Ken Doktor

As a kid growing up in Mt. Prospect, Ken would ride his bike to Meadows Park and became hooked on 16″ softball when he would spend the day watching teams like the Bobcats, the Sobies, the Strikers, the Bruins, Flamingos, Lyons 45s and the Scrappers play in Winston sponsored tournaments. In 1972, at eighteen, he started his own team with his brother Ed and Terry Rohan of the Ironmen. He took over as manager in 1974 and by 1976 the Ironmen were playing in the “A” Leagues at Rolling Meadows and Mt. Prospect, winning both leagues. In 1977, they joined the Mt. Prospect Invitational and won the tournament, beating the Scrappers twice. In 1978, they won the Rolling Meadows League, which featured such teams as Frank Holan’s Taggers, Dick Cooper’s Meadows, and the Cannons. The Ironmen folded in 1984, but Don Cooper introduced Ken to J.D. Gilmer who brought Frank and Danny Mustari, Bill Nicholas, Jim Carroll, Ralph Liquori, Sam Pappas, and Rick Gancarz with some of Ken’s veterans from the Ironmen, forming the Kings and a collection of young talent that debuted at Rolling Meadows and in the Classic League and dealt Cooper’s one of their two losses that year. 1984 was also the year that the Kings went to Ellinwood, Kansas to showcase 16″ softball at Ellinwood’s Harvest of Wheat Festival. They were featured as ambassadors of Chicago’s game on local television and radio stations, appeared in a parade, and played exhibition games against a local 12″ team. J.D. Gilmer left the team in 1986, due to a job transfer, and Ken kept the team together with the help of Don Cooper, Bill Tiechert, and John Lima. During the past years, the Kings have recorded an admirable series of accomplishments. In 1986 they finished 19th of 56 teams at the USSSA Nationals in Muncie, losing in a 1-0 game against the Lords, who finished third overall. In 1996, the Kings finished 4th at the “A” Nationals in Brookfield, Wisconsin. In 2004 they took 8th place at the “A” Nationals in Prescott, Arizona. In 2005, they won the State Consolation bracket over Punch in a thirteen-inning game. In 1999 and 2000, Ken played with the Rage, helping them to a 13th place finish at Marshalltown, Iowa in 1999. In 2001, he played with Nectar in the Classic League and finished 13th in the Major Nationals in Schaumburg with the Cannons. Ken’s years of playing and managing were recognized in 1995 when the Rolling Meadows Park District presented him with a plaque for his twenty years of service. A highlight of Ken’s career was pitching to Kevin Lund at Comiskey Park’s homerun hitting contest; that day Ken was glad he was hit hard because Kevin won the contest. Ken is still playing at the major level and also umpires. He plans to officiate more in the future. He credits his long relationship with Frank Holan as an inspiration for his playing and managing. He and his wife, Kristine, live in Mt. Prospect with their two cats.