William Backner, a native and resident of Canonsburg, began his baseball career at Trinity High School, where he was a member of the 1947 WPIAL runnerup squad, and played two years of football. He later played for the Pennsylvania Transformers in the Washington County League.
After two years with the U.S. Army in Germany, he returned to the Transformers and also played for the American Legion in the County League. He later joined the Dormont entry in the Greater Pittsburgh League.
Backner, who was also a member of the Pulaski Club team that competed in National Baseball Congress playoffs, was involved in more than 500 amateur baseball games in 10 years.
He consistently batted over .300 and was named to several all-star teams.