Joe Dooley

What became a lifetime passion, began as a fun pastime playing with family and friends. After wrapping up successful Varsity Baseball and Football careers at Leyden Township High School, Joe developed a serious interest in 16” Softball in the mid-1980s. To this day, he treas- ures his early Schiller Park “Shot” and Brooks Park “Shooters” teams. That’s where it all began: where his talents as an outfielder and batter were initially recognized and ultimately fine-tuned. Joe’s greatest as-sets were: natural athleticism, tremendous speed, a strong arm, an out-fielder’s innate ability to take the “right first step” to get to a fly-ball, and his baseball instincts. In addition to having all of the basic skills, oppo-nents quickly learned of another not-so-obvious talent – a swing that generated a
tremendous amount of power from a relatively small physi-cal frame. By the 1990s Joe was ready to start “playing with the Big Guys”. Start-ing out with the “Lords”, he soon became part of the “Splinter” team in 1993. In just a few years, the Splinters won the 1997 ASA 16” National title. By 1998, Joe was invited to join the “Miller Lite 45s”, a team acknowledged by most 16” Softball experts as ranking alongside the “Bobcats”, “American Rivets”, and “Whips” as the top teams to ever play the game. His “45s” career spanned twelve memorable years. In that in-terval, the “45s” won the ASA 16” Nationals in the following years: 2001, 2003-2007. During that time, they also collected titles at the For-est Park No- Glove Tournament in 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2006-2009. Joe’s memory of his career with 16” Softball is stated very simply: “making that 45s roster and continuously proving I belonged on it”! Playing at the Majors’ level demands a commitment to 6-8 games per week and playing through injuries. While he thoroughly enjoyed his playing days, does he miss that grind? Not a bit! Joe credits his wife, Keeley, for supporting him and helping him achieve his dream. She knew what to expect from the outset, since they actually met during a Forest Park Tournament. They have plenty to oc-cupy their time these days, taking special pride in observing and active-ly participating in the dancing, softball, and gymnastics careers of their daughters Claryce, Caroline, and Camryn.