In August of 1970, Jack Olson started the Scrappers. They played their first game in the Ed Kelly Fall Classic Tournament held at Clarendon Park. They beat three "A" teams from Clarendon's League and then lost 9-7 to the Dwarfs of Clarendon's "A" League. Because of their success, they were asked to play in the Clarendon "A" League the following year. They played there for twelve years and finished second or third each year. Besides playing at Clarendon, they usually finished second at Portage Park, always finished first in the Mather "A" League, and always took first in the Mt. Prospect Classic League and in the City tournament. One year they took second place at the state tournament at Rand Park in Des Plaines. That year they also beat the Sobies in the Andy Frain Tournament at Clarendon and in the Western Metro Tournament and they beat the Runts to make the semi-finals at Forest Park. In 1973 the Scrappers won the Northbrook Fall Tourney of Champions. Jack won the batting title for hitting .765 during the tournament. In 1974 he won the batting title with a .773 average for the Windy City Classic Tournament in Mt. Prospect. The Scrappers won three games during that tournament before losing to the Bobcats. In 1983 Jack was a USSSA Director and hosted a regional tournament in Mt. Prospect. The Scrappers qualified and played in the USSSA Nationals World Tournament. They ranked fourth in the final rankings after the tournament. In 1974 Jack started the Windy City Softball Magazine out of his offices. Jack Olson played first and third base during his playing career. But his primary value to his teams was his organization and his ability to get on base. Jack formed a women's sixteen-inch team and his wife, Sandy, a tremendous athlete herself, pitched for the team. They finished fourth, third, and second in the ASA Women's World Tournament in Harvey. Each year they lost to the Hall of Fame honored team, Rose and Crown. Jack and Sandy Olson live in Palatine. Illinois and spend half the year in Florida playing golf. They have three children - Jodi, Jake, and Kelly.
A native of Chicago, Terry O’Brien grew up playing softball for many teams, including the Scorpions and Muskrats from 1972 to 1988 in leagues and tournaments at parks throughout Chicago and the suburbs, including Clarendon, Wells, Mather, and Pottawatomie in Chicago, James in Evanston, Majewski in Mt. Prospect and at Forest Park. As president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and chairman of its Real Estate Committee, Terry has truly been a friend of softball in a variety of ways. He granted leases for softball fields to park districts throughout Cook County; he helped establish Majewski Park, home of many softball championships, and recently negotiated the transfer of Thillens Stadium, the jewel of amateur baseball and softball, to the Chicago Park District so that it will remain a Chicago icon. He graduated from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1978 and has worked in the environmental field with various consulting firms for twenty-seven years, most recently with K-Plus Environmental in Chicago. He was elected to a six-year term as commissioner of the Chicago Water Reclamation District in November of 1988, the third generation of his family to work for the MWRDGC. He was re-elected in 1994 and 2000. He currently serves as president of the Board of Commissioners and as chairman of the Judiciary and Real Estate Development Committees. Because of O’Brien’s guidance and extensive knowledge of the environmental field, the MWRDGC has been able to deliver streamlined services to the citizens of Chicago and Cook County at the least possible cost to taxpayers. In fact, it is one of the few governmental agencies in Illinois to have an AAA bond rating. Under his direction it has targeted pollution in Lake Michigan and local waterways and has funded the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), a program started in 1985 that prevents polluted sewer water from mixing with the drinking water supply in Lake Michigan. Since its inception it has treated over 800 billion gallons of water that would have been discharged into Lake Michigan. The system’s final tunnel is under construction and is scheduled for completion early next year. In 2004 a flood bill was passed largely due to seven years of effort by O’Brien. This bill gives the MWRDGC the responsibility for dealing with flooding issues in the many Chicago communities that do not have the expertise to deal with local flooding problems. He has also established a tollfree number for citizens to report illegal dumping into sewers and waterways. He is a member of numerous professional, trade and community organizations. He and his wife, Julie, live in the Edgebrook neighborhood of Chicago. They have three children, Kevin, Therese and Patrick.
John “Wimpy” O’Connor
At 118 pounds, John O'Connor was never known as a power hitter, but his defensive skills spoke volumes during the 50's and 60's. He played football and basketball at St. Phillips's High School, quitting football after scoring a touchdown because the coach didn't play him enough. But football's loss was softball's gain when O'Connor was invited to play with Hall of Famer Moose Camillo's Cherry Lounge and later with Camillo and Phil's Lounge. O'Connor began as a short-stop, but with his great speed and soft hands, he was soon moved to center field. He helped Camillo win championships at Chicago and Kedzie and at Clarendon, beating the legendary Bobcats in the early 60's. Fortune took a turn when O'Connor and five other legendary players left Moose Camillo to play for Phil Rizzo and O'Boyle's. They captured the Clarendon championship with O'Boyle's before O'Connor decided to hang up his cleats to persue a possible career in golf at age 31. Golf didn't pan out for O'Connor, so he started with the City of Chicago as an electrician, a job he kept for 35 years. He and his wife, Ellen, have nine children and eighteen grandchildren. They live in Hoffman Estates.
Growing up in Chicago, Patrick O'Connor learned the game of 16" softball in the schoolyards and parks of the city. He played in many Chicago Park District tournaments with a number of different teams during his school years. Since 1983, Alderman O'Connor has hosted his annual softball tournament to help keep alive the rich tradition of 16" softball. Patrick J. O'Connor has been serving the 40th Ward since 1983. He received his law degree from Loyola University School of Law, and was admitted to the Illinois State Bar in 1979. Alderman O'Connor is a member of seven City Council Committees; Health, Historical Landmark Preservation, Police and Fire, Rules and Ethics, Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee, and has been Chairman of the Education Committee for 17 years. He is active in the community and serves on several organizations; the Fraternal Order of Police, American Council of Young Political Leaders, Irish Fellowship Club, American Cancer Society, American Historical Society and many others. In 2002, after serving as Vice-Chairman since 1998, Alderman O'Connor was appointed Chairman of the National League of Cities Council on Youth, Education and Families. Their work has included efforts focusing on prevention of youth violence and family neglect by encouraging the expansion of after school programs. For the past few years, Alderman O'Connor has worked with the local Chamber of Commerce to add a family feast to his softball event. Each the number of teams has increased and more and more families have enjoyed the spirit and competition of Chicago's great game. 16" softball is alive and well in the 40th Ward thanks to the continued commitment of Alderman O'Connor.
Thomas “Tomo” O’Malley
Tom O’Malley is one of those rare players whose talent and longevity helped him reap the rewards of fifty-five years of playing softball. Perhaps his greatest achievement was winning the Kennedy Park championship at 59 in 2000 (his last year of playing) with his two sons, Mike and Tom. Tom grew up playing softball with the older guys (Hall of Famer Jerry Schmidt was one) in the neighborhood of St. Sabina’s Parish in Chicago. It was here that he formed the loyalty to the neighborhood teams that characterized many players of his era. Even though he played with some of the bigger named teams, he still remained loyal to the neighborhood, especially for money games. In fact, for twenty years, Tom O’Malley and Hall of Fame members Jerry Schmidt and Eddie Surma formed one of the best outfield combinations of their day. He started with Father Perez when he was eighteen and stayed with them for fifteen-plus years. He then played for such teams as Morgan Murphy (with Bill Bereckis and John Hornacek), Wilt Climate, the Hustlers, Butch Mc Guire’s, Freddies, the Right Ons, IGAs, Blarney Tap, the Whips, Jones Motors, Casto’s, Barret Boosters, Scotties, and People’s Choice. He played in nearly every league in every park and every tournament in Chicago and suburbs during his playing career. He played on at least one championship team every year, including the Kennedy Park championship mentioned above. One of his highlights was playing in the Daddy- O Dailey League when Sweetwater Clifton was at the end of his career. He was named one of two MVPs (along with Jerry Schmidt) when the 19th Ward All Stars defeated American Rivet and was a member of the All-State Knight of Columbus team in 12” softball. He also pitched IGAs to the Chicago Park District city championship. His commitment to teaching and coaching prevented him from participating in national tournaments. Tom O’Malley was known as a clutch hitter who normally hit second because of his ability to hit behind the runner. As he got older and wiser, he became the master of the “dump” ball behind third or second. Defensively he was known as a solid player whose great arm was a threat to base runners at every base. He and his wife of forty-one years, Carol, have three children, Tom, Mike, and Carrie, and twelve grandchildren. He currently coaches basketball at St. Xavier University. They live on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
Tom O’Neill has distinguished himself as a softball organizer, and a major college referee. As director of the Blue Island Softball League for 22 years, O’Neill presided over many ASA major championships. In fact, from 1980 to 1989, all ASA major championships were won by Blue Island teams. In 2000, O’Neill had served as ASA Commissioner for 15 years, and was then Vice-President of the ASA. In addition to his many softball duties, Tom climbed the ranks of major college basketball refereeing. As of 2000, Tom had officiated for 21 years in most of the major college conferences across the United States, and had worked the NCAA tournament for 18 years and the Final Four three times. In 2000 Tom and his wife, Vicki had been married for 32 years, and had three children.
The OJ’s , a team that will go down as one of the top women’s teams in 16” softball history, began its ten year run in 1973 when player/coach Linda “Boom Boom” Parker-Trapp and manager Joe Gerage combined their top teams from the Wells Park League. The team derived it’s name from the initials of Ozzie Babilla and John Wong, proprietors of OJ’s bar, located at Clark and Diversey in Chicago. The OJ’s went on to dominate tournaments at many Chicagoland parks, including River, Horner, Touhy, Paul Revere, Clarendon and Shabonna. They also dominated play in the Ed Kelly Tournament at Thillins’ Stadium, and at Hart Park in Blue Island. Many players continued playing with Ozzie and John when they gave up the OJ’s name in 1985, in favor of Buffoon’s Saloon. The OJ’s embodied all that was great in 16” softball; loyalty to a winning program, hard work at practice and during games, and lots of fun and friendship after the games. Unfortunately time has taken sponsor John Wong and superfans John “Duke” Schnagel and Bob Souski. But the roar of the summertime crowd can still be heard from the softball diamond at Lincoln and Montrose where the OJ’s racked up a winning percentage in the 900’s. Not bad for a team from Chicago’s North side. Coach; Joe Gerage Dodo Kaspar-Brait Erin McGuire Sandy Campofiore Kim McKeel Fran Diaz Mary Kay Monaghan Denise Kaspar-Dziedzic Anna Moraitis Sonya Fabiankovits-Krey Toni Paolini Karen Foley Pam Ransom Prissy Shepard Karen Reykjalin-Kraus Mary Kaspar Nancy Strohmeyer Chick Lillis Linda Trapp Tina Maglaya Debbie Whitfield
Margaret Olawoye's journey from a rookie 16" inch softball player to one of the greatest pitchers in women's softball history began when she signed up to play with the Family Co-ed team in 1979 at Washington Park. That experience launched her career with a series of championship teams. She joined the Rookies in the early 1980s and promptly helped them to the Washington Park title. Her pitching skills were in such demand that she played with four teams at one time from the mid-'80s to the early '90s, including Mixed Company at Dunbar Park, the Spoilers at Lansing, the Shenanigans at Lake Shore Drive Park, and the Force at Forest Park and Country Club Hills. Olawoye helped all these teams win championships at their respective parks. Her three hundred-plus victories against only twenty-five losses, earned her MVP honors in the Dunbar League with Mixed Company and at Washington Park. As longtime coach Mike Burns said "She was the most coachable player, male or female, that I have coached in over twenty-plus years of coaching." Besides playing at the top levels of softball, Margaret also served as league commissioner in the Budweiser-Washington Park League, where she helped to rewrite the league standards, rules, and regulations. She is a teacher and administrator at Paderedskil Elementary School in Chicago. She holds a degree in chemistry from Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina and a Supervision and Administrative degree from Roosevelt University. She and her son, Gabriel, live in Chicago.
Ron “Big O” Olesiak
Ron played every field position with the highest degree of skill. He was an outstanding infielder, a swift outfielder, and punishing catcher. Ron batted right and threw right. He played with the Bobcats, Whips and Amalgamonsters where he was considered to be the top player in 16” softball during the 1970’s. His 100 home runs in one season stand as testimony to his offensive prowess. He was the Windy City Leagues MVP during its first year in 1976, where he recorded an impressive slugging percentage and stroked 18 home runs against the top teams of the year. Ron played on four championship teams and was a six time All -American in the ASA National tourneys. He was twice named MVP during these tournaments. In one game he hit 4 homers in a row over a 275” fence! He also played for the 12th pro team in Chicago, The Storm. Ron -currently demonstrates his athletic and decision making prowess as a referee in the NBA.
Salvatore “Sal” Oliver
Sal Oliver grew up in the Gailwood area on Chicago's Northwest side. He graduated from Fenwick High School where he played football and basketball in the prestigious Catholic 5'-9"- and-Under League. He graduated from Loyola University with a degree in business administration. Sal had a twenty-one year softball career, and for those twenty-one years, he managed one team - the Stompers. He managed them to the USSSA National Championship in 1985 and runners-up positions in 1984 and 1986. They won the Kelly Park Tournament in 1975 and the Forest Park Tournament in 1980 (they were runners-up in 1978). All totaled, the Stompers played in four ASA Nationals. Sal was named USSSA All-World manager when he led the Stompers to the National title. During his career he has managed at least fifteen players who would go on to become Sixteen -inch Softball Hall of Fame players. Great managers have great players and great captains who help them win championships. Sal would like to thank Steve Rostan who helped him put together the first Stompers team at Amundsen Park. He also thanks Stomper captains Paul Sitkowski, Rick Rostan, Mike Romanelli, and Mike Oliver. They made it possible for the Stompers to be around for twenty-five years. Sal has been employed at Central States Trucking for the past twenty-five years, the last seven as senior vice president. He has three children: Michael, Michelle, and Steven and two grandchildren - Michael and Angelina. He lives in Naperville, Illinois.
A 5' 8" centerfielder with good speed, Al Oziemkowski played for the Bonnets before playing for the legendary Bobcats in the 1950s and 60s. As a lead off hitter, he could bunt his way on base but could also hit a long ball. Players of his era showed their respect for his prowess by dubbing him with the nickname of the "Southside Bobby Lamont." After pulling his Achilles tendon and retiring from softball competition, he umpired for several years. Al passed away in 1984. His wife, Alice, lives in Westmont, Illinois.