Bob Rascia

Bob grew up in the Galewood neighborhood at North Avenue and Harlem. He attended Holy Cross High School where he earned varsity letters in football, baseball, and track. He is a member of the Holy Cross Hall of Fame for football and track. He also played hockey with the Oak Park Park District at Ridgewood Commons. Bob’s longtime friend, Nick Sposato, helped him start his legendary softball career in grammar school when he and some little league friends formed an under-eighteen team at Sayre Park in 1974. They modeled their team after Lenny Nuzzo’s High Times team. His knack at winning championships started early in his career when his teams won league titles at Merrimac, Sayre, Shabonna, and Franklin Parks from 1976 to 1985. He also honed his skills by playing at Clarendon Park, skills that would later carry him and his teams to a record number of victories and national titles. Besides playing and managing the 45s, he also played for Lightning, the Jets, and O’Briens. He played primarily left and right field and was known as a line drive, doubles hitter who hit in the first through fifth spot. In 1988 he took over as manager of the 45s in the Classic League and managed them every year until his retirement at the end of the 2007 season. At first the team struggled to compete at the major level. In 1992 the fortune of the 45s changed with the acquisition of former Touch star, Tim Flanagan and his brother John Flanagan, a star baseball player at Notre Dame. Hall of Fame players Mike Stout and Mike Caputo along with Kurt and Eric Kiesel, Larry Downes, and Tony Portincaso joined the 45s in 1993. From 1993 to ‘97 the Bud 45s won their first national tournaments and became a consistent competitor in the upper division of the Classic League. In 1998 the team took a major step forward when Hall of Famers Frank Mustari, Pat Heraty, Tom Czarnik, Mark Frighetto, Paul Brezinski, and Curt Uidl joined the team. This coup was made possible by Rick “The Franchise” Gancarz. With the help of these very talented players the 45’s won their first of six ASA Major National Titles. In 2003 the dynasty was complete when Jeff Berger, Jim Matlock, and Hall of Famer Ron Kubicki joined the 45s. Additionally, Israel Sanchez, Mark Holstein, Brian Miller, Rich Villa, Jim Dooley, Anthony Avila, Keith Filkins (HOF), John Wolnick, Dave Singer, Fred Grief, Chris Downes, Len Nuzzo, and Marty Dosen were responsible for 468 wins against only 52 loses from 2003 to 2007. During the years that Bob managed the 45s, they won forty-six tournaments, including five straight ASA National titles. In 1996 they won their first Forest Park Invitational championship and took their first ASA title in2001. In 2001 the team was down 14-0 in the first inning but went on to defeat Traffic 18-16 in a game that lasted three and a half hours. In 2005 the 45s posted a record of 86 wins against 6 losses. He proudly managed them to an ASA tournament record of 44-3 from 2001 to 2007. Over the 27- year history of the Classic League, Bob Rascia holds the following records as a manager: 331 wins, seven championships, 26 wins in a single season, two seasons of 22 wins, the highest winning percentage of .958 and most games managed at 472. Bob and his wife, Melissa, live in Park Ridge, Illinois. They have three children. He is a criminal defense attorney.