Al Brocious

Al Brocious started playing softball for the St Laurence fifth grade team. He started playing third base and stayed at that position throughout his career. They played at “Moochers” Field at 73rd and Kimbark and competed for a nickel a man and the ball. From there they branched out to Grand Crossing Park, Grant Park, and Avalon Park. He played lightweight basketball for South Shore High School. He was selected to the 1st String All South Section Team in 1946. He was one of the most feared cleanup hitters during the 1940s and 1950s. He could hit powerful line drives to all fields or power the ball over stadium fences. He played for Nudos Dugout, one of the top “money teams” in Chicago. Nudos was located just around the corner from Grand Crossing Park, but the owner built his own field next to his tavern. His money games were played against the best teams from the Windy City League. They included such legendary players as Sweetwater Clifton and Buddy “The Bronze Bullet” Young, who went on to play for the Baltimore Colts. Besides Nudos, Al Brocious also played for Bondi’s, Van Cleefs, Harry’s Owl Club, Groves Men’s Wear, Ray Motors, Bell Telephone, Illinois Central Panamas, and Mutual Loan. In the middle-’40s, Al and Mutual Loan won the Herald American Citywide Tournament for seventeen – year olds. This tournament featured hundreds of teams. The next year they competed in men’s leagues. After the death of Charlie Bidwell in 1947, the Windy City softball scene shifted to Grant Park. There industrial teams boasted players who were listed as “employees” of the company but actually weren’t. Not so in Al’s case with the Illinois Central Panamas. They won the league title in 1951. Illinois Central also sent the entire team to New Orleans to play in a twelve-inch softball tournament. In addition to sixteen-inch softball, Al also played twelve-inch ball in the Army. They won the Batallion and Regimental championships. They then represented the 14th Armored Calvary Regiment for the V Corps title in Frankfort, Germany in 1953. He worked for the telephone company for thirtyfive years and with Illinois Central for nine years. Al and his wife of sixty-two years, Jean, live in Munster, Indiana. They have two children – Tom and Sue and five grandchildren.