I started playing 16-inch softball in 1978 while interning
for my company team, Sergeant & Lundy, in Grant Park.
I was immediately hooked. Once I completed college in
1979, I put together the Assassins which played out of
Hiawatha, Norridge, and Indian Road Parks. We played
in the neighborhood leagues for a few years while learning
the game. I started as a shortstop and outfielder. Then
one night, after our regular pitcher had been pounded for
three consecutive nights, the team decided that someone
else should pitch and I was elected. It turned out that I had
“natural” control. I could put the pitch just about anywhere
I wanted, anytime I wanted to. We won 17 games in a row
against the teams that had been beating us all along. I never
left the mound after that.
While this was going on, I was going out to watch the
best teams play in tournaments and leagues at Forest Park,
Clarendon, Kelly, etc. This whetted my appetite for better
competition. The first big step occurred when several of us
combined with a young team called the Wedge in 1983.
Our best players combined with their best players improved
the team dramatically. Those running the team were not as
ambitious as I was and for the first year, we were content
with doing well in the neighborhood leagues. After one
year, I took over the team. In 1984, I got us into the top
leagues like Mt. Prospect and Portage and all of the top
tournaments. We got our butts kicked that year. But 1985
was different as we picked up some additional key players.
The year was very successful as we earned our first bid
to the Nationals every year after that. The Wedge was
considered one of the top teams in 16-inch softball for the
next 5 years through 1990.
We were unable to beat the top teams consistently and so
in 1991, we decided to combine with a strong “A” league
team called the Blues. They were ready to move up and we
needed some fresh talent so we joined them as the Blues.
However, personalities got in the way and the year was
not very successful except for winning the USSSA World
Tournament at the end of the year. The team broke up but the
best Blues players along with eight Wedges players joined
Mr. Cooper’s March Manufacturing team. We became
one of the elite teams in 16-inch softball with Terry Moran
and I sharing the pitching duties. Unfortunately, two years
in a row we finished 2nd in the Nationals to Lettuce. We
realized that we just didn’t have the talent level necessary to beat Lettuce. Several of us insisted on some changes, but
when they didn’t occur we decided to part ways
During the winter of 1993-1994 the same group that
left the Blues to go to March, left March and rejoined
some of the Blues along with some key additions to form
Hollywood Casino. The team was strong all year long. The
Nationals that summer of 1994 was vastly different from the
others. Everything came together. I was given the pitching
assignment for the entire Nationals and with the hitting
and defense behind me, I felt in complete control. No one
came even close to beating us. We went undefeated and
I was named First Team All-American and the MVP of the
Nationals. I didn’t hit much so one would wonder why they
gave it to me. But when I thought about it, I had every one
of those 6 teams that we beat completely under control.
No one could do anything. My pitching and our defense
wouldn’t let them.