At the age of 10, a broken arm prevented Chicago born Ed Durica
from playing baseball, setting in motion a new passion. He began
to hang around nearby Harrison and Dvorak Parks watching softball,
eventually taken in by the Gaffers men’s team, given a jersey and
becoming their Batboy for two years.
By the age of 17, Ed was playing softball at Lawndale (now Pietrowski)
Park, and in the Grant Park Industrial League. Other than a few years
of military service, he played every year until he was 37.
After 20 years as a player, he became an umpire. In the 39 seasons that
followed, he has umpired over 6000 games (and counting), includ-ing
every single Grant Park Firecracker Tournament, the first 9 North South
Tournaments, 5 ASA State Tournaments, additional ASA qualifi-ers in
Alsip, Orland, Mount Prospect and Westchester, and 10 Haw-thorne
Tournaments (a premier tournament at the time). He also worked big
leagues at Hodgkins, Clyde, the Janura Friday Night Money League
and a total of over 60 different venues in all.
When he is not umpiring, he is at the games as a spectator. Anyone who plays in the Chicago area
knows him, at least by sight. As the travel partner of the late HOF friend “Doc” Papierz, he attended
every major tournament. On occasion, Ed was even pulled from the stands to fill in at tournaments
including Forest Park No Glove Nationals. As a player, fan and umpire, Ed gave tirelessly to the sport of softball. He is widowed and lives in Cicero where he enjoys spending his free time with his son and daughter and 4 grandchildren.