Edward “Champ” Surma

“Champ” Surma began his five decade softball career with Ray Topolski on the Chicago- Wolves, playing at Sherman Park in the late 40’s and early 50’s. He also played with the Crusaders, one of the top Southside teams and in many round – robin tournaments on Sunday afternoons. The Korean War interrupted Surma’s softball career when he served with the Airborne’s 187th Regiment Combat Team from 1951 to 1954. While in Korea, Surma played on the regiment football and baseball teams. He competed for the Far East football championship against the First Marine Division in Tokyo. A long-time employee of American Can Company, Surma played for the company team in the Gage Park Industrial League during the 60’s and 70’s, winning many park championships and appearing in three finals in the Chicago Park District Industrial Tournaments in Grant Park. Besides playing for American Can Company, Ed Surma also played for the three time ASA National Champion Sobies from 1966 to 1968. He was named tournament MVP on the 1966 team, going 21 for 24. Besides the Sobies Surma also played for the Whips, Moaners, Sportsman’s Lounge, Silhouette Lounge, Father Perez KC’s, and Rand Bowl of Des Plaines. Surma’s successes continued in the 70’s when he played for the American Rivet’s, a team which won three Forest Park titles and the first World Series of Softball at Ray Hart Stadium in Blue Island. He also played with American Rivet teams that won many Andy Frain tournament titles. To add to his busy schedule, Surma also played with Dr. Carlucci’s Bobcats ASA Championship team in 1970. In a typical summer, Surma would play in 150 to 200 games, travelling from Harvey to DesPlaines, His career ended in the 80’s with Al’s Pals and the Frogs. Besides finding success on the diamond, Surma has also been featured in print and television features. Mike Conklin, Bill Gleason, Don DeBat and Mike Royko have written stories about “Champ” Surma. Tom Weigel featured “Champ” in a television special titled “Hooray for the Little Guys.” Surma and his wife Mary are the parents of two sons and two daughters and proud grandparents of eight.