“Cav” began playing 16-inch softball in the mid 50’s when he was 7 years old in the alleys of Chicago at 71st & Racine. Like most kids, he progressed to playing on the street corners at 72nd & Ada using the 4 cornered manhole covers as bases. They played from early morning to late at night every day. By age 11, he moved to money games at the “big guys” field at 71st & Racine. From there it was onto CYO softball at Sacred Heart grammar school and a city championship by age 12.
In the mid-sixties, Bill began playing in the men’s leagues at Foster Park, Sherman Park and Ogden Park. After graduation from Bogan High School in 1967, he began playing at Rainey Park, Bogan Park, West Lawn, Archer, Senka and numer-ous other parks all over the south side.
Softball took a back seat in 1969, when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in Vietnam with the First Marine Division near DaNang as a Grunt Radio Operator. Upon returning home, he reclaimed his job at Common wealth Edison and resumed his education at Richard Daley College in the evenings.
Upon his return, his competitive juices compelled him to start a team with friends from high school. The Bee Jays took their lumps from some very good teams throughout the south side but played hard against everyone. From there he played with the Shamrocks, Hot Dogs, Tappers, Pets, The Show, Beavers, Loafers, Bad Influence and several other teams on the south side and south suburbs. In 1975, he began playing on the Com Ed team in Grant Park’s Industrial league while continuing to play on the south side and in the south suburbs while still in school at night. By 1981, Bill began managing the Com Ed team that would even-tually become a powerhouse team. Managing Hall of Famers such as Pat Moran and Mike Mareno through the 1996 season, they began an unprecedented streak of League and Tournament Championships. The Com Ed team won their first ever Grant Park Tournament of Champions in 1990 defeating First Chicago 9-3, and again in 1991, becoming the first back to back Tournament Champions when they defeated Northern Trust 14-11. That team went on to win again in 1992, 1993 and again in 1995.
In 1992, Bill also managed the Com Ed team in the inaugural the Old Style Classic No Glove tournament in Grant Park – portrayed as the World’s largest 16-inch Softball Tournament with over 150 teams playing. The team went undefeated and won that Tournament against teams stacked with “major players”. He also managed the Com Ed team in Corporate Tournaments at Gordon Park in La Grange, IL. Those teams won an unprecedented three years in a row against such teams as Molex, Peoples Gas and Chicago Sun Times. No team had ever won that Tournament for consecutive years.
Bill began playing with the Old Strokes at Gordon Park in La Grange on Friday nights in 1991. This was the inaugural season for the 39 & over league, created for softball players who still loved the game but could no longer compete in the major league category with the younger players. The caliber of play is amazing as the game’s former top players find this league to continue playing. The league is still in existence today at Janura Park in Berwyn and Bill is the only original player from 1991, completing his 29th year.
Since 2008, Bill has played in the 39 & over league as well as the 50 & over league. He has played with The Doctors, March Softball Team, the travelling March team, and competed in the SSA’s Las Vegas 16-inch tournament for several years as well as Al Maag’s spring tournament in Arizona.
He has also managed several other teams that played primarily on the South side and South suburbs. The Young & Restless team was created with sons (Young) & a few older (Restless) players, winning numerous park championships and tour-naments in the Orland Park area, before morphing into the Amateur Hour team about 10 years ago. Bill currently plays 4 nights a week for Old Strokes, Norm’s Ringers, Gillette Strokers, Bushwackers and the Sunday double headers with Am-ateur Hour, averaging 100+ games per year for the last several years.
Retired from work, he occupies his time on the Chicago 16-inch Softball Hall of Fame Board of Directors, works out several days a week, helps the Chicago Police Department and at risk kids, teaching them how to play the game of 16-inch soft-ball, and will be helping the Hall Of Fame, as they host DePaul students again this year at the Museum, teaching and showing them how to play Chicago’s game. Bill is grateful to all of his teammates, opponents, umpires, sponsors and fans, for all of their efforts for the love of the game of 16-inch softball.