Ed Whitman

Ed Whitman’s softball career began in 1946 when he was an eighth grader at Blaine School in Chicago. When he entered Lake View High School (where he played baseball, basketball, and football), he began playing in money games with Allen Edmond Shoes. The older guys who could drive cars would pick him up and would give him ten dollars if their team won. At seventeen he started playing in some big games at Chase Park against a team lead by Willie Phillips who was playing Windy City ball. In 1949 Ed Whitman began a 24-year career at Clarendon Park ( except for the years from 1952 to 1954 when he served in the Army, playing football and basketball at Fort Riley, Kansas). When he returned from the Army, he resumed his playing days at Clarendon Park during what many softball historians consider the Golden Days of softball. During the 50s and 60s Clarendon softball attracted crowds of 2,000 people each night. At Clarendon Ed Whitman played with Piano Tap Tavern, Bettlebomb’s, and O’Boyle Transfer. In 1955 Piano Tap won the championship at Clarendon. Besides his playing days at Clarendon Park, Ed Whitman was recruited to play in the Daddy-O-Daly League, he played in the first softball World Series in 1964, losing to the Bobcats, and once hit five homeruns off the legendary pitcher Lewa Yacilla at Thillen’s Stadium in a game they won 29-22. He played at Trumbolt Park for fifteen years, played with Lyons 45s, and was selected to a Clarendon Park all star team. His greatest softball memory is getting the winning hit off Eddie Zolna to win the Portage Park championship in 1973. Ed Whitman played second base and right field but during money games would often switch to catcher. He was known for having a great arm and for having a rare understanding of the game. In his early playing days he was a pull hitter who eventually learned to hit to all fields. Perhaps the greatest compliment to Ed Whitman’s playing ability occurred when he was 53 and was asked by an eighteen year old to play at Clarendon. Ed and his wife, Margaret, live in Chicago. They have two daughters, Katie and Clare.