Dennis “Punchy” Wallace

Dennis Wallace’s softball career began when he was only four years old. His brother gave him a 16-inch softball and the rest is history. His natural talent was apparent early because whenever sides were picked, he was always one of the first players picked, even though he wasn’t always one of the bigger kids. He was selected because he was often the most consistent hitter and one of the best fielders because he learned a lot from the older players. When Dennis was nine years old he was noticed by David Wells and was asked to play baseball in the Ida B. Wells Little League. That year he never came to bat without getting a hit and was selected to the league all-star team for his efforts. But his fortunes were about to change when the team went to the Little World Series. Whenever Dennis came to bat during these games, he never got a hit. He would hit in practice but wouldn’t get a hit during the games. The team finished in third place. The next year he learned to play all outfield positions, he could pitch, and he could play first base. At thirteen he joined the Red Boys, a pony league team from Washington Park. His pitching prowess shined as he went on to throw twenty-five no hit games. The next year scouts from the Chicago Cubs came to watch him play. He was told that he would get a contract when he was seventeen. But that year he pitched too much and threw out his arm, so his chance at the majors was gone. With baseball out of the picture, Dennis tried to play softball with a neighborhood team but couldn’t compete due to his injured arm. At fifteen he made a successful return to softball when he and his friends formed the Junior Nobles out of Madden Park and began to dominate teams in cash games throughout the South side. One team that they beat had Cazzie Russell, the future NBA star, playing third base. He said that they had never played such a great team. At eighteen he joined the Chicagoans, a team playing out of the Altgeld Gardens. Unfortunately he went into another hitting slump but his defense kept him in the starting lineup. After he realized why he wasn’t hitting, he was able to hit to all fields and could hit with power. When he played with the Senators in the Windy City League and at top parks around Chicago, he was known as one of the best left-handed hitters of his time. He finished his career with the Flamingoes in the tavern league at 75th and Jeffrey. They took first place during the three years he played for them. He also played with the Challengers in the Post Office league on Sundays. They also captured first place every year he played with them. He was named the MVP of the Flamingoes in 1980. He and his wife, Sharron Perrie, have eight children (Dennis, Davin, Deaundee, Arylius, Justen, Romell, Lashonda, and Angellica). They live on Chicago’s South side. 6 4 – 7 9 E R A Dennis “Punchy” Wallace 22 C H