James Canna

Pioneer softball players and umpires remember Jim Canna as a knowledgeable, fair, and dependable umpire whose reputation was always above reproach. A 1938 graduate of Hirsch High School, he began his umpiring career with Jim Allen in the Southwest Umpires Association in 1944 at parks on the southeast side of Chicago, including Avalon, Grand Crossing, and Bessemer. He also officiated at numerous round robin tournaments at 87th Street Stadium and Gill Stadium. In 1948 he joined the Official Umpires Association which was under the management of Jim Edgeworth, one of the most reputable umpires on the southside of Chicago. In 1955 Jim Canna began an eighteen-year career officiating in all the leagues at Grant Park, at Foster, Ridge, Clarendon, and Marquette Parks. He also umpired at O’Keefe Playground and for the playoffs in the Grant park Industrial Leagues. He ended his twenty-nine year umpiring career in 1973. Over that span he remembers calling balls and strikes for such legendary softball players and Hall of Fame members as Emil Flerik, Eddie Zolna, Red Hurter, Sweetwater Clifton, and Lewa Yacilla. Jim also remembers working with Jerry Markbreit. one of the top referees in the National Football League and later the chief rule interpreter for the NFL when Jerry was a young softball umpire. When not calling balls and strikes, Jim Canna referred basketball games for the Chicago Park District during the postwar years. Jim follows his brother, Tony, into the Hall of Fame. Jim Canna and his wife of fifty-eight years, Theresa Marie, have two children – James Canna and Mary Theresa Meadows and four grandchildren. He retired as a supervisor for International Harvester after forty-five years of service. He and his wife live in Lansing, Illinois.