John Lee

Starting in grammar school, John C. Lee spent nearly half of his life playing his favorite sport:  softball. By age fifteen, he was learning the art of six-teen softball by serving as a bat boy for teams in the Pro Windy City League. In 1949, he played for the Alcott Aces, and helped them win the Alcott League Championship. He won the League MVP following the 1949 season and received the MVP trophy from Chicago Mayor Martin J. Kennely. In 1951-1952, he joined the Taylor Street All Stars and helped them win the Washington Park League championship. From 1949 to 1960 he played on the Santa Fe Railway team in the Commercial League where he made the Commercial League All Star Team every year, and where the team qualified for the Grant Park Tournament of Champions each year. His team reached the semifinals four times. In 1950 he played for St. CYR, in the Knights of Columbus Northside League, along with Hall of Famer Eddie Kelley, staying with them until 1960. He made the Northside All Star team every year. He also played in the Knights of Columbus Championship at the Back of the Yard Field. In 1955, he was named the MVP of the tournament and received the trophy from Mayor Richard J. Daley at the Knights of Columbus Sports Dinner. He also played for Nickey Chevrolet and Lyster Bakery at Clarendon Park from 1950 to 1959. In 1960, his company, Santa Fe Railway, transferred him to work as an office manger in St. Louis, but he returned in 1963 and rejoined his company team in the Grant Park League. He played at many parks in the Chicago area, including Thillens, Chase, Welles, Kelly, Marquette, and Forest Park. He played two years at Hart Park in Blue Island with the Erv’s team along with Hall of Famer Eddie Surma. They won the championship both seasons. His last softball game was in 1978, when he played for the Railroad All-Stars in the E.I. DuPont League in Wilmington, Delaware. Throughout his career, John played pitcher, catcher and outfield positions. He was known for his lefthanded power hitting, his speed, his strong throwing arm and his on-base percentage. In 1996, John C. Lee retired from Santa Fe Railway after forty-seven loyal years of service. He currently lives in Oak Brook, Illinois. He is the patriarch and proud father, grandfather, and great grandfather of nineteen children. He has three daughters, Linda, Marianne, and Nancy; three sons, Steven, Kevin and Cliff, eleven grandchildren, Chrissy, Tony, Johnny, Jocie, Jesse, Brynn, Brando, Bryce, Shayne, Chandler, Mya and two great grandchildren, Gavin and Luke. Since deceased.