In the spring of 1982, Joe Umana Jr., the son of the late Joseph I. Umana (2004 HOF) organized a 16” softball team consisting of his wife Rose and a group of her Forest View High School and work friends. Being a longtime resident of the Mt. Prospect Park District, they joined the Mt. Prospect Women’s B league. Initially sponsored by Anderson Lock Company of Des Plaines, Rose still works for the company to this day. The team was named The Base Invaders.
Winning eight out of ten games by slaughter rule in their first season, with 125 runs scored, they allowed only six runs from opponents. Seven out of the ten games were shut outs. The Base Invaders entered into the Mt. Prospect post season Women’s A-B tournament which consisted of the top four teams from the B league and all six teams from the A league. In the single elimination bracket tournament, they advanced to the quarter finals game and beat the 3rd place A team, followed by a win over the second place Sandlotters team in the semi-finals. In a very close championship game against the Undefeated A league champion Beer Nuts, they ended up on the losing side of the final 10-8 score. After the game, however, they were approached by league director Bob Ancona and promoted to the Mt. Prospect Women’s A league for the next season.
After finishing the 1983 A league season tied for second with the Stray Cats behind the Beer Nuts, the Base Invaders and Stray Cats decided to combine their best players and field a team capable of defeating the Beer Nuts. The new team was named the Hot Shots, sponsored by Dave and Jim’s Auto Body Shop. As fate would have it, the first game of the 1984 season was against the Beer Nuts. The Hot Shots emerged victorious 15-3, as well as a second game later in the season 5-3. The Hot Shots went undefeated that season with a record of 10-0 and 6-0 in the A-B tournament, beating The Snuggery Pub team in the championship and taking home the overall crown.
As the Hot Shots traveled around the Chicago area, they dominated many Women’s tournaments playing at Majewski Park in Mt. Prospect, Harrer Park in Morton Grove, Softball City, Calumet City, Grant Park, Oriole Park, Indian Road, Oak Lawn, Blue Island and Glenview.
Ninety five percent of the team consisted of players who lived within the Mt. Prospect Park District Borders. Because of their residency status and A league and tournament championship records, they had the honor of hosting a women’s exhibition game during two Men’s 16” ASA National tournament kick off celebrations at the Majewski sports complex during the 1980’s. Former Cubs player Randy Hundley played in the celebrity softball game at one of the tournaments and told the Hot Shots they were one of the best Women’s teams he had seen.
The Hot Shots also played in the Quest For The Best 14” Mushball Tourney at the famous Softball City sports complex in Hainesville, Illinois throughout the 80’s. With three final four finishes, they made it to the championship game one of the years, losing in a close game to the Bidayo’s 2-1.
Eventually becoming the Vipers, which included some of the original Hot Shots players, they played in the Gloria Kapek Co-ed Breast Cancer fundraising tournament until a few years ago. Even though the average age of most of the players is now 55, the team was able to be very competitive against much younger teams, with an impressive 3 final four finishes and one championship game.
One of the most successful Women’s 16” softball teams on the north side throughout the 1980’s, The Hot Shots attribute their success to the amazing individual talent that gelled together to make a legendary 16” softball team.