Dollars for Diabetes Union Softball Tournament

Tommy Thompson was a Local One Ironworker who combined both his love for work and his love for softball by founding in 1982 the Dollars for Diabetes Union Yes Softball Tournament, a tournament sponsored by the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council. Unions affiliated with the Council had been collecting money to help fund research on diabetes through a program called DAD’s Day (Dollars Against Diabetes). The first tournament was held at Amundsen Park on the Northwest side of Chicago. Under Hall of Famer Frank Lentine, the inaugural tournament was won by the Local One Ironworkers. The next year the games moved to Oriole Park. Teams included the Chicago Police and Fire Department teams, Teamsters, and many Chicago & Cook County Building Trades Union teams. Tommy’s dream was a Weekend Union Festival in Grant Park, but his health issues took him out of the lead and Bernie Spatz and the Chicago and Cook County Building Trades Council took over the Tournament in 2000. The tournament, Bernard Spatz Dollars Against Diabetes Tournament, is now held at Saint Christina’s Fields in Chicago. It has become a family affair with food, drinks, entertainment, clowns, balloon animals, face painting, and games raising approximately $20,000 each year.