Kim Panozzo

Sink the paddleboat. Rosie dances moves. Just tape it up; it will be fine. These and other sayings are some of the memories that Kim Panozzo retains from her years of playing in the top echelons of women’s softball. After moving from Roseland to the Beverly area of Chicago, Kim Panozzo begged her father to let her play in the boy’s baseball league at Kennedy Park because they did not have girls softball. At a young age, she pitched, caught, and played shortstop with her father as her coach. She moved to playing third base when she switched to softball. She attended Mother McCauley High School where she played volleyball, basketball, and softball, earning all-conference honors for four years in basketball and for three years in softball. Her big break in softball came when she was thirteen and her friend asked her to play that summer for her parents’ team, the Burbank Southfield Sting. While playing for the Sting, Ron Hurry, the coach for Bidayo’s, saw her play and recruited her for what would become a twentyfive year partnership. Ron Hurry took a group of team members from different geographical areas and a variety of backgrounds and molded them into a powerful force in women’s softball. They were successful because Ron took their talent and competitive nature and made them life-long friends and legendary softball players by keeping the core of the team together. Kim Panozzo’s primary team was the Bidayo’s, but she also played with Irish Express and Seldomly Sober. She played five nights a week in Oak Lawn, Blue Island, Worth, Alsip and at Ridge and Kennedy Parks. From the late 1990s to the early years of 2000, the Bidayo’s won the Grant Park Tournament nine of ten years. They also won many ASA and USSSA tournaments during that time period. As a third baseman for the Bidayo’s, Kim was best known for her defense, winning alltournament team awards from the ‘80s to the ‘90s. But she could also hit the ball and drive in runs. During one Metro Tournament at Hart Park in Blue Island, she went thirteen for fourteen for the tournament. She was named team MVP of the Bidayo’s in 1992 and 1995, but she especially remembers the 1992 award because her parents, who rarely missed any of her games, were there to see her receive the award. Her father, who was also her first coach, passed away shortly after she received the award. Besides softball, she also excelled at women’s football. In 2002 she was inducted into the Women’s National Football Hall of Fame. As a member of the Orphan’s, she was selected to two offensive All-American teams and was selected ten times as a First Team All-American Defensive player. She has worked for the Cook County Information Technology Office for twenty-five years as a systems analyst and has given up softball for the much more tame sport of golf.