Initiated in the 1960s, men’s 16-inch softball immediately became a significant program at Veterans Park District’s (VPD) Bulger Park located in Melrose Park. Thanks to the vision of former VPD Executive Director George A. Leoni and his staff, members of the community have been able to experience the excitement of the game and participate in organized softball competitions in a safe and fun environment for decades. VPD has 12 softball/baseball diamonds located in the communities of Franklin Park, Melrose Park, Northlake, and River Grove. All have been upgraded to LED lighting and renovated with new fencing, backstops, dugouts, and bleachers. In the early days, hundreds of spectators and teams including the Bobcats, Sobies, Rogue, Chiefs, and Strikers were attracted to play…that tradition continues today with great teams still playing in our major leagues and SSA Tournaments. Also, in 1970, one of the first women’s 16-inch VPD softball leagues was created, and since 2013 the home of a co-ed mush ball league. In the 1990s, VPD started its softball tournament and in the early 2000s, added a Bocce Ball Tournament for fans of the game to enjoy.