John Ben Rossi

John Rossi’s voyage to playing major softball in Chicago took a few detours along the way. After graduating from Mendel Catholic High School in 1955 (where he played football), he attended and played football for Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, Citrus Junior College in Azusa, California, and Adams State in Alamosa, Colorado. He was then drafted into the Army and was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington where he played baseball for the fort team. After the army it was back to Chicago where he started playing softball. During his twenty-five year career, John Rossi played with some of the top teams and top players of his era: the South side Loafers with Les Messinger (HOF) as manager and with Jake and Willie Schmidt and Fred Woolfe (all Hall of Famers) as teammates and with Beetle Bomb and Ron Braash on the North side (HOF) with Hall of Fame teammates Wally Mader, Tony Reibel, and Zeke Crement. He competed at Clarendon Park with Beetle Bomb, at Kelly Park and Summit Park with the Loafers, at Kosciusko Park with the Loafers and Beetle Bomb and in the legendary Daddy O Daily League with the Loafers. He also played in parks all over Chicago for the Chicago Fire Department. Of all the great moments John had while playing softball, he most remembers beating the Bobcats at Trumbull Park in the late ‘50s and beating the Chicago Police Department at Thillen’s Stadium while he was playing with the Chicago Fire Department team. He is a retired bricklayer of forty-four years with Local 21 and a retired firefighter of thirtythree years with Local 2. He and his wife, Debbie, live in Homewood, Illinois. They have twin girls, Francesa and Michelina.