Mike Baldwin

Mike was born and raised on the Northside in the Logan Square neighborhood in 1942. He attended Tuley HS and lettered in Football, Basketball, and Baseball. At 6’ 3” he was a sought- after pitcher by MLB teams. In 1962, Mike started playing softball with Hot and Nasty and the Elf’s. They played at Clarendon Park, Kelly Park, California Park, Hiawatha, and Niles. He was nicknamed “The Hammer” for the damage done to his opponents. In 1966, he got married and knew then that to support his young family, he needed to trade in his cleats for an indicator. Mike started the Illinois Officials Association (IOA) in 1971 as the Chief Umpire and assignment chairperson. The IOA would grow to about 100 umpires/officials and this became his full-time job. During his 30 years of umpiring, he did over 2,700 16-inch games in over 70+ parks, especially in the Northside. Mike did the big games for the semis and finals. His presence behind the plate was strong and his knowledge of the game was undeniable. He also did seminars for instructors in softball and baseball with the Chicago Park District.