Joseph Umana

For more than fifty years, Joseph Umana did what most players did not want to do: he organized games and leagues so that softball players could play. His fifty-three year career of softball playing and organizing began in 1950 at Welles Park. Playing in an intermediate league, his team won two park championships and placed second in the Chicago Board of Education Tournament, a tournament that drew teams from across Chicago. In 1955 his team entered the Clarendon Park “B” League and won the championship in 1956. In 1957 Joseph Umana’s S & N Jewelers, under the sponsorship of Hall of Famer Nick “Niggy” Branman, moved into the “A” League at Clarendon. They captured first place in 1957 and won the overall championship in 1958. That year they also won titles at Chase and Portage Parks. For twenty-three years Joseph Umana organized and played for his company team at the Northwestern Railroad, winning industrial league championships nineteen out of twenty-three years. In 1969 and 1970 the Northwestern team won the championship at the highly respected Chicago Park District City Industrial Tournament at Grant Park. They took second place in 1972. For the past thirteen years, he has been managing and playing with a variety of teams in Des Plaines, adding to his streak of fifty-three years. During his fifty-four years as a player / manager, Joe Umana’s teams racked up an impressive record of championships and second place finishes. His teams took second place nineteen times and captured forty-eight first place titles (including three Industrial League City Championships). Besides playing at Clarendon Park, Joseph Umana also helped league directors George Morse and Tony Struppa by filling out schedules of play. This volunteer effort made enough copies of the schedules for every player and fan at Clarendon.