Softball Player Profile:  Reyes Gonzales

Larry Wolfe

Normally, describing someone as “selfish” would be negative, but with Reyes Gonzales, “S-E-L-F-ish” is all positive. “S” stands for Softball player extraordinaire, “E” is for Educator, “L” is for Likeable and, “F” is for Family man. Those are his main focuses and attributes.

Reyes, an “almost native” Arizonan, moved from Watsonville, California, to Arizona as a five-year-old. He graduated from Gilbert High where he was an eight-time letterman, starring in baseball, basketball and football. He continued his education at Mesa Community College before transferring to NAU, earning a BS in Elementary Education. He later earned a Masters in Secondary Education with an emphasis in computer technology. Reyes was a star baseball player at both Mesa CC and NAU. As a senior, he was one of the Top 40 hitters in the nation with a .396 batting average.

After graduating, he had offers to play baseball in the Mexican League, a European League and in the Chicago Cubs Rookie League. He went with the Cubs, but didn’t progress to the next level, primarily because his rival at shortstop was a “bonus baby.” Reyes says, “It was a great experience anyhow,” and he learned a lot from his coaches, including hall-of-famer “Sweet Billy” Williams. That may explain the “sweet swing” Reyes displays on the softball diamond today.

S is for Softball — Arguably the best all-around player in our league, Reyes has played for many top teams in the Phoenix area, including the Arizona Tortillas, Leathers Enterprises, Rudy’s Restaurant, Doubletake, Fan Grabbers, the Rogues and the Southwest Bandits. He tied for our league lead in batting last year (.804) and is an exceptional fielder at every position with a “cannon arm.”

E is for Educator — Reyes’ career included teaching positions at Gilbert Elementary and Mesquite and Greenfield Junior Highs. He then spent 17 years in Computer Technology Services for the Gilbert School System. Additionally, he was Adjunct Professor for NAU for 12 years. Today, he teaches part-time at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Sun Lakes, runs GonzoProductions, creating slideshows for various organizations and is a softball skills instructor at SLI Academy.

L is for Likeable — Unlike many top players who have a big ego, Reyes is one of the most humble and likeable guys you’ll ever meet; a real gentleman. He displays that persona in everything he does.

F is for Family Man — Reyes and Gabriela, his wife of 26 years, have two sons, Dylan and Matheu. Dylan was a special needs child, who is really special, earning a black belt in karate and participating in the Special Olympics and on Gilbert High’s track and swimming teams. Matheu played baseball for Gilbert High and will be following Reyes’ footsteps to NAU. Gabriela just retired after a 30-year teaching career. Reyes and Gabby enjoy travel and are avid movie fans. They also attend many plays and concerts, although Reyes says, “She’s the real fan; I just tag along!”

There you have it — the profile of a S-E-L-F-ish man.