Joanie grew up on the Northwest side of Chicago right
across from Athletic Field, a Chicago Park District facility,
so this was where her story began.
As a young girl and a typical Chicago kid she spent a fair
amount of time at the park and outside in the neighborhood.
As luck would have it, one of her neighbors was a dedicated
softball player who played for the “Deluxe Check Printers”
team in the city and Joanie had the good fortune to tag
along with him on many occasions and watch his team
play. This was where her love for 16” competitive Softball
Truth is, she loved all sports. She registered for every
sport she could. The park became her home away from
home. All day, every day practice or real – the only way
the games ever ended was when her Mom put the window
light on – then it was time to hustle home!
As a teen, she became of age to play on a real organized
16” softball team, in a real league. Because of her immense
love of the game she played everywhere she could. She
was on teams at Athletic Field – Hiawatha – Shabbona –
Welles – Paul Revere – Oriole and Touhy Park, to name a
few. She played 5 nights a week and the teams she played
on entered tournaments on weekends.
Fast forward to College; Joanie enrolled in DePaul University
in Chicago. It’s here where she was a 2 sport Athlete –
playing both softball and volleyball. Softball in college was
different, however. At the University level, women played
12” softball, most definitely a different game. A smaller
ball, with some significant rule differences, but most of all,
the game was called “Fast Pitch.” Adjustments? Yes, but
the transition to 12” softball went quite smoothly. Joanie
was “scolded” by the College coaches for the “hitch” in her
swing which was a by-product of 16”. Softball in college
was a very fast paced game and she enjoyed it, but nothing
compared to her love for 16” Chicago Softball.
After college she continued to play Softball in the city and
even travelling to the burbs, as much as she could. She was
a member of a nationally ranked 11” USSSA slow pitch
team as well. For 16” teams, she began assembling good
players and friends to start teams and manage and coach.
The teams she gathered focused on “being a team”, playing
competitively, to win and most of all have fun and enjoy the
Best Chicago Sport, 16” Softball. The old saying “There’s
no ‘I’ in Team” was her mantra – which is why she has not
listed any individual awards. The awards are the Love ofthe game and the life-long friends who’ve gifted her
with memories that will live forever!
In closing, what an honor it has been to compete in
the great game of 16” Softball – Chicago’s game.
To all the women softball players, from the ones
who stood across the field on the opposing team
or the ones who stood as teammates, it’s been an
honor to have spent time with you playing a game
we all have loved. 16” Softball enhanced my life
and molded me – it allowed me to play a game I’ve
loved competitively, make lifelong friends and to
me those are the most coveted “trophies”!
In regards to awards & championships won, during
the time she played there were not a lot of individual
awards presented. It was all about a “TEAM”
championship. The teams that she played on &
managed won a good amount of championships
over the years at parks such as Shabbona – Welles
– Oriole & Indian Road. There were also many
tournaments won at the Y-Me and Sue Marohn tyedye
What people will remember most about her was
her quick hands turning double plays when playing
short-center, scooping balls out of the dirt at 1st
base & having the ability to place a ball wherever
she wanted usually just out of the reach of her
What a tremendous honor it is to be inducted into
the 16’ Hall of Fame – class of 2022.