Michael “Mick” Ballestri

Since starting his softball career at Armour Park in Chicago, Mick Balestri has been one of softball’s top players, managers, and tournament organizers for the past twenty years. Mick Balestri started his playing days at short stop and center field, but switched to pitcher in the late 70s, a position he would master during the rest of his career. Balestri played for the Bridgeport Crush from 1982 to 2001 and managed them for eighteen years. During that span, Crush were champions at Blue Island (1986) with a 16 – 0 record; they won Kelly Park championships in 1989, ‘90, and ‘91; they were Clyde Park champions four times (1988, 1996, 1997 (with an 18-0 record) and 1999). They captured top ten finishes in the ASA and USSSA nationals. In 1989 Crush beat Irving’s to win the USSSA “A” championship at Sturdevant, Wisconsin. That year Mick Balestri was named the top manager of the USSSA World Tourney. In 1992 when Crush didn’t play, Balestri played with Luciano’s Gamblers. He pitched four shutouts, still a current USSSA record, in leading the Gamblers to a Class A World Championship. Balestri played with Thee Dollhouse in 1995 when he went undefeated in five games, beating Lettuce in an eight-inning game to win the Forest Park Tournament. In 2002 after the breakup of Crush, Balestri joined Rizza Kids and helped them to a third place finish at Forest Park.