I was saddened to read that Bill Wardle had passed away at his home in Beaver PA yesterday. (News & Record Obituary.)
Sports Fans will remember Bill as the Voice of the Greensboro Bats (Minor League Baseball) and Greensboro Monarchs (ECHL Hockey). Many people will remember Bill as the owner of the Suds and Duds laundry/bar chain.
Bill played baseball at UNC-CH in the early 70’s and somehow settled down here in Greensboro. Because of his love of sports, and his Suds and Duds bars, he was able to travel with the Bats and Monarchs full time as the radio play-by-play announcer, providing the fans of both teams the opportunity to hear all the games; not just those at home. It was a tremendous commitment of time and personal money as neither team could really afford to pay a decent wage to full-time employee.
Bill also sold advertising for both teams. As the Radio Announcer, he would often provide bonus announcements to many of his clients by using his imagination to replace billboards on the road with billboards of those he had sold in Greensboro. As I often listened to the away games, I would hear Bill announce that a home run might be hit over the Suds and Duds billboard in right field. I would think… I don’t think there was a Suds and Duds in Augusta. Then it hit me. I asked Bill about that after a Coach’s Show and he gave me one of those sly grins for which he was known.
Bill’s commitment to family was finally why he stopped broadcasting. He had a young daughter and didn’t want to miss her growing up. That’s something you can’t do while travelling on the Team Bus with the players, coaches and other staff.
I don’t know if you would consider Bill Wardle a candidate for the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame; but he did have an impact on thousands of baseball and hockey fans in the 1990’s.