Floyd Fortune Jr. & Dwight Fortune

Floyd Fortune Jr. (left) and Dwight Fortune pose with their plaques presented to them in Richmond last week.

Floyd Fortune Jr. was finally able to answer a question that his niece approached him with three years ago.

Cameron Fortune asked her uncle who was the better softball player between him and her father Dwight Fortune.

Floyd Fortune was as diplomatic as possible.

“I said, ‘Cameron if you wanted a first baseman you’d get your dad. If you wanted an outfielder you’d get me,’ ” Floyd Fortune recalled.

The answer he provided on Saturday still didn’t provide Cameron much clarity.

Floyd and Dwight Fortune were each inducted into the Central Virginia Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame during a ceremony at The Place at Innsbrook in Richmond.

Hall of Fame committee member Tim Feather said each Fortune was a special player with differing styles.

“Tonight we were tied,” Floyd Fortune said, “because we went in together.”

Those comments are indicative of the relationship between the brothers who grew up in the Bowling Green area of Caroline County.

Floyd Fortune, 58, is three years older, but there was no sibling rivalry. They pushed each other. Each excelled in baseball and basketball as youth.

Floyd Fortune was a hoops standout that helped Caroline High School reach the Group AA state tournament in 1979 when it eventually met up with Ralph Sampson’s Harrisonburg squad.

Dwight Fortune was a standout forward on the ’82 team that advanced to the state semifinals. He went on to play baseball at Norfolk State University.

After graduation, he returned home and began his softball pursuits. He hit more than 500 career home runs. A 1992 Richmond Times–Dispatch feature story highlighted the more than 70 bombs he smashed that year.

At age 55, the Richmond resident competed in a 50-and-over league with the Culpeper County-based Time Bandits this past season.

Feather said Dwight Fortune was “a large, strong man and very agile.” He said Floyd Fortune was “one of the better outfielders in central Virginia.”

“They were quality ball players at the highest level in the ’80s and ’90’s,” Feather said. “They were some of the best players in central Virginia and even the state. But the most important thing about them is they did it with class. They’re just classy, outstanding people.”

Floyd Fortune had power as well. Since he often hit directly in front of his brother in the lineup, however, he made it a point to reach base and set the stage for the player known as “Iceman.”

Dwight Fortune said it was “an honor” to play alongside his big brother, noting the pair didn’t have many opportunities to play together when they were growing up. He said on the field, Floyd Fortune, who is called “Junior,” was a complete player.

“He could do it all,” Dwight Fortune said. “He could hit. He could run. He could field. And his softball IQ was just that good.”

The Fortune brothers had five generations of family on hand for the induction ceremony. The family members ranged from Floyd Fortune’s toddler grandson Bryce to their grandmother Eloise Frye, who is 99 years old and will turn 100 in January.

“It was touching,” Floyd Fortune said. “All you had to do is look out in the crowd and you could see the expressions on their faces. They were happy for us.”

Floyd Fortune Sr. was a proud dad. The eldest of the brothers hit his first home run off of his father in a church league game at age 16. He was competing for Shiloh Baptist in Bowling Green and his father was pitching for St. John Baptist in Woodford. Floyd Fortune Jr. said that was the most memorable homer of his career.

Dwight Fortune said he’s always wanted to make his father proud.

“[Saturday] was a great moment for my brother and me but it was also a great moment for our dad because he was a very good softball player himself,” Dwight Fortune said. “I wanted to make him proud of the type of ball player I became. So that whole night was magnified by being inducted the same night as my brother and by my dad being present to actually see it.”

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Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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