

At eight years old.

What brought you to the game?

My dad’s love for the game and then me and my brothers followed him.

I understand your father played baseball in college. Where did he play?

He played at Blinn College and Southwest Texas state, which is now Texas State University. And he played for Texas Southern.

What high school did you go to?

THE Willowridge High School.

And weren’t you all-state in football, but still played baseball, as well?

Yes. Made all-district four years in baseball.

After high school, did you keep playing ball?

Yes, I played baseball and football in college until I ended up getting knee surgery. And that was it.

What attracted you to this league? 

Actually, a guy that went to Willowridge is the one that started and runs the league, named Joe Manasic. And, after being in coaching a while, watching my kids play, I decided to go out and give it a try.

So, you coach baseball too?

Yeah. I’ve been head coach at Hightower High School and Stafford High School, and been an assistant at Cy Ridge and Klein High School.

What do you appreciate most about these old timers out here playing ball?

The “want-to.” They want to come out and do it, wanting to stay busy, wanting to keep themselves in shape. And after coaching younger kids all the time, it’s good to be around a lot of guys that are very knowledgeable about the game. They may not be physically able to do some of the stuff, but very knowledgeable.

REGINALD CHEVALIER, 66

Reginald Chevalier. Photo by Aswad Walker.

When did you first start playing baseball?

At 11 years old.

When did you find this league?

I found this league back in 1989, 1990.

What’s your favorite part about the game of baseball?

Just playing and winning. It’s been part of my life, all my life. And I just love the game.

Professionally, what do you do?

I’m retired. I just retired this year from AF Global Steel Company.

Are you from Houston originally?

Yeah. Born and raised. Attended Jefferson Davis High School.

Play ball! Houston’s 55-and-up fast-pitch baseball league