Jim Sarno

Jim was the Director of Parks and Recreation for the Park District of Forest Park from 1965 to 1983. In 1969 he organized the 1st Forest Park Invitational Softball Tournament. Held over Labor Day weekend in 1969, ten all-star teams from the suburbs of Chicago began a tradition that is still considered the most prestigious softball tournament in the Chicagoland area because of the excellent competition and the quality of the facilities. With a background in landscaping, Jim had designed and constructed dozens of baseball fields throughout the Western suburbs. When he came to Forest Park, he transformed those fields into his own “field of dreams.” He hauled in truckloads of brick dust and blue clay from any source available. Because of his efforts, an infielder could never complain about a bad bounce on Jim’s fields. After Jim “built it”, the top teams began “to come” to play historic matches. In the early 70’s the rivalries between the Bruins, Strikers, the Bobcats, and American Rivet attracted thousands to Forest Park to witness softball at its finest. Jim’s organizational skills and field construction techniques moved a few miles south into Bridgeview in the mid 1970’s when Tom Bonen called on him when he was developing the Windy City Softball Stadium in Bridgeview. He also worked with Tom in organizing the – Winston Softball Circuit and World Series at Forest Park. Jim is retired and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has three daughters.