Hall of Fame Inductees
All Inductees By Name
Dennis “The Greek” Andritsis / Inducted 2016 1964-1979 Era
Dennis “The Greek” Andritsis
Dennis Andritsis started playing lineball on the streets of Chicago when he was eleven. He played baseball and football at Morton West High School. In 1963 when Dennis was nineteen, legendary coach Gene Pingatore recruited him to play sixteen-inch softball for Triners Lounge in Cicero. In 1966, Triners became Sobies Sports Tap and later the American Rivet Sobies. The Sobies won the ASA Men’s Major Sixteen-inch World Championship three years in a row – 1966, 1967, and 1968. In 2014, the ASA voted the Sobies to be one of the five greatest teams of all time. In 1977, fourteen years after being recruited by Coach Pingatore, the Sobies were playing a combination of the Bobcats and Strikers. Dennis and Bill Bereckis (HOF) were the only Sobies left from the team that won three world titles in the sixties. They beat the Bobcats / Strikers 11-5 and then went to Forest Park and won the title there – two great wins. The Sobies were champions once again. Dennis played every position, but third base was his best defensive position. He was a line-drive hitter who could occasionally hit one out of the park. He played semi-pro baseball and was offered a tryout with the New York Mets. Dennis was a stockbroker and insurance agent. From 1978 – 1980 he was in the restaurant business. For the past thirty-five years, he has been in the maintenance and construction business. The summer of 2016 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Sobies first ASA title. They still get together for dinner, to play cards, or to play in golf outings. In life as well as in sports, when the Skill is Gone, the Will takes Over.
William “Willie” Abbatacola / Inducted 2016 1950-1963 Era
William “Willie” Abbatacola
Willie Abbatacola grew up on the West side of Chicago. He attended St. Mel High School where he played basketball and was the quarterback of the football team. Willie and Hall of Fame manager Moose Camillo knew each other from Spencer Elementary School so Willie began his forty-four year playing career when he signed up to play for Moose when he was sixteen or seventeen. Willie’s softball career was interrupted by a stint in the Army where he played baseball in France. He was scouted by the Chicago White Sox but chose to play with softball instead. He played for Malizzi’s and won titles at Garfield, Portage, and Kelly Parks. He played with Phil’s Lounge and helped them win the league title a few times at Kelly Park, beating the Bobcats and the Whips. He played for Active Screw at Clarendon Park and helped them win the league title two years in a row. He played with the Jokers and played with Moose Camillo in the legendary “big money game” at Melrose Park where Camillo’s Cherry Lounge beat the Bobcats. Near the end of his career, Willie played in various “B” leagues on the Northwest side of Chicago. He retired from softball in 1992. Willie was a sign hanger for the State of Illinois. He passed away in 2007. He is survived by his wife, Eileen, and four children – Billy, Tom, Jamie, and Mary Eileen. They have ten grandchildren and four great - grandchildren.
Michael Anast / Inducted 2016 1980's & 1990's Era
Michael Anast grew up in Garfield Ridge and attended St. Rita High School, where he was a multi-sport athlete. His love of softball began in 1963 when he played his first game in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). He would end his softball career nearly forty years later in 2001 while playing with Out of Touch, a team comprised of his friends from The Touch. Anast played for over twenty teams and would accumulate more than thirty championships and tournament titles in his career. As a member of The Touch, he won the 1985 Nationals and was named a First Team All-American in 1987. He considers both to be his greatest accomplishments as a player. Anast also played for the Christians, Mercury, Nocturnes, Wanderers, Duds, and Lettuce. He still maintains strong friendships with many of his former teammates from these teams. He also coached his three daughters between 1993 and 2005, when all three played on the same team, the Vixens. He considers this the proudest moment in his softball-coaching career. Anast and his wife, Diane, live in Lemont, Illinois, where he enjoys the retired life. He can be commonly found on the golf course.
Richard “Cy” Abata / Inducted 1996 1950-1963 Era
Richard “Cy” Abata
Born in 1930, "Cy" started playing softball at Taylor and Racine and at Sheridan Park. He began his softball career in 1944 with the Kings, a neighborhood team. He was rookie of the year in the 1948 Windy City League with the Happy Hour Yankees. He played on the Midland Motors 1949 and Kool Vent Awnings 1950 championship teams. Standing 6'1" and weighing 190 lbs, he was known for hitting the long ball. He was an outfielder with moderate speed but had a strong throwing arm. He reportedly had a career batting average of .525. Cy also played on the 1949 Clarendon champs Macv Jewelers and the 1957 Chicago and Kedzie champion Jimmy Rose teams with manager Moose Camillo. He graduated from Our Lady of Pompeii Elementary School in 1943 and St.Ignatius High School in 1947. He was the MYP of the football team and was named an All-City player. Cy was only the fourth athlete to letter in baseball, football and track. He graduated from the University of Detroit in 1953 with a degree in Business Administration. As a champion college hand ball player he won the Masters City Championship in 1972. Suzanne and Cy have 3 stepchildren and 15 grandchildren. He served in the military from 1953 to 1955. He is since Deceased.
John Abbatacola / Inducted 1998 1950-1963 Era
John Abbatacola began his softball career at 17 and continued playing until he was 40 with Malzie's and later with Cherry Lounge, a team managed by Moose Camillo. During his 23 years in the game, Abbatacola's teams recorded many championships - Garfield Park champions eight times, LaFollette Park champions six times, and they even beat the legendary Bobcats for the Chicago and Kedzie championship. A line drive hitting short center, Abbatacola remembers winning some dramatic money games between Camillo's Cherry Lounge and Zolna's Bobcats. John Abbatacola owned Mario's Restaurant for thirty years. He is the father of four boys. He and his wife, Wendy, live in La Grange Park, Illinois.
Jim “ack ack” Acanfora / Inducted 2007 Umpires & Managers
Jim “ack ack” Acanfora
Jim Acanfora was born and raised on Chicago’s West side where he attended Quigley North High School, graduating in 1966. He lettered in baseball, basketball, football, track, and wresting and was also involved in choir and debate. He then went on to Loyola University and in 1971 earned his degree in Public Accounting (CPA) with a minor in Business Law, Finance, and Classical Languages. He played basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and ran track. He is also a member of the Phi Kappa Theta (PKT) fraternity. In 1964 he began a playing career that would last into the 1980s, but in 1972 he started an umpiring career that would take him to the major leagues of 16-inch softball. He started umpiring in church, school, and park district leagues around the West and Southwest suburbs of Chicago. Little did he know that from these humble beginnings he would go on to umpire over five thousand softball games, many at softball’s highest levels. In 1978 he became a registered/licensed ASA umpire and began to officiate men’s and women’s 12-inch and 16-inch games for Tom O’Neill, Bob Ancona, and Joe Hoffman at the top parks in Chicago and the suburbs. That year, he also began umpiring at ASA regional, sectional, and national competitions. He has officiated at eleven national tournaments, nineteen state tournaments, seven Forest Park Tournaments, twelve Grant Park Tournaments, all six North-South Tournaments, and at numerous 12-inch tournaments. In 1999 he achieved Gold Status as an ASA umpire, after achieving Blue, Platinum, and Silver levels. During his umpire career, he always stressed fairness in calling the game, respected the players and the integrity of the game, called the game to the best of his ability, and realized that the game is more important than one person. Currently he has reduced the number of games that he officiates, but does assign an elite group of umpires for 16-inch major leagues and tournaments. He was the chief financial officer (CFO) and treasurer for Royal Crown Bottling Company of Chicago from 1981 until the company closed in 2005. He is semi-retired and is a consultant for select companies and clients. He and his wife, Bonnie, live in Palos Park. Jim has two children, Debra and Julie, from a previous marriage.
Frank Afable / Inducted 1997 Media & Organizers
Frank Afable earned his induction with George Morse at Clarendon Park. Frank started his softball - facilities management career at the ripe old age of fourteen when he started keeping score at third base and- center field at Clarendon Park. In 1972 he was promoted to Park Supervisor, a position he held from 1972 to1982. AccordingtoFrank, “I was given the opportunity to carry on a great tradition of softball left by George Morris and Tony Struppa.” His best memories include the Andy Frain Tournament and watching Reibel, Bertucca, and Volosik match with Ed Zolna for ten seasons of softball. Frank retired from the Chicago Park District in 1997 after 34 years of service. Frank and his wife Roberta have three sons and a daughter.
Angelo Alesia / Inducted 2011
Angelo Alesia has played softball for thirty-one years and counting. He started playing softball in 1980 with a team of friends and relatives in Addison, the town he grew up in. He attended Glenbard North High School and played basketball and tennis. He then attended Triton College where he also played tennis. During his softball career, he played for many teams, most notably the Flames (his first team), the Blues (the major team he spent the most years with). In 1989 the Blues won their first State title, the Mt. Prospect Classic League title, and a USSSA National title. He played in Iowa for five years with the Graphic Edge and helped them win multiple State championships. He helped the Splinters, Windy City, Flash, and the 45s take second place in ASA National competition. He was also a member of three ASA National championship teams - Splinters in 1991, Hollywood Casino in 1994, and Licorice in 2002. He was selected an ASA First Team All American six times: 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2006. He was a Second Team player several other years. Primarily a center fielder and leadoff man, he had great speed and patience at the plate. He hit mostly singles, doubles, and triples, but his patience at the plate allowed him to get on base with countless walks. He recently concluded the 2011 season in the Fifty-and-Over League at Clyde Park by going 77 for 79 with the Takers. He was one of the best leadoff hitters in the game and was a real gentleman on and off the field. Angelo and his wife, Jill, and daughter, Samantha, live in Oswego, Illinois.
Bob Ancona / Inducted 1998 Media & Organizers
In his notes to his biography, Bob Ancona says this about 16-inch softball “The greatest thing is that this is a Chicago game. Anyone who grew up in Chicago has played the game. It’s a great game whether it’s played at a picnic, recreational park district league or at the highly competitive national championship level.” Besides great players, Chicago’s game also needs great organizers to create the leagues, tournaments, and championships. Of these organizers, Ancona and his Mt. Prospect Park District rank near the top. In 1982 Ancona with Rick Pyle and Jack Olson created the Classic League, which is now the longest running major division 16-inch league in Chicago. Besides organizing it, Bob Ancona served as the league director from 1982 to 1998. From 1985 to 1998 Ancona was the District Commissioner for the A.S.A. and from 1985 to 1998 he was Tournament Director for the ASA Championship, hosting the tournament seven times. In addition to these directorships, Ancona was also director for the A.S.A. Men’s Major Division National Championship, the A.A.A. Women’s National Championship, and Tournament Director for the A.S.A. Illinois tournament. Bob’s three greatest memories include the second place finish for Dick Cooper’s team, the 1997 Splinters championship, and the friendship of Tom O’Neill, Joe Hoffman, and Terry Reilly. Besides softball, Ancona also coached wrestling and placed in state and national competitions in freestyle wrestling. He thanks his professional staff at the Mt. Prospect Park District for their hard work in making Mt. Prospect one of the finest softball complexes in softball today. Their efforts have brought Chicago’s game back to Chicago!
Team Angels / Honored 2002 Team Recognition
Women softball players of the 70"s and 80"s will always remember the red, white and blue uniforms of the Burr Oak Angels, as the colors of one of women's softball's legendary teams. With Bill Broukal at the helm and some of the top women players of the time on the field, the Angels dominated parks around the city and suburbs, and at the national level. Some quotes from local newspapers of that day give an idea of the Angels stature. "Brilliant defensive plays," says one. "Awsome display of power at the plate," reads another. 1980, 1981 and 1985 stand out as particularly noteworthy years for the Angels. In 1980 the Angels completed a record of 57 - 8, won championships at Oak Brook and Bedford Park, and placed second at Blue Island, McHenry, and Marquette Parks, and in the ASA Metro Tournament. In 1981 the Angels went 53 - 8. And in 1985 they were 62 - 13. From 1983 through 1987 the Angels played both 16" softball as well as 11" and 12" softball, and were ranked in the top five teams nationally. In 1985 they were ranked first in the nation under the USSSA points system. Bill Broukal, who passed away in 1987, was the organizer and spiritual leader of the Angels. Broukal took his love for baseball, honed during his years playing semi-pro ball, and turned the Angels into a team that was respected from Blue Island, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah.
David Arnoux / Inducted 2000 1950-1963 Era
Dave Arnoux began his softball career on the northwest side, playing second base for the Spartans at Winnemac Park. He soon switched from second base to shortstop, where he remained until a stint in the Army interrupted his career. He continued to hone his skills while in the Army, playing first base for the 5th Army, 40th Triple A Gun Batallion at Wiesbaden and Stuttgart, Germany. After returning home, Dave resumed his softball career with Culpeppers Sporting Goods, winning two championships. He then played for the Alderman Hoellen Boosters at Welles Park. During the 1950s he played for Alderman Freeman at Clarendon Park, where he helped Freeman win three championships. Dave was an All-Star selectee at Clarendon Park when they defeated the Chicago-Kedzie All-Stars. Later, Dave was part of the "Doc" Scavuso managed team that were runners up to the Bobcats. He also played occasionally for the 'Cats. Dave left softball to open Hero's Submarine Sandwich Shop at Addison and Western, more than 37 years ago. He and his wife have seven children and eleven grandchildren.