Gil Muratori

Gil Muratori arrived in Chicago from Italy in October of 1938 when he was just a few months old. But in 1948, when he was ten years old, he adopted Chicago’s great game and started a twenty-eight year softball career that would change the way teams used a catcher. He started playing in the streets of Chicago’s North side. In 1952 he started organized softball with the Neighborhood Boys Club at Paul Revere Park. He then played in the CYO league with the Angels of Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1955. After that he played in leagues and parks around Chicago and the suburbs with fifteen different teams, including the Maple Lane Bobcats, Kenneth Allen, and the legendary and Hall of Fame Daily News team with Mike Royko. He competed in the Mission Bell Classic at San Jose, California and in five ASAWorld Championships. During his twenty years as a catcher (although he also played third and first base and the outfield), only three runners were ever called safe after a play at the plate. One of them was Hall of Fame player Bob LaMont. During one game at Portage Park, he tagged out two runners in a row. Many believe that his style of play reinvented the position of catcher. Prior to his playing days, catchers were often great hitters but were also players with weak defensive skills. His style of play gave outfielders the confidence to challenge runners at the plate, knowing that the runner would probably be tagged out. Besides his defensive skills, he also was a power hitter early in his career who changed to a pinch hitter with power later in his career. The softball community recognized these skills by naming him MVP six times. In 1966 he won the triple crown title (homeruns, top batting average, and RBI leader) with the Kenneth Allen team at Lombard. He captured the batting title playing with the Bruins at the Mission Bell Classic in San Jose, California in 1973. He also provided commentary in the television booth along with Greg Gumbel, Tim Weigel and Mike Royko at the Windy City Championships. Besides playing softball, Gil Muratori also played ice hockey in leagues throughout Chicago. In 1970 he won the MVP award for defensemen in the Rainbow Hockey League. He played defense for the Cougars, leading them to multiple league titles in the Prairie State League. He also refereed hockey and in 1979 served as referee director for the Illinois Amateur Hockey Association, an organization responsible for over seven hundred hockey referees throughout Illinois. He started out as a meat cutter with Jewel Foods but joined Hoechst Pharmaceuticals in 1966, retiring in 1995 as the director of public policy and governmental relations. He and his wife, Mary, live in Miami, Florida where Gil spends most of his retirement fishing. He now has his U.S. Coast Guard captain’s papers, so he can take clients out for a fee. They have four children (Marina, Mike, Karen, and Anita), eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.