Dennis Gardner

As a young boy, Dennis traveled from park to park watching his Dad (Ron) play everynight. He and his brother Bob would run the bases after each game and slide into home plate just like their Dad. Although their Mom wasn’t thrilled with the dirty clothes, she knew they both loved this game! Fresh out of high school, both boys had the opportunity to play with their Dad’s team called Mudville. As a family, they had the thrill of winning a championship at Riis Park in 1988. The team in-cluded their little league coach Tom Spathies as well, who to this day remains a close family friend.While playing with a neighborhood team, Mike Tallow (HOF) was at a game and recruited Dennis to
play in the Majors with Touch (the next year became the Lettuce team). Playing with many HOF players, it was a great learning experience and Dennis went on to play for the Scooters, ICE, Rockers, Bucs, Licorice, Flash, & Windy City. Over the years, Dennis played Shortstop, Second and Third Base. Along the way, he made some great friends, feeling fortunate to play with some talented players and managers.
He was also part of some great accomplishments:
1994 Major Runners up USSSA World (ICE); 1997
& 1998 Final Four ASA Major National (Rockers);
1995 Hawthorne Park Champions (ICE); Forest Park
No Gloves Champs 1998 (Rizza Rockers), 2000
(Bucs) and 2002 (Lico-rice); ASA Major Nationals
Runners up 2000 (Bucs), 2001 (Bucs), 2006 (Flash);
ASA Major Nationals Final 4 2003 (Licorice); and
the ASA Major National Champs 2002 (Licorice).
Dennis was selected to several All American Teams
including USSSA “A” 1993 & 1994; ASA “A”
1993; ASA Major 1994 & 2000; ASA Major Home
Run Champ 1998; and named Westchester Classic
MVP 2008. With all of these accomplishments, Dennis is also
very proud of his family coed team “Who’s Next”
winning a couple of park champion-ships as well!
After 2008, Dennis transitioned to coaching as his
daughters began playing travel softball. After 10
years of coaching girls fastpitch softball, he is proud
to have had the pleasure of helping most of the
young la-dies achieve their goal of playing softball
at the college level, including his daughter Jillian
who is a freshman at Concordia University in Wis-
consin. Dennis has been married 21 years to his
wife Kathy and they have two beautiful daughters,
Jillian and Olivia. In addition to great competition, Dennis is grateful to
have had the pleasure of becoming friends with so
many people along the way. He continues to play
softball in the 50 and over leagues in Lagrange and
Rosemont, remaining proud to be a part of the 16
inch softball world. By always respecting the game,
teammates, opponents and umpires, he believed in
playing the game the right way and always giving
100%. He has always remembered that Manager
Stan Patek once told him “You’re a great player and
more importantly, a true gentleman.