The Frank C. Holan Award honors those who show passion for the game on and off the field. Passionate about the game of softball, or all other sports for that matter, is an understatement for Joe Mercadante. He grew up playing football, basketball, and baseball in Chicago; and his love for sports stayed with him throughout his life. As a fan, player, and coach; Joe was involved with 16-inch softball playing/coaching at various parks throughout the city of Chicago for over 30 years.
In the 1980’s, along with his brother Vince Mercadante, they started the Stallions. This team consisted of neighbors and friends who won countless championships in Hanover Park. While coaching the Stallions, he was introduced to a pitcher named Fritz Zimmerman. Fritz and Joe spent the next fifteen years together winning regular season championships in Glenview, Mt. Prospect, Rolling Meadows, and Hoffman Estates, as the March Manufacturing team. March went to the USSSA in Muncie (IN) in 1986. After that, weekends were dedicated to softball; playing in tournaments anywhere from Trevor (WI), Tucson (AZ), Cedar Rapids (IA), Lacrosse (WI), and all over the city of Chicago with his favorite tournament being right here in Forest Park. The March Manufacturing team featured many great players including a few good friends; Pat Heraty, Rick Olson, and Jack Dipuma.
In the early 90’s Joe played an important part with the merge of Splinters March, a merge of Splinters and March Manufacturing teams. Splinters March has some of the best playing in the game including, Frank and Danny Mustari, Ken Cooper, and Rick Gancarz. In the mid-90’s, he was part of the 45’s with Bob Rascia. With a little encouragement, Mustari and Gancarz joined him making the 45’s dominate for years.
Joe had a true passion for the game and only thing that surpassed his love of the game was his devotion to his family; his wife Carla daughters Julie and Nancy, and son Pat. When Joe left softball; he was able to travel the world and spend time with his grandchildren Alex, Donny, Zach, Luke, Joey, and Olivia. Unfortunately for all of us, Joe passed in 2011, but he will never be forgotten.