Joel Zimberoff

Joel Zimberoff played softball for six decades – from the 1940s through the 1990s. He started playing ball at overnight camp when he was just six years old. He attended this camp for nine years and was voted the best player and athlete from ten to fourteen years of age.  He played for the Dwarfs from 1959 to 1973, leading them in several offensive categories as he patrolled left field while Hall of Famer Joe “Jake” Jacobi covered center. In fact, Jacobi got his nickname because Joel and Joe were too similar. He coached many youth and women’s teams, leading them to many league championships. He was named Manager of the Year as both a Little League and women’s league coach and coached all-star teams at both levels. He helped start and helped develop both the Windy City League and Grant Park Tournament. He was also instrumental in bringing sixteen-inch softball as a competitive sport in the Chicago Public High Schools and Catholic High School leagues. Joel helped start and develop the Lettuce Softball dynasty in the ’90s as a player and coach. He led them to one national championship and two second place finishes. He was voted MVP of the national championship team, an honor no manager ever achieved.  He also played semi-pro football with the Chicago Panthers. He is happily married to Cathy. They have five children, three are his and two are hers. They also have eleven grandchildren and he still helps coach Little League teams. Joel works for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc, the restaurant chain owned by Hall of Famer Richard Melman. They have been best friends for fifty-four years.