Joseph Pusateri

      Although Joseph Pusateri was one of those kids who loved sports, he always knew from a young age that baseball was his passion. He was influenced by his stepfather who played baseball as a kid and passed his love for the game on to Joseph by taking him to the park to practice hitting and catching. While he loved playing baseball, his introduction into the game was influenced by another sport – soccer. As a student at Von Steuben High School, he wanted to play football, but was steered to soccer by one of his coaches. After capturing the city championship in soccer, he went on to play soccer with a private team, Hamsa, at the Amphitheater in Chicago. Eventually all of his baseball practice paid off when he landed him a spot on his high school baseball team in his senior year. In 1950 he experienced a moment of mixed emotions when his coach recognized his talents and sent him to Paul Revere Park for a tryout with the Chicago Cubs. They were impressed by his skills but delayed in getting back to him, so Joseph enlisted in the Air Force in the fall of 1950. That following spring his mother received a telegram from the Cubs saying they wanted him to come to Florida, but he had already enlisted in the Air Force. Although he served with pride in the Air Force, he always remembered how he could have possibly played for the Cubs. Once he was discharged from the Air Force, he began a softball career that would last until he was sixty-three years old. He first played for Armanetti Liquors at Chicago and Kedzie. During his 40 – plus year playing career, he played with the Playboys at Clarendon, A&M at Park Ridge, Dole Valve for eighteen years in the Skokie Valley League, Moose Lodge at Franklin Park, Clockwork in Morton Grove and Evanston, Vapor Corp in the Skokie Valley League, GPE Controls (Thillens state champs), A&M (Northbrook Invitational champs), and many other teams. He often played for as many as three teams at a time in leagues all over Chicago and the suburbs until his retirement from softball in 1994 (due to a bad hip). As a center fielder on most of the teams, Joseph Pusateri was known for his sure hands in the outfield. In 1976 he carried a fielding average of .989. Offensively he was a top leadoff hitter who hit a lot of doubles and triples because of his speed and ability to hit to all fields. As recognition of his talents, he was named an allstar player twenty-three times, won eighteen batting titles, and played on teams that won eighty-four championships. In 1976 his thirtyfour game hitting streak with A&M at Park Ridge was one of the best hitting streaks of the year. Joseph Pusateri and his wife, Rosaline, have four children and two grandchildren. They live in Niles, Illinois.