John Krehbiel Sr., the founder of Molex in Lisle, IL, always had a passion for employee morale because he believed that employee engagement was vital to Molex’s success. So he started company picnics, social activities, and he created a profit sharing plan, long before other companies even considered it in the 1950s. Mr. Krehbiel believed that sports activities were also important for company cohesiveness, so Molex supported and sponsored a bowling league, tennis and soccer competitions, marathon runners, a twelve and sixteen-inch softball team, and other sports activities. .
In 1979, Molex played in its first sixteen-inch softball tournament. The Molex team would go on to win dozens of tournaments and leagues in the Western suburbs. They were considered one of the best teams in Western suburbs and, after winning the Chicagoland Industrial championship two years in a row, were one of the top corporate teams in the late 1980s. In the 1990s, Molex played in the top leagues, the Forest Park TV Pro-League in the 9’s, and many times earned a top ten spot in national competitions. Softball was also played internally as morale building events between Molex divisions and groups.
Molex not only sponsored sixteen-inch and twelve-inch softball corporate teams but was also a corporate sponsor of the game. They purchased advertising copy in every Sixteen-inch Hall of Fame dinner book and were the first major sponsor of the Hall of Fame museum. Their sponsorship was instrumental in building the indoor Hall of Fame Museum in Forest Park, Illinois. Directly, they sponsored the industrial/corporate display at the Hall of Fame Museum, a display that features historical information and memorabilia on softball teams from Continental Bank, Northwestern Railway, and the Sun Times/Daily News.
The Sixteen-inch Softball Hall of Fame honors Molex, the global electronics leader, with its 2nd President’s Award for its consistency and commitment to the game of softball.