Jim Kraus has always loved sports. As a boy, you could always find him at the park playing baseball with his brother Joe. This interest in baseball led him to be a starting pitcher at Proviso East High School. He started playing softball in the early ‘70s with Spirit, a team made-up on high school friends, at Forest Park. Though he pitched in high school, he switched to playing first and third base. In 1975, Jim was asked to play for Cecelia (managed by Rich Huska). He stayed with them for five years before Otto’s (managed by Chris Baraglia) took over as sponsor. In 1980 he played in his first national competition. It was a memorable beginning when he hit a homerun in his first at-bat. Otto’s broke up after the 1981 season and Jim moved to the Whips. In 1982 the Whips won the USSSA Nationals. During his time with the Whips, Jim was named MVP in the Forest Park Tournament, hitting .600 for one of the tournaments. Over the years he had the opportunity to play with many great players. He played in many ASA and USSSA Nationals and in several Forest Park championships, his favorite tournament. Jim continued to play with the Whips until he retired from softball in 1992. He works for School District 87 in Berkley, Illinois. On the weekends he works with longtime teammate Wally Filkins and WF Decorating. He resides in Addison, Illinois with his family.