In1976 little was going on in the history of Black folk, but we know that at least three things happened. 1. Negro History week became Black History Month. 2. While accepting the Grammy for Album of the year, Paul Simon thanked Stevie Wonder for not releasing an album that year…Stevie had won it 1974, 1975 and again in 1977, and 3. Some neighborhood friends got together to play softball on Saturdays for St. Bernard Parrish as the South Side Hit Men.
Darren (Sly) and Gardner (Mean) Huff, Tim Spencer, Bernie Jones, Eugene Bates and David Martin had no idea that playing the game of softball would become more than just beating some other guys on hot summer days, but that it would become part of their own black history and would leave a legacy for their
family, especially their children, to grow up and be a part of, and hopefully to carry on.
During 1979, a guy by the name of Rudy Stocksdale was scouting for outfielders for his team and came across the S.S. Hitmen. In recognizing the talent and potential that they had, he recruited some of the players to come and be a part of his team OUTCAST and in his words “play against some men.” This opened the team up to other leagues such as Washington Park, Ogden Park, Murray Park and more opportunity to hone their skills on the softball field, and as they say, “the rest is history.”
By the 1980’s, big brother Andre Huff had joined the team and with his competitive nature and political charm, he ousted Rudy Stocksdale from the team and brought in players such as Steve Wade, Mark (Grizzly Bear) Cunningham and Michael (Ringo) Lewis to elevate the teams power. He also made the decision to bring Harold (Doc) Anderson on as a sponsor to help defray the league entrance fees and pay for uniforms.
Harold Anderson, or Doc, as he was known to the community was reluctant to get involved in becoming a sponsor for the team, but Andre’s aptitude for getting people to see things his way, won him over. Doc had only one request… that the team took to the field and played with dignity, honor and sportsmanship. This became the standard for how OUTCAST was to be presented and with an added ingredient that this was a family.
Throughout the years OUTCAST would have other sponsors such as Ida Mason of People’s Choice Lounge, Jimmy of Jimmy’s Place, Charlene Brown of Phase II lounge and Ray @Raven’s Place. These businesses have also helped to uphold our legacy through their financial support and we are forever grateful to them.
During this time with Andre recruiting players, joining leagues, keeping sponsorship present, and playing in the games, his plate was full, so he brought in friend, Greg Davis to help keep the books and take on other responsibilities with the team. Greg would go on to become co-manager alongside Andre and they would manage OUTCAST from the early 80’s until the early 90’s.
Now with a winning team in place and other players throughout the years, such as Jack Banks, Edward (Juice) Douglas, Wayne Barnes, Wilbert (Smokey) Ward, Norvell (Squirky) Jefferson, Daryl (Moose) Brown, Tyrone Powell, Will Jennings, Clark (Scoop) Buchanan, Brock Streeter, Tony Pearson, Keith Richards, Don Beachem, Eddie (Tyke) Taylor, Nate (Black Cat) Early and William Green, Bobby Flynn, Greg Mason, Steve Jackson, John (Buster) Watkins, Phil John, Artie Davis, Tremel Adams, Eugene Banks, Michael (mohawk) Dardy, Micheal (Robe) Booker, Rodney Phelp, Kenny Collins, Jerry Britt, Jerry Wayne Williams, Jr., Maurice Edwards, Will Green, Rick Flemmings, Rick Coleman, Willis (Chill) Mallard, Bryant Harris, J. Rock, Roedonther Parker, Glen Gray, Darnell Murphy, John Brown, Ron Mack, La La Washington, Boo, CB, Nard, G. Flowers, Ken Dorsey, Sr., Gerald Miller, Mike Leatherwood and Kevin Owens. Outcast was ready to make history.
Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s softball was at its peak on the South and West Sides of Chicago. These guys would end up playing six to eight games during the weekend alone. They also played one to two games in weekday league games after work. The love for the game was strong and Outback’s core team members never failed to show up and show out.
Outcast was loved and hated throughout the park for their ability to look good in their uniforms and their adeptness to come up with a song that would wear on their opponent’s nerve during the game. Their songs and chants would become as much a part of winning and sharing this time with their family. Everyone was in the park, mothers, Catherine Huff, fathers, Ken Dorsey, Sr., children, nephews, cousins, and boy did they bring the noise, electrifying the field with the chants of “we like butter baby and we on a roll.” They started a tradition of family being as important to softball as winning.
Moving into the 90’s, and still winning, Outcast ran into turmoil. Andre and Greg left Outcast, but Sly and Mean stayed on. During this time there were two Outcast teams. The Original Outcast, and Outcast 2. For the original outcast Ken Dorsey stepped up to manage the team and now joined by their nephew, Eric Huff, they went on an unbelievable championship roll. Winning Sunday Best five times in six years, the He-Man three times, Washington Park Classic twice, The Cocktail League twice, Wednesday and Friday’s league multiple times and The Grand Crossing League whenever they entered they won it or came close to winning it. Outcast 2 also went on to win several championships.
In 2004 the first ever Heritage Classic brought the return of Andre Huff back with his brothers and Outcast captured another championship. From there they
played in the ASA Nationals in South Bend, South Dakota, Arizona, Joliet and more. Unfortunately, they did not win a championship from these venues, but the electricity they would bring to the park was felt from the time they took to the field until the last out of the last inning.
For over thirty-five years Outcast has played the game never taking a year off never changing the name never following the crowd. They have always and will forever remain true to the Outcast way… love and respect for the game and their opponents, fun on the field, a healthy dose of competition, family inclusion and above all else, your blood must run purple.
There have been so many guys that have contributed to the success of Outcast over the years and who truly believed in the pride of the purple and white.
Probably too many to name, but the fact remains the same that Outcast members will forever be grateful to them. They will always be considered family and their presence on that field was pivotal to Outback’s history. They have tried to make mention of everyone that has ever stepped into that uniform, but, if anyone was missed, charge it to the head not the heart.
Due to injuries, retirement and relocation of players from 2011 – 2015 Outcast added younger players like CJ, Jazz, Adonis, J.R., Cory and Rashard, and in keeping with the dream of having their sons and nephews on the field alongside of them they welcomed Gardner Huff, Garnay Huff, Kevon Huff and Aramis Stewart.
While learning the game, this up and coming generation of Outcast players kept them competitive and allowed them to continue to beat top teams at the national and statewide level and in other prestigious tournaments.
Though Outcast only played on Sundays in the last three seasons, the veteran players and their new blood still qualified for the Nationals and took 3rd place in Washington Parks, Best 30 teams league in 2013 and 5th place in 2015.
Outcast also had spin-off teams as well, such as, Lady Outcast, which included, Tammie Huff, Tara, Bonnie and Lisa Huff, Mary and Faye Smith, Tracey Hogan, Linda and Lynn Hodges and Jr. Outcast for the babies, which included Joseph and Eric Huff, Craig Towns, Zibhen King and Robin Smith. This was truly a family affair.
Alas, In 2015, with heavy hearts and some achy joints Outcast decided to retire the team and it has been like losing a loved one that has made your life so much better, but the time had come for them to depart. And so, they would be remiss if they did not honor those that did not make it here with us…you are in our hearts and on our minds. Rest in Heaven Brothers… Malik (Tank) Alexander, LiL Cal, Bobby D, Monty, Leo, Jerry Britt and Rodney Phelp, Damon Reynolds, Ricky Diggs. We love and miss you guys!
In closing, Outcast would like to mention one other person who is considered an Honorary Member of Outcast, Joe Huff, Jr. Although he never played a game, his legacy of dedication and love to work, family and all that you do in life is what truly kept OUTCAST going. His spirit illuminated every hit, every catch every game and every year that we carried on. Thank you Daddy, for all that you instilled in your family and for teaching us to be the proud men that stepped out on the field. We needed you, but God needed you more. December 2, 1927 – April 25, 2014.