Dukes Softball started in 1957 in the Father Jerry League in Chicago. Like most new teams, the Dukes struggled their first year, winning four games and losing eight. They might not have won a lot of games but they did have the best uniforms – black and white with satin warm-up jackets donated by Carmie Busa Construction. In 1958, they played in the Amundsen Park league and improved to an 11 – 1 record. They took second in the Park Nine League and probably would have won the league if three of their players hadn’t missed key games because of military commitments.
In 1959, the team began to play better and that year they beat the Playboys to win the championship of the Elmwood Park League. Jerry “Moons” Cirrantano helped the effort by hitting for a .750 average and the team won fifteen games in a row. In one of their biggest wins against the Warriors, it was getting dark out, the Dukes were ahead, it was the bottom of the seventh with two outs and the bases were loaded against them. A Warrior batter hit a long drive to center and the Dukes felt that the game was over. But Jerry Corrantano made a “Willy Mays” catch to preserve the victory.
The Playboys and the Kings were the Dukes’ biggest rivals. Both teams had great players and the games were always close. But at the end of each game, everyone would shake hands, whether they won or lost.
Jack “Animal Ceasarone Jerry “Moons” Cirrintano Frank Cozzi
Lou “Eggs” D’Amico Ken “Crumpet” Edwards
Don “Uncle Don” Figarelli Ron Filetti Don Giralimo
John “Pro” Maentanis Frank “Hands” Ochocki
George “Bigg” Pezza Bill “Shadow” Rehbock Dick Rehbock
Dan Rosenmayer Lew “Louie” Sandro Len Santoro
Ed “Bug” Scarimbolo Bob Weege Jerry Saviano
Phil Baratta Butch Lorenzo Denny Meyer
John Parrilli Byron “By By” Maxwell