Gary Thorsen

Gary Thorsen’s love for baseball began in back yards and school grounds when he was just eight years old. He moved on to play neighborhood pick-up games and was named a high school All- American. His move to 16-inch softball began in 1970 when he met up with Fritz Zimmerman of March Manufacturing. Besides March, Gary also played with Petro of Bensenville (his hometown), Duo Fast of Franklin Park, and Phil’s Kids in Melrose Park. But it was playing for March Manufacturing and other notable teams in the 1980s and 1990s that gave Gary most of his memories and provided him with most of his opportunities. March Manufacturing, with Dick Cooper as manager, finished second to Lettuce in the ASA Nationals in Marshalltown, Iowa. Doll House, with Sal Vasta as manager, won the Forest Park No-Gloves Nationals and the Rockers, with Lane Nieman as manager, finished fourth in the ASA Nationals. Gary also played with My Chauffer, Attitude, Miller Taggers with Frank Holan, and with the Registers and Wally Pecs. During those years, Gary had the good fortune to play with such great players as Tim Decker, Pat Heraty, John Kelleher, Terry Moran, Frank Mustari, Mark Frighetto, Stan Bachusz, Buddy Doroskin, the Kelly brothers, Mike Stout, Rick Gancarz, Jim Matlock, Tony Prochemski, and Jeff Burger. He has received several 1st and 2nd Team ASA and USSSA All-American awards, but perhaps his greatest award occurred when he tied legendary power-hitter, Kurt Uidl, in a home run championship. Not bad for a “cutter”. Over his thirty-eight year career, he has formed many great friendships because of 16-inch softball. Although he finds time to play 12-inch senior ball, he considers 16-inch softball to be the better challenge. He compares it to a good game of chess because of softball’s strategy and constantly changing game situations. Gary has been president of the 16-inch Softball Hall of Fame for the past twelve years. His mission is to recognize and memorialize those who have made 16-inch softball Chicago’s “great game.” He is honored to be recognized by his peers and dedicates this honor to his mother. Gary lives In Bloomingdale, Illinois and still enjoys playing in an occasional pick-up game with his son, Graham, or playing catch with his other son, Garrett. He is the special events director for the Village of Bensenville.