John Straley

With the nickname of Dr. Power, it’s no wonder that John Straley was known for his towering home runs. Yet he was also known as a punch hitter who followed Wee Willie Keeler’s adage “hit” em where they ain’t. Straley could drop a single or double in between outfielders who were pulled back out of respect for his power, or he could power one over the heads of a pulled in outfield. A native of the Northwest Side where he still resides, Straley played 16-inch softball for twenty years, most of those years with the Lyons 45’s, a team sponsored by 45th Ward Committeeman, Tommy Lyons. During these years he and the 45’s won their league championship eight times. In 1967 John joined and helped the Sobies claim the Championship during the World Tournament in St. Louis, The next year one of Straley’s favorite memories includes a stint with a team from Active Screw when they defeated the Sobees in 1968 for the Andy Frain Championship. John also played for the Sobies in one of the ASA championships. He remembers playing against such softball greats as Jake Jacobi of the Dwarfs, Willie Frencl of the Bobcats, Bill Bereckis of American Rivet, and the great Bobby Lamont of the “old” Bobcats. Perhaps Greg Brzynski, former manager of Lyons 45’s said it best when he spoke of Straley’s accomplishments, “ John is the heart of our team. Not only is he one of the finest hitters in the game, but he is also a great team player.” John Straley has worked for Colbert Packaging for thirty years. He is currently a computer tactical scheduler.