Bottom of the ninth and someone in the crowd called for a pinch hitter to step up to the plate. Bill Edison wouldn’t have it. The Chilmark softball league didn’t allow for pinch hitters, the pitcher said. Besides, he was one out away from a win.

That was some 40 years ago. Mr. Edison, 87, wishes he could take back the call.

Sunday softball, always a team effort. — Peter Simon

It turned out to be Jackie Robinson, who was a hero of mine,” Mr. Edison said. “I didn’t recognize him, I just wanted to win the game. I would have loved to have him hit a home run off me.”

This week, the longtime self-appointed commissioner of the iconic, all-ages, all-genders Chilmark Sunday softball league stepped down from his duties. A small ceremony was held for him on Sunday at Flanders Field where he was presented with a trophy. Mr. Edison has played with the softballers since he began coming to the Vineyard in the 1950s. He became the “Commish” 10 years ago.

Over the years, he’s seen many iterations of the softball league, beginning at Toomey’s Field, moving to West Tisbury and then finally back to Chilmark to the field off Tabor House Road named for the late David Flanders, iconic softball slugger in his own right. Games are played every Sunday morning beginning some time in early summer, usually when there are enough people around to field two teams and when the Commish announces in his annual letter to the Gazette: “Play Ball!” Labor Day weekend will be the last game of the season. Game time is 8:30 a.m. with a barbecue picnic to follow.

Mr. Edison lives in Elk, Ca. in winter and Menemsha in the summer.

The Commish in 2005. — Peter Simon

David Flanders originally invited him to play at Toomey’s Field in the early years.

“David was the big hitter,” he said.

Growing up, Mr. Edison played baseball in high school. His field positions have included shortstop, second base and pitcher.

“I enjoy going out there now and watching these people who are mostly in their middle age enjoying each other and enjoying the game,” he said.

He recalled the days when members from the Coast Guard Station Menemsha used to play.

“Out on Vineyard Sound one Sunday, a boat was in trouble, and where was the Coast Guard? Playing softball,” he said. A fisherman came to the rescue instead. “The Coast Guard was never allowed to play again,” he said.

Mr. Edison said scores are quickly forgotten but friendships forged on the field over the years have been memorable.

“What I enjoy most is the camaraderie that has built up on the field since we moved it back to Chilmark,” he said. “The people that play really enjoy each other. It isn’t about winning, there are no umpires and everyone figures it out themselves if it’s a close call. We celebrate with high fives. It’s a very good feeling among the players and that’s what I enjoy.”

Just because he’s retired, doesn’t mean Mr. Edison won’t be stopping by.

“I’ll continue to go to the games now and then,” he said. “I love it.”